Press Call: Lawmakers From 27 States Defend Health Care Law

On Tuesday, November 16, 2010, a bipartisan group of over 75 lawmakers from 27 states announced that they will be filing a "friend of the court" brief defending the constitutionality of the new health care law, in response to the constitutional challenge being led by 20 right-wing state Attorneys General in federal court in Florida. Speaking on a telephone press conference announcing the filing of the brief, lawmakers who signed on to the brief stressed their differences with the right-wing Attorneys General trying to repeal the law, their belief that the law is constitutional, and their continuing work to implement the law effectively at the state level.

Eye on Right: ALEC Ranks Arizona a Top 3 State Economy, Even as Poverty Rate Climbs to 2nd Highest

What makes an economy shine in the eyes of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)? Apparently, grinding poverty.  ALEC recently ranked Arizona as the state with the 3rd best "Economic Outlook," despite new Census Bureau poverty figures that show Arizona has the 2nd highest poverty rate in the nation at 21%, trailing only Mississippi -- a steep drop from 2007 when the state had the 14th highest poverty rate in the nation.

New Resource on How to Respond to Arizona Copycat Bills

To date, legislators in up to 22 states have expressed interest in introducing legislation based upon Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, despite a current federal court injunction barring implementation of many of its most draconian provisions.

AZ: Elementary School Year Starts With Anxiety Over SB 1070

It's the first day at Creighton Elementary School, and kids are lined up at the gates an hour before the bell is to ring, their freshly washed faces pressed against the bars. They are a sea of new shoes and uniforms - navy pants or shorts, white collared shirts - bright in the morning sunshine. They won't stay this clean for long.

Arizona Governor Calls Special Session to Promote Anti-Union Ballot Measure

Arizona continues to focus on catering to its rightwing ideological zealots rather than addressing its devastating revenue and economic crisis. The most recent example is Arizona Governor Jan Brewer calling the legislature into special session to revise Proposition 108, a controversial ballot measure that was ruled unconstitutional in its original form by the State Supreme Court last week.

Tax Limitation Rules Costing States Big Bucks in Downgraded Bond Ratings

When state governments make it nearly impossible to raise taxes to pay their bills, their creditors apparently get very nervous and increase their costs to borrow money. Both Arizona and California have seen their bond ratings downgraded -- and their borrowing costs likely increasing -- with analysts citing both states' tax limitation rules that require a two-thirds vote of their legislatures to raise taxes as one reason.

Wage Theft by Employers Surging in Wake of Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law, Even as Judge Blocks Implementation of Key Provisions

The Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice, a worker center in Phoenix, has seen a “huge spike” in wage theft -- violations of minimum wage laws -- since the passage of SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law.  "Employers are even more brazen in their mistreatment of workers," said Executive Director Trina Zelle in an interview with In These Times.  "Increasingly, 'Go ahead, try and make me pay you' is the response workers hear when they confront their employers over unpaid wages."

Anti-immigrant Proposals Continue to Fail in Wake of Arizona’s Law

As this Dispatch will detail, after considerable media hype about Arizona-style bills sweeping across the nation, the reality is that from from Nevada to Arkansas to Massachusetts to Kansas and Rhode Island, anti-immigrant bills and ballot initiatives largely didn't move or failed to make this fall's ballot.  A key reason:  most state leaders and police chiefs recognize that requiring local governments to assume immigration enforcement responsibilities from the federal government will distract them from fighting violent crime and undermine trust with local residents that are essential to successful community policing.

AZ: Obama Administration Sues to Block Arizona Immigration Law