As battle lines are drawn on Capitol Hill over the coming battle over
health care reform, Progressive States Network is putting state
legislators in the middle of the national debate. On Wednesday, PSN led
a delegation representing over 700 state legislators to Washington D.C.
to deliver a letter to the Obama Administration and Congress urging
them to pass comprehensive health care reform with a public insurance
option by the end of the year. The letter, which was signed by a
bipartisan group of over 700 legislators from 48 states, called for any
federal reform bill to include a public health insurance option, strong
affordability protections, and shared employer responsibility for
health care costs.
With legislative sessions getting underway around the country, this
Dispatch provides a list of key bills and policies that we encourage
legislators to consider introducing. While not exhaustive of the range
of needed reforms in states, they emphasize initiatives of strategic
importance that are being considered in multiple states. Working with
our various partners, Progressive States Network is providing staff
support for these policies and will work to use movement in multiple
states to generate national media and attention. This in turn will
create greater momentum to assist individual states in pushing bills to
passage. The following is a quick checklist of key policies with links
to model legislation and policy summaries.
As states face mounting deficits, corporate lobbyists have been promoting the idea that privatization of public services and assets is a free lunch -- services can be delivered more cheaply than by public employees and public assets like highways can be sold or leased for a hefty return to the taxpayer. As PSN has detailed in our December 2007 report Privatizing in the Dark: The Pitfalls of Privatization & Why Budget Disclosure is Needed, the promises of privatization too often yield to a reality of lost money and degraded services, weak oversight and lost expertise, assets sold off for short-term gains but long-term loss, lost democratic accountability, and the corruption of the political process.
One key victory on election day was a victory for paid sick days in
Milwaukee by a commanding 69-31% of city voters. Parents in Milwaukee
who need to take a day off to care for a sick child can now afford to
do so now that their paid sick days referendum
has Milwaukee following the lead of San Francisco, CA and Washington
DC. in adopting a program to require employers to provide paid sick
days. Under the measure, full-time workers in large businesses will
earn up to 9 paid sick
days a year and workers in smaller businesses with fewer than 10
employees will earn up to 5 days a year.