Despite Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric in Some Statehouses, Promising Developments in State Immigration Policy

While the anti-immigrant rhetoric of this fall's campaigns may point to more shortsighted state proposals in 2011, states and municipalities have already begun expanding educational access for undocumented students to attend state universities and community colleges.  These state and local efforts will hopefully build even more support at the federal level as Congressional leaders with President Obama and Speaker Pelosi's support prepare to re-introduce the DREAM Act in the upcoming lame-duck session.

Department of Justice to States: Don’t Sue Polluters

In a blow to states’ leadership over clean energy, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that states cannot sue power plant operators that generate pollution. The Justice Department alleges that: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency has already started to regulate greenhouse emissions; and (2) states lack standing to assert a federal nuisance claim.

Connecticut Defends Clean Elections Financing Program

Overriding a veto by their Governor, the Conneticut Legislature has strengthened its Citizen's Election system of public financing of elections that was first instituted in 2005. Responding to a bad decision by a federal appeals court, the Legislature has fixed the system and increased the public financing available to candidates.

“The Good Example”: The Story Behind Connecticut’s New “Ban the Box” Law

A recent GritTV segment featured Connecticut’s enactment of a law (HB 1570) to protect the civil rights of ex-prisoners and reduce recidivism (repeat offenses) by prohibiting inquiries into the criminal backgrounds of people applying for jobs with the state until an applicant is determined qualified for the position.

Up and Running: States Implementing Federal Health Reforms

The federal health reform law is only the starting point for achieving health care access for all Americans.  Many states are already moving forward, not only on implementing the basic provisions of the Affordable Care Act in their states, but are also planning how to build on its framework to further expand coverage and rein in costs for their residents.  The following are a few models of implementation and comprehensive reform underway.

2010 Legislative Session Roundup: Connecticut

Progressive legislators in Connecticut made some very solid gains in their 2010 session by enacting major legislation on a number of policy fronts.  First and foremost, the General Assembly concluded their work on the state’s biennial budget last Friday by passing a near unanimous, bi-partisan $19 billion budget for the next fiscal year while also avoiding any increases to income, corporate or sales taxes.

2010 Legislative Session Roundups: Connecticut, Florida, and Maryland

States Decide on High Risk Pools

The choice of whether or not to establish high-risk insurance pools represents the first major decision that states are facing with the March 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While twenty-nine governors -- 22 Democrats and 7 Republicans -- decided to create the pools themselves, most conservative governors failed to take advantage of the option to shape health care for their constituents and instead just kicked the issue back to the federal government, which will establish its own high-risk insurance pool in states that fail to take action.