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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
In the weeks following the signing of the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, lawsuits
challenging the constitutionality of health care reform were joined by
multiple, conservative Attorneys General from states across the nation,
despite widespread condemnation that such challenges were frivolous, wasteful, and
certain to fail in the courts. In early April, Secretary of Health
and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius commented
that she believed the lawsuits had "more to do with politics than