From the Dispatch

The Right Targets San Diego

While conservative organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have coordinated takeovers of state legislative agendas across the country�a reality documented in our report, Governing the Nation from the Statehouses � they are usually helped locally by a range of organizations and political networks that the rightwing have been funding for years.

Wyoming: A Case Study in ALEC

Wyoming faces an ongoing saga of attemps by ALEC to steer legislation
while pretending that all of their actions are homegrown. Local
businessman Brett Glass became dismayed when a telecom "deregulation"
bill was introduced that would destroy his business but would be a
major help to Qwest.

Researching the Corporate Right Wing in Your State

A good place to start in researching your local corporate-backed policy outfits is the State Policy Network;
pick your state on the linked map and you'll be able to see a list of
"free market" think tanks in your local area. While there is a lot of
overlap, you can also check out the map of state groups listed by Americans for Tax Reform.


Last Thursday's Dispatch incorrectly stated that the minimum wage ballot initiative in Michigan
would raise the minimum wage to $7.40. In reality, the $7.40 figure
appears in the bill being pushed by rightwing legislators. Rightwing
legislators are attempting to undercut the initiative that ties the
minimum wage to cost-of-living adjustments. The Republican bill would
provide a higher minimum wage than the initiative for a period of
several years. In the long term, the initiative would be a better deal
for workers.

Playing Games With Workers' Wages

An old rule of politics is to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A new corrolary may be: Be wary of letting the good become the enemy of the perfect. In both Michigan and Pennsylvania, conservatives reading the polls are looking to defuse a ticking political time-bomb: the minimum wage.

Family-Friendly Business Rules

Two states, two different stories. Colorado's House just weakened a bill that would allow workers to take a small amount of time off each week for family reasons, such as parent-teacher meetings. Meanwhile, Arizona's legislature is unanimously moving a bill forward to protect the right of mothers to breast feed their children in public businesses.

A Correction on Monday's Dispatch

A few folks pointed out that in Monday's Dispatch we had given anti-public school activists too much credit for success when we said that Texas, Lousiana, and Kansas had passed the 65% Distraction into law.

The Rightwing War on Public Schools

It's no secret that one of the top priorities for the rightwing movement has been privatization of public education through vouchers and tax credits. But the raw fact is that the public has consistently rejected their initiatives when they've come to a vote-- every time the voters have faced ballot initiatives on the issue, they have overwhelmingly rejected them by a cumulative 68% to 32% margin in the 12 ballot initiatives from 1970 to 2000.

Fake "Report Cards" Downplay Funding Needs

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently issued its 2006 version of its "Report Card on American Education", the organization's annual propaganda that public schools are failing and that more resources for poorer schools won't make a difference.

The 65% Distraction

And distraction is what the newest rightwing educational campaign -- the so-called "65% Solution" -- is all about.

The proposal requires each district to spend at least 65% of all revenue "in the classroom." It's poll-tested and sounds good -- Georgia has passed it, with many other states proposing similar bills.