For now, the action isn’t in DC; it is closer to home. For much of the country this is the state legislative season and activists are working hard – sometimes making some headway, sometimes playing defense. It is up to each of you to take the next steps in order to continue this progress and defend our gains.
There has been some surprising, positive news this week along with all the Trumpian folderol. Following a successful wildcat strike by West Virginia school teachers, unions in Oklahoma and Arizona are talking about acting to improve salaries while their legislatures are in session. In Florida, students, parents and activists came together to help pass meaningful gun restrictions through one of the nation’s most NRA-friendly legislatures. In many states, Republicans are joining with Democrats and environmental activists to resist Secretary Ryan Zinke’s plans to open all the sensitive coastal waters to drilling and to loosen safety restrictions put in place after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.
Meanwhile the Republican juggernaut rolls on in other states where activists have been overwhelmed or fallen asleep. In MWR’s home legislature (Colorado) supposedly liberal lawmakers are working hand in glove with conservatives to undermine public pensions. In nearly every legislature in the country the NRA is pushing ever more lax laws, trying to roll back the few restrictions that are currently in place.
The war against universal health insurance is now in state health departments and legislatures where Republicans are drastically cutting Medicaid access – Florida is making deep cuts to Medicaid which will result in shuttering rural hospitals; Alabama has proposed new rules that deny children Medicaid if their low income parents don’t have a job; in Idaho, the Department of Insurance announced it would permit health insurance policies that fail to cover preexisting conditions. The Idaho initiative was in such flagrant violation of the Affordable Care Act that even Trump appointees in the Department of Health and Human Services are demanding changes.
Call To Acton
It is your turn to do some Internet research and follow up with some state level activism. Put the name of your home state into the search bar along with such search terms as:
- Legislation to limit access to Medicaid
- Cuts to state Medicaid budgets
- Voter registration restrictions and voter roll purges
- Gun control legislation
- Education budget cuts
- Cuts to public pension plans
- Rollbacks of environmental protections
- What ever other issues you care about……..
The Shriver National Center on Poverty Law lists legal advocacy groups in states across the nation working on state level policy and legal issues for and with poor communities and communities of color.
And don’t forget! Your teachers are underpaid! You can find out by how much here. Let your state legislators know you are watching and care about this issue.