In a victory for working families, New York is poised to become the largest U.S. city to require businesses offer paid sick days to workers. Community activists and labor leaders struck a deal with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to allow a vote on a paid sick leave ordinance that would cover almost 1 million people. But workers in more than 700 other large American cities must choose between spreading their illness and getting paid.
Voters in Madison and Milwaukee have reaffirmed the state's Election Day registration law, with an overwhelming majority supporting the practice in two advisory referendums on Tuesday's ballot. Allowing voters to register on Election Day has helped Wisconsin achieve one of the highest voter turnout rates in the country -- but some state Republicans have proposed rolling back the state's highly successful law.
Ten months after beating back a recall, Governor Scott Walker continues to divide Wisconsin, with his shadow hanging over judicial races in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Dane Counties. Those normally sleepy races are also attracting new levels of outside money, and demonstrate how Walker remains a polarizing figure in the state even as he mulls a run for president.
Within days of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing a challenge to an Arizona voting registration law that had been adopted as a "model" by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), two more states advanced bills that appear to track the ALEC/Arizona template.
A Nevada politician has introduced a bill that would bar the city of Las Vegas from enacting tougher gun laws than the state as a whole, including language that would specifically protect "machine guns" from being barred on the Las Vegas strip if the legislature did not bar machine guns across Nevada -- and it is tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) have introduced a new constitutional amendment to overturn the damage done by Citizens United, Buckley v. Valeo, and other judicial decisions that have diluted the role of ordinary people in American democracy.
The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on March 18 to decide whether an Arizona statute that imposes restrictions on voter registration conflicts with federal law. The case could potentially decide the balance between the state and federal governments when it comes to elections and voting rights. After becoming law in Arizona, the bill at issue was adopted as a "model" by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
"If Wisconsin were not known as the Dairy State it could be known, and rightfully so, as the Sunshine State," the Wisconsin Supreme Court observed in 2010. "All branches of Wisconsin government have, over many years, kept a strong commitment to transparent government."
But just in time for Sunshine Week 2013, GOP leaders in the state are showing how they are failing that proud tradition.