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Each Saturday, this feature links and excerpts commentary and reporting from a dozen progressive state blogs in the past seven days around the nation. The idea is not only to spotlight specific issues but to give readers who may not know their state has a progressive blog or two a place to become regularly informed about doings in their back yard. Just as states with progressive lawmakers and activists have themselves initiated innovative programs over a wide range of issues, state-based progressive blogs have helped provide us with a point of view and inside information we don't get from the traditional media. Those blogs deserve a larger audience. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite you think I should know about. Standard disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.
At Left in Alabama, DrAbston writes Your Epidural is Against the Law: What Alabama Women and Doctors Need to Know:
Left in Alabama logo
[O]ur beloved state Supreme Court has brought pregnancy and childbirth back to what they think God meant it to be—drug free. No epidurals. That can work well, especially if you have a midwife or a doctor skilled in normal unmedicated birth, but do women want to give up that option? How about no spinal blocks for c-sections? Girlfriends, better practice your breathing! Obstetricians, addiction specialists and anesthesiologists, do I have your attention?

 Our story begins back in 2006, when Alabama passed a Chemical Endangerment statute meant to protect children from harm in meth houses. Although it said nothing whatsoever about pregnant women and was never intended to apply to women who become pregnant while addicted or who use a drug during pregnancy, that didn’t stop prosecutors from jumping right in.

At Rural and Progressive of Georgia Katherine Helms Cummings writes Disenchantment spreads to conservatives:

Governor Nathan Deal took his head out of the sand long enough to tell the Statesboro paper that, “We know that we don’t want anything that’s going to pollute our waterways. We don’t want anything that’s going to make our state a worse place from the standpoint of environmental degradation.”

Make our state worse from the standpoint of environmental degradation? We are competing for the bottom of the list.


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At SquareState of Colorado, Zappatero gives a senator the eye-roll in the direction ofSen. Michael Bennet [who was] lionized by Maureen Dowd/NYT for wanting even more Cuts than the Sequester:
How could I have missed this?

Oh, wait, Maureen Dowd is irrelevant here in the heartland, but highly influential on the DC Cocktail Cicuit. And Michael Bennet's desire to impose Austerity at all costs caught her attention early this year:

Voting to let the country fall off the cliff was an audacious, even precocious, move by the Democratic golden boy and presidential pet—one that, oddly, put him on the side of Marco Rubio and Rand Paul rather than Obama and Joe Biden. "It is an interesting group," he deadpanned about the naysayers.
Rubio and Paul didn't have the chance to stake their careers on the Public Option. Bennet said he would, but demurred then, too, and let the Public Option die an unnatural, quiet death.

At Blog for Iowa, Trish Nelson writes Rally In Waterloo Wednesday To Support Medicaid Expansion:

Blog for Iowa logo
Community members, local leaders will call on State Rep. Walt Rogers to support Medicaid expansion because “The Clock is Ticking” for Iowans who need health care security

DES MOINES — Members of the Healthiest Iowa Initiative will rally in support of Medicaid expansion on Wednesday evening in Waterloo, to send State Representative Walt Rogers and all legislators a message: the clock is ticking for Iowans who need Medicaid for their health care security — now is the time to support accepting expansion.

Rogers is a member of the conference committee considering whether Iowa should expand Medicaid, which would cover 60,000 more Iowans and cost the state up to $163 million less per year than the Governor’s plan.

At Eclectablog of Michigan, Eclectablog chortles in GOP Sen. Pavlov attacks regulation of charter schools, State Bd. Of Ed. Pres. John Austin responds (beautifully):
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Republicans are going Code Red to defend their desire to exempt charter schools from any sort of additional scrutiny, including being held to the same educational standards as public schools are. Toward that effort, state Senator Phil Pavlov went on the attack against the State Board of Education for even suggesting it. Pavlov is the chair of the Senate Education Committee. He then went on to blame the State Board of Education for the dire financial situation schools like those in Buena Vista and Pontiac find themselves in.

State Board of Education President John Austin, someone whose name has been talked about as a terrific choice for Lt. Governor of Michigan given his experience in education, is not taking this lying down. He put out a statement today, slamming Sen. Pavlov for his blatant politicization of our education system in Michigan. It’s a thing of beauty.

At Cottonmouth of Mississippi, Matt Eichelberger writes Jeff Amy: Gov. Bryant appears to be slipping on GOP plan to stymy Medicaid:

Jeff Amy has a great article up today about the GOP strategy to prevent Medicaid expansion. Primarily, he talks about how Bryant's announcement that he won't call a special session at all is a marked deviation from the prior stance of calling one and putting the pressure on Democrats while in special session. Here's how the article begins:
That seemed to be the case last week when Gov. Phil Bryant said he would try to run Medicaid even if the Legislature failed to pass bills reauthorizing or funding the program. Beyond the cloudy legality of the Republican’s claim, it turns away from the clear-as-glass GOP strategy of blaming Democrats for voting against the program and causing a calamity where 640,000 Mississippians wouldn’t have health care coverage come July 1.
At Calitics, Brian Leubitz writes Prison Realignment Works. Prison Realignment Doesn't Work:
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By any estimation, Governor Brown is in a tough spot politically and managerially with the issues surrounding the prisons. As Attorney General, he fought the federal courts on capacity and healthcare standards. As Governor,  he's been forced to actually implement the reduction of population by those judges. And he's been fighting it all the way.

But, in realignment, he probably struck on the path of least resistance to state prison population. It allows a significant reduction in population without actually setting all of the prisoners free. But that's not what [Lt. Gov.] Abel Maldonado sees.

Maldonado, flanked by Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren and Erin Runnion, whose daughter Samantha was kidnapped and murdered in a high-publicized 2002 crime, argued in favor of an as-yet-unwritten ballot measure that would repeal A.B. 109, the law creating the state's realignment policy, which Maldonado referred to as "early release."
At Cowgirl Blog of Montana, Cowgirl writes GOP Wants to Pack 'Em in to the Rafters (Classrooms, that is):
Since Republicans deregulated the energy utilities in Montana, the price of energy has gone up, hurting businesses and families alike.
Now, the same people who gutted consumer protections that regulated utility companies would like to nix the standards that ensure Montana kids get high quality public school classrooms. Republicans Sandy Welch and Rick Hill seem to think that removing accountability and standards to open the doors to larger class sizes will somehow help students succeed. Welch is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction and Rick Hill is running for Governor.
At Blue Hampshire, Hannah writes Ignorant, incompetent and indolent:
In retrospect, it seems fairly obvious that Congress cutting taxes is an exercise in cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The popularity of Congress as registered in the polls, which, at 9%, is even impressive to someone (me) who doesn’t credit opinion polls with much significance, is telling. That the infusion of 212 freshmen into the House via the last three elections hasn’t had a significant effect in terms of making them work better is also telling. It tells us that incompetence is being augmented by indolence. Like the class cut-up, the Congress is being stupid by choice. Their promise to cut taxes is nothing but an esoteric version of “cut the mustard” or “cut the cheese.”
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At Blue Jersey, Laurel Ramseyer writes Gov. Chris Christie is Keeping New Jersey Mired in the Discriminatory Past:
The passage of a marriage equality law in Delaware last week leaves New Jersey the only Atlantic coast state north of Virginia to retain a discriminatory marriage law.
"[V]acationers this summer can travel anywhere from Portland, Maine, to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and all the way to Ocean City, Maryland, to enjoy the Atlantic coastline in destinations that treat all people equally - that is, only if they bypass New Jersey," said Garden State Equality in a press release.

"It is a blight on our state's record of leadership and social justice, and on our economy, that Governor Christie has vetoed marriage equality and that the legislature has not yet overridden that veto."

At Blue Oregon, Carla Axtman writes The Oregon GOP don't want to win elections in Oregon ever again:
I don't know when this happened, but apparently the Republican caucus in the Oregon Legislature decided that Oregonians were really hoping they'd act exactly like Republicans at the federal level.

Because really, the federal level style of GOP obstructionism is exactly what we all want for Oregon, right?

After today's very rosy revenue forecast, Governor Kitzhaber pleaded for the Democrats and Republicans to sit down and reach a compromise on PERS and taxes.

The Democrats, cheering today's forecast, were ready to sit down and talk.

The Republicans, essentially ignoring the forecast in their comments, pouted.

At Delaware Liberal, El Somnambulo wrote General Assembly Post-Game Wrap-Up/Pre-Game Show: Thurs., May 16, 2013:
In a Dog Bites Man story, Sen. Colin Bonini sided with the oil polluters, casting the only ‘no’ vote against legislation eliminating a monetary cap on company liability for damages caused by an oil spill. Bloviator Bonini has suffered a precipitous decline in ink this session, having ceded his senatorial Hot Air Hegemony to Monsignor Greg Lavelle. I, for one, feel sorry for the disheartened former champion, and intend to do everything within my power to rehabilitate his diminished stature (I’m speaking figuratively, of course). The Comedic Gods demand it. Probably the biggest news of the day is what didn't happen:

1. Bill adding 2 more casinos doesn’t make it out of committee.

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