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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, inside information and often an edgy voice that we just don't get from the traditional media. This week in progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite state- or city-based blog you think I should know about. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At Blue Oregon, Chuck Sheketoff writes—Grand Bargain Tax Games Begin:

Blue Oregon
During the recent brief debate before the legislature pushed through the “Grand Bargain” tax package, I pointed out that the tax subsidy for certain business owners would not create any jobs, save maybe for lawyers and accountants dispensing advice on how to game the system.

And so the games begin.

Barely had the dust settled from the special legislative session when the law firm of Lane Powell PC began suggesting that business owners take advantage of the tax break simply by changing the way their businesses are structured.

The deal, you may recall, gives certain owners of S corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) the choice of lower rates on income “passed through” to the owner and taxed as personal income. The tax subsidy will by-and-large benefit some of Oregon’s wealthiest 1 percent, while draining revenue away from schools, mental health and care for seniors.

At Policy Matters Blog of Mississippi, Sara Miller writes—Health Insurance Coverage Gap Impacts Thousands of Mississippi’s Working Poor:
As Mississippians continue to sign up for private health insurance coverage through the federal health insurance exchange, there is one group of Mississippians who are being left out.  Mississippians who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but who don’t earn enough to qualify for subsidies to purchase insurance through the health insurance exchange.  The Affordable Care Act was designed to cover these folks through the expansion of Medicaid.    However, in states like Mississippi that have decided not to expand Medicaid, these folks will go without coverage.

A graphic from MEPC created earlier this year shows the income group included and some common occupations that make up that group.  They include cooks, cashiers, truck drivers, food service workers, and child care workers.  The graphic below gives an idea of the size of this group in Mississippi.  If there was a city made up entirely of folks in the coverage gap, it would be the second largest city in Mississippi.

At Montana Cowgirl, Cowgirl writes—Get your powder, get your gun, and bolt the door!
Cowgirl of Montana logo
A guy by the name of Matt Rosendale has released a video in which he announces his candidacy for Congress, not by giving a speech but by growling and snarling and yelling, like some sort of caged animal.  It makes me very uncomfortable just to watch it.

This is a frightening individual who comes across as something like a deranged drill sergeant or convicted murderer, who could be armed and dangerous.

In fact, to listen to his 60 second speech in the video, he is likely armed. Rather than introduce himself, his family, his beliefs, by talking to the camera and telling us who he is, he gets right down to Tea Party business, telling us in a guttural, angry tone that we are amid an invasion by a foreign enemy–the federal government. “Our nation is under threat,” he shouts, and “we” (meaning he) are coming to the rescue. “It’s our time,” he growls.

Unfortunately for Rosendale, his video has already made national news. The Daily Beast observed today that he has a very thick Maryland accent which comes across in the video, and might tip voters off that he, himself, is a foreign presence.

There's a passel of progressive state blogs below that fancy lariat.

At Capitol, Rich Miller writes—One way or another, you’re gonna have to wait:

I can totally understand why some folks want to try and pass the gay marriage bill next week. They’ve worked hard, and they want to finally know who’s with them and who’s against them.

state blogs
But if you’re a gay couple eager to get married as soon as possible, then waiting until January to hold a vote is a better option.

Why? Well, there’s no way the bill could get three-fifths in both chambers next week, but three-fifths is a constitutional requirement for any bill with an immediate effective date. A bill requiring a simple majority with an immediate effective date can only be approved after the first of the year. Passing an amended bill now means waiting until next June for the law to take effect.

At Show Me Progress of Missouri, WillyK writes—A case study in rightwing mendacity:
Show Me Progress
When I recently wrote about the Missouri GOP's stubborn attempt to render unto Rex Sinquefield what - by virtue of his checkbook - is Rex Sinquefield's, namely one more dreary iteration of their efforts to reduce or eliminate taxes for the wealthy, I also noted that a similar experiment seemed to be tanking in Kansas - even to such an extent that the popularity of Kansas GOP Governor Sam Brownbeck was in the pits.

Imagine, then, my amazement, when I learned via an opinion piece in The Kansas City Star that there are folks that think Kansas is in exemplary shape. None other than Missouri's ever-generous billionaire, Rex Sinquefield, seems to have informed readers of Forbes Magazine that "a close look at the data backs up the economic projections of Brownback's visionary leadership."

So who's right? Me? Or Rex Snquefield? The Star's contributing author, I'm happy to say, backs up my contentions about the state of Kansas, pointing out that, contrary to Sinquefield's claims, the state's economy is "tracking most of the rest of the nation" with "no discernable jolt upward."

At Calitics, Brian Leubitz writes—Jeff Denham Signs On to Immigration Reform:
Calitics logo
Jeff Denham has made some waves over the past 36 hours as he became the first Republican Congress member to sign on to the House Democrats immigration reform proposal.

A Republican congressman from a heavily Hispanic district is breaking ranks from his party to join Democrats in an eleventh-hour push for a broad immigration overhaul before the end of the year. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) plans to sign on as the lone GOP member with 185 Democrats to co-sponsor a plan that would give millions of unauthorized immigrants the chance to attain citizenship.

A handful of House Republicans have expressed support for citizenship legislation similar to the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate over the summer. But Denham is taking the additional—and politically provocative—step of locking arms with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democrats trying to neutralize opposition from House conservatives and shake up a polarized immigration debate.(WaPo)

Denham has a strong challenger in Michael Eggman and some lagging poll numbers after the shutdown. He needs a change in the conversation from the disaster that the Republicans brought down upon the country. Immigration is a pivotal issue in a district with a strong Latino voter base, and Denham has never been a true believer in the rightwing on this front, so this is something of a fit. But it is a fit that was almost preordained by the politics.

At Blog for, Pamela Powers Hannley writes—Immigration Reform NOW: Protestors Blockade Entrance to Eloy Detention Center:
From the arrest of Congressman Raul Grijalva and other progressive representatives last week at an immigration reform rally to protesters chaining themselves to immigration detention center buses to the blockade of the Eloy Detention Center today, immigration reform advocates are turning up the pressure. [...]

Just now, protestors chained themselves in front of the Eloy Detention Center. Their action calls on the President to stop deportations and the criminalization of immigrants. Through civil disobedience they say they’re exposing the inhumane imprisonment at the center of current immigration policy and the needless warehousing of the undocumented who could benefit from reform.

Many of those inside Eloy have committed no major offense and instead are victims of Congress’ 34,000 minimum detention bed mandate and the profiling of Sheriffs like Arpaio and Border Patrol required to fulfill the arbitrary quota.

At Texas Kaos, Libby Shaw writes—They're Coming After Women Again:
Right now the state is in the early voting phase for municipal elections and for amendments to the Texas Constitution. Many women have already had trouble at the poll because the name on their Texas driver's license is not a perfect match with that of their Texas voter card. This is a common practice among women.  Some of our driver's licenses might be in our maiden names while our voter cards reflect our married names. Some of us have hyphenated names on one document, but not on another. Some of us are divorced and may have different last names on various documents.    
This newly implemented practice is so ridiculous that a Texas judge who has voted for the last 48 years had trouble at the poll. The judge had to cast a provisional ballot b/c her names did not match.

The Voter ID law is so outrageous that women like me are arming ourselves with documents before going to the polls. A friend of mine's post on facebook last night warned us to be prepared and well documented. Because her name did not match on her driver's license and voter card, she brought along her passport and marriage certificate. After careful scrutiny, an election judge "allowed" her the right to vote.

At Madville Times, caheidelberger writes—Newquist: Land Sacred as Scripture to Lakota; Give Back the Black Hills:
Madville Times of South Dakota
Pastor Steve Hickey is making waves with his proposal to celebrate South Dakota's quasquicentennial by freeing Leonard Peltier. Professor David Newquist says doing justice requires going bigger, ending our defilement of the Black Hills, and giving that sacred land back to the Lakota. [...]

Pastor Hickey recognizes that reconciliation is larger than Peltier or any one man, that our occupation of Lakota land is central to our conflict. When Rev. Hickey swaps his collar for his Legislative badge this January, perhaps he will bring discussion of that conflict to the statehouse floor, not just with a resolution on Leonard Peltier, but perhaps with serious legislation offering the Lakota state land in the Black Hills, or perhaps offering the Oglala $9 million [...] to compensate them for buying back their own stolen land last year in the notable Pe 'Sla deal.

At Uppity Wisconsin, Jud Lounsbury writes—Mary Burke Addresses Trek Outsourcing 99.5% of Their Bikes: "Trek Does What it Can to Manufacture Bikes Here":
Uppity Wisconsin state blog
Trek public relations manager Eric Bjorling says that out of the appoximately 1.5 million bicycles the company produces annually, about 10,000 are made in the United States. However, according to statistics from the National Association of Bicycle Dealers (NABD), because 99% of the bicycles sold in the United States are made in either China (93%) or Taiwan (6%), Trek does have the dubious distinction of being the leading manufacturer of "Made in USA" bicycles. [...]

And, while most don't brag about being the cream of the sour milk, Democratic candidate Mary Burke does just that:

"It is the largest manufacturer of bicycles in the United States, it employs more people than any other bicycle company in the United States, so there's nearly 1,000 employees right here in Wisconsin and over the last 20 years the payroll has nearly doubled. So I think Trek works very hard to keep employment in Wisconsin."

At ProgressNowNM, a team member writes—NM legislator to PE Teachers: Yoga in schools opens door for students to join non-Christian cults:
A conservative New Mexico state legislator hijacked a legislative hearing on student health last week to question a physical-education teacher about the dangers of teaching yoga in schools because, he says, the “stretching and mat work” programs are a gateway to indoctrination in non-Christian religions.

During the hearing on student health and PE curriculum, Republican Party House Caucus Chair State Representative Alonzo Baldondo (R-Valencia County), who home-schools his three daughters, encouraged PE teachers and schools to find alternatives to yoga in schools. He later told a reporter that he removes his daughters from a private swimming program when the coach uses yoga as a means of improving strength and flexibility. [...]

 PROGRESNOWNM was unable to locate any confirmed cases of Yoga use leading to satanic or other cult conversion.

At Miscellany Blue of New Hampshire, William Tucker writes—Kelly Ayotte in middle of next battle in GOP civil war:
The next battle in the civil war between the state’s Republican establishment and conservative activists is taking place in the U.S. Senate over what has been called the most important civil rights bill of the decade.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, is headed for a Senate vote, perhaps as early as next week.

With support from 52 Democrats and four Republicans, proponents are within four votes of assembling a filibuster-proof majority. Roll Call’s David Hawkings writes Sen. Kelly Ayotte is one of six undecided Republican senators being targeted in a major push by advocates

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