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President Obama on Tuesday signed two executive measures intended to help close longstanding pay disparities between men and women as Democrats seek to capitalize on their gender-gap advantage at the ballot box in a midterm election year.
At Miami Carol City Senior High in Florida, a handful of teachers, administrators and coaches are gathered around a heavy wooden table in a conference room dubbed the "War Room," looking through packets of information about several students.
Missouri's lifetime ban on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, for people convicted of a drug-related felony is an artifact of the welfare reform effort of 1996. However, the Missouri Legislature is now making progress to remove the lifetime ban. This past week the Missouri Senate has approved a bill, and the idea has garnered bipartisan support in the House.
The Kansas Legislature on Sunday narrowly backed a plan that would boost funding to poor school districts while eliminating tenure for teachers. With red-shirted teachers who have been protesting the tenure provision looking on, 63 House members - the minimum needed - voted in favor of the bill, while 57 voted against it. Hours earlier, the Senate approved it with a 22-16 vote. It needed 21 votes to pass.
The harsh winter has taken a toll on school schedules across broad swaths of the country, particularly in the eastern half, leading officials to cancel spring breaks, extend the academic year—even hold Saturday classes. States and districts differ on how much instruction time is required, though the standard school year is roughly 180 days.
Georgians are now being offered paperless voter registration options that could save the state time and money. More than a dozen states now offer online registration and a handful have passed legislation allowing Web-based programs but have yet to launch them.
The Obama administration proposed a long-awaited rule on Tuesday to clarify that the Clean Water Act protects wetlands near rivers and waterways fed by seasonal thaws and rains — a decision that could particularly shield water sources in the West.
Mississippi legislators on Tuesday took up and quickly passed a controversial religious freedom bill that could allow state residents to sue over laws they say place a substantial burden on their religious practices.
Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour is one of the top agenda items for Obama and his fellow Democrats during this mid-term election year. The White House says the move would put more money in the pockets of some 28 million workers. One test of that strategy will be in Arkansas, where proponents are trying to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot in November.
Thursday, April 3, 2014

Next steps for states and ACA

Like other states that opted to run their own exchange, Colorado spent several years and hundreds of millions in federal dollars to create an insurance marketplace specifically tailored for Coloradans. As of April 1, Colorado signed up 119,000 people for commercial insurance and state officials are already working on improvements for next year's enrollment period.