Local Majority provides research that is practical and accessible for state district campaigns. Acting as their personal research department, we distill national research studies and put together packets with specific and targeted information for candidates’ campaigns to support their efforts. Read here for some of our in-depth research reports supporting progressive campaigns.


2019

 
 


2017

 
 

 

2020



Arizona




AZ-NAVAJO

COVID and the Crises Facing the Navajo Nation

Historic Injustices and the Lack of Infrastructure Exacerbate the Pandemic.

In the 1918 influenza pandemic, the death rate for Native communities in the U.S. was four times higher than for the nation as a whole. Fast-forward 100 years to May 18, 2020, when the Navajo Nation surpassed New York State with the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 infection in the country.

As the U.S. and the world’s attention is turned towards the Navajo Nation, the pandemic is highlighting disparities and inequities that have existed in the Nation for decades. These include overcrowding, lack of running water and electricity, reduced access to healthcare, and deep infrastructure failings.

COVID and the Crises Facing the Navajo Nation        -       Oct. 2, 2020




telehealth
Image by Parentingupstream from Pixabay

AZ-HEALTH

Arizona Republicans Restrict Access to Healthcare

Unaffordable Healthcare in Arizona

Arizona ranks 43rd in the nation on healthcare affordability and accessibility. Without an employer-sponsored plan or a government program, the vast majority of Arizonans cannot afford healthcare insurance. In 2018 more than half of all the people in Arizona were either uninsured or obtained insurance through a government-administered, government-funded program (Medicare, Medicaid, subsidized policies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the military). While Democrats actively try to solve this problem, Republicans pursue policies that restrict access to healthcare at a time when it is most needed—during a global pandemic that threatens us all. The Republicans even dismantled KidsCare, the insurance covering impoverished children, from 2014 to 2016!

Talking Points: Unaffordable Healthcare     -     Sept 28, 2020

Unaffordable Healthcare in Arizona        -       Sept 28, 2020




telehealth
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

AZ-POLITICS and ENVIRONMENT

Arizona’s Stymied Solar Energy is No Accident

Arizona Corporation Commission Corrupt Power Plays

Arizona is the sunniest state in the country with enormous solar energy potential, ranking second behind only Nevada in energy potential. Yet in 2018, the state generated only seven percent of its net energy from solar power. Arizona would be much further along were it not for opposition from the Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the largest power provider in the state. In an effort to thwart both user-generated solar power and net metering, APS corporate spent millions of dollars on the campaigns of anti-solar Republicans to help them get elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), the body that regulates the state’s utilities.

Talking Points: The ACC and Corruption     -     Sept 25, 2020

Arizona Corporation Commission Power Plays        -       Sept 25, 2020




telehealth
Image by Elena Borisova from Pixabay

AZ-HEALTH

The Telemedicine Cliff is Fast Approaching

It took the COVID-19 pandemic to cause widespread adoption of telemedicine. The waiver of key federal and state regulations and the mandate for insurance reimbursements paved the way for widespread use. Many of these waivers, however, will expire at the declared end of the public health emergency. The temporary coverage and protections must be here to stay.

Talking Points: The Telemedicine Cliff     -     Sept 24, 2020

The Telemedicine Cliff in Arizona         -       Sept 24, 2020




fast food
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

AZ-HEALTH

The Opioid Epidemic in Arizona

Since 1999, the national opioid crisis has resulted in 700,000 deaths in the United States. At least two million Americans are addicted to opioids, and more than ten million misuse them.

In Arizona, where more people die from drug overdoses than car crashes, opioid use, abuse, and deaths have all increased at an alarming rate over the last fifteen years. Despite significant legislative and public health efforts, the number of opioid deaths rose from 790 in 2016 to 1,375 in 2018. At 92.5%, Arizona had the largest relative increase in synthetic opioid-involved deaths in the country between 2017 and 2018.

A number of factors have contributed to the epidemic of opioid abuse, including over-prescription, aggressive marketing and lobbying efforts by pharmaceutical companies, black market availability, and the stress and despair associated with chronic pain and poverty.

Talking Points: The Opioid Epidemic     -     Sept 10, 2020

The Opioid Epidemic in Arizona         -       Sept 10, 2020



 

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Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

AZ-HEALTH

Fact-checking: GOP Prescription Drug Pricing Claims

On Monday, August 24, 2020, during his speech at the Republican Convention, Donald Trump claimed that he had reduced prescription drug prices by 60 to 70%. Even though there is no evidence to support that claim, his remarks are being repeated across the country. Read our short report refuting yet another false narrative coming from the GOP.

Fact Checking GOP Drug Pricing Claims




fast food

Image by Renate Köppel from Pixabay


AZ-HEALTH

Protecting Paid Sick Leave in Arizona

If an infected person knowingly goes to work because their job is the only way to feed their family or keep from being fired, who can blame them?

Fortunately for Arizonans, Proposition 206 has ensured paid sick leave since it went into effect in 2017. Nonetheless, Arizona Republicans have shown that they are willing to do whatever it takes to try and overturn paid leave, minimum wage, and other workers’ rights, including subverting the will of the people. They are now hard at work undermining the citizen initiative process itself.

It remains the responsibility of Democratic state legislators to ensure paid sick leave remains a right in Arizona, as the people intended.

Talking Points:  Arizona Paid Sick Leave    -   Aug. 30, 2020




fast food

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


AZ-HEALTH

Preemption by AZ Republicans is Hazardous to Your Health

Public health policy often advances through local efforts to improve community health, which can affect businesses if products are taxed or business practices are restricted. In response, corporate interests use financial clout and lobbying machinery to push preemption legislation that prevents local governments from regulating them. Read our full report to learn how preemption laws championed by Arizona Republicans prevents local governments from passing regulations to ensure fire-safe buildings, health insurance availability, firearm safety, and nutrition quality.

Talking Points:  Arizona Public Health     -   August 19, 2020




AZ-ENVIRONMENT

Arizona Republicans Fail to protect Arizona's water resources

It should go without saying, but water is a precious resource. Its quality, purity, and availability need to be protected to sustain life. As the basis of all living systems, comprehensive, enduring action must be taken to ensure that ecological life-support requirements are balanced with urban, agricultural, and industrial needs. Such has not been the case in Arizona—a situation that has long been recognized but ineffectively addressed to ensure a viable state going forward. Arizona Republicans have made repeated egregious attempts to end-run around regulations that protect Arizona's limited water resources.

Talking Points:  Arizona Water     -   August 17, 2020




fast food

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


AZ-HEALTHCARE

Arizona Republicans Fail to ACT and allow COVID CATASTROPHE

If Arizona were a country, it would have been the world’s hottest COVID-19 hotspot in early July, with more confirmed cases per million residents than even the hardest hit third-world nations.

  • Republican Gov. Doug Ducey waited too long to respond to the pandemic.
  • When his response finally came, it was too little, too late.
  • Gov. Ducey reopened too soon before CDC-recommended indicators.

Talking Points    -   July 29, 2020 




fast food

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay


AZ-HEALTHCARE

Republicans allow Runaway Drug Prices in Arizona

Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. Drug prices rose at three times the rate of inflation between 2007 and 2018. Arizona has made some progress in chipping away at these issues. Several prescription drug pricing bills were proposed in the 2020 session, but none passed prior to the early sine die adjournment due to COVID-19. These tabled bills included an important Democratic effort to cap drug prices which never made it off the Republican-controlled Senate floor.

Talking Points    -   July 23, 2020 




fast food

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


AZ-ECONOMY

Roadblocks to Rural Broadband increase Digital Divide

In today’s global economy, access to broadband is essential. Unfortunately, insufficient funding, failure to adopt community-based service providers, and the lack of a comprehensive rural broadband plan implementation have left many of Arizona’s poorest citizens without remote access to education, health care, jobs, goods, and services.

Should Arizona’s legislators fail to act, they will ensure the continuation of a persistent gap between early-adopters and their lower-income and rural peers, as ever-newer, ever-faster technology becomes available. See our Talking Points for a summary and our full report for all the details.

Talking Points    -   July 13, 2020 




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Image by 1778011 from Pixabay


AZ-EDUCATION

Republicans gut Higher Education Funding

Arizona holds the unenviable position of being at the top of the lists for both increases in college tuition and decreases in state spending assistance for students. The result has been a relentless decline in affordability for lower-income students and an astronomical increase in debt taken on by those students who do enroll.

Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature has chosen to cut personal and corporate taxes every year since the mid-1990s instead of investing in its public colleges and universities. As a result, Arizona is failing to adequately educate its citizenry, and ranks 40th in the nation for people age 25-34 holding bachelor’s degrees or higher.

Between 2008 and 2018 Arizona Republicans cut per-student spending for higher education by 54.9%—the largest cut in the nation, making Arizona one of just seven states that remain more than 30% below their pre-2008 recession education appropriations per full-time equivalent student. Read our paper for more details.

Talking Points    -   July 10, 2020




fast food

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


AZ-HEALTH
Disparities in COVID-19 Testing for Minorities

COVID-19 cases in Arizona are surging aggressively.  As of early July, cases have reached their highest levels ever for the state, with no indication that the curve is leveling off. Data shows that cases are growing disproportionately among minority populations. The heavily minority, poor, and underserved communities in Maricopa County have the greatest challenges for access to testing. Long-standing socioeconomic and health inequities have resulted in four to five times higher rates of COVID-19 infection among minorities. Heavily urban Maricopa County has the most testing sites of all counties; however, sites are not evenly distributed, and there are fewer in minority communities. Local leaders are scrambling on their own to ensure enough testing sites exist to serve their residents and keep them safe and healthy.

Talking Points     -          July 27, 2020




fast food

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay


AZ-EDUCATION

Strengthening Oversight of Arizona’s Charter Schools

Ever since charter schools took the Arizona public education landscape by storm in 1994, they have generated a range of reactions, from pride in the best of them to rage over fraud and profiteering. Competition has produced big winners—like the BASIS schools that rank among the top public high schools in the country—to utter failure among online charter schools.

Neither the Arizona State Charter School Board nor the Arizona Board of Education has taken action to address poor academic performance or financial irregularities, including false reporting, self-dealing, and profiteering.

The Republican majority in the state legislature has consistently stymied Democratic efforts to introduce legislation to strengthen oversight of Arizona’s charter schools. But a serious overhaul of charter school governance would go a long way toward enriching choice, optimizing the use of taxpayer dollars, and enhancing student outcomes in Arizona’s public education sector.

Talking Points    -   July 23, 2020




fast food

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay


AZ-HEALTHCARE

Republicans Jeopardize Health of Rural Citizens

The inequities in the health of rural versus urban citizens in Arizona are profound. With the exception of two outsized counties, rural populations are the norm across Arizona. These rural residents have lower average income, higher unemployment, higher poverty, and greater need for Medicaid. They have the lowest health quality and the highest health risks. There are more aging adults, more chronic disease, and more children lacking health insurance. Greater geographic isolation means people must also travel long distances. There are numerous steps—both short-term and long-term—that legislators can take to help mitigate this crisis rather than stand by as it has spiraled downward under successive Republican administrations, jeopardizing the future of the state.

Talking Points: AZ Rural Health Care        June 20, 2020




old Arizona textbooks

Image from Facebook

AZ-EDUCATION

The Deplorable State of  Education Funding in Arizona

Arizona voters have long considered education funding to be the number one issue facing the state. But the reality is that no other state has cut school funding more than Arizona. Between 2008 and 2015, legislators cut per-student funding by 36.6%. Since the mid-1990s, the loss of revenue for education spending has been the direct result of Arizona’s Republican lawmakers choosing to cut personal and corporate income taxes instead of investing in schools. The failure to adequately fund education in the years since the 2008 recession means that per-pupil funding is the second lowest and teacher salaries the third lowest in the country.

Talking Points: AZ-K12 Education Funding - May 31, 2020




AZ-ELECTIONs

Attack on Democracy: Republicans Suppress Voting and Silence Citizens

Republicans don’t want you to vote—especially if you are young, a person of color, or poor.  They have made it harder to vote in every way they possibly can. The Republican attack on voting rights is not just anti-Democrat; it is anti-democracy. Gutting the citizen initiative process, impeding voter registration, raising barriers to voting by mail, severely reducing the number of polling places, limiting acceptable forms of voter IDs, disenfranchising former offenders, purging voter registration rolls—these are just some of the ways that Republican policies are undermining the fundamental democratic institution of a citizen’s right to vote. Arizona Republicans have been particularly egregious in suppressing voting rights.

Talking Points:  AZ-Voter Suppression    June 15, 2020




fast food

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


AZ-ECONOMY

C.A.R.E.S. Act

Summary of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.




fast food

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay 


AZ-HEALTHCARE

ALERT:  FCC Funding Going Fast!  The COVID-19 Telehealth Program

As part of the CARES Act, Congress appropriated funds to the FCC for a $200M Telehealth program. Through the “COVID-19 Telehealth Program”, the FCC will provide immediate support to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers to enable connected care services to patients at home or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will “fully fund” telecommunications services, information services and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services “until the funding is exhausted or until the current pandemic has ended.”



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Image from Gage Skidmore - Flickr

AZ-LEGISLATURE

ARIZONA LEGISLATIVE REPORT

In addition to the lightning-rod legislation that makes headlines each year, the Arizona state legislature passes—and kills—hundreds of bills per session that go unnoticed by the public. Historically, the Arizona legislature has been dominated by Republicans who are heavily financed by party-affiliated PACs and corporations.

This in-depth analysis of recent legislation below includes legislation that has become the GOP mainstay in recent years. The GOP has become the “anti” party (anti-environment, anti-workers’ rights, anti-public education, anti-affordable health care, anti-reproductive rights, anti-immigration, and more).

With both legislative chambers in Arizona held by Republicans, progressive bills sponsored by Democrats are killed in committee repeatedly. Conversely, Republican-sponsored bills routinely make their way to the governor's desk.

Read our report for more details.

Arizona Legislative Report    -   March 8, 2020



2020



Michigan




fast food
By Steve & Christine from USA - Uploaded by xnatedawgx, CC BY 2.0, Link

MI-LEGISLATION

Michigan’s Ballot Struggles

Republicans Block Bills to Make Voting Easier and to Increase Turnout.

 

Convenience, an aversion to waiting in long lines, and COVID-19 have combined to generate an expected surge in Michigan voters, as well as voters in all other states, who wish to vote by mail rather than in person on election day. Several bills pending in the Michigan Legislature would assist local clerks in meeting the expected increase in mailed ballots. Republicans in charge of the House and Senate have not taken any further action on these rather modest measures. The election is fast approaching. Time is running out.  The bills face difficulty given Republican opposition to measures to make voting easier and increase turnout.

Michigan's Ballot Struggles            Oct. 2, 2020




fast food
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

MI-HEALTH

Fact-checking: GOP Prescription Drug Pricing Claims

On Monday, August 24, 2020, during his speech at the Republican Convention, Donald Trump claimed that he had reduced prescription drug prices by 60 to 70%. Even though there is no evidence to support that claim, his remarks are being repeated across the country. Read our short report refuting yet another false narrative coming from the GOP.

Fact Checking GOP Drug Pricing Claims




fast food

Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay


MI-ECONOMY

Republicans block Minimum wage increases

Under normal economic circumstances, measures like paid sick leave and minimum wage standards help protect vulnerable low-income workers. Unfortunately for Michigan, the Republican-led state Legislature has repeatedly taken decisions about worker protections out of the hands of the voters and local governments. At the same time, Democrats in Michigan introduced legislation to strengthen worker benefits.

Talking Points: MI Minimum Wage     - August 19, 2020




fast food

Image by Cheri Roster from Pinterest.


MI-Infrastructure

"Fix the Damn Roads"

When Gov. Whitmer ran for Governor in 2018, she campaigned using the slogan “Fix the Damn Roads”—a mantra that resonated with millions of Michiganders across the state. Her campaign slogan was particularly apt, as Michigan’s roads, bridges, railroads, and public transit system have been chronically underfunded and in need of immediate repair for years. As a direct result of Michigan’s pothole- and sinkhole-ridden roads, Michiganders pay an average of $648 a year to fix their cars. Although Democrats in the Legislature have attempted to appropriate and raise funds for improvements to transportation infrastructure, state Republicans have impeded much of the progress that Democrats could have made.

Talking Points: Infrastructure     -    August 17, 2020




fast food

Image by Victoria Pickering from Flickr.


MI-Reproductive Rights

An Ominous Future: Reproductive Rights in Michigan

Although abortion is still legal in the United States, Michigan Republicans have been passing state-level legislation that has incrementally chipped away at women’s reproductive rights. By passing legislation restricting access to abortion, the Legislature has effectively limited not only a woman’s right to choose, but also her access to contraception and healthcare in general. Strategies to limit access include insurance coverage restrictions; costly, unnecessary licensing and administrative regulations on facilities; a mandatory waiting period and mandatory biased counseling; a ban on telemedicine for abortion services; parental consent requirements; and funding limitations.

These attacks hurt poor women, women of color, and rural women the most, and they ultimately cost the government money. With the fate of Roe v. Wade now in the hands of a conservative U.S. Supreme Court, it is now more important than ever that Democrats take back the Legislature to protect reproductive rights in Michigan.

Talking Points: Reproductive Rights    -  August 16, 2020

MI Reproductive Rights     -      July 4, 2020




fast food

Image by Rush4 from Pixabay


MI-EDUCATION

K-12 Education Funding

For two decades, Michigan’s school funding system has suffered from inadequate state and local investment. Adjusted for inflation, between 1995 and 2015, Michigan had the sharpest decline in education revenue of all 50 states.

Not only are Michigan schools chronically underfunded, but funding disparities between high-poverty districts and their wealthier counterparts add an additional barrier to equitable school funding.

It is also no surprise that with Michigan’s inequitable system of funding, significant achievement gaps exist.

Talking Points  - Education Funding    -   August 19, 2020




fast food

Image from Pixabay


MI-HEALTHCARE

Protecting the Affordable Care Act

The primary goal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA” or “Obamacare”) of 2010 was to provide a means for uninsured Americans to obtain affordable health insurance. Michigan agreed to expand Medicaid coverage and create a state-based insurance exchange for individual health insurance plans. The adoption of these initiatives led to a significant reduction in the number of Michigan residents without health insurance in the first two years following implementation of the ACA. But the story of the next three years was one of relentless efforts by Republicans in Michigan and at the federal level to eliminate the gains made under the ACA and  the persistent efforts by the Democrats to safeguard the ACA.

Talking Points: ACA     -   Aug. 16, 2020




fast food

Image by Renate Köppel from Pixabay


MI-HEALTHCARE

Paid Sick Leave—A Public Health Priority

Unfortunately for Michigan, the Republican-led Legislature has repeatedly taken decisions about worker protections out of the hands of the voters and local governments. In the past few years, the GOP majority has passed legislation that prevented local governments from improving on state standards for employee protections like paid sick leave and minimum wage.

At the same time, Democrats in Michigan introduced legislation to increase unemployment benefits, create a commission on pay equity, and require employers to provide “wage information for similarly situated employees.” These pro-worker measures have each been stalled by Republican leadership.

Talking Points: Paid Leave      -     Aug 17, 2020




fast food

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


MI-ECONOMY

C.A.R.E.S. Act

Summary of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.




fast food

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay 


MI-HEALTHCARE

ALERT:  FCC Funding Going Fast!  The COVID-19 Telehealth Program

As part of the CARES Act, Congress appropriated funds to the FCC for a $200M Telehealth program. Through the “COVID-19 Telehealth Program”, the FCC will provide immediate support to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers to enable connected care services to patients at home or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will “fully fund” telecommunications services, information services and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services “until the funding is exhausted or until the current pandemic has ended.”




fast food

Image by Katja Just from Pixabay


MI-Environment

Republicans Jeopardize Michigan's Water

Michigan Democrats have been working on bills to clean drinking water, hold corporate polluters responsible, end the Line 5 Pipeline threat to the Great Lakes, and fix infrastructure. However, the will of the people has been obstructed by anti-environmental House and Senate Republican majorities, funded by industries responsible for much of the corporate pollution.  As a result, the fundamental human right to clean, safe drinking water is being held hostage by simple Republican majorities in the Michigan Legislature. Read the details in our new paper on safeguarding Michigan's water.

Talking points: Michigan's Water    -   Aug. 16, 2020



fast food

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


MI-HEALTHCARE

Michigan Democrats will strengthen Telemedicine

The COVID-19 pandemic is straining Michigan’s healthcare system. Suddenly, telemedicine is viewed as a mainstream option in the effort to alleviate overwhelmed hospitals and clinics. MI is confronted with this challenge right now—the delivery of fast, effective virtual medical care across the entire state, without disaffecting patients, healthcare providers, or insurers.

The MI Legislature has historically restricted telemedicine practice with a strictly defined set of health services. Telemedicine’s role in healthcare delivery has dramatically expanded during the emergence of COVID-19, as has the need to treat highly contagious persons separately from those with non-coronavirus illnesses—many of whom may have critical conditions themselves.

Talking Points: Telemedicine   - Aug 16, 2020

Michigan Telemedicine    -      May 28, 2020



fast food

Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay


MI-LEGISLATURE

GOP Guts Citizen-led Initiatives

An overview of the controversial practice by the Michigan Republican Party of “adopt and amend” to subvert recent citizen-led initiatives of the state—suppressing the majority’s will through exceedingly undemocratic political maneuvering. The GOP recently gutted the minimum wage increase as well as new paid leave protections, both initiatives approved by Michigan voters.




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Image Steve & Christine from USA - Flickr


MI-LEGISLATURE

MICHIGAN LEGISLATIVE REPORT

The Michigan legislature has been dominated by Republicans who are heavily financed by party-affiliated PACs and corporations.

This in-depth analysis of recent legislation below includes legislation that has become the GOP mainstay in recent years. The GOP has become the “anti” party (anti-environment, anti-workers’ rights, anti-public education, anti-affordable health care, anti-reproductive rights, anti-immigration, and more).

With both legislative chambers in Michigan held by Republicans, Republicans have been routinely slamming through regressive legislation by corrupting the citizen initiative process.

Read our new report for more details.

2020 Michigan Legislative Report    -   March 11, 2020

2018 Michigan Legislative Report    -   Aug 21, 2018


2018


MICHIGAN


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Morry Gash/AP
MI-HEALTH CARE

WOMEN'S ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE-MICHIGAN

Although abortion is still legal in the United States, Michigan Republicans have been passing state-level legislation that has chipped away incrementally at women’sreproductive rights. By passing legislation restricting access to abortion, the legislature has effectively limited not only a woman’s right to choose, but also her access to contraception and healthcare in generalread more …



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Morry Gash/AP

MI-EDUCATION

REPUBLICANS FAILING TEACHERS

Michigan would like to be a top 10 education state, but by nearly all measures, the state’s schools are closer to the bottom than the top of our nation’s school rankings. The Rand Corporation’s research says that teachers are the single most important factor in improving student achievement, and yet Republicans in Michigan are undermining teachers.  read more …

Michigan appalling education funding - 4-sentence overview


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Morry Gash/AP
MI-ENVIRONMENT

PFAS CONTAMINATION

While the infamous Flint water crisis is still under remediation, a new water contamination crisis is hitting communities throughout Michigan. And it’s not as if state authorities didn’t have plenty of warning. read more …


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Morry Gash/AP
MI-Economy

Equitable Pay and the Wage Gap

Welcome to a woman’s reality in the workforce, where the same or even better levels of effort are rewarded with consistently lower pay. Women in Michigan combined lose nearly $23 billion every year due to the pay gap and that is just one of many statistics detailing the harsh impact of lost wages based on the gender pay gap.  read more …


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Morry Gash/AP
MI-Economy

Michigan Unemployment

4-Sentence Overview

The unemployment rate in Michigan is 4.1% (August 2018), the lowest it has been since November 2000 when it was 4%(1), but that doesn’t tell the whole story about trends in our state. Over 200,000 Michiganders are still out of work. (1) 45,000 have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks (2) and 172,000 are working part-time but want to be working full-time(2). Republicans are taking credit for gains set in motion during the Obama era while doing little to help the long-term unemployed and underemployed.

Sources:

https://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet

http://milmi.org/Portals/198/LMN_0918.pdf?ver=2018-09-24-132639-677



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Morry Gash/AP

MI-Education

Michigan’s Broken School System

School choice advocates, led by Betsy DeVos, unleashed one of the most aggressive and unregulated charter school experiments ever on Michigan. According to their theory, competition among charter and public schools would spur innovation in instructional practices, which would improve statewide educational outcomes. Instead, school rankings, on average, remain in the bottom third of the nation. While the rest of the states have enjoyed gains in educational outcomes, the improvements in Michigan have not kept pace. more …


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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
MI-POLITICS

The DeVos Effect: Meddling with Michigan

School choice advocates, led by Betsy DeVos, unleashed one of the most aggressive and unregulated charter school experiments ever on Michigan. According to their theory, competition among charter and public schools would spur innovation in instructional practices, which would improve statewide educational outcomes. Instead, school rankings, on average, remain in the bottom third of the nation. While the rest of the states have enjoyed gains in educational outcomes, the improvements in Michigan have not kept pace. more …

For the past four decades, Betsy and Dick DeVos have been using their significant wealth and connections to influence politics in Michigan, and rarely for the better. Their national identity peaked in 2017 when Betsy was named President Trump’s Secretary of Education, but this is hardly the family’s first interaction with the relationship between questionable ethics, wealth, and politics.  more ...


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Morry Gash/AP
MI-POLITICS

ALEC Legislation—State GOP Gets Marching Orders

Corporations and wealthy individuals directly influence laws by operating and funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC sponsors task forces and conferences where legislators and business leaders write bills. Then ALEC matches bills with legislators willing to sponsor them. Goals include increasing profits, privatizing public resources and services, and passing preemption laws that prevent cities from addressing problems locally.    more …


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MI-LEGISLATION

REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE RECORD

Voting in lockstep on issues, the Republican bloc in the Michigan State House of Representatives has imposed an agenda on Michigan that does not represent the views of the general population. An in-depth analysis of recent legislation reveals a lack of connection between GOP politicians and issues of deep concern to their constituents in virtually every district in the state. The GOP has become the “Anti” party (anti-environmental regulations, anti-public education, anti-affordable health care, anti-social assistance programs, anti-reproductive rights, anti-immigration, anti-gay rights, anti-gun safety and more).

more ...


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MI-TRANSPORTATION

Michigan Deteriorating Roads

4 Sentence Overview

The GOP’s 2019 budget allocates $1 billion for road improvements.(1), less than half of what is needed to fix and maintain state roads. 25% of Michigan’s most travelled roads are in poor condition, another 52% are in fair condition but need routine upkeep and maintenance(2). An independent study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy found that $3 billion in annual contributions is needed to bring all of Michigan’s roads to fair or better condition(2).

Sources:

https://www.mackinac.org/S2018-10

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/budget/FY19_Exec_Budget_613184_7.pdf


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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
MI-POLITICS

Michigan Honest and Open government

4-sentence Overview

Michigan is the only state in the US where citizens do not have the power to compel their governor, lieutenant governor, legislators, or justices to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. While the Michigan House passed the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) to extend FOIA to legislators, the bill was stalled in committee, where Republican Majority Leader Meekhof vowed to bury it.

In contrast, House Democrats are pushing for transparency, sponsoring four bills in July 2018 that require candidates and individuals serving in judicial, legislative, executive, or educational statewide elected offices to file annual financial disclosure reports.

Sources:

https://miopengov.org/2018/03/20/sunshine-week-michigan-stronger-foia-laws-lora/

https://www.publicintegrity.org/2018/07/09/21942/michigan-state-integrity


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MI-HEALTHCARE

Michigan Opioid Epidemic

4-Sentence Overview

Between February 2017 and February 2018, 2,570 people died from opioid related overdoses in Michigan. While the 10-bill bipartisan package passed in December 2017 enacted new limits on prescribers of opioids and provided for prevention education in schools, it falls short in addressing the growing crisis according to the Michigan State Medical Society. Michigan currently has the sixth lowest number of healthcare providers who can prescribe medication to treat opiate addiction (such as buprenorphine) – a problem that is not being addressed by the legislature. There is much more to be done before anyone can claim any kind of victory over this out-of-control epidemic.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm

https://www.msms.org/About-MSMS/News-Media/michigans-opioid-epidemic-and-recent-prescribing-legislation-8

https://www.bridgemi.com/quality-life/michigan-falls-short-frontline-treatment-opioid-crisis


2020



Pennsylvania




fast food
Image by gokul raghu m from Pixabay

PA-ENVIRONMENT AND JOBS

Plugging Old Oil and Gas Wells Puts People to Work

Take a walk in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest and you might find pieces of old oil and gas pipelines poking out of the ground or smell something unnatural mixed in with the fresh forest air. These old relics from past oil and gas operations pose serious risks when they allow methane and other gasses to leak into the air, harming the environment and exacerbating climate change; when stray liquids pollute streams or water wells; or in the extreme, when odorless, flammable gases ignite and explode.

In addition to over 122,000 productive wells, there are an estimated 200,000 abandoned or orphaned oil and gas wells—meaning they are inactive, have not been properly decommissioned or plugged with cement, and may have no known owner. According to Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and the energy economics think tank, Resources for the Future, funding for a “green stimulus” could create over one hundred thousand jobs across the country, and by extension, many thousands in Pennsylvania, to address this orphan well problem and put furloughed or unemployed oil and gas workers back to work plugging the same kinds of wells they spent years drilling. Vote For Democrats to put Pennsylvanians back to work.

Talking Points - Plugging Old Wells     -   Sept. 14, 2020

Plugging Old Oil and Gas Wells and Jobs.       -      Sept. 12, 2020




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PA-HEALTH

Fact-checking: GOP Prescription Drug Pricing Claims

On Monday, August 24, 2020, during his speech at the Republican Convention, Donald Trump claimed that he had reduced prescription drug prices by 60 to 70%. Even though there is no evidence to support that claim, his remarks are being repeated across the country. Read our short report refuting yet another false narrative coming from the GOP.

Fact Checking GOP Drug Pricing Claims          -           Sept 10, 2020




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Image by Katja Just from Pixabay

PA-ECONOMY

PA Republicans Block 'Restore PA' Infrastructure Bill and Jobs

Infrastructure is the foundation of any society. It is critical for public health and for general prosperity. In the most recent 2018 assessment of Pennsylvania’s infrastructure, done by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Pennsylvania earned three B grades for categories of infrastructure in good condition, but earned numerous C’s and D’s. Pennsylvanians strongly support upgrading or replacing older, ineffective infrastructure around the state. In 2019, Governor Wolf proposed a program, Restore PA, which would replace and revitalize much of the state’s infrastructure. Republican lawmakers blocked the bill over the severance taxes that the oil and gas industry would have to pay so that Pennsylvania's infrastructure could be restored.

Talking Points:  PA Infrastructure  -  Sep 9, 2020




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Image by JuergenPM from Pixabay

PA-ENVIRONMENT

Climate Change: A Winning Topic for Democrats

A survey conducted by the Global Strategy Group among 801 registered voters in Pennsylvania between August 13-19, 2020 shows voters strongly favor Democrats who speak up on climate issues.

Pennsylvania voters are strongly pro-climate. An overwhelming majority of voters in the state think climate change is a serious problem. They do not look kindly upon elected officials who deny that climate change is a threat or who oppose climate action…”

Read our urgent new report on the Climate survey. See the results for Delaware county in the link below. Contact us at [email protected] for help in running your district's results.

PA Voters on Climate Change     -    Sept 2, 2020

Delaware County Public Opinion on Climate Change     -    Sept 1, 2020 




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PA-ECONOMY

PA Republicans Block Minimum Wage Increases

The minimum wage for Pennsylvania is $7.25 per hour, which is the same as the federal level. This puts many full-time minimum wage workers below the federal poverty line. Since January 2015, each state neighboring Pennsylvania has had a higher minimum wage than Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Democrats have been fighting to increase the minimum wage for Pennsylvania workers for years. Despite the many arguments for increasing the minimum wage, legislation sponsored by Democrats to do so languishes in Republican-controlled committees.

Talking Points:  PA Minimum Wage   -  Aug 28, 2020

Minimum Wage in Pennsylvania     -    Aug 28, 2020



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PA-ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMY

Republicans block regulations against Methane leaks

Standing in the Way of High Quality Jobs

Pennsylvania has a golden opportunity to affordably improve air quality and reduce climate change by reducing methane leaks—all while creating many good jobs. Oil and gas industries leak vast amounts of methane at every point in production. Over a million tons of methane per year is leaking in Pennsylvania alone; methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. The economy will benefit as a result of the jobs created to address the problem of methane leakage. Pennsylvania’s regulatory environment needs fundamental changes to affect the significant reduction in methane emissions that citizens need. Republican members of the State Senate and House have referred all environmental-related legislation to committees where the bills sit, unvoted on.

Talking Points:  PA Methane Leaks    -  Aug 28, 2020

Methane Leaks and Good Jobs   -    Aug 28, 2020



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Image from pixabay 


PA-EDUCATION

Student Loan Debt in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania college students and their families are being crippled with debt. Ranked 48th of 51 states with the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania has one of the highest student debt burdens that will continue to compound unless legislators take preemptive steps to avoid potential insolvency across the state. Pennsylvania is absolutely lagging behind in efforts to address the student debt problem, although it has not been for lack of trying on the part of Democratic legislators. Despite repeated attempts to mitigate the student loan crisis, bills proposed by Pennsylvania legislators have failed numerous times, lacking the support required of a Republican-controlled statehouse.

Talking Points:  PA Student Debt    -  Aug 20, 2020

Student Loan Debt in Pennsylvania     -    Aug 20, 2020  - Updated!



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Image by Victoria Pickering from Flickr.


PA-Reproductive rights

More burdensome restrictions in PA

Democrats have long fought to preserve a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, which includes access to abortion. Conversely, many Republicans would like to completely outlaw abortions. This short paper discusses the existing restrictions in Pennsylvania and provides recent examples of Republican-sponsored bills that seek to further curtail access to abortion.




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Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay


PA-EDUCATION

"Worst charter school law in the U.S."

The Pennsylvania Auditor General has said “Our charter school law is simply the worst charter school law in the United States.”   PA Charter schools are not held to the same level of accountability and transparency in their management and student outcomes compared to traditional public schools. It has been estimated that $290 million in unneeded funding is received by charters every year to the detriment of traditional public schools. Find out more in the Charter School Funding, Outcomes, and Accountability paper.




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PA-EDUCATION

Complete Overhaul Needed for PA Education Funding Structures

High quality primary and secondary school education is in everyone’s best interests. While it is expensive to fund education, it costs society in multiple ways when schools receive inadequate funding and underperform, which results in some students dropping out. Pennsylvania schools are falling short. There is vast inequality not just in the funds available for different school districts but in how funds are allocated. In addition, mandated expenses such as pensions and charter school costs are bleeding many districts dry. This report provides an overview of these problems.

Talking Points: K-12 Education Funding                 June 24, 2020




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Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay


PA-HEALTH CARE

US Depends on Foreign Manufacturing of Drugs

The U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain is a global enterprise. The majority of drugs are manufactured in other countries or use important ingredients from other countries. Approximately 70% of the 100 most-popular brand-name medications are foreign-made. Generic drugs comprise about 90% of all prescriptions dispensed in the US, and 80% of generic drugs use active ingredients from other countries.

US Dependence on Foreign Manufacturing of Drugs          June 21, 2020



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Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay


PA-ECONOMY

C.A.R.E.S. Act

Summary of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.



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Image by Pexels from Pixabay


PA-HEALTHCARE

Prescription Drug Pricing

The high cost of prescription drugs is a serious concern for all Americans.

Americans pay the highest drug prices in the world.

The causes of the increases in prescription drug prices are incredibly complicated, as is solving this problem, because of the lobbying power of the multiple major players involved.

Pennsylvania Democratic legislators have introduced numerous bills to improve transparency and oversight in the complex interactions hiding the profiteering in drug pricing. Read our paper to learn more.

Talking Points     -    July 11, 2020 

Prescription Drug Pricing    -   June 1, 2020



PA-ECONOMY

PA Republicans keep stiffing workers

Wage theft is not just a failure to treat workers fairly. It is a set of violations of federal and state laws committed by unscrupulous employers to underpay employees. Pennsylvania workers  statewide lose between $19 million and $32 million in unpaid wages in just one type of wage theft. Republican majorities in the state House and Senate have repeatedly stymied efforts by Democrats to amend or replace the laws that address wage theft in Pennsylvania.

Talking Points: Wage Theft    -     June 11, 2020




fast food

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay 


PA-HEALTHCARE

ALERT:  FCC Funding Going Fast!  The COVID-19 Telehealth Program

As part of the CARES Act, Congress appropriated funds to the FCC for a $200M Telehealth program. Through the “COVID-19 Telehealth Program”, the FCC will provide immediate support to nonprofit and public eligible health care providers to enable connected care services to patients at home or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will “fully fund” telecommunications services, information services and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services “until the funding is exhausted or until the current pandemic has ended.”




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Image by 272447 from Pixabay


PA-ECONOMY

Employee Misclassification Harms PA Workers

Workers in America have less power now than decades ago, and they also have less clout than their counterparts in other wealthy industrial nations. One way they are taken advantage of is by falsely being labeled as independent contractors instead of as employees. The default classification for workers is to be employees; only if specific criteria are met can a worker be an independent contractor. Misclassified workers are generally paid less and lose many worker protections.

Talking Points:  PA-Misclassified Workers    June 19, 2020

PA-Misclassified Workers            May 28, 2020




old Arizona textbooks

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 


PA-HEALTHCARE

Going to Work Sick in Pennsylvania

The United States is the only developed country without universal paid sick leave laws. Millions of workers face an unbearable choice—go to work when sick or stay home with no pay. Studies have shown that even low-margin businesses can thrive while offering paid sick leave. In the middle of a pandemic, it is clear that corporate benefits and public health are intertwined; lack of a healthy workforce harms businesses.

In 2019, Democrats introduced three bills in Pennsylvania’s legislature proposing statewide paid sick leave: SB 13, HB 169 and HB 998. The Republican-led Labor and Industry Committees put all on hold indefinitely. HB 169 aptly described the benefits of a “healthier and more productive workforce.” HB 998 was introduced as part of a “People Above Profits” legislative packet. This catchy phrase ignores research showing that companies offering these benefits are more profitable and create a healthier workplace.

Talking Points  - July 21, 2020



PA-LEGISLATURE

Pennsylvania: Sold to the Highest Bidder

The Outsize Influence of Right-wing Conservative Dark Money and ALEC

The trend towards privatization comes from the outsized power that one constituency—business—has in influencing legislation. A national organization, called the American Legislative Exchange Council (commonly referred to as ALEC), has had a huge impact on new state laws. ALEC writes "model" legislation, which is then given to state lawmakers who sponsor it. ALEC-drafted legislation seeks to increase business profits, weaken environmental protections, privatize public entities such as schools and prisons, and infrastructure, and promotes conservative social causes at the expense of the general public.

Talking Points: Sold to the Highest Bidder     -   June 25, 2020

PA Sold to the Highest Bidder     -   April 25, 2020, Rev June 25, 2020


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Image from F McGady / CC BY-SA  -

PA-LEGISLATURE

Pennsylvania LEGISLATION REPORT

This summary report includes legislation that has become Republican mainstays in recent years. Voting in lockstep on issues, the GOP bloc in the Pennsylvania House and Senate has imposed an agenda at odds with the views of the general population. This analysis of recent legislation reveals a disconnect between GOP politicians’ priorities and the issues of greatest concern to their constituents. Republicans are now the “anti” party (anti-environmental regulations, anti-public education, anti-affordable health care, anti-social assistance programs, anti-reproductive rights, anti-immigration, anti-gay rights, anti-gun safety, etc.)

Read our report for more details.

Pennsylvania Legislative Report    -   March 31, 2020