State and Local Legal Blog

Jackson Free Press Person of the Day

January 11, 2011
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Check out this link:

http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/index.php/site/comments/jfp_person_of_the_day_lydia_quarles_011111/

I’m the Jackson Free Press Person of the Day, talking about the Women & Applied Politics Seminar being held on Saturday, January 15 at the state capitol in Jackson, beginning at 8 a.m.  The seminar is co-sponsored by the Stennis Institute and the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women, along with our supporters, the Stennis Center, the Foundation for the Mid-South, and Newk’s of Jackson.

A limited number of seats remain available.  Registration is $75.  If you are interested in attending at this late date, please email me at lydia@sig.msstate.edu.

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New U. S. Representatives — Reporting to the Tea Party

January 5, 2011
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Tea Party Patriots co-founders Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin believe that at least 1/2 of the nation’s new congressmen either received direct support from a tea party organization or acknowledged the tea party’s primary platform of smaller government.  This means about 50 congressmen, give or take, who have been elected on the tea party promise.  And Meckler and Martin want to ensure that they understand that their election and tea party support was a quid pro quo.  We help you win; you vote our platform.  So they have opted to visit each of these congressmen in order to “remind” them of their responsibilities.

I was listening to the radio today (don’t know the station, can’t remember the speaker — except that he was a professor at James Madison University) and I had to laugh (and agree) with the professor’s comment:  “If we are betting on whether Washington will change them, or they will change Washington, my money’s on Washington.”  Mine, too.


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Arizona’s Answer to Budget Problems

January 5, 2011
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Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona legislature have sought to save money by cutting health-care benefits to about 600 HETEROSEXUAL domestic partners of state employees.  They actually meant to save more than that.  The legislative intent was to eliminate benefits for adult children and gay partners of state employees, in addition to the domestic partners of heterosexual state employees.

As luck would have it, the new health care law and the courts have nixed the Arizona plan.  Arizona must continue to cover adult children and gay partners of state employees.  The heterosexual domestic partners will bear the burden of this money saving legislation.  Arizona plans to appeal the court decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Initially, Arizona would have restricted eligibility for benefits to all except a state employee’s spouse, a child under the age of 19, or a child under the age of 23 who is a fulltime student.  The new healthcare act requires all adult dependents younger than 26 to be covered regardless of financial dependence, residency with parent, student status or marital status.  Only an adult dependent who is eligible for health care through his own employer is exempted.

The philosophy behind restricting eligibility to heterosexual domestic partners seems to be that “they can get married”.

While the ultimate result may not be what the Arizona legislature intended, it’s a budget cutting method just the same.


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New York’s Answer to Budget Problems

January 3, 2011
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Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York, has suggested a 1 year salary freeze for all state employees in order to assist with budget management.  Additionally, the state laid off 900 employees on New Year’s Eve.  (What a bummer for those folks!)  These ideas (AZ and NY) are not profound; they are tried and true methods of saving money in order to relieve a budget deficit.  The simple fact is that states are spending more than they are receiving in taxes and other funding.  In the current economy, no answer is a good one and each answer or method of helping resolve state budget pinches will affect a group of stakeholders.  Is there a way to share the burden?  Cuomo’s suggestion certainly spreads the burden over the stakeholders who can be identified as NY State employees.  But this is a small portion of NY’s population.  What is the answer?


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Tea Party of Mississippi: DeSoto Tea Party

January 3, 2011
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Don Daniels of the Tea Party of Mississippi emailed me a couple of weeks ago with information about the Tea Party in general and the Tea Party of Mississippi in specific.  With thanks to Mr. Daniels, I’m passing it on:

The Tea Party of Mississippi (subtitled the DeSoto Tea Party) had, in November of 2010, 3,476 members from all over the state of Mississippi.  I’m sure by now that membership has increased.

I believe that Mr. Daniels also founded, or assisted in the founding of The National Coalition of Tea Parties of America, which is active in at least 7 states with membership of over 20,000.

It is difficult to get exact information on the Tea Parties because of their fluid organization, and I thank Mr. Daniels for contacting me.  I will pass on one other piece of information:  “This is not ‘a steal your identity’ thing.  We want to unify our state.”

 

 


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