Abby Rapoport

Abby Rapoport is a freelance journalist, and former staff writer at The American Prospect. She was previously a political reporter for the Texas Observer

Recent Articles

Texas Redistricting: Hurry Up and Wait

Friday, the Supreme Court sent a series of redistricting maps back to the panel of federal judges in San Antonio that drew them. Today, that panel decided to speed things up. In a five-page order Monday afternoon, the panel asked all parties in the redistricting case to be ready for a status hearing on January 27—rather than February 1. The candidate filing deadline, currently set for next Wednesday, is also likely to be extended. The court explained that it will likely have to throw out the already-delayed primary date of April 3, unless all parties can agree to a set of interim maps and submit them to the court by February 6. That's about as likely as [insert your hell-freezing-over analogy here]. The Supreme Court determined that the panel of judges should have given more weight to the maps approved by the Texas Legislature when redrawing the lines last fall. The San Antonio panel wants to wait to create a new set of maps until yet another court case is done—a case in the D.C...

Rick Scott's Strange Math

Updated to clarify Texas' use of stimulus dollars. I was surprised when I saw the headline, "Scott, lawmakers agree: Schools need at least $1 billion more." Florida governor Rick Scott kicked off his term last year with proposals to eliminate 7 percent of state government jobs and slash the state budget . He also cut the public-education budget by $1.3 billion. Now, as the Miami Herald reports , the governor is pushing for pumping money back to schools. Well sort of. As the article explains, of the billion dollars, $220 million would make up for the losses in propert-tax collection that school districts across the state face; $190 million would fund the 30,500 new students coming into schools; and $224 million would "replace one-time revenue used to plug a hole in this year's budget." In other words, a majority of that "new" money would simply let districts maintain the status quo. Education spending is generally complicated and money comes in from a variety of different streams. That...

Go Big or Go Home

For those watching labor fights, the two very close, hard-fought games for the AFC and NFC championships yesterday (I'm talking football here, people), might have echoed what's happening in Indianapolis, host city to this year's Super Bowl. The battle over collective bargaining in one of the country's original manufacturing havens has already spawned teams, rules, and some hard-hitting tackles. And soon, one side may be trying for a Hail Mary. State Republicans, including Governor Mitch Daniels, are pushing for "right to work" legislation that would forbid unions from requiring non-members to pay representation fees. Such laws generally leave unions with little power to bargain collectively, and according to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers in states with such laws make $5,300 less than those in states that allow workers to organize. Proponents of the proposed Indiana legislation argue it will lure more businesses and therefore, more jobs. For three weeks, the Indiana state House...

The State of the Week

Each Friday—well at least most Fridays—I'm going to sum up the big news happening in states around the country. To make it more interesting I'm naming a State of the Week where the biggest news came from. See something that's missing? Tell me: arapoport@prospect.org or on Twitter @RaRapoport. And this week's State of the Week is ... Wisconsin! Labor Pains The effort to recall Wisconsin governor Scott Walker had a huge victory this week, when activists announced they'd collected over a million petitions , almost double what they needed to prompt a new election. The announcement came almost a year after Walker's efforts to dismantle collective-bargaining rights in the state prompted massive protests. But the fight is far from over. The anti-Walker crowd has yet to settle on a candidate to put up against the incumbent governor, and in the meantime, Walker has been traveling the country raising money and attention to his cause. A state judge already ruled election officials must screen...

Back to the (Redistricting) Drawing Board

AP Photo
You might think that since the Supreme Court made a decision today regarding the ongoing Texas redistricting saga, that, well, something had been decided . But let's just be clear on what is still up in the air: 1. Whether the maps are discriminatory based on the Voting Rights Act 2. The date of the primary, currently scheduled for April 3 with almost no one believing that's a realistic date 3. Just what the district lines will be If you haven't been following along on this oh-so-fun ride, here's a recap. Last year, the Republican-dominated state legislature passed redistricting maps greatly favoring Republicans. According to the U.S. Census, Texas gained four million new residents, most of whom were Latino. The growth gave the state four new congressional seats, but the state-approved maps gave almost no additional seats or power to minority communities. The Voting Rights Act specifically requires that Texas (and other states with a history of discrimination) get changes to election...

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