In a South dominated by conservatives, progressives rack up policy wins

Source: Alex Kotch, Institute for Southern Studies, Facing South blog, July 15, 2016

Despite a barrage of conservative legislation from Republican-dominated state governments across the South in 2016, there is good news for progressives in eight Southern states where elected officials took steps to expand access to voting and health care and improve job prospects for ex-offenders.

This week the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), a nonprofit created as a progressive response to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), released its annual “End of Session Report.” It details numerous legislative wins on issues near and dear to conservatives, such as tax cuts for the wealthy, ballot access restrictions, and limits on abortion and LGBT rights. These policies did particularly well in the South,* where only one legislative chamber (the Kentucky House) has a Democratic majority, and only three states (Louisiana, Virginia and West Virginia) have Democratic governors.