DHS Announces It Has Finalized “Safe Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter” Rule

Source: National Immigration Law Center, August 10, 2007

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it has finalized its rule entitled “Safe Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter.”

The rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Monday, August 13, 2007, and will become effective thirty days after the publication. The rule sets forth the steps employers should take if they want to avail themselves of the “safe harbor procedures” upon receipt of a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or DHS.

See also:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Safe Harbor for Employers Who Receive
a No-Match Letter

Department of Homeland Security/ Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Final Rule
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) insert letter
Department of Homeland Security fact sheet about no-match letters

The New Orleans Index: Tracking Recovery in the Region

The New Orleans Index: Tracking Recovery in the Region
Source: Amy Liu and Allison Plyer, The Brookings Institution and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, August 2007

Two years after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures, the New Orleans region has recovered most of its population and economic base. Yet, in the past year, progress has slowed, especially in the city, as critical public infrastructure—schools, law enforcement, and health care—remains weak. As recovery continues, a strong federal, state, and local partnership is necessary to ensure a safe and economically robust region for all.
See also:
Greater New Orleans Community Data Center

Protecting America’s Future: A State-by-State Look at SCHIP & Uninsured Kids

Source: CoverTheUninsured.org (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), August 2007

From press release:
With the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) set to expire Sept. 30, experts say that unless Congress and the White House reauthorize the program and agree on its funding, coverage for vulnerable children nationwide will be in jeopardy. At risk are millions of children who were covered by SCHIP at some point last year and millions more who are SCHIP-eligible, but not yet enrolled.

According to an analysis of government data released today, more than 6.6 million children were covered by SCHIP at some point last year. Nearly 9 million children remain uninsured. Before adjourning for summer recess last week, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate approved separate SCHIP bills that would provide funding to cover more SCHIP-eligible children. Amidst presidential veto threats, lawmakers from both chambers must now negotiate consensus legislation to send to the White House.

Coming Up Short: Resurrection Health Care’s Distorted Pay Priorities

Source: Council 31, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), July 2007

From press release:
Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have issued a new report documenting low wage levels that keep patient-support staff art Resurrection Health Care hospitals mired in poverty and unable to support their families. Resurrection Health Care (RHC) is the second largest non-profit hospital system in the Chicago metropolitan area. It encompasses eight hospitals, as well as nursing homes, home health services, and outpatient clinics.

Entitled Coming Up Short: Resurrection Health Care’s Distorted Pay Priorities, the report depicts a starkly skewed pay structure in which the compensation of RHC hospital executives significantly exceeds national norms while the meager wages of patient-support staff (housekeepers, laundry and food service workers) fall far short of self-sufficiency standards in the Chicago area.

Crackdown: Immigration Pressures Are Rearranging Politics in More than One State Capitol

Source: Josh Goodman, Governing, Vol. 20 no. 10, July 2007

When the subject of illegal immigration comes up, the states you think about first are Texas and California. Maybe Arizona. But, as of July 1, it is Georgia, a full thousand miles from the Mexican border, that is at the center of the immigration debate in the United States.

That’s because SB 529, its new immigration law now taking effect, is the most stringent statute of its kind anywhere in the country. It is the sort of law that immigration hard-liners would like to see enacted on a national basis. Under its provisions, state and local government agencies have to verify the legal residency of benefit recipients. Many employers will have to do the same whenever they make a hiring decision. Law enforcement officers are given authority to crack down on human trafficking and fake documents. In sum, SB 529 touches every facet of state policy that relates to illegal immigrants.

The central question about the law is, obviously, whether it will work as intended and reduce the impact of undocumented newcomers on the state. But an equally important question is whether the political situation that led to SB 529 can be sustained and replicated in other places. The topic of illegal immigration has bedeviled virtually every state legislature and the U.S. Congress for years, without much substantive result. What made Georgia different was a populist uprising that all but forced the legislature to crack down on the undocumented community. If that sort of pressure gains momentum elsewhere, the near future may portend a series of state laws as strict as Georgia’s — even if Congress manages to pass an immigration bill of its own. Oklahoma and Colorado have both enacted laws with some provisions similar to SB 529 — the question is how many states will follow.

2008 Election Timeline, Presidential Debates, Primaries and Caucuses

Source: CQ Politics.com, Congressional Quarterly Inc.

To navigate the timeline, click and hold your mouse on each band to scroll left and right. The top band represents each month, the bottom each year. Clicking on the text will display information on each event.
See Also: 2008 White House Derby: The Field So Far
Podcasts and other info linked to each candidate

State Expenditure Growth Slowing

Source: Elizabeth C. McNichol, Nicholas Johnson and Sarah Farkas, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 31, 2007

State expenditure growth is projected to slow significantly for fiscal year 2008, which is the 12-month period that began July 1, 2007 in most states. During May, June, and early July, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities conducted a phone and email survey of state legislative and executive budget officials to learn states’ actual General Fund spending for fiscal year 2006, their best estimate of fiscal year 2007 spending, and the fiscal year 2008 spending included in their recently enacted budget. The preliminary results of this survey show that in fiscal year 2008, General Fund spending will grow about 5.3 percent — well below the rates of growth in fiscal years 2006 and 2007.

IRS Releases Interim Report on Tax-Exempt Hospitals and Community Benefit Project

Source: Internal Revenue Service, IR-2007-132, July 19, 2007

The Internal Revenue Service released an interim report summarizing responses from almost 500 tax-exempt hospitals to a May 2006 questionnaire about how they provide and report benefits to the community. Providing community benefit is required for hospitals seeking and retaining tax-exempt status as charities.

Today’s report on the hospital compliance project contains preliminary information on the way nonprofit hospitals, which comprise one of the largest components of the tax-exempt sector, responded to questions about how they provide community benefit. The IRS is still in the process of analyzing the reported data.

According to the report, nearly all hospitals reported that they provided various types of community benefit that were the subject of the questionnaire. Although 97 percent of responding hospitals said they have a written uncompensated care policy, no uniform definition of what constitutes “uncompensated care” emerged from the responses. Further, there appear to be significant differences in the way other components of community benefit are reported.

+ Executive Summary