Need an ambulance? Think twice, you might get a huge bill.

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Highlights

1) National/Colorado: “Hold on to your hats, it seems good government is possible,” writes Phil Doe. “Boulder County Commissioners wisely gave the rulemaking responsibility to their Planning Division, not a few oil and gas patsies holed up in the basement. The division interviewed many people with differing perspectives on the issue before it began putting pen to paper. It shows. The rules are particularly strong on water use and disposal, air pollution, and bonding/financial assurance for drillers and operators. These subjects forming the core of the law are yet to be taken up substantively by the state. (…) The people of Boulder County should applaud their government for trying to do the right thing, for trying to protect their health and their environment as a condition for allowing new oil development. Even more important, equal emphasis has been given to existing operations. They come under the same health and environment protecting regulations, with the exception of the setback requirements, of course.” 

2) National: Writing in The Nation, John Nichols urges the incoming Biden administration to bolster the U.S. Postal Service. “In 2021, President-elect Biden and the Congress must not just save the postal service—by embracing Representative Mark Pocan’s push for new USPS leadership and by providing funding to sustain the service in this pandemic moment—but move to dramatically expand it. To put the USPS on solid financial footing, Congress should ease the crushing burden created by a requirement that it prepay billions of dollars in retiree health care costs decades into the future. ‘This,’ the APWU recalls, ‘is an expense not required of any other employer—public or private—and accounts for nearly 90 percent of the USPS’ structural deficit.’” Nichols also advocates freeing the USPS to compete, and implementing postal banking

3) National: Writing in Teen Vogue, Kim Kelly spells out what a good labor agenda for Joe Biden would be. Among the top priorities: confronting the nationwide assault on gig workers. “A truly pro-labor administration needs to address worker misclassification and the hurdles facing independent contractors. Particular attention should be paid to those in the so-called gig economy who are at the mercy of app-based tech giants like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and Postmates, which recently poured millions into pushing through the immensely damaging new law in California known as Proposition 22. These corporations are already eyeing other cities, and hoping to expand this toxic legislation to the federal level. That simply cannot be allowed to happen. Instead of cozying up to these predatory executives, a Biden administration that actually gave a sh-t would be dragging them all to court.”

4) National: 2020 was a devastating year for underpaid frontline workers, but “even in the face of public health and economic crises triggered by Covid-19, the Fight for $15 movement persisted, and now 24 states and 50 municipalities throughout the U.S. [will raise] minimum wages in 2021. On New Year’s Day, 20 states and 32 cities [increased] their minimum wage, with the wage floor in 27 of those jurisdictions reaching or exceeding $15 per hour. The January 1 raises will be followed by another round of wage floor hikes later in 2021, when four additional states and 18 localities will increase their minimum wage, 13 of them to at least $15 per hour.” Read the NELP report.

5) California: California Treasurer Fiona Ma’s office has launched an interactive public finance guide. “California has more than 4,400 units of government that tap the muni market to fund projects and look to the guide for answers to questions on how to issue bonds,” Bond Buyer reports. “The app was developed by the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission (CDIAC), which Treasurer Ma chairs. CDIAC provides educational resources to public finance professionals in California.” [Sub required] 

6) GeorgiaA pay raise may be on the way for Atlanta’s hard-pressed 911 call center workers. “The call center has ‘experienced an increased number of vacancies in recent months,’ Bottoms’ order states. Pay was identified as ‘one of the primary issues with recruiting and retaining 911 call center employees.’ Right now, the annual starting salary for a 911 operator in Atlanta is around $35,000 to $37,000, Baxter said, adding that he believes the salary should be ‘obviously higher than that.’ The starting salary for a police officer is $48,500, according to the department’s website.”

7) New York: The New York Legislature has approved a sweeping eviction ban for tenants living in the state, “giving residents fearful of losing their homes during the pandemic some relief at least until May. (…) A report by the National Council of State Housing Agencies earlier this year estimated U.S. renters will owe up to $34 billion in past-due rent by January. This is set to increase eviction filings and impose financial hardship on millions in just a few months, the organization said.”

8) Oregon/Washington: Organized labor has set its legislative priorities for the two states. Items include (OR) granting workers’ comp to essential workers who contract COVID-19; and (WA) passing a high-income capital gains tax.

9) International: The United Kingdom has become the latest in a series of countries to end the tampon tax. “With Britain’s split from the European Union this week, the tax was abolished, the government said. Facing public pressure in 2016 after a Change.org petition for abolishing the tax gained more than 300,000 supporters, David Cameron, who was then prime minister, in turn pressured the E.U. The E.U. said it would give its members the option to remove the tax, but that plan never came to fruition.”

Education

10) National: In a sweeping editorial, the New York Times offers some ideas on how the Biden administration can begin to fix the wreckage Betsy DeVos left behind. “The department should immediately begin rule-making to reverse Ms. DeVos’s gutting of the “gainful employment” rule, which was supposed to cut off access to federal student aid for career training programs that buried students in debt while failing to prepare them for the job market.” Another must-do: “In yet another sop to the for-profit industry, Ms. DeVos disregarded a scathing indictment by her department’s career staff, reinstating an accrediting body that had been stripped of its authority for exercising lax oversight. The organization was the accreditor for two for-profit institutions that collapsed, leaving tens of thousands of students with debt and useless degrees. The new education secretary would do well to closely scrutinize the department’s methodology for evaluating accreditors.”

Capital and Main’s Larry Buhl has also weighed in with “Five Ways Joe Biden Can ‘De-DeVos’ U.S. Education.” He notes, “The new administration is likely to prioritize the immense backlog of loan forgiveness claims that DeVos let pile up, and reverse denials of assistance to students claiming to be cheated by for-profit colleges. As attorney general of California, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sued the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges for fraud and predatory practices.”

11) National: The Network for Public Education has some thoughts on Biden’s selection of Miguel Cardona for Secretary of Education. “He is neither for nor against charter schools, even though Connecticut experienced some of the worst charter scandals in the nation (think the Jumoke charter chain), is the home base of the Sackler-funded ConnCAN (which morphed into 50CAN, to spread the privatization movement nationally), and is the home base of Achievement First, one of the premier no-excuses charter chain, known in the past for harsh discipline (three in the AF chain are currently on probation, despite their high test scores). The fact that three of the politically powerful AF no-excuses charters are on probation is a hopeful sign that he intends to hold charters to the same standards as public schools.” 

The Connecticut Mirror reports that, “Asked about charter schools during his confirmation hearing, Cardona said he’d rather focus his energy making sure neighborhood public schools are viable options. “Charter schools provide choice for parents that are seeking choice, so I think it’s a viable option, but [neighborhood schools] that’s going to be the core work that not only myself but the people behind me in the agency that I represent will have while I’m commissioner,” he said. Charter school advocates and public school officials say they see him as even-keeled when it comes to school choice.” 

12) National: In “Read It and Weep,” Maria Bustillos tells us how billion dollar book companies are ripping off public schools—and how it is poised to get worse. “Over the past decade, Silicon Valley’s tech behemoths have discreetly and methodically tightened their grip on American schools, and the pandemic has given them license to squeeze even tighter. By 2017, tens of millions of students were already using Google Chromebooks and apps for reading, writing, and turning in their work. Google Classroom now has more than 100 million users worldwide—nearly seven times the number reported in The New York Times three years ago. When we emerge from the pandemic, schools will be even more reliant on such systems. Industry is bolting an adamantine layer of technology onto the world’s classrooms, in what amounts to a stealth form of privatization.”

13) Florida: A state appeals court has affirmed Manatee County’s decision to terminate the charter contract of Lincoln Memorial Academy. “The school opened in 2018 but was returned to the district after an investigation showed widespread evidence of ‘systematic dysfunction,’ including unpaid bills and teachers not receiving paychecks. Federal investigators also announced the government was looking into allegations of fraud, bribery and embezzlement. An initial, September 2019 ruling that revoked the school’s status as a charter school and converted it back to a public middle school will remain. That ruling, the court said, was ‘supported by competent, substantial evidence, and we find no merit in [Lincoln Memorial Academy Inc.’s] arguments.’” 

14) Rhode Island: The battle over charter school expansion is heating up in the Ocean State. Despite pleas by AFT leaders to the governor, Gina Raimondo (D), to weigh in with the state K-12 Council to reject or table a charter school expansion proposal for Providence, the council approved three new charters and permitted the expansion of three more. In a sharp op-ed in the Providence Journal, State Rep. Gregg Amore (D-East Providence) has called for a pause in expansion. “Traditional public schools serve the overwhelming majority of students in their communities and Providence students deserve the opportunity to see the turnaround promised to them fully underway before resources are diverted.  Significantly expanding charter schools or seats were not highlighted or even mentioned as a strategy for improvement in the Turnaround Action Plan for Providence Public Schools (TAP).” 

Infrastructure

15) National: Whither infrastructure? With the possibility of a large infrastructure package looming, some questions and issues stand out. President-elect Biden has set out his opening bid, but it is impossible to predict what will happen in Congress. Will Biden be able to cobble together a bipartisan deal? The Wall Street Journal is hitting a note of optimism on a possible deal, pointing in part to Biden’s long record of cobbling together bipartisan agreements, which he ceaselessly emphasized on the campaign trail. If the GOP retains control of the Senate, will McConnell scuttle a major package again as he did under Trump? 

If a deal comes through, what mix of private and public financing will the federal program have? Interest rates are cheap, the muni market is setting records, and private infrastructure funds are being well subscribed, but the cupboards of state and local governments are bare and any private money borrowed will have to be paid back by stressed out taxpayers or users for years. Biden says he will claw back the trillions in tax breaks for billionaires to pay for some of it. Not if Mitch controls the Senate.

How will project selection be done, and what will the criteria be? Politicians can say all of the above, but hard choices will have to be made (brownfield vs. greenfield projects, transmission lines and broadband vs. roads and bridges, public transit vs. electric vehicles, etc. etc.). 

The business press has weighed in, with the Economist hitting a note of pessimism by pointing to the poor recent and historical records of infrastructure investment:

“Infrastructure investment has been flagging for years. Public and private spending on ‘economic’ infrastructure—transport, utilities and telecoms—fell from 3.8% of global GDP in 2013 to around 3.4% in 2019, reckons McKinsey. Spending on ‘social’ infrastructure, a measure that includes schools and hospitals, has also declined. The long view looks worse. In rich countries public investment, a proxy for infrastructure investment by governments, has declined from an average of 2.4% of GDP in the 1990s to less than 2% after 2010–a historic low, says Manal Fouad of the IMF. It has fallen in emerging economies too. Wear and tear means the public-capital stock has not kept pace with the economy. In the rich world, for instance, the stock, as a share of GDP, has fallen by nearly ten percentage points since 1992.”

While the usual marketing fluff about so-called public-private partnerships continues to appear, it is unlikely that government officials will be so willing to drink the P3 Kool Aid in the wake of such major P3 train wrecks as the Maryland Purple Line and Honolulu transit project. The initial estimate for the latter P3 was a $5 billion project cost (eight years ago). The latest estimate is $11 billion, according to Public Works Financing. 

An open question here concerns what policy Pete Buttigieg, Biden’s transportation secretary nominee, will pursue from the DOT. Will he be a pro-privatization Arne Duncan or an anti-privatization Peter DeFazio? DeFazio has been reselected by his colleagues to chair the House transportation committee. We can be sure that the construction and banking lobbies will be battling to get in the door and snatch federal dollars to boost their bottom lines. Oh, one last thing. The FAST Act is expiring at the end of September.

16) National: The fringe right wing has set out its priorities, demanding basically that Democrats give up the most active parts of their infrastructure plan. Gerard Scimeca of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE) writes, “in short, Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) must not reintroduce HR 2 as a carbon copy. Instead and for the sake of U.S. consumers, he should work with Republicans and present legislation committed to the core needs at hand—surface transportation networks and funding—while avoiding divisive policy riders in any number of areas.” 

17) NationalMary Grant of Food & Water Watch has weighed in with a series of recommendations to Biden on water policy:

  • Day 1: Keep the Water On
  • First 100 Days: Water Relief for Communities
  • First Term: Build Our Water Back Safer, Healthier and More Just

“Through these efforts, President Biden and Vice President Harris can restore the federal stewardship of our water infrastructure. We can build back our water systems, create good union jobs, and make our communities healthier, more climate ready and more just. With the profound devastation of the pandemic, and deepening damage of climate change, this is not the moment for half measures and milquetoast solutions. We cannot compromise on safe water. We need a bold vision to usher in a new era where we as a nation fully commit to ensure that every person has access to healthy, affordable, publicly controlled water.” 

18) Florida: The new CEO of JEA, Jacksonville’s public electrical utility which was the subject of a scandalous effort by the previous management to privatize it, declares that “JEA is not for sale.” Jay Stowe says “I think we’re in good shape. Within the last six weeks, the ratings agencies have increased our bond rating on the water and wastewater side of our system. That’s a sign of the strength of the system, financially and operationally.”

19) Maryland: In the continuing saga of the Purple Line P3’s near death experience, under great pressure the Maryland Board of Public Works unanimously approved a $250 million settlement payment to the construction companies who pulled out of the “partnership” and threatened to sue the state for many more hundreds of millions of dollars. The deal depends on the state finding a new company or group of companies to pick up the design-build element of the Purple Line Project. This has not been done yet, though politicians are making optimistic noises about talks with potential bidders, and Fitch Ratings bumped up Purple Line Transit Partners debt a little (to ‘BB-‘ from ‘B’) on the expectations. 

The final cost of the project is anyone’s guess. But before newspaper editors and politicians start high fiving one another over salvaged reputations and contracts, consider this. Maryland’s bad history on transportation financing is brutalizing the state’s low income rural areas, which have suffered from underinvestment for decades. For details see this heartfelt reader commentary in the Baltimore Sun by Jeremy J. Rothwell of Massey.

20) Maryland: As Gov. Larry Hogan pushes ahead with his plans for a $9 billion toll road P3 on the outskirts of Washington, The Week’s Ryan Cooper sees in him the model for a new kind of “Trump Lite.” He writes, “As Eric Cortellessa reports at Washington Monthly, Hogan’s most notable act as governor has been canceling a public transit project in Baltimore and spending Maryland money on highway developments adjacent to land he owns personally. Just like Trump, instead of divesting himself of conflicts of interest, he put his business operations in the hands of a relative who keeps him abreast of what is happening. He “has advanced a number of major state transportation projects that are near properties his company owns,” Cortellessa writes, including “millions of dollars in road and sidewalk improvements near property he had bought approximately two years earlier and was turning into a housing development.” Hogan is making millions, more than any Maryland governor in history, yet just like Trump refuses to release his tax returns so his constituents can see where the money is coming from.” Read Cortellessa’s March 2020 deep dive on Hogan.

Criminal Justice and Immigration

21) NationalStates and counties across the country are closing prisons as the coronavirus sickens guards and inmates. “Battered by a wave of coronavirus infections and deaths, local jails and state prison systems around the United States have resorted to a drastic strategy to keep the virus at bay: Shutting down completely and transferring their inmates elsewhere. From California to Missouri to Pennsylvania, state and local officials say that so many guards have fallen ill with the virus and are unable to work that abruptly closing some correctional facilities is the only way to maintain community security and prisoner safety. Experts say the fallout is easy to predict: The jails and prisons that stay open will probably become even more crowded, unsanitary and disease-ridden, and the transfers are likely to help the virus proliferate both inside and outside the walls.”

22) National: Dozens of immigrant women detained by ICE in Georgia have joined a class-action lawsuit over allegations they were subjected to nonconsensual gynecological procedures. For a report see Democracy Now! (at 40 minutes). The Irwin County Detention Center is operated by ICE contractor LaSalle Corrections, which was named as a defendant along with ICE. Azadeh Shahshahani, legal and advocacy director for Project South and co-counsel on the suit, says “it is high time for this facility rife with human rights violations to be shut down and for ICE and LaSalle to be held accountable. The main demand has always been to shut this place down. Human rights violations have been occurring at Irwin for a number of years and so there’s no reason this facility should still be operating.”

23) National: The family of the first person to die of Covid-19 in ICE custody is suing. “The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of California by Escobar Mejia’s three siblings, alleges negligence, deliberate indifference to serious health and safety needs and wrongful death. The complaint argues that officials held Escobar Mejia in conditions that they ‘knew would expose him to a deadly disease.’ ‘CoreCivic deprived him of adequate personal protective equipment, proper social distance, and appropriate treatment, all with the knowledge and participation of ICE and its officials,’ the complaint says. ‘His death did not have to happen.’ ICE, the agency responsible for immigration detention, and CoreCivic, the private prison company that owns and operates Otay Mesa Detention Center, said that they do not comment on pending litigation.”

24) National: Worth Rises is supporting a petition drive demanding the ouster of Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores. “Gores is the Founder and CEO of Platinum Equity, a Beverly Hills-based private equity firm that owns one of the nation’s largest and most predatory prison telecom corporations: Securus. Securus rakes in more than $700 million annually by price-gouging families—disproportionately Black, Brown, and low-income—struggling to connect and support incarcerated loved ones. The corporation routinely charges as much as $15 for a simple 15-minute phone call, and piles on sky high deposit fees, among others. Securus then pays correctional administrators and sheriffs millions in kickbacks every year. As a result of Securus’ predatory practices, which Tom Gores has authorized, one in three families goes into debt trying to stay connected to a loved one behind bars, and 87 percent of the people carrying that burden are women, largely women of color.”

25) NationalCoreCivic has raised cash by selling some of its real estate holdings—42 non-core government leased properties for $106.5 million. “Subsequent to the close of the transaction, the CoreCivic Properties portfolio consists of 15 properties representing 2.7 million square feet, including five non-core government leased properties representing 1.1 million gross rentable square feet.”

26) NationalCoreCivic has named Patrick Swindle as its chief operating officer. Swindle had previously been chief corrections officer at the company. “CoreCivic executives this summer decided to convert the company’s structure from a real estate investment trust—a switch they had made in 2012—back to a taxable C corporation. The move, Hininger said, will give the company more financial flexibility it plans to use, among other things, to explore expanding its health care services into areas such as chronic care management and mental health. In its third quarter, CoreCivic generated about $48 million of its $468 million of revenue from activities other than prison management.”

27) National: Double S Capital, which is long CoreCivic and short GEO Group, has a piece in Seeking Alpha explaining its trading rationale, which includes thinking about tomorrow’s runoff election in Georgia. “Another big risk is that if the Republican loses the Georgia run-off and consequently loses the control of the Senate, but again I think GEO will be hurt more than CXW financially, so it should be a net benefit to the long/short trade.” [sic] 

28) Alabama: KPFA’s Flashpoints with Dennis Bernstein did a program on fighting the Alabama prison industry in the middle of a pandemic, and on the Free Alabama Movement. An interview with Malik Washington. [At 17 minutes]

29) Georgia: The state Department of Corrections has informed prison workers of a plan to privatize health care. Hundreds of jobs are in limbo. “The dramatic announcement came in a staff-only video conference after GDC spent months researching how it could save money by having a for-profit firm replace current provider Georgia Correctional HealthCare, part of the state’s medical school at Augusta University. GDC has already privatized mental health and dental services, and documents show officials want all prison health care to be private by the second half of 2021.” 

30) Mississippi: The state auditor has found “widespread fraud, waste, and abuse” was committed by the previous leadership of the Department of Corrections. “White also said his office has begun an investigation into MDOC and Management & Training Corporation, which operates three prisons in the state. A recent investigation revealed that MTC routinely failed to fill scores of correctional officer positions required by contract. These “ghost workers” make prisons more dangerous and produce more profits for MTC—at least $8 million, according to an analysis by The Marshall Project.” 

Public Services

31) National: While the recent federal stimulus and relief bill included $82 billion in education funding and $45 billion for transportation, it left out any aid for state and local governments struggling as the pandemic drags on. Cities are pinning their hopes on the Biden administration. “‘That action should include additional resources to communities to help keep teachers, firefighters, police officers and other first responders on the job, and more funds for testing, vaccine manufacturing and distribution and resources for schools across the country,’ said Biden transition spokesman TJ Ducklo. But with the new Congress that convenes on Sunday, there could be resistance from the Senate, especially if Republicans hold control of the chamber after two runoffs in Georgia on Jan. 5.” 

32) National: Monique Morrissey of the Economic Policy Institute, writing on Portside, has an extensive analysis of the war against the postal service. “The Biden administration and Congress must act to undo the damage and allow the Postal Service to adapt to meet unmet needs, including the revival of postal banking,” she writes. “Comedian P.J. O’Rourke once quipped, “The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it” (O’Rourke 2003). This has certainly been the case with the Trump administration’s undermining of the CDC and Postal Service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these attempts at sabotage, most Americans, including Republicans, value government services. Rather than trying to shrink government on the false assumption that the private sector is always more efficient, we should consider expanding government entities—like the Post Office—that have proven their worth.” 

33) National: Writing in the New Republic, Libby Watson lays out in detail the dynamics of surprise billing for ambulance services. “What arguably precipitated the dizzying spike that so frequently leaves unknowing patients with four-figure bills today was the Great Recession of 2008, which drained the coffers of local government as incomes plummeted and tax bases dried up. As described in The American Prospect, while “too big to fail” investment banks were chastened by tighter regulations in the aftermath, it was a feeding frenzy for private equity firms. In the years after the financial crash, private equity firms more than quadrupled their holdings, topping $4 trillion; along the way, they bought up a significant number of ambulance providers. The result has been nothing short of the total transformation of what was once a quasi-public service into a profit-hungry industry.” 

The outlook is bleak. “With its long-awaited surprise billing fix, Congress is showing us just how hard it is to put the decades-long genie of piecemeal and privatized ambulance services back in the bottle: Private equity firms have every reason to lobby against the change and deep pockets to spend on the effort; private firms that haven’t been acquired yet could easily throw in the towel; and halting so-called balance billing stands to hit already strained municipal budgets, where ambulances are still precariously buoyed by user fees. Like so many other facets of the health care system, ambulance transportation costs are locked into a mind-boggling paradigm that will let them do nothing but rise, which companies will sustain only by loading more costs onto you. Patients will grow even more afraid of ambulances, increasingly opting for Ubers instead, even if their organs are spilling out onto their hands. There’s always some other, more beleaguered group of laborers left to pick up the slack in this race to the bottom.”

34) National: Writing in Counterpunch, Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon say veterans are wondering whether Biden’s new pick for Veterans Affairs secretary will halt the slide toward privatization. “Despite their own support for Choice six years ago, advocates for veterans are giving McDonough mixed reviews now, in the wake of their own organizational exclusion from Biden’s VA transition team. ‘We were expecting a veteran, maybe a post 9/11 veteran,’ huffed Joe Chenelly, executive director of AMVETS. ‘Maybe a woman veteran. Or maybe a veteran who knows the VA exceptionally well.’ Paul Rieckhoff, a co-founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, finds McDonough to be ‘a shockingly out of touch pick. They could have selected someone who’s been a patient there or has any direct experience with that community.’ Pam Campos-Palma, from Vets for the People, expressed similar alarm that ‘the Biden team didn’t choose someone the veteran community saw themselves in or can trust to know our struggles.’ Other advocacy groups, from Vote Vets to Common Defense, quickly fell in line. They echoed Biden’s own fulsome praise of McDonough’s managerial skills and insider knowledge of how to get things done in Washington. For his part, McDonough struck all the right diversity notes about ‘making our VA more welcoming to all veterans, including our women veterans, veterans of color and LGBTQ veterans,’ and ‘delivering care and support second to none.’” 

35) National: Phil Francis, who spent over 40 years with the National Park Service and currently serves as the chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, urges the Biden administration to look after our national parks. “As the Biden transition team begins to plan for their time in office, we urge the president-elect and his incoming administration to select leaders for our NPS who can build up a demoralized workforce and correct the mistakes of the past. There must be an emphasis on good stewardship of our natural and cultural resources. This means reestablishing the NPS as a global leader in understanding and fighting climate change. It means protecting our parks from oil and gas leasing and development on or near national parks and public lands. And it means creating a fair and transparent process to ensure that the deferred maintenance needs at parks are addressed and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund will go to the highest-priority land acquisition needs.” 

Everything Else

36) National: The Bond Buyer says 2021 will be a banner year for municipal bond law changes. “The National Association of Bond Lawyers recently sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team highlighting ‘a series of proposals that will allow state and local governments immediate access to much-needed capital.’ The Dec. 15 letter signed by NABL President Teri Guarnaccia said the proposals would help support a national economic recovery from the pandemic related recession.”

37) National: Phil Mattera of Good Jobs First and author of the weekly Dirt Diggers Digest has produced a year-end wrap-up on some of the greatest miscreants in the corporate world. The good news according to Phil, “fortunately, career officials at regulatory agencies and career prosecutors at the Justice Department, as well as those at the state level, have continued doing their jobs.”

Photo by Ninian Reid.