Racetrack

  Environmental groups are worried that a proposition on California’s ballot may limit their ability to sue corporations that violate state or federal environmental laws. Proposition 64 would repeal a section of the state’s Unfair Competition Law that allows state or local attorneys or members of the public to sue a business for "unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices." The proposition is supported by hundreds of businesses, including oil companies, banks, car dealers and health insurance companies, as well as by the state’s Chamber of Commerce and Farm Bureau Association. In September, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R, also endorsed the proposal, while Attorney General Bill Lockyer continues to oppose it.

Sharpen your fingernails and stockpile your quarters: An initiative in Washington could bring electronic scratch-ticket machines off the reservations and into a gambling establishment closer to you. Supporters of Initiative Measure 892, who call their group "Just Treat Us the Same," say that the current rules unfairly favor American Indians, and that the initiative would lower property taxes. Opponents claim it would double the amount of gambling in the state and put Washington "in the same gambling league as big casino states like Nevada, Mississippi and New Jersey."

Across the West, nonprofits have been shaking down neighborhoods and colleges, rooting out new voters to register. In Denver alone, the county clerk’s office had to hire 15 new staff members to help process the more than 45,000 new voters. Meanwhile, in Reno, Nev., the state’s Progressive Leadership Alliance has set up a billboard — which reads "Now that you’ve done your time, it’s time to VOTE" — to remind folks of a year-old state law that automatically restores the voting rights of felons who have completed their sentences for first-offense, nonviolent crimes. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Chris Carr, the state Republican Party’s director, called the group’s actions "appalling" and said, "I don’t think it’s about giving felons a second chance and the right to vote."

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