How can I let a story like this go by without comment? It's a fascinating turn of events, and the implications are interesting no matter what side of the political spectrum you're on.
For example, those of us who believe in a free market might be understandably concerned about government dictating terms to a private enterprise about how much health benefits to provide their employees.
On the other hand, those of us who believe in a free market know that Wal-Mart, which sucks mightily at the taxpayers' teat, is not really a free market enterprise at all: it is subsidized by the taxpayers and reaps huge profits at their expense, forcing the those of us who pay taxes to pay the balance on their so-called "always low prices" with our tax dollars.
As far as I am concerned, if Wal-Mart can't stay afloat without relying on taxpayers' money, then it is a recipient of corporate welfare in the worst way and should be required to reimburse the taxpayers with some of those $10 billion record profits they are so proud of. But since we know that will never happen, the least they could do is tale steps to ensure that their employees do not have to rely on public assistance (yes, the store even encourages them to do so).
So, to all those to condemn government meddling in Wal-Mart's affairs, and who also condemn what they describe as lazy deadbeat welfare recipients who are encouraged not to become self-sufficient by living off the taxpayers, it is time to put your money where your mouth is. It's time for Wal-Mart to stand or fall without being propped up by public assistance.
p.s. - more states are pickin' up on this, too...