Our Legislative Agenda, 2015-2016 (189th Session)

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ARCHIVE: 2015-2016

Our Shared Prosperity

We have a vision for true shared prosperity in Massachusetts. It will take time and work, with many incremental steps between great leaps forward. For the 189th Legislative Session, we are highlighting and advocating for these bills as significant legislation that will move us closer to shared prosperity for all in the Commonwealth.

Read more about our Progressive Platform, here. Advocate for our priorities with your Legislator -- use our handout (2page-PDF, here) and let us know what you learn!

2015-2016 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

The Commonwealth should and can be the national leader in creating a future where there is shared prosperity and truly justice for all. We ask our representatives in the Legislature to ally with us as champions of these bold, long-term goals, and to support the short-term steps, including this legislation, to get us there.

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Investing in Massachusetts: Progressive Revenue and Taxation

Underfunding leads to infrastructure failures -- from the MBTA to education to roads and bridges and community services. We support restoring budget cuts and renewing investments in our Commonwealth, by raising new revenue from tax reforms that make our tax system more fair.

  • S.58 - Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution creating a progressive income tax

  • S.214 - An Act promoting efficiency and transparency in economic dev. (close corporate tax loopholes)

  • S.215 - An Act relative to transparency of economic development spending (close corporate tax loopholes)

Criminal Justice Reforms to Reduce Mass Incarceration

The social and economic costs of mass incarceration and the policies that created it have put our aspirations of “justice for all” into crisis. We support a judicial system that does not disproportionately target communities of color and the poor, that does not criminalize public health issues such as addiction, that re-orients ineffective and costly ‘tough on crime’ policies. A comprehensive approach to reform must be taken in all aspects of the criminal justice system.

  • H.1620, S.786 - An Act to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences related to drug offenses. “Man-mins” do notreduce crime nor addiction, drive mass incarceration, & disproportionately affect communities of color--while costing taxpayers.

  • H.1584, S.802 - An Act reforming pretrial process (Bail Reform). Poorer people who cannot pay bail remain in jail while awaiting trial, increasing overcrowding and taxpayer expense, when they might otherwise rejoin the community.

  • H.1313, S.71 - An Act promoting restorative justice practices. Emphasizes repairing community harm for all parties, including the victim and offender. Keeping certain offenses out of the court system will save time and taxpayer expense.

  • H.3039, S.1812 - An Act relative to motor vehicle license suspension. Suspensions of driver’s licenses from those convicted of crimes creates a barrier to successful reintegration into the community.

Shared Prosperity for All Workers: Paid Family and Medical Leave

The growing gap between the very few wealthy and the rest, combined with slowing social mobility, is a foundational crisis for the American dream. We support efforts to increase job security and improve workers rights.

  • H.1718, S.1008 - An Act establishing a family & medical leave and temporary disability leave insurance program. will make employees eligible for up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to recover from a serious illness or injury, to care for ill family member, or to care for new children. Funded via employer contributions to the Family and Employment Security Trust Fund.

  • H.1773, S.1024 - An Act to establish a living wage for employees of big box retail stores and fast food chains (“Fight for 15”).  Will make sure that people who work full-time for large, profitable corporations can earn a living wage of $15 an hour, so they can make ends meet.

Social Justice: Public Accommodations for Transgender Residents

We cannot have a true Commonwealth while continuing to treat some of our residents as second class. Where there is discrimination, the Legislature should act swiftly and decisively to end it.

  • S.735 - An Act relative to transgender anti-discrimination. Would add “gender identity” to existing Massachusetts civil rights law for public accommodations, which currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, religion and marital status.

Good Government: Transparency and Money in Politics

Lack of transparency and the influence of big money in politics is detrimental to democracy. Being able to access public records is essential to good government. And, we support a long-term agenda of publicly financed campaigns. In the meantime, we support legislation or other efforts that establish that corporations are not persons and money is not speech.

  • H.3127 -  An Act For a U.S. Constitutional Amendment and Amendments Convention (“We the People”)

  • H.3665 -  An Act to improve public records (“MassFOIAl”)

Leading in Health Care: Single-Payer

Health care costs are the biggest driver of ballooning budgets, draining much needed resources/revenue from other priorities like education and infrastructure improvements. Our state was a leader in health care reform, and now we must lead again by moving to a single payer system which would free up revenue to re-invest in the Commonwealth.

  • H.965, S.647 - An Act to ensure effective health care cost control - If yearly comparisons between actual healthcare spending and projected spending under single-payer repeatedly show “single payer” outperforms actual spending, a single payer implementation plan would be developed to submit to Legislature.

  • H.1026, S.579 - An Act establishing Medicare for all in Massachusetts - would immediately begin implementation of a single payer health care system for Massachusetts.

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