Co-sponsoring Bills: Build Momentum to Pass Progressive Legislation

Part of the core mission at Progressive Mass is to ensure our elected representatives stand up for progressive principles and policies that make real differences in people’s lives. Right now, legislators have a simple and straightforward opportunity to reflect their views on important public policies — by adding their names as co-sponsors to key legislation.

Why It  Matters

Co-sponsoring a bill means, of course, that a legislator supports a bill, but it also can help build momentum for legislation to move through the process. Given the Legislature’s current challenges in passing many pieces of progressive legislation, this is important.

A bill with a large number of co-sponsors shows broad support for that legislation. Two years ago, the historic Transgender Equal Rights bill had a majority of legislators, both in the House and Senate, as co-sponsors — which played a critical role in convincing leadership to take up the bill, leading to its passage in 2011.

Bills for the 2012-2013 legislative session were filed on Friday, January 18, 2013. Legislators now have until this Friday, February 1, 2013, to co-sponsor a bill, with their names listed on the bill as co-sponsors.

As we speak, legislators are being contacted by constituents who want their representatives’ co-sponsorship on bills important to them. Though having a large number of co-sponsors doesn’t itself increase a bill’s likelihood to pass (See: Bottle Bill, 2011-2012 session!), it can help. Additionally, it is often a useful means to distinguish which legislators are strongly for a piece of legislation, and those who might need more persuasion from constituents. (Pro tip: If you ever notice that your legislator isn’t co-sponsoring a particular bill important to you, as a constituent, you might call to ask, “Why not?”)

After the Deadline

After Friday’s co-sponsorship deadline, it is unfortunately more difficult for legislators to co-sponsor a bill. It is possible for a State Senator to co-sponsor a bill after this deadline, but not State Representatives.

If you find that your State Senator and/or State Representative has not co-sponsored a bill after the February 1 deadline, don’t give up! You can always ask them to send a letter to the Senate President and/or Speaker of the House indicating their supportfor a bill, and if you do, please be sure to ask that a copy be sent to you, too.

Progressive Reform and Co-Sponsors: Make A Call

Progressive Mass has made revenue reform and An Act to Invest in Our Communities” (ATI), filed by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Jim O’Day, one of our legislative priorities. ATI proposes to invest in our communities, restore budget cuts and end our state’s annual structural deficit by raising over $2 billion in revenue — and doing it fairly.

We want to see more legislators stand up for ATI–to show that they value investment in our communities and public infrastructure, and long-term economic growth, and that legislators are committed to doing it in a progressive, fair manner. Legislators right now are talking with one another, constituents, and advocates about where they stand on raising revenue; it’s critical that you to weigh in, too.

Take 5 minutes to call your State Representative and State Senator and ask them to “Please co-sponsor An Act to Invest in Our Communities.”

Is your legislator a Cosponsors for ATI? Check! - (click to show/hide) 

Use the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet frame to switch between “HOUSE” and “SENATE” cosponsors, and the cursor on the right side of the frame to scroll through all the names. Co-sponsors are listed first. Don’t know who your legislators are? Check here.

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