189th Legislative Agenda (ARCHIVED 11/2015)

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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 Shared Prosperity agenda here. Advocate for our priorities with your Legislator -- use our handout (PDF, here) and let us know what you learn!

2015-2016 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

  • SD996: Medicare for All
  • SD1853/HD3411: Family and Medical Leave and Temporary Disability
  • HD1988: "We the People" (curbing money in politics)
  • SD1057: Progressive Taxation
  • SD1770 and HD1921: Repeal mandatory minimums (criminal justice reform)

Single Payer Health Insurance

SD996: An Act Establishing Medicare for All in the Commonwealth

Sponsors: Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Tom Sannicandro

This bill would create a Medicare for all "single payer" health care system for Massachusetts, guaranteeing first rate health care coverage for every resident of the state, while saving money for state and local government, businesses, and residents. Massachusetts cannot afford to extend good health coverage to all residents under the current health insurance system, and rising health care costs are destroying state, municipal, business, and household budgets. No country or community in the world has been able to control health care costs or guarantee universal health care coverage without a system like Medicare for All.

PDF FACT SHEET (forthcoming)

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Worker Justice

SD1853 HD3411: Family and Medical Leave and Temporary Disability Insurance Act

Sponsors: Senator Karen Spilka, Representative Ken Gordon

Serious personal or family medical emergencies arise for all of us at some point.  Individuals receive an unexpected diagnosis. An elderly parent’s health rapidly declines. And parents need time off to nurture and bond with their newborn or newly adopted children.  But despite the universality of these circumstances, most MA families face losing their jobs to care themselves, their families or children during these times.

 Nearly 40 percent of Massachusetts workers (1.2 million) are excluded from job protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because they work for companies with fewer than 50 employees.  In addition, the FMLA’s unpaid leave is not a financially viable option for most working families, particularly low-income and single parent households. 

The Family and Medical Leave and Temporary Disability Insurance Program Act (FML/TDI) will ensure that Massachusetts workers are not forced to choose between work and their own health needs or the well-being of their children and other family members.

PDF FACT SHEET (forthcoming)

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Overturning Citizens United

HD1988: We the People Act

Sponsors: Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Corey Atkins

This bill first calls on Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution affirming that;

1) the rights protected by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only and not artificial entities and

2) Congress and the states may place limits on political contributions and expenditures, and the spending of money to influence elections is not protected free speech under the First Amendment.

PDF FACT SHEET (forthcoming)

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Progressive Taxation

SD1057: Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution Proposal for a legislative amendment to the constitution creating a progressive income tax.

Sponsors: Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Jay Kaufman

The recent breakdown of the MBTA, the Governor’s call for new budget cuts, and the looming budget shortfall make raising revenue an urgent topic for our state.  Recent public opinion research shows a new awareness of the loss of shared prosperity and new support for steeply progressive tax reform.

A significant majority of Massachusetts residents do not feel the wealthy pay their fair share and would support a higher “Fair Share” tax rate on very high income earners.  Support is much more resilient if the new revenues are dedicated to funding transportation and education.  

MORE INFO AND SPREAD THE WORD: PDF FACT SHEET 

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Mandatory Minimums

SD1770: For Legislation to repeal mandatory minimums for nonviolent offenses

HD1921: an Act eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses

Sponsors: Senator Cindy Creem, Representative Benjamin Swan

Mandatory minimums for drug offences are pre-determined prison sentences for drug crimes. The length of the sentence is often based on the weight of the drugs, regardless of other facts of the case. Each year in Massachusetts, hundreds of men and women are sentenced to mandatory minimums. 70% of department of Corrections prisoners currently incarcerated for a drug offence were sentenced under mandatory minimums laws. There is no evidence that long, mandatory sentences either deter crime or reduce the number of drug crimes or rate of addiction. In fact, they prevent access to treatment.

PDF FACT SHEET (forthcoming)

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