Mass Dems Platform Gets Bolder - Can We Turn it into Policy?

If a platform is adopted and no legislators are there to enact, it, did it make a sound?

Yesterday, the Massachusetts Democratic Party adopted a new platform. Back in March and April, Progressive Mass worked with Our Revolution Massachusetts and the Progressive Democrats of America - MA on a list of recommendations to make the platform more progressive.

The good news is that a number of them got in.

Here's a run-down of new platform additions that were called for in the joint document:

Education

  • Free education is a human right, and therefore public education from high-quality universal preschool and full-day kindergarten through higher education and vocational training should be free to all residents
  • Fixing the public education funding formula to fully fund high-quality public education for all students
  • Ending the state's punitive use of high-stakes testing

Immigration

  • Becoming a sanctuary state, where all immigrants and refugees feel welcome and safe in all communities of the Commonwealth
  • Eliminating policies that make local and state officials responsible for the enforcement of national immigration laws

Labor and Workforce

  • A decent living wage for all workers and a $15 minimum wage that is increased and indexed to inflation
  • Strong laws to combat wage theft and misclassification of workers
  • Paid family and medical leave insurance that allows all employees to take job-protected paid leave to recover from a serious illness or injury, to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, or to care for a new child, and prohibits employer retaliation against workers who take time off under these conditions
  • Fighting for anti-discrimination laws to make sure that employers don’t take advantage of workers, employees receive fair compensation for their hard work, corporations obey the law, and employees are able to be their most productive in a safe work environment free from harassment.

Public Safety and Crime Prevention

  • Comprehensive criminal justice reform that includes the removal of mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes, giving the judge discretion with the sentencing in these cases
  • Ending the militarization of police

Voting and Democracy

  • Offering automatic voter registration
  • Ensuring early voting in all elections

And yesterday, two additional recommend planks got in as part of one of ORMA's floor amendments: mandatory de-escalation training for police an end to for-profit prisons.

It's a testament to the hard work and commitment of activists who showed up at platform hearings, submitted testimony online, and went to the convention that these got in. Give yourself a pat on the back!

But the important part comes next: holding elected officials accountable to the stated ideals of the party.

Democrats hold ~80% of the seats in both houses. However, as I wrote recently for CommonWealth, this hasn't always translated into progressive policymaking.

To my opening question, the answer depends on the activists (ALL OF US), who need to make sure that Beacon Hill hears loud and clear that the time is now (indeed, yesterday) to put such professed values and ideals into concrete policy.

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commented 2017-06-05 08:31:39 -0400 · Flag
Please add “ranked choice voting” under “Voting and Democracy”
published this page in The Latest 2017-06-04 20:56:24 -0400
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