Headed to a MassDesm Platform Hearing? (check our calendar for locations/dates)

We have a take on that (go here), concrete platform recommendations (below), and action steps (below, and in the handout)


2017 MassDems Platform Hearing Tools for Progressives

| PRINTABLE VERSION | BRING EXTRAS TO HEARINGS! |


Recommendations for Platform Changes

1 | Healthcare | Recommended Additions

2 | Education | Recommended Additions Replacement

3 | Labor Recommended Additions

4 | Voting & Democracy Recommended Additions

5 | Judicial System New Recommended Plank

6 | Climate Crisis Recommended Additions

7 | Ethics & Transparency Recommended Additions

8 | Federal Budget New Recommended Plank

9 | Passing the Progressive Agenda MassDems Legislators can enact a bold platform by passing these bills in 2017-18.


Fight for a strong Platform. But Remember: a Platform needs an Agenda to realize its vision. Elected MassDems can live up to their platform by passing the bills on our Legislative Agenda

Before digging in to our MassDems platform recs, please read our note on the limitations and opportunities of the Dems platform process--and what we need to do as next steps: progressivemass.com/demplatform



| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

HEALTHCARE AND HUMAN SERVICES

Massachusetts Democrats believe that healthcare is a human right, so that every person enjoys a good quality of life and great health and wellbeing. We believe that high-quality and affordable health care should be available to all through a single payer government-sponsored program like Medicare, regardless of employment status.

Additions:

Massachusetts Democrats will support:

    • A Medicare for All health care system as well as intermediate steps such as offering a robust public option and allowing those over 55 to be able to opt in to Medicare
    • Blocking any attempts by Republicans in Congress to privatize, voucherize, or “phase out” Medicare as we know it.
    • Blocking any Republican plans to slash funding to and block grant Medicaid, which would harm millions of Americans.
    • Limiting premiums and out-of-pocket costs, including out-of-network costs.
    • A comprehensive benefit package for all that includes mental health care, dental coverage, hearing aids, eyecare, alternatives to nursing home care for those needing nursing home care, assistance for aging in place, etc.
    • Efforts to reduce prescription drug prices.
    • Guaranteeing non-discrimination by providers on the basis of source of insurance as well as full transparency regarding cost of services by all providers and by all insurance companies in Massachusetts
    • Providing funding for treatment and recovery to address the opioid crisis.
  • Eliminating racial, socio-ethnic, socioeconomic, and regional health disparities

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| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

EDUCATION

Massachusetts Democrats believe that all Massachusetts residents should have access to high-quality educational opportunities from birth through adulthood. We believe that our public education system should successfully prepare our children for lifelong learning; it should give them the tools to make contributions to our communities and to the intellectual, cultural, and civic life of the Commonwealth. We believe that our teachers, and the role they play in shaping the future of the Commonwealth, are deserving of the utmost high proficiency standards and to prepare them for college and career success. Massachusetts Democrats are committed to investing in public education because we know that it is the cornerstone of our society, our democracy, and our economic future.

Additions

  • Massachusetts Democrats believe free education is a human right, and therefore public education from universal childcare and pre-K to higher education/vocational training, should be free for all residents.
  • Massachusetts Democrats support
    • Ending the the overreliance on high-stakes standardized testing
    • Ending the expansion of charter schools
    • Preserving and expanding education in the arts
    • Making civics a required subject in high school
    • Fixing the public education funding formula to provide equitable education for all students in the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth

Replacements:

  • Replace “College affordability and needs-based financial aid” with the following language:

“Massachusetts Democrats believe free education is a human right. As such, we hereby affirm that (1) no arbitrary cap or means test is appropriate; and (2) this right shall be extended retroactively through cancellation of existing student debt owed by a current or prior student for education at a state school, college or university.”

  • Replace “We believe that our teachers, and the role they play in shaping the future of the Commonwealth, are deserving of the utmost high proficiency standards and to prepare them for college and career success.” with the following text:

"We believe that our teachers are deserving of the same respect as any other professional, and recognize the role that they play in shaping our children, the future of the Commonwealth, and the quality of our democracy."


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| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

LABOR

Massachusetts Democrats believe that all working people – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, race, religion, income, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, immigration or refugee status – should have the right to quality, family-sustaining jobs that provide a living wage, and access to education and training to make them employable and contributors to a healthy economy. We believe that the an essential part of an effective strategy to grow the middle class is to help people get out of poverty and promote economic equality by encouraging collective bargaining, increased unionization, and shared and employee ownership.

Additions:

Massachusetts Democrats support:

  • A living wage of at least $15/hour for all workers, indexed to inflation; the state’s Prevailing Wage Law and Responsible Employer Ordinances, including the Pacheco law; the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) to ensure workers on taxpayer-funded projects receive a decent wage, healthcare, and retirement benefits; and equal pay for women and communities of color.
  • Strong laws to combat wage theft, promote workplace safety, and guarantee paid family and medical leave of at least three months for all.
  • 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, non-harassing work environment.

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| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

VOTING AND DEMOCRACY

Massachusetts Democrats believe that voting is a right, not a privilege, and that every step should be taken to ensure that all eligible citizens vote in every election by eliminating voter participation barriers. This means that registration should be made as easy as possible, polls should be safe and accessible, the voting process should be quick and efficient, and no citizen should be denied access to the polls. We believe every vote should be counted and that all ballots should produce an independent auditable record.

Addition:

  • Change “Offering same day registration, early voting and no excuse absentee ballots” to “Adopting automatic voter registration and offering same day registration, early voting for all elections, and no excuse absentee ballots”

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| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

JUDICIAL SYSTEM (New)

Massachusetts Democrats believe in a judicial system that is unbiased and accessible to all, protects the rights of all parties, does not discriminate based on race, national origin, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or income level.

Massachusetts Democrats support:

  • Criminal justice reform to end mass incarceration and the racially disproportionate imprisonment of African American and Latino populations.
  • Repealing all mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes, including all drug crimes.
  • Ending the use and acquisition of militarized vehicles by our police departments.
  • Calling on our attorney general to create an independent commission to investigate every police shooting.
  • Promoting jail diversion programs, and implementing policies to assist non-violent criminals find work.
  • "The passage of the Safe Communities Act because we believe that tearing families apart solely due to their residency status destroys our communities and that the Commonwealth should not work with any federal department which attempts to do so, and that Massachusetts should prohibit any state taxpayer dollars or state agencies contributing to the creation of any registry based on a person's religion, race, national origin, or ethnicity."
  • The belief that individual municipalities have the right to determine who can vote in local elections.
  • Banning private, for-profit prisons
  • Mandatory de-escalation training for police forces to protect the mentally ill and other vulnerable populations.

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| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

CLIMATE CRISIS

Massachusetts Democrats recognize that climate change is real and is already causing disruption and destruction to our property and our lives. The melting of polar ice caps, increased numbers and severity of storms, increased drought and flooding are all changes we cannot ignore. We understand that these changes are a direct result of human activity, primarily greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas. We understand that the resulting Climate Crisis requires prioritized attention and action on the scale equivalent to a major war. It is urgent that we take immediate action at all levels of government.

Additions:

  • We call on the state party to create the Climate Action working committee called for in the 2013 platform, as a subcommittee of the State Committee no later than one month following adoption of this platform.
  • Neither Democratic candidates nor the Massachusetts Democratic Party should take money from the fossil fuel industry.

Massachusetts Democrats support

  • Aggressive repair of gas and oil leaks/spills, to be funded by the industry.
  • Moving Massachusetts to 100% renewable energy, including electricity, transportation, and the heating of all homes, buildings, and vehicles, with at least 50% renewable energy by 2030.
  • Guaranteeing that all new state vehicles be electric.
  • An end to the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, such as the proposed Kinder Morgan Connecticut Expansion pipeline that would run through Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.
  • Passing carbon pricing to reflect the true cost of carbon on our society, the environment, and the world.
  • Climate resiliency policies for all government agencies, from state to municipal, to protect public safety, reduce the loss of life, preserve wildlife and all species, and maintain a great quality of life.
  • Reducing fossil fuel consumption to the maximum extent possible. This includes rejection of tar sands oil, including the Keystone XL and Northeast pipelines; rejection of fracking; and elimination of coal capacity.
  • Disinvesting taxpayer funds from programs and policies that subsidize fossil fuel production.
  • Investing in wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels.
  • Reducing energy use, by supporting weatherization and insulation of homes and buildings, encouraging zero-emission vehicles, establishing a net-zero energy building code, reducing water and energy consumption, and embracing smart growth development.
  • Updating and upgrading infrastructure projects of all types, including transportation systems, with commitments to minimize climate change and its impacts. Upgrading the Massachusetts transportation system to invest in public transportation, including trains, shuttles, and buses, increasing bicycling and walking infrastructure and public ways, and discouraging sprawl development, roads, and highways.

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| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

ETHICS AND TRANSPARENCY

Massachusetts Democrats believe that public officials should be held to the highest standards of integrity and accountability. We believe that government should be open and inclusive. We know that preserving the public’s trust in government is critically important to the future of our democracy.

Additions:

Massachusetts Democrats support:

  • Promoting a policy and culture that is open and welcoming to all opinions and candidates at all levels.
  • Utilizing or creating a body that polices and investigates policy violations and responds to complaints.
  • Promoting and enforcing accountability of the Leadership.
  • Creating a comprehensive ethics training program for candidates and officials at all levels.
  • The expectation that Democratic elected officials and candidates adhere to the Democratic platform.
  • Calling upon all Democratic candidates for elective office to refuse to accept donations from corporate PACs, or corporate lobbyists, in order to reduce the disturbing influence of corporate money on public policies at all levels of the government and the perception of corporate influence.

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| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

FEDERAL BUDGET New

Our nation spends over half of its discretionary budget on the military, more than the next seven nations combined (several of which are our allies). No conceivable military threat to the United States can justify such a massive military expenditure. President Trump is proposing even more increases in military spending (and prisons) and corresponding cuts in necessary domestic programs including housing, environment, education and more. He proposes a $1 trillion expenditure on a new nuclear arsenal including new bombers, submarines, missiles, weapons production facilities, and destabilizing offensive nuclear weapons. Past increases in Federal military spending have severely undercut the amount of Federal support for Massachusetts transportation, education, housing, health care, infrastructure, and human services, which have increasingly forced state taxpayers to shoulder the burden of providing these essential services.

Massachusetts Democratic support:

  • Responsible reductions in military spending and oppose any increases, especially new nuclear weapons programs. We call for steep increases in spending to address the Commonwealth's people's need for housing, healthcare, food security, education, and climate action. Massachusetts Democrats call for shifting Federal resources to these needs from the bloated military budget. We call for corporations and those with higher incomes to pay their fair share. We call for the state government to educate Massachusetts taxpayers on how Federal dollars are spent, how this is changing, and how it impacts on the Massachusetts budget and taxpayers.
  • Healthy funding levels for scientific research.  Massachusetts is very dependent on federal grant money from such federal programs as the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation. If these grants disappear, the state must ensure the funding levels continue.
  • Public media, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Public Broadcasting System, and the arts.

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| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

The Progressive Mass Legislative Agenda

In addition to our progressive plank recommendations, we ask you to use our Legislative Agenda, which has identified current bills in the 2017-2018 legislative session that would move our Commonwealth in the direction of fulfilling the promises of a strong Platform.

If the Party platform is the promise, the legislation we’ve identified are real, viable steps to fulfilling them.

After the Platform hearings, pick up the phone, and ask where your legislator stands on the bills on our Agenda. Keep track, and stay involved.

SOME ACTION STEPS

  • Organize your community to launch an advocacy campaign for our legislative agenda: ProgressiveMass.com/agenda
  • In May, join us at our lobby day -- everyday citizen activists will be meeting with legislators to advocate in person for the Legislative Agenda and the ideals in a progressive platform: ProgressiveMass.com/lobbyday
  • To be alerted to legislative advocacy opportunities, please sign up at ProgressiveMass.com/signup
  • Be a part of the campaigns for the “Millionaire’s Tax,” Paid Family and Medical Leave, $15 minimum wage, Safe Communities, Criminal Justice Reforms; we help members and chapters plug into these campaigns in their communities.

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| TOP | | healthcare | | education | | labor | | voting/democracy | | judicial | | climate | | ethics/transparency | | federal budget |

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