Take Action: The Legislative Session Ends in One Week

The Legislative session here in Massachusetts ends one week from today, and there's still a lot to get done.

Find your state representative's contact info here, and then give them a call on these key issues. πŸ“žπŸ“žπŸ“žπŸ“ž.

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Fully Funding Public Schools for All Students

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The world has changed a lot since 1993. But one thing has remained the same: the funding formula that Massachusetts uses for local aid to schools.

A 2015 Commission from the Legislature ("Foundation Budget Review Commission," or FBRC) found that we are shortchanging local aid to schools by $1 to $2 billion a year due to outdated assumptions about the costs of health care, special education, English Language Learners, and closing income-based achievement gaps.
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In May, the MA Senate unanimously passed legislation to update the funding formula for these four categories. However, when the House took up an education bill earlier this month, they left out English Language Learners and low-income students. Massachusetts should not be leaving the most vulnerable students behind.
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The bills are now in Conference Committee. Urge your state representative to fight for the inclusion of English Language Learners and low-income students in the final bill.

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Leading on Climate Change

Last month, the MA Senate unanimously passed the most comprehensive climate change legislation in the country. However, as Andrew Gordon from 350 Mass explains here, the House dropped the ball, passing a much weaker bill that does not rise to the level of the climate crisis at hand.
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In these last two weeks of the legislative session, a Conference Committee will be working out the final details of a consensus bill. Urge your state representative to lobby the Conference Committee to support the following:
  1. Increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 3% so that we can reach 50% renewable energy by 2030 and be 100% renewable by 2050.Β 
  2. Fair access to solar (incorporated as Amendment 43 to the Senate energy bill), to require MA to ensure access for low-income communities, renters, and residents of environmental justice communities.

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MA Needs to Stand up for Immigrant Families

Last week, the House and Senate passed a Conference Committee budget that LEFT OUT vital protections for immigrant families.

In May, the MA Senate passed four key immigrant protections (taken from the Safe Communities Act) as part of their FY2019 budget:

  • Β Β Β  Bar police from asking about people’s immigration status unless required by law;
  • Β Β Β  End 287(g) contracts that deputize state and local law enforcement as ICE agents;
  • Β Β Β  Require that immigrants be notified of their due-process rights; and
  • Β Β Β  Ensure that Massachusetts does not contribute to any registry based on religion, ethnicity, citizenship, or other protected categories.

But the House let us down. Urge your state legislators to pass vital Safe Communities Act protections before the session ends next week. (Need your senator's #? You can find that here.

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