Issues Blog

Entries, updates on issue organizing and information, legislative action, and other material related to our Progressive Platform and Legislative Agenda

MA House Votes Down Important Voting Protections

Yesterday, the MA House voted for a bill that took some important steps, but contained some glaring omissions.
Here are some of the key parts of the bill.
  • Sending an application to vote by mail to every registered voter for both the September 1 primary election and the November 3 general election
  • Ensuring all applications and ballots sent by mail include prepaid return postage
  • Ensuring that ballots postmarked by Election Day will be counted (but for the general election only)
  • Allowing voters to apply to vote by mail through an online portal and enabling any voter who wants to vote absentee to do so this year
  • Expanding early voting for the primary and the general
However, there were major omissions. And most reps passed on an opportunity to address them.
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No Worker Should Have to Choose Between Their Job and Their Health

Wednesday, May 26, 2020

Chairwoman Jehlen, Chairman Hay, and Members of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development: 

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts. Our organization and our 16 chapters around the state advocate for shared prosperity, racial and social justice, robust democracy, and environmental sustainability. 

We are writing today to urge you to give a favorable report to SD.2918/HD.5039: An Act relative to emergency paid sick time

Our top priority over the past two months has been to ensure that the Commonwealth’s response to COVID-19 is equitable and leaves no one behind. A guiding principle of an equitable response is that no worker should be forced to choose between their health and their livelihood. 

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2019 House Scorecard: In Review

At the start of the legislative session, PM and allies inside and outside the building made a push for greater transparency. We narrowed our asks to (a) more time to read bills, (b) more time to read amendments, and (c) the publication of committee roll call votes and submitted testimony online --- sensible rules that are in place in many other state legislatures. Accordingly, we scored the three corresponding amendments to the House Rules package at the start of the session (1h - 3h). The Rules debate led to a flurry of recorded votes, a welcome change from the status quo. However, we chose to score only the votes where activists had a clear ask. 

If Legislators regretted their votes -- or wanted to further their cause of culture change that they participated in, they could have signed the Transparency Pledge from Act on Mass, which PM and other allies have endorsed. This pledge involves committing to post one’s own committee votes online and standing for roll calls. That’s an important data point, so we scored it as well (25h). 

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