Issues Blog

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

2019 Senate Scorecard: In Review

This is a companion doc to the mid-session Senate report card for the 191st Session of the General Court.

Although transparency was a controversial issue in the House, the Senate started off the session by voting unanimously for some good-government Rules changes, such as increasing the notice for hearings from 48 hours to 72 hours and requiring the posting of recorded votes taken in committee online (1s). However, not every pro-transparency proposal passed, as the Senate voted down a commonsense proposal to provide representatives more notice when a Conference Committee produces a final bill for legislators to vote on (i.e., moving up the deadline from 8 pm to 5 pm the night before) (2s). 

Even though the Senate is a more transparent chamber than the House, it still needs improvement. So, as we did for the House, we scored a Transparency Pledge that involved committing to post one’s own committee votes online and standing for roll calls. It’s an important data point (26s). 

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Send People Checks. Make It Simple. Do It Now.

Dear Chairman Hinds, Chairman Cusack, and Members of the Joint Committee on Revenue:

Progressive Massachusetts is a statewide, grassroots advocacy group with 16 chapters across the state committed to working toward the goals of equity, justice, democracy, and sustainability.

We are writing today to urge you to give a favorable report to the following bills:

  • 4634 (Miranda): An Act providing emergency access to equity and justice for all in response to COVID-19
  • 4726 (Barber / Farley-Bouvier) / S.2659 (Eldridge): An Act to provide equal stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers
  • 4727 (Gouveia): An Act providing for emergency cash assistance in response to COVID-19
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Mass Incarceration is a Threat to Public Health

estimony in support of Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa’s, bill HD.4963/H.4652
An Act Regarding Decarceration and COVID-19

Thank you for taking testimony in support of this critical bill during this terrible crisis.

My name is Caroline Bays, and I am testifying on behalf of Progressive Massachusetts as well as on behalf of those who are behind bars and do not have the ability to testify for themselves.

This has been a hard time for our state. We all have found this time difficult and sometimes even scary. Imagine if you had to live through this without any control of your surroundings. Imagine if you had to live with your ability to stay safe completely in the hands of others -- and imagine if those others are people who have previously shown no indication that they care about your welfare or well-being. This is a truly scary time for men and women in the prisons in Massachusetts.

In addition many in prison are more vulnerable to this disease. Those who are not fed appropriately or allowed appropriate exercise, are more likely than most to have comorbidities, a fact which increases the likelihood that they will die from this disease. Whatever reason they might be in prison for, nobody was sentenced to illness or death. When the state incarcerates someone, the state becomes responsible for ensuring their well-being.  Well, that is what the state needs to do. And that means releasing as many people as possible in order to ensure that these tragic deaths do not continue and spiral out of control.

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