Take Action: Here's How to Keep it ūüíĮ, Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, people shouldn't have to sue to make progressive change happen, but too often, that's been the case. Two and a half decades ago, parents sued the state for failing to guarantee a high-quality education for all children, and they're doing so again today. Similarly, lawsuits have been necessary to force the state to take the bold action on climate change that's required for a resilient and sustainable future. 

It shouldn't have to be this way. If our elected officials were bold enough, they would be proactively passing the bills to move us forward, not waiting until they're forced to.

That's where you come in.

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Will MA Be a Leader on Housing Access & Equity?

Chairman Eldridge, Chairwoman Cronin, and Members of the Judiciary Committee: 

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts. Progressive Massachusetts is a statewide grassroots advocacy organization that fights for shared prosperity and racial and social justice. 

Shared prosperity is impossible in a state where people cannot afford to live or are barred from opportunities for housing. Tackling our affordable housing crisis requires action on a wide variety of fronts, and curbing the outsize role of eviction records in access to housing is an important part. We urge you to give a favorable report to the HOMES Act (S.824/H.3566). 

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Take Action: Families Are Being Ripped Apart Right Here in MA.

Every day, we hear new horror stories about families being ripped apart at the border and the terrible conditions that children seeking asylum are held in. 

We can -- and must -- continue to lobby our elected officials in Washington to do all they can to close the dystopian detention camps and craft a humane immigration system. 

But there’s work to be done in Massachusetts, too. Police officers in Massachusetts are being deputized by ICE to act as immigration officials, ripping families apart and forcing our immigrant friends and neighbors to live in fear. 

Massachusetts, we can do better. 

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The Safe Communities Act (SCA) will enable us to do so. 

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Dignity Should Not Be a District-by-District Decision

The following testimony was submitted to the Joint Committee on Education on June 25, 2019.

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Chairman Lewis, Chairwoman Peisch, and members of the Joint Education Committee: 

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots advocacy organization fighting for progressive policy. 

One of the planks in our organization‚Äôs platform is an ‚ÄúAll means all‚ÄĚ agenda of racial and social justice. That means ensuring that underrepresented communities are treated with dignity and respect.¬†

The reduction of Native American identity to ‚Äúmascot‚ÄĚ status is the opposite of that. We would like to go on record in support of Bill S.247/H.443 (An Act Prohibiting the Use of Native American Mascots by Public Schools in the Commonwealth).¬†

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Everyone Deserves a Safe and Respectful Workplace

The following testimony was submitted to the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development on June 25, 2019.

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Chairwoman Jehlen, Chairman Brodeur, and members of the Joint Labor and Workforce Development Committee: 

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts. Progressive Massachusetts is a statewide grassroots advocacy organization that fights for social and economic justice. 

Good-paying jobs with fair working conditions are a central part of our organization’s shared prosperity agenda. As such, Progressive Massachusetts would like to go on the record in support of S.1072 (An Act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing and harassment), known as the Healthy Workplace Bill. 

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One of the Wealthiest States and One of the Most Unequal

The following is testimony submitted to the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

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Chairwoman Jehlen, Chairman Brodeur, and members of the Joint Labor and Workforce Development Committee: 

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts. Progressive Massachusetts is a statewide grassroots advocacy organization that fights for shared prosperity, racial and social justice, good government and strong democracy, and sustainable infrastructure and environmental protection. 

Central to our agenda of shared prosperity is good-paying jobs with fair working conditions. As such, Progressive Massachusetts would like to go on the record in support of H.1609/S.092 (An Act Updating Overtime Protections to Protect the Commonwealth’s Middle Class Workers) and H.1617/S.1082 (An Act Requiring One Fair Wage). 

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Living up to the Ideals of Democracy in Policy and Practice

The following testimony was submitted to the Joint Committee on Election Laws on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

Chairman Finegold, Chairman Lawn, and members of the Joint Committee on Election Laws,

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts. Progressive Massachusetts is a statewide grassroots advocacy organization that fights for shared prosperity, racial and social justice, good government and strong democracy, and sustainable infrastructure and environmental protection.

When the basic practices and principles of our democracy are under attack on the national level and in states across the country, it is important for Massachusetts to take steps to redouble our commitment to democracy and citizen engagement here at home.

A strong democracy is one in which all citizens have the opportunity and ability to participate and make their voices heard. Progressive Massachusetts would thus like to go on record in support of S.396 / H.685 (An Act relative to election day registration), S.389 / H.720 (An Act ensuring municipal participation of the widest eligible range), S.404 / H.646 (An Act promoting political participation), and S.392/H.669 (An Act increasing voter registration and participation to help prevent recidivism).

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No One Should Have to Cross State Lines for Health Care

Chairman Eldridge, Chairwoman Cronin, and members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary,

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chairman of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts. Progressive Massachusetts is a statewide grassroots advocacy organization devoted to shared prosperity and racial and social justice. 

Progressive Massachusetts would like to go on the record IN SUPPORT of H. 3320, An Act removing obstacles and expanding access to women's reproductive health, and S. 1209, An Act to remove obstacles and expand abortion access, jointly known as the ROE Act.

Massachusetts has been a leader in health care in the US, with our 2006 health care law setting an example for the Affordable Care Act. But despite our achievement of near universality in health insurance coverage, not everyone has access to safe, legal abortion. We cannot fully achieve the goal of universal health care without reproductive justice.

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"It's Called Insurance Insecurity, and It's Traumatic"

The following testimony was delivered to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in support of H.1194/S.683 

In December 2015, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes. Before I even had a treatment plan, and was in still shock at hearing my diagnosis, I met with the Financial Office to find out what my coinsurance and cap was for my out-of-pocket payments. This insurance-centric reality followed every step of my treatment plan.  

Cancer taught me to live every day and be grateful but it taught me other things as well.  Catastrophically ill patients and those with chronic illnesses often lose their life savings to the current medical system. The wicked good Cadillac health insurance I had from my ex-husband did not cover the whole thing. I was expected to pay 10% as coinsurance. Some plans call for the patient to pay 30% of the costs of their treatment.  For 2019 the capped amount is $7,900 for an individual and $15,800 for a family. This amount is before copays, medications, and many other needed procedures that patients carry the bill for in their treatment. I found out very quickly that people go bankrupt because they get sick. Many lose their house after 4 or 5 years as they can never make up for lost income and what they had to pay into the system.

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Let's Start Treating Health Care as a Right

The following testimony was delivered to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

Chairwoman Friedman, Chairwoman Benson, and members of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing:

Thank you for holding this hearing today. My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts. Progressive Massachusetts is a statewide grassroots advocacy organization devoted to shared prosperity, racial and social justice, good government and strong democracy, and environmental protection and sustainable infrastructure.

Medicare for All is a quintessential part of shared prosperity, and we are proud to support S.683 / H.1194: An Act establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts has a storied role in the history of the fight for universal health care in the US. Our former senator Ted Kennedy was a longtime champion of single payer, and our 2006 health care reform law was a model for the Affordable Care Act nationally.

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