We Need to Use Every Tool in the Toolbox

The following testimony was submitted to the Joint Committee on Housing on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

 

Chairman Crighton, Chairman Honan, and Members of the Joint Committee on Housing:

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots advocacy group committed to fighting for an equitable, just, democratic, and sustainable Commonwealth.

It is because of those values that we write today in support of H.3924 (An Act enabling local options for tenant protections) and S.773 (An Act supporting affordable housing with a local option for a fee to be applied to certain real estate transactions).

 

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We Cannot Achieve Shared Prosperity Under Water

The following testimony was submitted to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

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Chairman Barrett, Chairman Golden, and Members of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy:

 I, Jonathan Cohn, Co-Chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts, am pleased to offer this testimony on behalf of Progressive Massachusetts. Progressive Massachusetts is a multi-issue, grassroots, member-based advocacy organization committed to an agenda of shared prosperity, racial and social justice, good governance and strong democracy, and sustainable infrastructure and environmental protection.

Progressive Massachusetts would like to go on the record IN SUPPORT of bills H.2810.

As a coastal state, Massachusetts is especially vulnerable to climate change. To put it bluntly, we cannot achieve shared prosperity under water.

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Help Us Start off 2020 Strong

Optimism! It’s a word we don’t hear much of these days. But, friends, we can be optimistic because, despite all the bad news we receive daily, together we are doing good work and making progress. 

With your help, we are making Massachusetts legislators fulfill our state’s progressive promise. Chapters working in unison bring pressure to legislators. Progressive Mass working in unison with ally organizations to coordinate and amplify brings even more pressure. Organized activism - multi-issue and single-vision - is necessary to counter big money, deeply-rooted prejudice, and legislative inertia. Organized action is also necessary to counter the angst and anxiety we all feel!

Our success is driven by small, monthly donations. Donate today to help our 2020 push to make Massachusetts a leader on progressive policy.

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It's about Respect

The following testimony was submitted to the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.

 

Chairman Pacheco, Chairwoman Gregoire, and Members of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight:

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots advocacy organization focused on advancing progressive policy here in the Commonwealth.

One of the most foundational progressive values is respect—treating every person with dignity and worth—and that is why we urge you to give a favorable report to H.2776/S.1877 (Resolve providing for the creation of a special commission relative to the seal and motto of the Commonwealth) and H.3572/S.1898 (An Act promoting equality and respect in the legislature).

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Voters: Tax the Rich and Big Corporations, Invest More in Transportation

Anybody who has ever waited in a station for perpetually delayed trains, driven through potholes, or sat in traffic congestion for hours on end knows that we have a transportation problem.

Indeed, a report earlier this year found that Boston had the worst rush-hour traffic of any major city. But this isn't just a Boston issue: voters across the state think that transportation should be a higher priority for the Legislature.

According to a new survey from WBUR and MassINC, 77% of voters support raising new money to invest in the Massachusetts transportation system, with similar numbers across regions.

So what can we do about it?

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Ranked Choice Voting and Early Voting: Making Our Elections More Democratic

Testimony submitted to the Joint Committee on Election Laws.

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

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I chair the Issues Committee at Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots advocacy group committed to fighting for progressive policy here in the Commonwealth. A core part of our platform is an electoral system that expands voting, the electorate, and its trust in candidates and elected officials.

Accordingly, we urge you to give a favorable report to An Act to use of ranked choice voting in elections (H.719/S.414), An Act providing a local option for ranked choice voting in municipal elections (H.635/S.420), and An Act to extend early voting for all elections (H.681/S.390).

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Crumbling Infrastructure Isn't Just a Halloween Fright -- It's a Year-Round Reality

TL;DR: Tell your state legislators it's time to make corporations pay their fair share.


Structurally deficient bridges. Congested roads in desperate need of repaving. Buses and trains that never manage to come on time. These are a daily reality in Massachusetts.

It's gotten so bad that CNBC recently ranked us 48th in the country in infrastructure, and the American Society for Civil Engineers gave us a D+.

The reason for this is no mystery. Misguided, regressive tax cuts from two decades ago, combined with a Legislature beholden to throwback anti-tax sentiments, have led to severely reduced revenue for the investments we need in our infrastructure.

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The Criminal Justice Reform Bill Was Comprehensive -- But Not Complete

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

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots advocacy group fighting to make Massachusetts a leader on progressive policy.

Our platform demands justice for all, wherein underrepresented and/or vulnerable communities are protected under the law and treated with dignity and respect and tools for economic mobility. Criminal justice reform is an essential part of that, especially creating a system that ensures public safety, strong communities, and effective use of public funds.

The comprehensive criminal justice reform bill passed last session took many important steps in such a direction, born out of a recognition of the social and economic costs of mass incarceration. However, the fact that the law was comprehensive does not mean that it was complete, and many vital reforms were left on the table.

One example is raising the age of criminal majority. That is why we are submitting testimony today in support of H.3420/S.825: An Act to Promote Public Safety and Better Outcomes for Young Adults.

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"We Measure What We Value."

Dear Chairman Pacheco, Chairwoman Gregoire, and Members of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight:

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee at Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots advocacy group working to advance progressive policy here in the Commonwealth.

A core part of our platform is justice, wherein underrepresented and/or vulnerable communities are protected under the law and treated with dignity and respect and tools for economic mobility. Aims include. That is why we’re writing today in support of H.2681, An Act Ensuring Equitable Representation in the Commonwealth, filed by Representative Tackey Chan.

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"Massachusetts Doesn't Need to Be Complicit."

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 

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

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I serve as the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots advocacy group focused on advancing progressive policy here in Massachusetts. We are committed to fighting for a sensible and human-focused immigration system, wherein all historically marginalized communities are protected under the law and treated with dignity and respect.

The current immigration system is as far from that as possible. Although our federal immigration system worked against public safety and community stability before January 2017, the current presidential administration has chosen to double down on all of the worst elements of our immigration system, in betrayal of the values that many hold dear and that our country pretends to have. 

Massachusetts does not need to be complicit in this. 

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