Legislative Agenda for 2017-2018: Setting the Table for Bold Progressive Change

Tl;dr: We have released our progressive legislative agenda (progressivemass.com/legislativeagenda). There is a short, short window to take significant action. Before Feb. 2 (how about now?), send an email asking legislators to co-sponsor the Progressive Priority bills. For ACTION STEPS and SAMPLE EMAIL, go here: progressivemass.com/takeaction.


Massachusetts is blessed with the third largest Democratic legislative majorities in the country. But majorities only matter if they are put to work.

In the Age of Trump, it’s more important than ever for Massachusetts legislators to start stepping up their game.

Over the weeks since the election, we’ve been hard at work talking with coalition partners, conversing with legislators, and hearing from our chapters and members about how we can best advance our Progressive Platform in the new legislative session.

We want Massachusetts to be the progressive beacon to other states that we know it can be.

Legislators often say that they can only take up a handful of issues in one 2-year session (with the biggest priorities often hashed out behind closed doors).

But given the crises we face now (and were facing already, frankly), it’s time to think big. And it’s past time to make grassroots priorities our electeds’ priorities.

And, so, at the end of all of those conversations and meetings--and a lot of research and reading--we have zeroed in on 17 Priorities for 2017. Click here to read about the bills and why they matter.

And, as a complement to our primary legislative agenda, we have identified an additional 20 Bills to Watch, which we will also follow this session.


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After Marching, Another Step


This past weekend gave a pretty clear visual of how much power we have when we organize together. And we all know that showing up to march was merely the first step of many.

The next is engaging with the political process -- via electoral, issue and legislative work -- as well as the work of community organizing-- building communities of trust, making outreach and strengthening our progressive infrastructure. We're committed to both. 

This week, we are releasing our 2017-18 Legislative Agenda, and we will be asking progressives to make some noise about how Massachusetts should become a leader again in bold progressive policy. 

The Opposite of Trump

We all want to DO something to stop the coming wave of Trump's -- and the traditional conservatives' -- cruel and incoherent policies on immigration, health care, women's bodies, education, and their accelerating privatization and corporate kleptocracy. 

While many emerging activist networks are urging outreach to Congress, we'd like to propose that, in Massachusetts, we'll get a lot more mileage fighting Trump -- and making real change, helping real people who are vulnerable -- BY focusing on Massachusetts:

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Senate Republicans Aren't Hearing So Well

At least not when it comes to Trump's Cabinet nominees. In their rush to confirm, they have skipped over some crucial steps of the vetting process. If we don't make them slow down and do their jobs properly, we may end up with a Cabinet who will serve only themselves, not the American people.

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Samantha Bee (NSFW)

"Why is my tap water so thick?" A short Sam Bee segment on local elections. 

What happens locally matters. 

Check out our resources to help make it easier to make sense


Legislative Agendas

Issue info, education, updates on our blog

Organizing and Connecting at the Local Level: Chapters and Building a Statewide Progressive Network


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In the Dark, Undoing the Voters' Will


On November 8, almost 54 percent of voters in the Commonwealth voted to legalize recreational marijuana, an important step in advancing social and racial justice and combating over-policing and mass incarceration. However, yesterday, in a special session, without any public hearings or public notice, 7 legislators were able to postpone the opening date for recreational marijuana stores by six months, creating a limbo situation in which possession is legal but retail is not.


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JP Progressives take on Criminal Justice Reform


Report from the field  -- JPProgressives convened a community conversation on mass incarceration, following the lead of their chapter members. Engaging with neighbors, activists, advocates and legislators, JPP is doing the work of bending the arc towards justice. By joining the Jobs Not Jails coalition, the JP chapter of Progressive Mass will continue to represent progressive grassroots commitment to social justice, and help lead the organization to productive engagement and action. The chapter invites you to join the JNJ rally on Dec 13. More details are below.

Criminal Justice Reform is a core objective of our Progressive Platform. The Massachusetts Legislature will reconvene in January. Our Legislative Agenda will once again indicate which bills need our advocacy to get us closer to the goal of undoing the injustices of mass incarceration. Stay tuned for more from us on the legislative front. 

 More Than 150 Neighbors Attend Forum in Jamaica Plain to Discuss Mass Incarceration

This year, a standing room only crowd of nearly 200 people filled the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain for a forum on the problem of mass incarceration.  The event was organized by JP Progressives, whose members had previously established mass incarceration as their top social concern.  The forum was co-sponsored by 10 other organizations, including the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Mildred Hailey Tenant Organization, Black Lives Matter Boston, and the Jobs Not Jails Coalition.

The keynote speaker at the event was Rahsaan Hall, Director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program.

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Confronting Racism - Progressive Watertown Member Speaks at Rally

Richard Marcus is a member of Progressive Massachusetts and is on the Steering Committee of Progressive Watertown. Watertown's chapter held a series of forums on Race and the Criminal Justice System in 2016. He was invited to speak at the MetroWest Rally for Respect: Love Trumps Hate. 


The racism that threatened my father was not easily seen. 

On the day of my Mother & Father’s first wedding anniversary, they witnessed the Nazi Army marching into their home city of Vienna, Austria, under a cascade of flowers and cheers.

What my father had fled in his hometown of Berlin, was following him and it was time to flee again. Fortunately through luck and circumstance my parents were sponsored by a Jewish family in Dorchester and were able to flee to safety.  The special privilege that allowed me to be here today was that my father didn’t “look” Jewish.  My father’s family was fully assimilated and no longer practicing Jews, so my father was not circumcised.  When my father was stopped in the street by the Gestapo and was made to pull down his pants, he passed the test. Had he been I would not be standing here.

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On Question 2 the Voters Have Spoken. Is Beacon Hill Getting the Message?

I know that most of us here in Massachusetts are still reeling from the results of the Presidential election, but I feel compelled to share some thoughts on the outcome of the vote to raise the cap on charter schools.

On one hand I am delighted by the result of the vote. The voters of Massachusetts have spoken and they absolutely oppose any attempt to expand charters at the expense of traditional school districts. But on the other hand, I am utterly outraged at what the corporate education reformers have put our kids, our teachers and our school districts through over the last ten years given how little electoral support we now know that these champions of privatization have across the state.

Clear Message to MA Legislature

Consider this: Question 2 only passed in 16 out of 351 communities in the Commonwealth.

  • Seven of these communities are located in one single state rep’s district on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
  • The other nine are spread across six other state rep districts.
  • And the only other district where a majority of voters voted 'yes' is in Education Committee Chair Alice Peisch's district in Metro West.



(click here for larger image; click here for original image source at WBur/Edify)

This means that the 'yes' side only carried two of the 160 state rep districts in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. It was even defeated by a 2 to 1 margin in Speaker DeLeo's district of Winthrop/Revere.

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Building for the Next Battles, Celebrating Victories


On November 18, progressives from all over Massachusetts came together in Newton to reconnect and reflect on the past year. While we the national trend dominates all of our concerns, our member-activists are more determined than ever to dig in to the ongoing work of organizing and mobilizing our communities to engage on the issues that matter. 

In addition to the big win in defeating Question 2, our endorsees Eric LesserKen GordonPat Jehlen, Jack LewisJulian Cyr, and Mike Connolly won their races. We celebrated the hard work of the grassroots activists in our chapters -- in Worcester, Newton, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Needham, Watertown, West Roxbury, South Shore, Lexington.

Activists met and exchanged ideas and emails, and the energy for new chapters has never been stronger -- in Waltham, Springfield, Acton, Woburn, Andover, Stoughton and more every day. 

Read more from the evening from Senator Jamie Eldridge, below. Become a part of our efforts by joining us as a member, here.

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Election 2016: Move to Massachusetts


I would like Massachusetts to run an ad campaign across the country that says, "Are you scared of your neighbor?

Come to Massachusetts, we voted against Nixon and Donald Trump, overwhelmingly.

We will still have Obamacare, marriage equality and you can smoke pot to get by for the next 4 years.

Massachusetts, an American alternative to moving to Canada.

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