"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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"A security that disenfranchises is no security at all."

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

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

I’m writing on behalf of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide member-driven advocacy organization committed to advancing progressive policy in our state. Since our founding, good government and strong democracy have been an essential part of our mission.  

As the 2020 election approaches, we need to be thinking about how we can best improve the security of our elections and the participation in our elections. Too often, security and participation are pitted against each other, and a security that disenfranchises is no security at all.  

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The Student Opportunity Act is a Win. Let's Make it Better.

Four years ago this very month, the Foundation Budget Review Commission highlighted how the state has been shortchanging public schools due to an outdated funding formula.

Because of the advocacy of teachers, students, parents, community members, and YOU, that formula will finally get fixed.

The Student Opportunity Act will provide $1.5 billion per year in new school funding to help the students who need it the most.

Tomorrow, when the MA Senate votes on the bill, we have an opportunity to strengthen it so that this once-in-a-generation bill is as strong as possible.

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Let's Bring Election Day Day Registration to Massachusetts.

Today is National Voter Registration Day. It’s also Election Day for cities like Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, and Taunton. 

With our 20-day voter registration cutoff, the last day to register, or update your registration, was all the way back in the beginning of September. By the time that a graduate in a new apartment, a young family seeking more affordable rent or more space, or a retiree looking to downsize may have found out that an election was even happening, they risked being shut out of participation.

That’s neither just nor necessary. 

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"Sexual Harassment Occurs in the State House every single day."

The #MeToo movement brought national attention to how pervasive sexual assault and sexual harassment are across institutions and industries, but anyone who ever worked or advocated in the Massachusetts State House already knew.

As State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa (D-Northampton) said in a recent article, “Sexual harassment occurs in the State House every single day.” 

And that needs to change. 

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Driver's Licenses: An Equity Issue and a Public Safety Issue

Chairman Boncore, Chairman Straus, and members of the Joint Committee on Transportation, my name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am pleased to offer testimony. Progressive Massachusetts would like to go on record in support of S.2061 / H.3012: An Act relative to work and family mobility.

The Work and Family Mobility Act would enable all qualified state residents to apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license, regardless of immigration status, to increase road and public safety and allow for greater mobility across our Commonwealth.  

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What Do Raytheon, Staples, and GE Have in Common? They Don't Pay Enough in Taxes.

The bad news: Train derailments. The certified worst traffic in the country. Underfunded public schools. Tuition hikes at public colleges and universities. A growing statewide affordable housing crisis. Every day, we see new examples of how Massachusetts is in dire need of new revenue.

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Are Your Legislators Keeping It 💯 for Our Students?

In the 1980s, steep cuts in property taxes strained school budgets across the state, creating gaping inequalities between the richest and poorest communities.

In response to that, parents from Brockton sued the state, claiming that it was failing to meet its constitutional obligation to “cherish” education for all students. This language written goes all the way back to John Adams.

In June of 1993, the Legislature responded to this lawsuit -- and the underlying funding crisis -- by passing the Education Reform Act, which has shaped the course of public education in Massachusetts since.

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💯% Renewable Energy: We Have the Technology. We Need the Policy.

The following testimony was submitted to the TUE Committee on July 22, 2019.

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

My name is Jonathan Cohn, and I am the chair of the Issues Committee of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide grassroots advocacy organization devoted to advancing progressive policy in the Commonwealth. As such, we are committed to fighting for an energy system that reduces pollution, promotes clean energy, reduces greenhouse gasses and protects our natural climate and environment.

The 100% Renewable Energy Act (S.1958/H.2836) will help us achieve that, and we urge you to give these bills a favorable report.

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