Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's weekly newsletter! Here is the latest on the news and developments worth knowing.
Spotlight On Progressive Leaders
Outrageous Maneuver On Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Bill
As Dispatch readers know, Pennsylvania State Rep. Dan Frankel and State Sen. Judy Schwank are leading the effort to pass the Pennsylvania Women's Health Agenda. The House has unanimously passed a key piece: House Bill 1796, which would make sure victims of domestic violence don't lose their homes due to nuisance laws that require landlords to evict tenants who call the police a certain number of times.
Unfortunately, the Senate State Government Committee attached language to H.B. 1796 to preempt local governments from passing paid and unpaid leave policies -- as if battered women don't need leave from work to go to the doctor or to court. Progressive leaders in the state are pushing back and working to pass a clean bill.
Paid Leave Policies Catching On
Paid leave policies are gaining traction in New York and Minnesota. The New York Assembly recently passed a slate of bills that would expand access to child care and paid family leave while Minnesota's House Labor, Workplace and Regulated Industries Committee passed an earned sick and safe time bill, whose chief sponsor is State Rep. John Lesch.
Stopping Discrimination vs. Promoting It
In contrast to the anti-LGBT, right-to-discriminate legislation pending in numerous states, the MarylandSenate recently passed an anti-discrimination bill, S.B. 212, sponsored by State Sen. Richard Madaleno to ensure transgender persons' equal access to employment, housing, and public accommodations.
Good News For Washington Families
The Washington legislature recently passed State Sen. Karen Keiser'slegislation to establish a state strategy on Alzheimer's. It now goes to the Governor for his signature.
In a major victory for women and families, the Washington Senate and House also approved, unanimously, H.B. 1840 to protect victims of domestic violence and keep dangerous firearms out of the hands of abusers who are subject to protection orders. The legislation is sponsored by State Rep. Roger Goodman.
West Virginia After The Chemical Spill
In its last days in session, the West Virginia legislature passed legislation to strengthen oversight of storage tanks in response to the Elk River chemical spill. Sponsored by Senate PresidentJeff Kessler, the bill now goes to the Governor.
Wage Theft In Iowa
In a common sense move designed to combat wage theft, the Iowa Senate recently approved legislation to require businesses provide in writing what they have agreed to pay their employees and keep a record of it on file. Incredibly, the corporate lobby opposed the bill.
New Arizona House Leadership
Finally, congratulations to Arizona State Reps. Eric Meyer, who is now the new House minority whip, and Bruce Wheeler, who is the new assistant House minority leader.
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Don't Miss It
Affordable Care Act. The deadline to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is almost here! The time to enroll is now. Encourage people to check out www.healthcare.gov and make sure they know financial tax credits are available. As the countdown continues, watch our social media accounts for infographics, key facts, and other helpful news you can share: @PSNwire and PSN on Facebook.
Attention Legislators& Staff: Toolkits for the PSN National Week of Action for Real Prosperity Across America, to be held in April, are available and more will be released in the coming weeks. If you are a lawmaker interested in participating in National Week activities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eye On The Right
Debunking Obamacare "Horror Stories." Yet another complaint about Obamacare turned out to be an ACA success story. This time, it's Julie Boonstra of Michigan, who appeared in an Americans For Prosperity attack ad despite expected savings of over $1000 this year alone thanks to the health care law. It's far from the first time that a "horror story" was debunked. Timeagainandagain, ACA opponents have tried and failed to use such anecdotes that crumbled under further scrutiny.
Convention of StatesMovement. Citizens for Self Governance, a group whose president lists in his bio that he was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, is spearheading a Convention of States Project -- an effort on behalf of a right-wing agenda to alter the U.S. Constitution. Georgia recently became the first state to pass a resolution and similar legislation is pending in other states.
Pulse Of The Community
Campaign Cash For Access. When the Supreme Court issued its infamous Citizens Uniteddecision in 2010, the Court’s majority opinion claimed that "independent expenditures do not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption. In fact, there is only scant evidence that independent expenditures even ingratiate."
That is why the political world is buzzing about compelling new research adding to the evidence that money creates access. According to the study, Congressional lawmakers and their top aides were more likely to accept meeting requests from self-described "donors" than "constituents." An informative Question & Answer with the paper's authors can be viewed here.
Higher Wages: Not So Strange Bedfellows. Increasing the minimum wage is an idea that's overwhelmingly popular with the American people, whose economic security has been losing ground for decades. But strong arguments for a higher minimum wage can be found in sources beyond the obvious ones, such as these 600 top economists, including 7 Nobel laureates.
Source: Economic Policy Institute
For a faith and values perspective on the minimum wage, check out this op-ed by Rev. Jennifer Butler and Sister Simone Campbell. Business leaders, from small business owners in this Small Business Majority survey to America's top investors, share their support for raising the minimum wage. Even those who decry "government spending" can find reason to support the idea, given that raising the minimum wage lowers the need for SNAP by nearly $5 billion per year.