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PSN on November 13, 2009 - 8:25am
As we mentioned in September, Progressive States Network is working on a new core campaign, our Shared Multi-State Agenda, to advance progressive state policies nationwide through strategic support and coordination. Today's Dispatch marks the Shared Multi-State Agenda's official launch and so we'll share what a Shared Multi-State Agenda is, why we think it's essential for the state progressive movement, what individual policies are included in the 2010 Shared Agenda, and how PSN will work with progressive legislators and advocates to carry out this ambitious new work.
The new Shared Multi-State Agenda marks an additional project for PSN meant to complement our existing core issue programs and our timely, concentrated work providing technical support for states implementing recovery plans and promoting progressive revenue campaigns to invest for future economic growth, which dovetails with our Smart Growth and Green Jobs and Broadband and Technology Investments core issue areas. Other core issue programs we continue to support include our Health Care for All campaign, which will be working with legislative allies on implementing in the states whatever federal reforms are finally approved. And with workers facing wage stagnation and assaults on their rights, our Wage Standards and Workplace Freedom project will be supporting policies to strengthen worker voices and power in the workplace. Through our State Immigration Project campaign, we will support both federal reform of our immigration system and humane integration of new immigrants through state policies. Lastly, our Clean and Fair Elections project will continue to support needed reforms in our democracy to assure full participation by all Americans.
Table of Contents:
Why a Shared Multi-State Agenda?
Our current era of tough economic times and budget cuts, now more than ever, requires progressives to project an overarching agenda that reflects our values, from rewarding work to valuing families to increasing democracy. The right-wing has had much success over the years in using such coordinated state legislative campaigns -- from anti-gay marriage bills to anti-tax campaigns -- to establish their national political message. Progressives can and must likewise use coordinated state policy work to project our values and vision to voters during the 2010 legislative sessions.
By adopting a Shared Multi-State Agenda and introducing similar bills in multiple states, we can convert individual state policy fights into national campaigns that capture both media attention and grassroots excitement for those policies across the nation. The power of coordinated action and access to greater resources and support will also strengthen the advancement of key progressive state policies while helping to shape a message that projects progressive values.
In short, instead of being the folks who cut public services less, forward-thinking legislators can, through these policies, answer the important question "What does it mean to be progressive?"
How the 2010 Shared Multi-State Agenda Was Chosen
At our 2009 Legislative Leadership Retreat held in Detroit this September, legislators and advocate allies came together to discuss and select which policies would be included in the 2010 Shared Multi-State Agenda that they would then work to introduce in states across the country.
The policies were selected based on whether they best met the following criteria:
(1) reflect strong progressive values;
(2) have applicability in multiple states;
(3) have minimal or no budgetary costs;
(4) have significant support among organizational allies who can support the campaigns nationally.
The 2010 Shared Multi-State Agenda
The policies included in the 2010 Shared Multi-State Agenda are:
- Paid Sick Days — Require employers to provide paid sick days to employees for them to take care of their own illness, that of a family member, or deal with domestic violence.
- Election Reforms to Help Drive Turnout in 2010 and 2012 — Enact legislation to increase voter turnout, including improved public assistance agency compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), allowing all voters to vote by mail, and making presidential elections competitive in every state by implementing a national popular vote for the President.
- Prescription Drugs Reforms: Reducing Costs and Improving Quality — Enact an integrated prescription drug policy to curb costly industry marketing practices, promote generic medications and join multi-state collaboratives to pool state purchasing power.
- Corporate Transparency in State Budgets — Require full public information about how corporate interests benefiting from government contracts, economic subsidies and tax breaks are spending the money received.
- Green Buildings — Implement policies aimed at making new and existing buildings more environmentally friendly.
- Foreclosure and Predatory Lending Reform — Require lenders to use mediation, require proper maintenance of foreclosed homes, give homeowners right to rent former homes, increase state enforcement powers, and give whistle-blower protections to employees at lending institutions.
For those states that have already enacted or introduced legislation touching on one or more of these policy issue areas, we'd like to work with legislative sponsors and allies to evaluate current laws and/or bills to identify elements of our model legislation that can strengthen those already existing. Legislation already introduced is welcome for inclusion in the Shared Agenda campaign so that its advancement can be supported through our gathered resources and peer support.
If you know of legislators or advocates, national or state-based, working on these issues, please let us know so we may contact them - we welcome and invite the input of legislators and advocates with experience and expertise in these issue areas.
How Will the Shared Agenda Campaign Work?
PSN has already begun working with legislators and advocates to provide support for them as they introduce model legislation for each of these policies. We'd like to work with many more!
In the coming weeks, PSN will dedicate a Stateside Dispatch to detailing and exploring each of the chosen issues in the Shared Agenda. We will also hold national conference calls for each issue with legislative allies to plan coordinated policy campaigns across the country.
Shared Agenda Conference Call Schedule
Nov. 19th, 4pm EST: Paid Sick Days Conference Call
While not part of our official Multi-State Shared Agenda, we are also supporting Wage Law Enforcement policies around the country and will be holding a conference call on that issue on December 15th at 4pm EST.
We have also created special web pages for each issue in the Shared Agenda containing model legislation, bill summaries, research and other resources (see example to right). Please check these often as we will be adding additional resources throughout the campaign and especially in the coming weeks.
Our policy staff are also available to answer questions and supply information not on the website. Again, legislators or advocates can contact us about the Shared Agenda or specific issue areas through our website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As bills are introduced and sessions begin, PSN will provide ongoing resources and updates on legislation, as well as coordinate strategy and information sharing among sponsors and advocates for each issue area. We are excited about joining with legislative and advocate allies in building these campaigns across the states!