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PSN on March 25, 2010 - 11:57am
Update: Mapping the Progress of the Shared Multi-State Agenda
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Progressive States Network recognizes the value of a coordinated statewide campaign to advance progressive policies. To this end, PSN outlined a "Shared Agenda for 2010," a set of bills chosen by our network of legislators to encapsulate a basic progressive agenda that could move in multiple states this session. Many of these bills were chosen with partner organizations in mind, as strategic promotion and support could enhance and elevate work already at play in the states and build a more coordinated and comprehensive network of progressive advocates and policymakers.
Through strategic advocacy efforts at the state level, progressives can mobilize around core issues that embody our values and vision. Just as the right-wing uses targeted bill campaigns-- from anti-abortion bills to anti-taxation-- to establish their national political message, progressives can use more coordinated state policy work to project our values and vision to voters. In this Dispatch, we will explore the progress of our agenda by describing certain bills and the national reach of these initiatives.
This year's agenda includes the following issues. The links contain a wealth of resources, including model legislation, reports, and messaging, on each subject.
By advancing these policies, state legislators are pursuing an agenda to define what it means to be a progressive by promoting the values of rewarding work, valuing families, increasing democracy, promoting justice and growing the economy.
The 2010 shared agenda complements PSN's existing long-term core issue programs of implementing recovery plans, promoting progressive revenue campaigns, supporting Smart Growth and Green Jobs and Broadband and Technology Investments, our Health Care for All campaign, Wage Standards and Workplace Freedom project, State Immigration Project and our commitment to Clean and Fair Elections.
Please let us know if there are additional bills in your state not tracked on the maps or in the text below by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paid Sick Days
Building on successful wins in approving paid sick days law at the city level in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C., an increasing number of states have introduced paid sick days bills to make sure parents are not forced to choose between their job and staying home to take care of themselves or a sick loved one. Seventeen states in 2010 have introduced paid sick days legislation (click map at right) and a number of others not in session this year are planning to introduce it in 2011.
In Connecticut, where the House approved paid sick days last year, the General Assembly's Labor Committee has already approved a bill (SB 63) this year and it has even become a key issue being debated in the gubernatorial race. Hawaii (HB 1687), Massachusetts (SB 688/HB 1815), and Minnesota (HF 612) have moved bills out of initial committees, while Alaska (SB 86) and California (AB 1000) had successful committee approval last year, but haven't yet moved further in the current session. After spirited debate in committees, Maine (LD 1665) ran into tough business opposition and local groups are looking towards greater voter education to move the bill in the future.
Illinois (HB 3665), New York (A 3647/S 2666), North Carolina (HB 177/SB 534), Pennsylvania (HB 1830), and Vermont (H. 382) all introduced bills last year, which were carried over to this year's session. Alabama (HB 557), Arizona (HB 2741), Colorado (HB 1210), Iowa (SF 2337), and Rhode Island (H 7809) each introduced paid sick days bills for the first time this year.
To view a full map of paid sick days bills moving in the states, please click the map at above, or click here.
For model legislation, talking points, analysis of recent cases, ideas for messaging, a list of allies, and reports on the subject, please visit our Paid Sick Days campaign page.
Corporate Transparency in State Budgets
Dealing with the aftermath of the steepest economic contraction since the Great Depression, including declining tax revenues and massive fiscal gaps, states cannot afford to hand out enormous subsidies, wasteful tax credits or lavish contracts with little to show in return. In response, states across the country have embraced corporate transparency to assure taxpayers are getting value for their money.
2010 started positively with New Jersey's passage of S3153, which requires the Governor to include a tax expenditure report in the annual budget address. The bill's main sponsor, Sen. Barbara Buono commented, “This new law will make sure that when reviewing the State’s annual budget, we have all the information we need to put together a complete profile of expenditures."
Lawmakers nationwide have introduced comprehensive reporting of subsidy allocation, contract distribution, tax expenditures, and corporate taxation trends similar to PSN's model legislation, including: Arizona Rep. Thomas Chabin (HB2325), Hawaii Sen. Les Ihara Jr. and Rep. Roy Takumi (SB2868/HB2750), and Vermont Rep. Suzi Wizowaty (H.748) and Rep. Floyd Nease (H.723).
A strong bill with significant momentum is Colorado Sen. Morgan Carroll and Rep. Sal Pace's HB1350, which requires any entity that receives public funds for the purpose of economic development to file an annual report to the Colorado economic development commission on jobs created, wages paid, and other important categories. If the state finds that a recipient of an economic incentive has not complied with requirements, it has the authority to recapture any public money expended on the economic incentive. Other strong initiatives include Alabama Rep. Patricia Todd's HB514, California Sen. Dean Florez's SB1086, Massachusetts Rep. Steve D'Amico's H333, and Washington Rep. Bob Hasegawa's HB2110.
To view a full map of corporate transparency bills moving in the states, please click the map above, or click here.
For model legislation, talking points, analysis of recent cases, ideas for messaging, a list of allies, and reports on the subject, please visit our Corporate Transparency in State Budgets campaign page.
Given that buildings continue to be the source of disproportionate energy usage, green buildings legislation is critical to increasing energy efficiency across the country. These initiatives include greater performance and sustainability standards for state buildings, including schools, providing incentives for private investments in energy efficiency, and creating innovative loan programs like the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.
State Buildings: Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear recently signed HB 240, mandating all new and renovated buildings for which the state government pays more than 50 percent of the total capital costs to be designed and constructed under new high-performance standards. In Ohio, HB 7 requires buildings using state capital moneys to adhere to sustainability standards. Similar bills have been introduced in Nebraska (LB 977), Missouri (HB 1667), West Virginia (HB 2948), New Hampshire (SB 409), New Jersey (AB 2222 and SB 452), Wisconsin (AB 843), and Alabama (SB 87) promoting energy efficient standards for state-owned buildings. In an attempt to maximize job creation as well as to conserve energy, Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema introduced HB 2356. Rhode Island lawmakers are pursuing similar goals with HB 7720, the Green Buildings and Job Creation Act. In Washington state, Rep. Hans Dunshee has introduced HB 2561, issuing bonds for capital improvements to public facilities that will generate energy savings and create jobs.
Green Schools: There has been a growing trend of green school legislation in 2010. In Hawaii, HB 2321 and SB 2613 require Hawaii’s Department of Education to implement alternative energy designs for the construction or renovation of school buildings. Similar bills in Kentucky (SB 132) and New Jersey (SB 239) promote energy efficient designs in school buildings. In Missouri, HB 1922 provides grants for school districts that obtain LEED certification. By the same token, the Nebraska High Performance Schools Initiative Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Ken Haar and Heath Mello, provides grants to schools that seek infrastructural improvements that will save energy, improve the well-being of students and their academic performance, and create jobs.
Economic Incentives for Energy Efficient Construction and Renovation: Even as progressive legislators cope with massive budget cuts, they are finding innovative ways to promote energy efficiency construction and renovation while allowing tax credits, creating jobs, and providing other monetary incentives. In Iowa, Rep. Nathan Riechert has introduced HF 201, which allows a tax credit to apartment buildings and rental units that meet green building certification requirements. HB 445 in Pennsylvania offers a similar tax credit for high performance buildings.
Hawaii lawmakers are proposing an incentive program, HB 2557, based on bonuses for developers that construct green buildings. A bill in Colorado (HB 1332) creates a pilot program that awards grants to home-buyers who are selling current primary residents to purchase highly efficient new residences. Through weatherization legislation, certain states are trying to construct and rehabilitate residential structures for low-income families while creating job opportunities for the community. These types of bills have been introduced in Kentucky, through the introduction of HB408, and in Washington state, where SB 6468is ready for the Governor’s signature.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Bills: More than 15 states have enacted PACE legislation, and this year, four states are pushing this agenda forward. As a champion of green energy, Hawaii is also considering two bills on property assessed clean energy. One of them is SB 2865, which would provide a bond to commercial and residential property owners to finance efficiency improvements and small renewable energy systems. Accompanying this bill is HB 2643, which seeks to deposit PACE bond proceeds into a clean energy bond loan revolving fund. Similarly, legislators in Missouri through HB 2178, HB 2298 and SB 1037, are aiming to create a property assessed clean energy local finance fund through the implementation of the property assessed clean energy program and the Clean Energy Development Board. In Michigan,HB 5640 creates the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act and in New Jersey the bipartisan introduction of AB 2500 also creates the Renewable Energy District Financing Act.
To view a full map of green buildings bills moving in the states, please click the map above, or click here.
For model legislation, talking points, analysis of recent cases, ideas for messaging, a list of allies, and reports on the subject, please visit our Green Buildings campaign page.
Election Reforms to Help Drive Turnout
The major election reforms PSN is promoting this session are new options for voting by mail and national popular vote.
Permanent absentee voting, sometimes called “no-excuse voting” allows registered voters to vote by mail without having provide an excuse to register for an absentee ballot before each election. Laws like these address voting barriers and will help drive voter turnout in states across the country - just in time for the coming 2010 and 2012 election years.
Currently six states -- California, Hawaii, Montana, Colorado, Washington, and New Jersey -- have permanent no excuse absentee voting while Oregon runs a mail-in vote statewide and Maine has a permanent absentee pilot program currently underway. Other states continue to upgrade existing absentee voting laws to ensure that they are permanent no-excuse; twenty-three states do not allow for no excuse absentee voting. PSN helped introduce legislation last year, and will continue to support bills carried over to this session. In addition to those bills carried over to this session in Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, PSN has helped introduce model legislation in five states, including New York S2868, introduced by Sen. Joseph Addabbo, Iowa HSB133, introduced by Rep. Mary Mascher, Rhode Island HB7418, introduced by Rep. Amy Rice, Maryland SB293, introduced by Senators Jamie Raskin and Joan Carter Conway, and Alaska HB277, introduced by Rep. Robert Buch.
National Popular Vote (NPV) is a campaign to make every vote count in presidential general elections through passing an interstate compact where states agree to apportion their presidential electors to the winner. The compact would become effective when a majority of electors are included under the agreement.
Passing NPV will help progressive causes, as an election system that fosters broad participation and high voter turnout is essential to bringing about progressive change for the simple reason that a majority of people, especially many not currently voting, support the goals that progressives are striving to achieve. NPV continues to gain steam, as 29 legislative chambers have passed the bill in 19 states. Currently Maryland, Washington, New Jersey, Hawaii and Illinois have passed NPV. A number of states not in session this year are also discussing campaigns for the 2011 session.
To view a full map of green buildings bills moving in the states, please click the map above, or click here.
For model legislation, talking points, analysis of recent cases, ideas for messaging, a list of allies, and reports on the subject, please visit our Election Reforms campaign page.
Prescription Drug Reforms
Both to address the burden of prescription drug costs for consumers and ease their own state budgets, states across the country are moving reforms to lower the cost and increase the quality of prescription drug decisions made by providers.
Regulatory Oversight of Pharmacy Benefit Managers: One key goal is to increase state oversight of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). The provisions in this model regulate PBMs by requiring transparency, a fiduciary relationship, and annual audits to insure that the full value of negotiated discounts, rebates, or other financial considerations are passed through. In 2010, legislators in Arizona (HB 2272) and Iowa (SB 20171) have introduced comprehensive PBM oversight (mirroring PSN model legislation), while 11 more states (Alaska, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wyoming) have bills moving in their states that contain some PBM provisions.
Expansion of 340B Program: Another key reform establishes commissions to explore ways of expanding the number of provider entities who could qualify under the 340B drug pricing program. As 340B prices are a dramatic 19% to 20% lower than the purchase price of prescription drugs through Medicaid, states stand to realize significant savings by moving segments of their Medicaid population, or others who receive prescription services from the state, to a 340B program. In 2010, Arizona (HB 2272) and Iowa (SB 2071) have introduced expansions of their 340B programs, while North Carolina is exploring the possibility of moving a bill once their session begins in May.
Prescriber Education Services and Drug Industry Gift Bans: In an effort to improve the quality of health care, another key policy is prescriber education services (also referred to as academic detailing) while also requiring drug companies to either disclose gifts to providers or ban them altogether. Comprehensive bills have been introduced in Arizona (HB 2705) and Iowa (SB 48), while companion bills containing some of the prescriber education language is moving in Minnesota (HB 1640 / SB 895). Colorado has a gift ban (SB 126) bill with related provisions.
To view a full map of prescription drug reform bills moving in the states, please click the map above, or click here.
For model legislation, talking points, analysis of recent cases, ideas for messaging, a list of allies, and reports on the subject, please visit our Prescription Drugs Reforms campaign page.
Foreclosure and Predatory Lending Reforms
Given the enormous foreclosure crisis across the nation, there has been a wide range of foreclosure reforms proposed across the country (see NCSL's partial list here). PSN has identified four key reforms for 2010, including promoting mediation before foreclosure, protecting tenants in the foreclosure process, holding buyers of foreclosed buildings accountable for maintaining them to prevent blight and potentially discourage additional foreclosures, and offering those who have been foreclosed on a chance to rent their old homes to stabilize communities.
Mediation: Highlights for action on mediation in 2010 include the Vermont House approving HB 590, a mandatory mediation program. Minnesota is debating its Homeowner-Lender Mediation Act (SF 2170 /H.F. 2613), a revised version of a bill passed last year to encourage mediation and vetoed by their governor. And Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown recently lobbied that legislature to push the HB 472 mediation bill, while Washington is debating SB 6648. Other mediation bills include California's A.B. 1588, Massachusetts' H.B. 1649, New York's A.B. 8236 and A.B. 8945, Ohio's S.B. 197/H.B. 306, Pennsylvania's H.B. 1042, Tennessee's H.B. 235, and Wisconsin's S.B. 255.
Maintenance of Property: In Ohio, a comprehensive bill to force buyers of foreclosed property to maintain them, HB 323, was recently reported out of committee and awaits a floor vote in the House. Other maintenance of property bills include Illinois' H.B. 1122, Massachusetts' H.B. 3890, Minnesota's H.F. 1698/H.F. 1887, New Jersey's A.B. 203, New York's A.B. 5358/A.B. 6161, and Oklahoma's SB 1360.
Tenant Protection: Bills protecting renters in foreclosed properties were also widely introduced across the country, including California's A.B. 603, Florida's H.B. 125, Illinois' H.B. 2483, Massachusetts' H.B. 3571 and H.B. 1232, Michigan's H.B. 4211, New York's A.B. 2703, Ohio's S.B. 13, Rhode Island's H.B. 7045, South Carolina's H.B. 3567, Tennessee's H.B. 369 and H.B. 1394, and Wisconsin's A.B. 107/S.B. 78.
Right to Rent: Facing some of the worst foreclosure crises in the country, Arizona legislators have proposed one of the most comprehensive plans, HB 2765, that includes not only mediation, tenant protection, and maintenance of property provisions, but it is one of the only states pioneering policy to give previous owners of foreclosed properties the opportunity to continue to live at their homes as renters. New Jersey introduced right-to-rent legislation (A.B. 1441) as well.
To view a full map of foreclosure reform bills moving in the states, please click the map above, or click here.
For model legislation, talking points, analysis of recent cases, ideas for messaging, a list of allies, and reports on the subject, please visit our Foreclosure Reforms campaign page.
The Stateside Dispatch is written and edited by:
Nathan Newman, Executive Director
Please shoot us an email at email@example.com if you have feedback, tips, suggestions, criticisms, or nominations for any of our sidebar features.