Apollo's Fire and Updates on Family Leave and Paid Sick Days

Apollo's Fire and Updates on Family Leave and Paid Sick Days

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Conference Call: Housing Crisis and What States Can Do

This Wednesday, December 5th at 4:00pm EST, Progressive States Network will be hosting a conference call for state legislators and state policy advocates to share the best state policies being used to promote affordable housing that serves communities and ultimately protects the environment through smarter development and community planning.

On the call, we will have Senator James Condos from Vermont and Rep. Mark Miloscia from Washington State, both of whom have been great affordable housing advocates in their states, speaking about recent efforts in their respective states on affordable housing.  Also on the call, will be Kalima Rose from PolicyLink, Jeffrey Lubell from the National Housing Conference, John McIlwain from the Urban Land Institute, and Liz Wolf from ACORN.

Conference Call: Promoting Affordable Housing
Wednesday, December 5th
4pm EST/1pm PST
1-800-391-1709 (Conference ID# 70 94 24)
Please RSVP at

Please join us to participate in this discussion about how states can promote affordable housing policies that are not only equitable but environmentally sound.


Apollo's Fire: Tracking the Rise of the New Labor-Environmental Coalition for Clean Energy

The basic question asked by Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy is why, if America could once rise to the challenge of getting to the moon, it has been so hard to raise the national resolve to scale back use of fossil fuels we know are killing the planet and mortgaging our future to Mideast petrobarons? 

But unlike some DC policy tomes, this book by Congressman Jay Inslee and policy expert Bracken Hendricks concentrates on the politics of why we might soon see a change from past failures, as union leaders have found common cause with environmental, community and visionary business leaders to launch the Apollo Alliance, a coalition that has dedicated itself not to incremental changes but a wholesale revolution in American priorities. 

Clean Energy Means Good Jobs: The key to unity in this alliance between the United Steelworkers and inner city youth organizations and outdoor sports enthusiasts is the realization that a conversion to clean energy translates into replacing dollars exported overseas to jobs here at home. Studies by both the RAND Corporation and the University of Tennessee estimate that producing 25% of all American energy from renewables by 2025 would mean $700 billion of new economic activity in our communities and five million new jobs, even as we reduce carbon emissions by one billion tons. 

The jobs created, from manufacturing jobs in clean energy technology companies to construction jobs for rehabbing buildings, would be good paying jobs that could support a family. And because these "green collar" jobs would be needed all over the country, it opens up new opportunities for giving low-income communities new job opportunities.

The Way Forward: What's encouraging is that along with the political changes documented by the authors, smart businessmen are seizing the opportunity. In just the last three years, renewable energy investments have doubled and big institutional players like the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, with $190 billion in assets in 2005, are putting new money into this new green energy economy. 

Here at Progressive States Network, we are inspired by and proud to partner with the Apollo Alliance organization in the states where many leaders are taking on the challenge of building a new clean energy path. So read the book and check out the resources at the Apollo Alliance for policy tools you can use in advocating for clean jobs in your own state.

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Updates on Family Leave and Paid Sick Days Policy Campaigns

[Note: Progressive States has partnered with MomsRising in promoting many key policies to help families better balance the demands of work and family and the following updates comes from information shared among allied organizations due to MomsRising's good work.  You can see a list of their allied organizations at]

The 2007 to 2008 legislative sessions are shaping up to be ones where work and family issues take center stage, as voters increasingly demand that legislatures make giving people the time to care for their families the priority it is every day at the kitchen table. Below are a few of those key issues and the organizations active in different states.

Paid Family Leave

See the Multi-State Working Families Consortium and the National Partnership for Women & Families for more ongoing information on paid family leave legislation.

  • California - Work and Family Coalition: Advocates successfully passed a package of reforms to extend the state's paid and unpaid leave laws to cover grandparents, siblings, parents-in-law and grandchildren (SB727 and AB537 respectively), along with SB836 which would prohibit discrimination based on a worker's family status, only to see Governor Schwartzenegger veto all three, meaning all three issues will no doubt be around for 2008.
  • Illinois' Women Employed is working with a coalition to pass a Family Leave Insurance Program (FLIP) which would provide four weeks of paid family and medical leave at 67% of wages up to $380 per week.
  • The Maine Women's Lobby celebrated enactment this year of a bill guaranteeing equal access to the state's unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act for gays and lesbians and legislation protecting the right to take intermittent leave under the Act. 
  • New Jersey Time to Care Coalition has been supporting S2249 which would provide up to 12 weeks of family leave at up to $502 per week to care for sick family members or to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. The Governor and leaders in both chambers have committed to passing the bill by early 2008.
  • New York Time to Care Coalition is supporting A-9245 which would provide 12 weeks of family leave at up to $170 per week to care for sick family members, new babies, or newly adopted children.   The New York State Assembly passed the bill in June and there is strong hope that the State Senate will pass the bill in 2008.
  • The Oregon House, led by Oregon Representative Diane Rosenbaum, this year passed a Family Leave bill to provide six weeks of paid leave to take care of family members or new children, but the Senate failed to act, although the bill will likely be reintroduced in 2008.
  • Washington's Economic Opportunity Institute worked with a broad coalition to help make Washington the second state in the nation to provide paid family leave for all companies.

Paid Days Off

For more information on paid sick days efforts, check out the National Partnership for Women and Families, ACORN's Paid Sick Days Campaign site and the Multi-State Working Families Consortium.

  • Colorado 9to5 has built a work-family coalition to support state policy efforts to provide parents time off from work to attend children's school activities and to guarantee workers paid sick days.
  • Connecticut ACORN has led a coalition for a paid sick days bill, SB 601, that passed the Senate in May but did not make it through the House, but will be reintroduced with high hopes of being enacted.
  • DC Employment Justice Center is leading a coalition for a bill requiring 10 paid sick days annually (five for employers with five or fewer employees).  All Councilmembers have vowed to pass the bill.
  • Florida ACORN led a coalition in that state for a paid sick days bill that did not pass but will likely resurface in future sessions.
  • Georgia's Job/Family Collaborative is working to support the Parent Protection Act which would provide up to 24 hours of unpiad, job-protecte leave for people to attend school conferences or for family member medical appointments.
  • The Maine Women's Lobby will be working with the Work and Family Coalition in 2008 to promote a law, LD 1454, guaranteeing up to nine paid sick days per year in firms with 25 or more employees.
  • Maryland ACORN led a coalition for a paid sick days bill, HB 832 / SB 828, that stalled in the legislature this year but will be reintroduced in 2008.
  • In Massachusetts, Greater Boston Legal Services led a Paid Family Leave Coalition to provide seven paid sick days annually.  The bill is getting favorable support in both the legislature and from key allies throughout the state.
  • In Minnesota, a coalition led by Minnesota ACORN advocated for SF 1324 /HF 1334 for paid sick days in that state, but the bill did not advance in 2007.
  • Missouri ACORN worked to promote SB 637, a paid sick days bill.
  • North Carolina Justice Center is leading a coalition to pass HB 1711 to provide up to seven paid sick days annually. 
  • Paid Sick Days Ohio has successfully collected the 120,000 signatures necessary to put a paid sick days bill to a vote in the legislature and, if it doesn't pass, intends to collect the additional 120,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot in November 2008.
  • In Pennsylvania PathWaysPA has generated 10,000 postcards to the Governor and state legislators in support of paid sick days legislation.
  • Voices for Vermont's Children in 2007 promoted H 337 to provide seven paid sick days annually.
  • Healthy Families West Virginia will be introducing legislation to guarantee workers paid sick days each year.
  • In Wisconsin, 9to5 co-chairs the Keep Families First Coalition which is promoting a paid sick days bill and a school leave bill to allow parents to use up to 16 hours of Family and Medical Leave time to attend activities and conferences at their children's schools.

More Resources

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Apollo's Fire: Tracking the Rise of the New Labor-Environmental Coalition for Clean Energy

Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy

Apollo Alliance - States, Cities and Campuses

Progressive States Network - Building a Progressive Majority- Smart Growth and Clean Energy

Updates on Family Leave and Paid Sick Days Policy Campaigns


Multi-State Working Families Consortium

ACORN's Paid Sick Days Campaing

Multi-State Working Families Consortium

Eye on the Right

Anyone who has recently taken the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) can tell that the system isn't in great shape, but some misguided souls think placing a larger financial burden on riders is going to help. The conservative State Policy Network apparently agrees that riders should pay a "fairer share" of the cost. But let's consider some of the benefits non-rider taxpayers enjoy. Apart from cleaning up the air, each rider is one less car clogging up the roads. Perhaps all taxpayers should consider the subsidization of the CTA as an investment in their commute times and their children's health.

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The Stateside Dispatch is written and edited by:

Nathan Newman, Policy Director
J. Mijin Cha, Policy Specialist
Adam Thompson, Policy Specialist
John Bacino, Communications Associate

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