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
Standing With Working Families
Florida lawmakers, including State Senator Dwight Bullard and State Rep. Cynthia Stafford, recently introduced legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Similar legislative pushes are underway in other states, such as Illinois, Minnesota, and Maryland. As State Senator Marc Pacheco, the sponsor of the Massachusetts bill, pointed out, people working full time in very low-wage jobs cannot meet basic needs. Seventy-five economists, including seven Nobel laureates, further agree that putting more money in these workers' pockets would benefit the broader economy. In stark contrast, Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Senate voted this week to keep 5 million Americans cut off from the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program -- with dire consequences for the states.
A Proactive Agenda For Women
Last month, the Pennsylvania Legislature's Women's Health Caucus, whose chairs include State Rep. Dan Frankel and State Sen. Judy Schwank, made waves by unveiling a women's health agenda that represents a cross-section of issues and concerns facing women today. As part of this agenda, State Reps. Erin Molchany and Brian Sims recently introduced pay equity legislation. As Rep. Molchany said, "it’s about economic justice, support for families, and making Pennsylvania a national leader in supporting all of its citizens with the tools to succeed."
Protests Against Gun Violence
This week, gun violence prevention advocates protested against the gun industry's trade association in Newtown and Las Vegas, where the National Shooting Sports Foundation (which is headquartered in Newtown) is currently holding its annual trade show. At the Newtown event, Connecticut State Rep. Kim Fawcett criticized the gun industry practices that undermine public safety, including its marketing to children. As she noted, "It is incredibly critical that we join together ... and ask the gun manufacturers to stop marketing to our kids."
New Jersey In The Headlines
National headlines have been abuzz with news about New Jersey's legislative leaders, who have long been taking the lead on investigating Gov. Chris Christie's Administration's involvement in last year's shutdown of the George Washington Bridge. State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, State Assembly Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto, and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald are among the key players in this growing scandal.
Don't Miss It
Moral March on Raleigh. On February 8, advocates, organizational leaders, and people from all walks of life will march in Raleigh, North Carolina, to protest the overreach of the state's right-wing leaders, including Governor Pat McCrory, Speaker Thom Tillis, and Senate Leader Phil Berger. The Facebook event is viewable here.
Poverty & Shriver Report. With poverty and economic inequality back in the headlines with force, the timing of the Shriver Report’s "A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink" couldn't have been better. Based on analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and produced in partnership with the Center for American Progress, the Shriver Report explains how paying women equally for the same work as men would benefit men and women -- and strengthen the financial security of American families around the country. In fact, it would cut the poverty rate for women in half. The report covers other public policies that would also boost women's potential as breadwinners, such as paid leave -- a workplace policy that 96%of single mothers said would help them the most. For details, please check out the report and IWPR's analysis.