In contrast to the conservative policies we've seen move in the states over the past two years, 2013 has so far seen at least a handful of states where progressive policies are being introduced and enacted across a range of issue areas. With legislative sessions about midway through, here's a roundup of the policies moving in a couple of those states -- Minnesota and Colorado:
From Missouri to Pennsylvania to D.C., anti-union "right-to-work" laws are still being proposed and debated. Michigan workers continue to fight their law in the courts weeks before it is set to take effect, while workers in nearby states remain prepared for similar legislation to emerge. Meanwhile, an "anti-right-to-work" bill moved forward in Vermont — legislation that would require all workers who receive benefits thanks to a union to pay their fair share.
Yesterday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law controversial so-called “right-to-work” legislation intended to weaken unions and which studies have shown depresses wages and lowers quality of life for all. The signing followed the rapid passage of the bill in a lame duck legislative session, and came on the same day that massive protests took place in Michigan's state Capitol. Across the nation, state lawmakers and others spoke out against the legislation, proclaiming their solidarity with workers in Michigan and promising to continue to fight against similar efforts in their states.
In a matter of hours and as constituents filled the Michigan state Capitol in protest, conservative members of Michigan’s legislature introduced, debated, and then passed controversial “right-to-work” legislation during a lame duck session. Progressive States Network, a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of progressive state legislators around the country, released a statement strongly opposing the policy.
This fall, voters in some states and cities will have the chance to do more than just push back. Initiatives are on the ballot that would directly confront the destruction that austerity economics has wrought on communities, while building national momentum behind policies to revitalize our economy and protect our democracy. All kinds of issues are at stake, from workers’ rights to corporate influence in politics, to whether corporations and the luckiest few will pay their fair share in taxes. While voters will be electing a president, governors, Congress, and thousands of state legislators this November 6, here are a few places where a progressive vision will also be on the ballot:
As leaders in state legislatures across the country, we urgently call on President Obama and the Congress to enact a new, broad-based job creation plan, including significant additional fiscal relief to states and local governments to foster economic growth and create and maintain jobs across the nation.
We need a strong job creation plan to foster growth, ensure that states perform the core functions that all American families deserve, and deliver jobs to Americans on Main Street. The gravity of the crisis demands swift and bold action.
Read the full letter and sign on!