Raise Up Massachusetts is currently seeking proposals for the 2019-2020 legislative cycle. If you or your organization have not submitted one yet, please do so here.
Submissions should fit with our mission and the key criteria and guidelines in this document. All proposals are due to the Raise Up Grassroots Committee by October 31st, to accommodate member organizations' internal timelines for decision-making. In November, the Grassroots Committee will vote on which issues Raise Up will take on in the 2019-2020 legislative cycle.
Raise Up Massachusetts has already received around 20 proposals, on topics ranging from wage theft to carbon tax to child care. Please see below for a summary of each one. If you would like to see each proposal in full, please visit this link.
Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates
Deb Falzoi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Workplace anti-bullying legislation
Issue Description: The Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates have worked for eight years to pass workplace anti-bullying legislation (also called “The Healthy Workplace Bill”) in Massachusetts. If passed, the law would hold employers accountable for bullying employees in Massachusetts. The Healthy Workplace Bill would create a legal claim for bullying targets who can prove they were subjected to malicious, health-harming behavior and provide defenses for employers who act preventively and responsively to discourage frivolous claims.
Unitarian Universalist Massachusetts Action
Laura Wagner, LWagner@uumassaction.org
Issue Title: End wage theft
Issue Description: This would focus on contractors and directly address the corrupt system that currently protects contractors and exploits low wage workers and undocumented workers.
Massachusetts Peace Action
Michelle Cunha, email@example.com
Issue Title: Emergency Pay
Issue Description: When the Governor declares a state of emergency due to weather (blizzard, hurricane, etc), many white collar workplaces will heed the governor's call and close their campuses. Retail and hourly wage workers are not given the same benefit and are required to work in dangerous weather because they do not have enough paid time off. This would require employers to pay employees their regular rate of pay even if the store is closed.
Massachusetts Peace Action
Prasannan Parthasarathi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: The People's Budget
Issue Description: The Congressional Progressive Caucus has put together a broad and popular budget that will have widespread social benefits. It will invest in our economy, creating jobs; it will expand spending on education, healthcare, and housing; it will make the tax system fairer; it will shift money from wasteful military spending into social needs. In the process it will reduce racial, gender, and economic inequality. Mass. Peace Action is asking Raise Up to endorse the People's Budget.
Michael Kozu, email@example.com
Issue Title: Census Citizenship Question
Issue Description: This proposal opposes placing a citizenship question on the 2020 US Census. This would have significance both statewide and nationally, and targets communities with large immigrant populations.
Worcester Interfaith (MCAN)
Frank Kartheiser, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Affordable Housing
Issue Description: The lack of safe, affordable housing is the number one priority in Worcester. It has everything to do with stabilizing neighborhoods and halting gentrification. Because of its proximity to Boston, Worcester housing prices and rents are increasing faster than families can keep up with them. Estimates are that Worcester needs 5-10% more affordable housing.
Seacoast RUM Volunteers
Pam Wool, email@example.com
Issue Title: Anti-Gentrification
Issue Description: There are three components to this Anti-Gentrification/Affordable Housing Proposal: a luxury housing tax, an anti-speculation/anti-flipping tax, with the revenues from these taxes allocated to incentivize more affordable housing.
Issue Title: Fair Share Redux
Issue Description: Working on the Fair Share Amendment again but without the education and transportation allocation language.
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Alison Lee Sikowitz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Progressive revenue
Issue Description: A signature or legislative campaign for progressive revenue. This could be a millionaire’s tax, raising corporate income tax, second home tax, etc.
Issue Title: Worker Benefits
Issue Description: Broadly, a campaign for worker benefits that would impact all/the majority of working people. For example, universal retirement.
Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts
John Lippitt, email@example.com
Issue Title: Child care
Issue Description: Most working families in MA with a child under school age struggle with the cost of early care and education (ECE). Funding for subsidies to assist with the cost of ECE is inadequate with 19,000 children on the waiting list and more whose families don’t bother to submit their names because of the long waitlist. This proposal would increase funding for ECE to support universal access to quality ECE.
Scholars Strategy Network, Boston Chapter
Ben Railton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Education costs
Issue Description: Everyone in Massachusetts - not only students at every level of the education system, but everyone who lives in the state and whose taxes, property values, community experiences, and more are tied to education. This proposal targets the interconnected issues of the cost of higher ed and of the crease in inequitable public education funding.
Lisa Young, email@example.com
Issue Title: Fair Share Tax on Polluters
Issue Description: This proposal taxes polluters bringing fossil fuels into the state to generate revenue for local clean energy, transportation, and climate resiliency projects that will create jobs, reduce pollution, combat climate change, assist low-income households with energy costs, and grow a green economy that works for all of us.
National Association of Social Workers - MA
Sophie Hansen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Universal Pre-K/K and/or Free Childcare
Issue Description: This proposal would guarantee all families across the Commonwealth free childcare or access to pre-K/K, and will create jobs for families that don't have children.
Jonathan Cohn, email@example.com
Issue Title: Paid Vacation Time
Issue Description: This proposal requires employers to provide at least 10 days (2 weeks) of paid vacation time per year. 23% of US workers receive no paid vacation days at all, and the average is 10. This would help all workers below that threshold and encourage employers who provide benefits equal or slightly higher to provide more in order to be competitive. The US is the only country without a paid vacation time mandate, and no US state has passed such legislation yet.
Chris Condon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Retirement Security
Issue Description: This would provide options for more Massachusetts residents to save for retirement, and would affect over 1 million Massachusetts workers who currently work with no way to save for retirement.
Merrimack Valley Project
Trevor LaFauci, email@example.com
Issue Title: Safe Communities Act of Massachusetts
Issue Description: The Safe Communities Act offers much-needed statewide immigrant protections for both documented and undocumented immigrants (~800,000 MA residents), and would provide legal protections for some of the state's most vulnerable residents.
Issue Title: Affordable Housing
Issue Description: MA is in a statewide housing crisis where housing is no longer affordable for the vast majority of working individuals and families. Affordable housing allows low-income people access to new communities and avoids the creation of “slums”.
Coalition for Social Justice
Deb Fastino, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Childcare/Early Ed
Issue Description: This proposal would create a progressive sliding scale to help pay childcare/early ed costs, and adopt a model that provides children and their families with the services they need and create better paying jobs. It would affect over a million people and has broad support and organizing potential behind it.
SEIU State Council
Harris Gruman, email@example.com
Issue Title: Fair Share for Education Opportunity
Issue Description: Fair Share revenues for a cradle-to-adulthood “Road to Opportunity”: Affordable Early Childhood Education, Quality Public Schools, and Debt-Free College. This would raise around two billion dollars to make all levels of child development and education affordable to everyone.
Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants
Michael Kane, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Anti-speculation tax
Issue Description: This anti-speculation tax would be a graduated excise tax on real estate transfers, with a higher tax for shorter term ownership and larger gain, similar to Vermont's estate gain tax for rural land. It can apply to both residential and commercial real estate transfers, and be structured as a statewide Enabling Act allowing localities to assess a graduated excise tax on transfers within their jurisdictions. In order to combat foreign "dark money" investors in Massachusetts real estate, legislation should also require disclosure of beneficial ownership interest by all purchasers of covered properties. Revenues should be earmarked for affordable housing uses (both operating and capital subsidies, targeted to households in proportion to need) in the localities where they are generated.
Issue Title: Save Our Homes Campaign
Issue Description: This is a two part initiative to save privately-owned, subsidized apartments at risk of conversion to market rents as housing affordable to lower income people through no-cost regulatory tools, and to strengthen the Mass Rental Voucher Program to better serve low income tenants.
Joe Kriesberg, email@example.com
Issue Title: Housing Campaign
Issue Description: We propose that Raise Up Massachusetts embrace a campaign to raise significant new revenue that could provide dedicated funding for affordable housing across the Commonwealth. We think there are at least three potential revenue sources that could be proposed: a new statewide transfer tax that is imposed when properties are sold/transferred, a luxury housing tax (aka Mansion Tax) that is applied only to residential homes assessed over (say) $2 million, and/or a portion of revenue coming from a new Millionaire’s Tax. To be impactful, we think we should aim to raise at least $200 million annual in new revenue - ideally closer to $300 or $400 million.
Progressive Revenue Subcommittee
submitted by Zac Bears, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Progressive Revenue Option for 2019-2020
Issue Description: A group of members from many organizations met during September and October to discuss potential revenue options for the upcoming legislative session and potentially for ballot questions. The group developed a series of options, and a report includes an outline of those options as well as notes of the group discussion, and the votes of the people who attended the meetings. We are submitting this on behalf of the group and at the request of group facilitators. Please see this memo, along with Appendix A and Appendix B.
Zac Bears, email@example.com
Issue Title: Debt-Free Public College
Issue Description: Public colleges used to be a near-free option for students seeking higher education in Massachusetts. But now, the cost of college is skyrocketing, and in Massachusetts, the state has cut hundreds of millions in higher education funding, driving up the cost of our public colleges. We see no end in sight to the private college cost inflation, but our public colleges can still be made affordable, even debt-free. Public education is a system, and from early childhood, through K-12, and in higher education, the system is falling down. Student debt is growing at the second-fastest rate in the country in Massachusetts. We have over $25 billion in student debt, which is growing and dragging down the state’s economy to the tune of $2 billion per year. We need debt-free higher education not only because it’s the right thing, but because it’s one of the most important issues to people in Massachusetts, it will deeply benefit the state’s economy, and because education is a right for all people from childhood through college.
Institute for Policy Studies
Jen Wofford and Chuck Collins, Jennywofford@gmail.com
Issue Title: Enabling Legislation for Transfer taxes
Issue Description: This proposal would enable state legislation allowing municipalities to levy Luxury Real Estate Transfer taxes up to x% on properties over $2 million with funds for permanently affordable housing.
Grace Ross, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Repair Foreclosure Injustice
Issue Description: This proposal would reverse billions in criminally illegal foreclosures by action and would pass requirements for legally-compliant filings in Registry of Deeds and fines for illegalities.
Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts
Margaret Heitz, email@example.com
Issue Title: Advancing Single Payer
Issue Description: This proposal asks for full Raise Up MA membership support for an essential benchmark study about whether commonwealth-funded single payer healthcare would benefit all residents at lower costs than we currently pay for private and MassHealth insurance. The Raise Up MA coalition should endorse and work for Senate Bill 610 (S.610), which authorizes the study.
United Interfaith Action of Southeast Mass (MCAN)
Andrea Sheppard Lomba, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue Title: Education Funding
Issue Description: We are interested in improving the quality of public school education for all youth and families across the Commonwealth. Our concerns include areas such as decreasing class sizes, updating and improving classroom technology and supplies, hiring more teachers/paraprofessionals/special education instructors/counselors etc to meet the needs of the students, providing needed language and trauma-informed supports, engaging parents and creating connections between home and school, and generally equalizing education quality across the Commonwealth. One piece of addressing these and other concerns involves increasing public school funding pre-K through 12th grade. MA is far from meeting the funding goals in all school districts.
Issue Title: Immigration Reform - Safe Communities Act
Issue Description: We are interested in working on immigration reform across the Commonwealth, helping to pass a Safe Communities Act.