Progressive ideas are alive in 2013—and not just as talking points. They reflect what Americans actually value and want, and nowhere is that more evident than in Minnesota and Colorado, where progressive-based laws are on the state legislative agenda. Recently, Progressive States Network posted highlights of bills either under serious consideration or already passed in those two states. Take heart, progressives: Contrary to what right-wing conservatives would like us to believe, and what they’re pushing in many state legislatures, America is not anti-union, anti-worker, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-education funding or anti-sensible-gun-control.
Here are some highlights from the Progressive States Network roundup:
What’s up in Minnesota?
- A bill has been introduced into the Minnesota legislature that would allow unionization of child-care and home-healthcare workers.
- Also introduced was a minimum-wage bill that would increase the rate from $6.15/hr [below the current federal rate] to $10.55 an hour by 2015.
- Both houses in Minnesota gave final approval to health exchange bills.
- Governor Dayton’s budget calls for higher taxes on the wealthy, and a recent poll shows that 54 percent of Minnesotans favor higher taxes on net incomes above $150,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.
- An omnibus election reform bill moved forward in a state Senate committee. It would include early voting and no-excuse absentee voting.
- A bill that would increase funding for education, in an effort to equalize funding across districts.
- The leader of the Minnesota College Republicans joined a bipartisan group of legislators, members of clergy, and others who are supporting a marriage equality bill.
And in Colorado…
- The landmark ASSET tuition equity bill won final approval from the state legislature with a bipartisan vote and is now on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk.
- State Sen. Angela Giron, Chair of PSN’s National Immigration Working Group and co-sponsor of the bill: “We are now going to be able to reward young people who have played by the rules. They are now going to be able to give back.” [Denver Post]
- Seven bills to prevent gun violence advanced in the state legislature. Gov. Hickenlooper is on record as supporting three of the bills, including universal background checks and magazine capacity limits.
- A state House committee advanced a civil unions, one supported by 70% of Colorado voters.
- A new joint (and “joint”) committee was established to craft laws to regulate marijuana in the state, following a constitutional amendment approved last year that directed the state to authorize retail sales.