Leading from the Grassroots: Pres. Obama’s Labor Day exec. action and when legislators don’t act

A useful reminder. - promoted by david

We were struck by President Obama’s Monday comments about his sick leave executive action, and the Commonwealth’s own newly enacted “Earned Sick Time” law:

“You all should be proud of what you’re doing for working families in this state,’ the president told union leaders at their crowded annual Labor Day breakfast. ‘But that’s not a new story here in Massachusetts. You all have always been a little ahead of the curve.‘” (Globe)

I don’t have to tell the BMG community that Massachusetts’s political rep hasn’t quite matched our policy reality on the ground, at least not at the state level. Despite the Democratic majorities, policies coming out of Beacon Hill are hardly on the liberal vanguard (take a look at our scorecards from the last two sessions).

At Progressive Mass, our thesis is that when Massachusetts is aggressively progressive, Massachusetts can — and should — lead the nation.

In somewhat recent memory, we did it with health care reform and marriage equality. But it’s 2015, and we’re being lapped on fair taxation, criminal justice reforms, living wage, infrastructure investment.

What’s important to remember about our tip-of-the-hat from POTUS is that this was not our elected leaders’ doing. The Legislature repeatedly deferred action on earned sick time for a decade.

Earned sick time is law now because organizers and activists (including many of you) took it to the voters in a referendum. We are leaders — because of the people, not the legislature.

We call on the Legislature to take the leap: pass bold, progressive policies, and bring us closer to progressive goals such as in the Shared Prosperity agenda. (And if your state legislators need a list of legislation this session that will get us closer — we’ve got one right here).

In the meanwhile, it’s time again for the voters and activists to act on another priority that Beacon Hill has refused to move on: REVENUE and FAIR TAXATION.


Raise Up MA, after the earned sick time victory, is now organizing to change the State Constitution to allow a multi-tiered tax system — and step one is signatures this fall.

Read our longer blog on sick time, Obama, and leading from the grassroots, and then sign up to help get the signatures needed for the Raise Up Fair Share Amendment.

Data entry, drivers, petitioning… we need all kinds of help! (Tell your friends!)

The President reminded us that when we do bold things, the Commonwealth leads.

Let’s do it again, Massachusetts.

–Ben Wright
Progressive Mass, Director

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Wed 26 Apr 5:42 AM