December saw Local Progress, the new national municipal policy network, take action on cutbacks to crucial services at the local level. With the President and Congress locked in a high-stakes game of chicken over the “fiscal cliff," CPD drafted and distributed a model resolution for city councils across the nation to pass.
The motion calling on the federal government to address the fiscal crisis with progressive revenue streams rather than cuts to crucial services. Arguing that unwise cuts to federal spending inevitably shift costs onto states and municipalities, it called on Congress to focus on creating a robust economic recovery rather than rapid deficit reduction. The cities of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Baltimore, and Yonkers all passed resolutions with huge majorities.
These resolutions are a taste of things to come, as the Local Progress network embarks on an ambitious program of coordinated campaigns for 2013.
The campaign to raise New York State’s minimum wage intensified last week. Governor Cuomo is hard at work on the issue, declaring, in his recent State of the State address, his strong support for a raise. CPD is working hard, with key allies, to coordinate the campaign to raise New York’s minimum wage to $8.75 and to index it to keep up with inflation.
Over 300 workers, advocates and members of the clergy marched on the state Capitol in Albany last Tuesday to deliver a petition of 30,000 signatures.
While Superstorm Sandy ravaged communities regardless of race or class, the storm exacerbated already stark inequality in New York. With thousands still without electricity, widespread mold infestations threatening the health of people in immigrant communities, and long lines for food across low-income communities, Sandy has had a particularly brutal impact on those with the least means to cope.
In the weeks following Sandy, CPD helped to bring together over 60 community organizations, labor unions, and faith groups that recognized the need for a more progressive recovery agenda to ensure the failings of the Gulf Coast and 9/11 recoveries were not repeated.
The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding (AJR) was formed to address both immediate relief and long-term rebuilding issues. CPD is proud to be playing a central coordinating role in the alliance.
In the coming months the Alliance will work to ensure that state rebuilding efforts focus on building sustainable infrastructure, protecting workers’ rights and addressing economic inequity and unemployment.
Immigration reform grabbed national headlines last week, as Congressional leaders and the White House released new principles for federal legislation. Alongside the possibility of citizenship for over 11 million, these principles included demands for heightened immigration enforcement and border security. The Center for Popular Democracy is working with partner organizations to ensure that cities and states push back against escalating demands for enforcement from the federal government. On January 25, the New York City Council held public hearings on two pieces of legislation that CPD developed along with Make the Road New York and the Cardozo Law School Immigrant Justice Clinic. The bills prohibit the Department of Corrections and the NYPD from honoring certain detainer requests issued by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), thus preventing ICE from using New York City’s criminal justice system as a platform to deport thousands of New Yorkers.
CPD’s work to organize against ICE detainers in New York has involved drafting and negotiating legislation and raising public awareness of the disastrous consequences immigration detainers have on local communities. The bills, which were developed in collaboration with the City Council, the NYPD and the Bloomberg Administration, are part of a longstanding campaign in New York City to resist the federal government’s harsh enforcement strategies and to ensure New York remains one of the country’s most immigrant-friendly cities.
New York joins dozens of cities and states across the country that are reframing the terms of the national debate on immigration away from enforcement and toward inclusion and equity. We expect both the bills to pass into law in the coming weeks.
The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council has released a powerful 13 point vision for a progressive New York City in 2013, as the city gears up for citywide elections.
CPD played a major role helping to pull together stakeholders and draft the policy document, in consultation with leading progressive forces in NYC, including the Working Families Party and theCenter for Working Families.
You can read the full report here, and sign up to support the principles here.
CPD congratulates our friends at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) for their successful advocacy to pass a statewide highway safety law, which will enable over 250,000 undocumented immigrants in Illinois to obtain drivers’ licenses – the first successful statewide effort of its kind in over a decade.
At the bill signing, ICIRR also announced the national campaign to enact federal immigration reform, which will create a road to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented immigrants nationwide.
We look forward to working with ICIRR and other partners across the country to ensure that this victory is the first step toward full equality and inclusion for immigrants across the country.
At $7.25 per hour, New York’s minimum wage remains decades out of date. With growing numbers of New York State residents relying on low-wage jobs to survive, too many workers do not earn enough to afford basic expenses. CPD is working hard on the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour.
Sign the petition to increase New York state's minimum wage
Last Saturday, 37 progressive elected officials from 32 municipalities around the country came together to form Local Progress, a network of progressive municipal electeds dedicated to promoting just, inclusive and equitable cities.
Local Progress is coordinated by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and the Public Leadership Institute and will facilitate the sharing of policy innovations, local legislation, organizing strategies, and communication tools. It will also help progressive advocacy organizations and elected officials collaborate on coordinated, simultaneous campaigns to pass important legislation in cities around the country and elevate issues into the national dialogue.
Legislators spoke optimistically about their vision for the coming decades. “A broad coalition of voters sent a powerful message on election day” said Faith Winter, Mayor Pro Tem of Westminster, CO. “Voters want government that works in the public interest and that treats everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
More information about the policy initiatives discussed at the Local Progress launch is available here, or about the event itself here.
CPD congratulates our good friends, the Maine People’s Alliance, for the vital role they played in the success of the Maine marriage equality referendum on election night.
The victory represents the first successful proactive marriage equality ballot measure in the country. It is largely through intensive organizing work of partners such as MPA that the referendum passed. Maine is now the final New England state to pass marriage equality. Great work MPA!
Last week, the County Executive of Suffolk County, Long Island signed a new Executive Order that will provide comprehensive interpretation and translation services at all county agencies for more than 120,000 limited English proficient (LEP) Long Island residents. The new language access program will ensure that all Suffolk families are able to access government services and benefits. The order also protects the confidentiality of residents’ immigration status - a policy that is critical to building trust between immigrant communities and their local government.
The Center for Popular Democracy is proud to have worked with our partners to draft the Suffolk County Language Access Executive Order and to build the campaign for equal access to government services throughout New York State.