Leadership Bulletin

Ordinances for Localities, Guns in Schools, Keys to Persuasion and More

Help Drug Offenders Act: A 1996 federal law allows states to decide if people who are convicted of drug felonies should be eligible for food stamps or TANF. There is a recent trend toward helping ex-offenders. Just this year, Alaska and Georgia passed bills to allow ex-offenders to access food stamps, and a bill to allow TANF passed a Delaware committee. Model bills and fact sheets can be found here.

20 progressive ordinances for cities, towns and counties: Most of the larger localities across our nation are controlled by progressives or moderates. There is quite a lot that can be done and this column lists 20 ideas for local legislation, providing hyperlinks to model bills for each. Read the list on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Poll-tested method to rally the public for an activist government: Wednesday, September 7 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. Polls show that Americans don’t actually hate government. It’s a matter of message framing. If you move away from government as an abstraction and show how it can enforce fair rules on everyone, people will support the progressive side. This webinar, based on Lake Research Partners polling, is similar to one we presented on May 18 and a workshop in Washington, DC we presented on July 8. If you missed both of those, register for the webinar here.

NELP defense of “ban the box” legislation: Ban the Box laws prohibit employers from asking job applicants about criminal convictions in their initial job application in most circumstances. It’s a prohibition endorsed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In answer to suggestions that Ban the Box “does more harm than good,” the National Employment Law Project published a recent policy brief rebutting those arguments.

Against guns in schools and colleges: Students at the University of Texas at Austin made news recently protesting the carrying of guns on campus by carrying sex toys instead. For a briefing on the issue of guns in schools and colleges, see this page from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Short booklet on the keys to persuasion: PLI recently published a short messaging booklet explaining the key elements of persuasion—why we recommend specific language for certain issues. This article explains confirmation bias, why people’s minds are hard to change, negative triggers, and some simple rules to maximize your ability to persuade.


Fair Pay Act, How to Lobby, College Funding Cuts and More

Fair Pay Act: Massachusetts just enacted SB 2119, one of the strongest equal pay laws in the country. Starting in July 2018, employers cannot engage in wage discrimination for the same or “comparable” positions, regardless of gender. That’s what our model Fair Pay Act does. Massachusetts takes it a step farther by also prohibiting employers from demanding wage histories from job applicants.

Coming soon to your state—voter harassment and intimidation: Donald Trump is actively recruiting poll watchers in a way that certainly sounds like it will lead to voter intimidation. Sadly, voter suppression is nothing new in American politics. The question is, what can we do? Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Top Ten Rules for How to Lobby and Be Lobbied: Wednesday, August 24 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. How do you create a productive relationship between grassroots lobbyists and progressive lawmakers? This workshop will explain the importance of building both knowledge and trust, and then how to deliver and receive information that can make a real difference in the legislative process. Register here to join us.

Man bites dog! Wall Street calls on states and localities to invest in infrastructure: Making the progressive argument, a Wall Street Journal article explains that now is the time for states and cities to borrow at extremely low rates to pay for infrastructure and stimulate the economy.

College is expensive because states have cut funding: A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 46 states are spending less per student enrolled in state colleges than they did before the recession of 2008. Funding in AL, AZ, ID, IL, KY, LA, NH, PA and SC is down more than 30 percent. Naturally, tuition is much higher—at least 30 percent higher in 29 states.

Progress in the States and Localities Report: Our latest highlights more than 85 important progressive bills that have passed at least one legislative house so far in 2016. The progressive victories in our Progress in the States and Localities Report address a wide range of policies from civil rights and consumer protection to public safety and election reform.


CPC Fraud Prevention, Science of Persuasion, Early Childhood Education and More

Crisis Pregnancy Center Fraud Prevention Act: The City of Oakland, California recently enacted a truth-in-advertising law that addresses fraud by crisis pregnancy centers, which are anti-abortion offices masquerading as medical clinics. The Oakland statute is similar to a 2011 San Francisco law which was upheld in federal court. Our model bill, the Crisis Pregnancy Center Fraud Prevention Act can be adopted at either the state or local level.

Notwithstanding Hillary, why aren’t more women in public office? Only 20 percent of the Members of Congress, 25 percent of statewide elected officials, 25 percent of state legislators, and less than 19 percent of mayors are female. Why? Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

The Science of Political Persuasion: We won’t present a live webinar next week because we’ll be at the National Conference of State Legislatures. But let us invite you to watch a pre-recorded 20-minute podcast on the Science of Political Persuasion. It explains how emotion, preexisting beliefs and confirmation bias tend to block your ability to convince others, and how to get around those obstacles.

Early Childhood Education Workforce: The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment issued a study tracking the employment conditions of child care workers in every state. Among other things, the report finds that “early educators are among the lowest-paid workers in the country” with nearly half receiving some form of public assistance.

CEOs make 276 times more than typical workers: The Economic Policy Institute presents a new article showing the increase in CEO compensation compared to company workers. In the 1970s, CEOs made 20-30 times more than workers; in the 1980s it was 30-60 times more. The amount ballooned in the mid-1990s and has since gone up and down with the economy.

Visit us at NCSL Exhibition Booth #925: Dave Woodward, Aimee Arrambide and Bernie Horn will be representing the Public Leadership Institute at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting in Chicago, August 8-11. Come visit us at Exhibition Hall Booth #925!


Prepaid Card Protection, Lifting Your Narrative, Paid Sick Days and More

Prepaid Card Consumer Protection Act: While the 2009 federal CARD Act imposed restrictions on prepaid gift cards, states can still prohibit expiration dates and fees, and require that customers can get cash when the balance becomes small. That’s what the model Prepaid Card Consumer Protection Act does. Connecticut has enacted all three provisions, including the cash-out section this year.

Texas can’t get enough of harassing women over abortion: This op-ed by PLI President Gloria Totten and Program Manager Aimee Arrambide was published in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. “Last week, Texas health officials proposed new rules that would require abortion providers to either cremate or bury fetal remains… These laws blatantly harass and bully women for their Constitutional right to decide to have an abortion.” Read the entire Op-Ed on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Policy Leadership: Develop Strategy to Lift Your Narrative: Using message best practices as outlined in Voicing Our Values and other online webinars is a first step, but we need a strategy to get our message to the public. Join us for this session to discuss strategy and tactics to change the public narrative around the issues that matter to us.

2016 End-of-Session Legislative Report: Our friends at the State Innovation Exchange recently published a great report about the best and worst of what happened in legislatures during the first half of 2016. The detailed PDF version is here.

Paid sick days resource: The National Partnership for Women & Families offers a comprehensive website dedicated to helping states and localities adopt paid sick days policies. Nearly 4 in 10 private sector workers, and 8 in 10 of the lowest-wage workers, do not have any paid sick days!

New Voicing Our Values Supplement: PLI just published a new short messaging booklet explaining the elements of persuasion—why we recommend specific language for certain issues. This article explains confirmation bias, why people’s minds are hard to change, negative triggers, and some simple rules to maximize your ability to persuade.


Juvenile Justice Reform, Explaining 2016 Elections, Rules of Direct Mail and More

Juvenile Justice Reform Act: This model bill combines three urgent reforms. First, it restricts the use of pretrial confinement to young offenders who actually pose a danger to society or where this is a realistic chance they may flee from justice. Second, it allows judges to transfer defendants from juvenile to adult courts only upon consideration of specific, limited criteria. Third, it protects accused children by ensuring that they do not waive their constitutional right to counsel.

Group identification, rather than policy, explains the 2016 elections: Was Trump successful because voters support his “policies”? No, was a function of group identification. Americans are usually not searching for a candidate who agrees with their issue positions, they’re looking for someone who represents their group. Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Top ten rules of direct mail: Wednesday, June 29 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. For most electoral and policy campaigns, direct mail is the most effective way to broadcast themes and educate voters. This webinar will explain how to improve the mechanics, message and design of your direct mail. Register here.

State programs to rein in prescription drug costs: The National Academy for State Health Policy published a new policy brief describing what states have been doing over the past several years to control the rising cost of prescription drugs.

Are your high-stakes K-12 standardized tests comparing apples and oranges? It was very recently disclosed that different District of Columbia middle and high schools are taking entirely different versions of the Common Core math test with the school system averaging the scores together, something completely unknown to the public. Maybe you should check your school system.

PLI’s State Strategy Forum, July 8-10 in Washington, DC: The Public Leadership Institute is holding a national conference for state legislators on July 8-10 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. We’ll be focusing on abortion rights, public education, economic justice and skills-building. There are just a few seats remaining! To register or learn more, click here.


Pharmaceutical Transparency, Hate Speech, Lead-In-Water Tests and More

Pharmaceutical Cost Transparency Act: Last week, Vermont became the first state to enact a Pharmaceutical Cost Transparency Act, requiring drug companies to justify the most egregious Rx price increases. Under the new law, companies must disclose which of the most frequently prescribed drugs have the greatest price increases and the state attorney general is directed to determine the reasons for those increases, ultimately making the information public.

American Culture Is Threatened by Hate Speech: Right now, progressives need to speak out against hate speech and bigotry before it becomes mainstream—the new normal. If we fail to stem the tide of prejudice, our national culture will change and candidates for every office will pander to nativism and white supremacy. Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Get your ideas on the agenda and build support for your policy solutions: Wednesday, June 15 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. In this interactive session, learn how to build political support to move your ideas forward. This webinar will combine messaging and strategy to get your ideas on the agenda. We will explore no cost and low cost ways to build awareness of your solutions, activate the public, and build support for your policy ideas. Register here.

Cities and states have been cheating on lead-in-water tests: At least 33 cities and two states have used testing methods that hide dangerous levels of lead in drinking water, according to an investigation by The Guardian. Boston, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Chicago, Columbus and Milwaukee are among the cities that have employed some of the improper testing methods used in Flint, Michigan.

IRS proposes limits on tax-free municipal bonds: Wonky but important—the IRS has proposed regulations to crack down on the use of tax-free bonds to benefit private economic development. The proposed rules would require the bond issuer to both have a governmental, not private, purpose and to be under government control.

PLI’s State Strategy Forum, July 8-10 in Washington, DC: The Public Leadership Institute is holding a national conference for state legislators on July 8-10 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. We’ll be focusing on abortion rights, public education, economic justice and skills-building. To register or learn more, click here.


Anti-Immigrant Bigotry, Progressive Values, Uber Licenses, and More

Abortion with Dignity Act: Many anti-abortion statutes violate one of the basic tenets of ethical medicine—informed consent. The Abortion with Dignity Act would provide a reproductive healthcare patient the right to sign a waiver to eliminate waiting periods, the requirement to hear medical misinformation, and other requirements that are contrary to the fundamental principle of informed consent.

Now more than ever, we need to give voice to our progressive values: Americans who avoid politics are far more likely to pay attention in a presidential election year. Our non-political neighbors and friends are not interested in hearing us spout a laundry list of policies—they want to understand our progressive values. To these sometime voters, it’s not a question of where we’re going, it’s a matter of why. Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

How to support immigrants and oppose anti-immigrant bigotry: Wednesday, June 1 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. It has become clear that anti-immigrant bigotry will play a major role in the 2016 campaign. According to the latest polls, what are Americans thinking? And how can progressives persuade our fellow citizens to reject discrimination and hate? Register for the webinar here.

Should states reconsider the statute of limitations for rape? Because of the perceived shame and stigma in being sexually assaulted, and the youth of some survivors, many do not report the crime for years. The Pew Trusts published an excellent story about the debate over increasing the criminal and/or civil statutes of limitations.

San Francisco is requiring Uber and Lyft drivers to obtain business licenses: 37,000 Uber and Lyft drivers who work in the city at least seven days in the year will need business licenses to continue operations. The policy question is, should “gig economy” workers be subject to the same licensing rules as everyone else?

Progress in the States and Localities Report: Our latest highlights more than 50 important progressive bills that have passed at least one legislative house so far in 2016. The progressive victories in our Progress in the States and Localities Report address a wide range of policies from civil rights and consumer protection to public safety and election reform.


Tobacco Tax, Government Enforcement, Zika Virus and More

Tobacco Tax Act: Despite cigarette tax increases in recent years, polls show that voters would gladly raise them higher in places like Idaho, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, California and essentially any other state. The Tobacco Tax Act not only provides millions of dollars for worthy state programs, it substantially decreases teen smoking which in time saves lives.

New poll illustrates confirmation bias; Trump less popular than lice: Among the 34 percent of voters who have a favorable opinion of Donald Trump, 65 percent believe President Obama is a Muslim, 59 percent think Obama was not born in the USA, and 24 percent say that Justice Scalia was murdered. Why do millions of Americans reside in a political fantasyland and how can we respond? Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Poll-tested method to rally the public for an activist government: Wednesday, May 18 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. We tend to assume that Americans hate government, but it isn’t true! If you move away from talking about government as an abstraction and explain how it can enforce fair rules on everyone, residents will strongly move to your side. Yes, with this practical and fairly simple approach—based on Lake Research Partners polling—they will even favor “regulation” and approve of specific regulatory agencies. Register for the webinar here.

Updated maps for the Zika virus in the states: The Centers for Disease Control published updated maps showing where the Zika virus could strike during the summer of 2016. The new maps show the mosquitoes that might carry the Zika virus will probably reach as far west as California and as far north as Minnesota, New York, and even New Hampshire and Vermont.

Progress in the States and Localities Report: Our latest highlights more than 50 important progressive bills that have passed at least one legislative house so far in 2016. The progressive victories in our Progress in the States and Localities Report address a wide range of policies from civil rights and consumer protection to public safety and election reform.

Repro Rights Report: Our new Repro Rights Report focuses on proactive pro-choice bills in states and localities. Right now there are at least 131 proactive bills to expand abortion access, restrict crisis pregnancy centers, promote evidence-based medicine, attack TRAP laws, and provide more options for contraception.


Greenhouse Gas, Job Piracy, Crime Rates and More

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act: Despite universal acknowledgement that governments need to act aggressively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, only eight states are real leaders on the issue (CA, MA, MD, MA, NY, OR, VT and WA). The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, based on Maryland’s new law, requires the state to reduce emissions by 40 percent from 2006 levels by 2030.

Both states and localities can curtail job piracy: Job piracy is the practice of giving tax breaks and subsidies to a few corporations for the supposed purpose of enticing them to move jobs from another jurisdiction. States and localities say they can’t unilaterally disarm, but in fact, they can make an agreement to stop job piracy, as Missouri and Kansas are on the verge of doing. Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Policy Leadership: Five Simple Steps for Coalition Building to Advance Your Agenda: Wednesday, May 4 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. You have the ideas and are ready to put them into action, now what? In this session, learn how to leverage the Progressive Movement to help build momentum for your policy solutions. We will discuss five simple steps to build coalition support around your policy agenda that will increase the impact of your work. Register here.

There is NO increase in crime rates: The crime rates in America’s 30 largest cities was nearly identical from 2014 to 2015 according to a study by the Brennan Center. Two-thirds of cities had less crime in 2015 than the year before. While violent crime increased slightly, it’s caused by just a few cities (e.g., Baltimore, Los Angeles, Charlotte).

Large-scale government subsidies to corporations have fallen by 70 percent: Over the past two years, subsidies of at least $50 million have plummeted by 70 percent since 2013 according to an analysis by Good Jobs First. Apparently public officials are reacting to the fact that Americans are tired of special tax breaks for the wealthy.

Plan now for your 2017 abortion rights battles: Instead of letting anti-abortion advocates set the terms of debate, why not pick one of the proactive model bills in our Playbook for Abortion Rights and take back the political narrative? Click here to read a summary of the Playbook or download it all.


Felony Theft Reform, Myths of Persuasion, Helping the Homeless and More

Felony Threshold Reform Act: Felony theft is distinguished from misdemeanor theft by a monetary value. If the item stolen is worth more than, say $500, the crime is a felony while taking an item worth $499 is a misdemeanor. The Felony Threshold Reform Act increases the dollar threshold. A recent study finds that such reforms reduce the number of unjust felony prosecutions, save the state money, and do not affect crime rates.

How to find logical fallacies in opponents’ arguments: For about 2,500 years, educated people were taught the rules of rhetoric and understood how to identify opponents’ fallacies. If you don’t know the strawman, red herring, slippery slope, begging the question, and post hoc fallacies, read about them on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Five Myths of Political Persuasion: Wednesday, April 20 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. Here are three myths: (1) Persuasion changes people’s minds. (2) Facts change people’s minds. (3) We pass new laws by changing people’s minds. How can these be myths? Join our next webinar for a challenging but rewarding discussion about politics in the real world.

CNN story highlights PLI’s Playbook for Abortion Rights: ”Aimee Arrambide…a co-editor of this resource…a lawyer by training, the Austin, Texas-based mother of two is a reproductive rights policy specialist [at PLI] and a self-professed policy wonk. She shares this playbook with pride; it was a labor of love that she and her colleagues saw as long overdue,” reported CNN.

States and localities can use libraries to help the homeless: In many jurisdictions, homeless people flock to public libraries for safety and warmth. As a Pew Trusts story explains, some governments use libraries as a place to reach out to the homeless and provide them with services.

Progress in the States and Localities Report: This week’s update highlights more than 50 important progressive bills that have passed at least one legislative house so far in 2016. The progressive victories in our Progress in the States and Localities Report address a wide range of policies from civil rights and consumer protection to public safety and election reform.


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