Our Progressive Vision: Our nation was founded and built upon the self-evident truth that all men and women are created equal. That ideal calls us to defend liberty and justice for all people, with no exceptions. In the 21st century, three policies are of foremost importance: (1) outlaw discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity; (2) guarantee fundamental fairness for immigrants, whether or not they are authorized; and (3) protect the personal privacy of individual Americans from intrusion by governments or businesses, including the collection, use and sale of data without individuals’ active consent.
It has been more than half a century since the civil rights movement, aided by the Warren Supreme Court, started a revolution against discrimination. That cause endures. Women and people of color continue to be underrepresented in government and other places of power, so some jurisdictions consider affirmative action while others promote more aggressive enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, especially in claims for fair and equal pay. Most states currently do not protect LGBT people from employment or housing discrimination, and there are many ongoing efforts to correct that. States must beat back efforts to legalize discrimination, like efforts to target Muslim Americans and laws which invite businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian Americans.
Fairness for immigrants
More than 40 million American residents are foreign-born. About three-fourths of these are authorized residents, and yet, whether authorized or not, they often face discrimination. Millions more Americans were born in the U.S. but face discrimination because they look foreign. Progressive states and cities are responding by limiting government inquiries into immigration status, refusing some federal immigration detainer requests, authorizing driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status, making government ID cards available to all, and providing information about government requirements, programs and services in various languages.
Technology is advancing at a phenomenal rate, and it is causing new problems for individuals who want to protect their privacy. Businesses are creating and often selling data profiles about millions of Americans—including where we go on the Internet, what we buy, what we’re interested in, and even where we physically are or have been. Progressives are starting to push back by requiring warrants for law enforcement to access the most sensitive of this data and limiting how long some data can be kept by police. In some cases, governments are limiting the collection, sale or use of certain data, especially information about children.
Thirty-two million Americans have been the victims of racial profiling, according to an Amnesty International report. Racial profiling and racially motivated policing result in a breakdown of communication between police and the public, undermining law enforcement’s ability to ensure public safety. Cities, counties and states can combat these practices by prohibiting the selection of individuals for interrogations, searches and frisks based on race or other factors. Law enforcement should be required to train officers to recognize the difference between good policing and misguided stereotyping.
Over one-third of lesbian and gay people have experienced workplace discrimination and about one-sixth have lost a job because of their sexual orientation. Sadly, over half of states and most cities do not ban discrimination against LGBT individuals. The LGBT Fairness Act prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, education, credit and housing.
‘Don’t ask’ immigration status
When immigrants believe that state or local law enforcement agents are involved in the enforcement of federal immigration law, immigrants—fearing harassment or deportation—simply decline to report crimes or suspicious activity. The result is twofold: criminals see immigrants as easy prey, and offenders who could have been caught, remain on the streets, putting everyone at risk of becoming the next victim. Assigning the role of immigration law enforcer to local police both overburdens law enforcement and increases the risk of racial profiling. And local police usually lack the training needed to enforce our nation’s complex web of immigration laws. States and localities should adopt policies prohibiting government inquiry into immigration status unless otherwise required by superseding law.
Limits on license plate databases
All over the nation, police agencies are using license plate readers that tell them exactly which vehicle was at a certain location at a certain date and time. Several states have enacted a version of the License Plate Privacy Act to limit the amount of time government agencies can hold on to those records.
Birth certificate after sex change
People who have undergone transitional surgeries often run into trouble when trying to get legal documents like marriage licenses or driver’s licenses. States are enacting legislation to allow a transgender person to obtain an amended birth certificate reflecting a change in both sexual designation and name.
Data mining of K-12 students: The California legislature unanimously passed SB 1177, the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act, which implements the toughest restrictions on student data-mining in the country. The bill prohibits technology firms hired by K-12 schools from selling student data, creating student profiles, or using this information for targeted advertising.
What we stand for in twelve words: What explains the popularity of the conservative brand? Polls consistently show that, when presented one at a time, Americans support progressive, not conservative, policy. It’s the very popular stereotype they’ve built. Read about the how we can fight fire with fire on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.
What is happening in the 2014 election and why: Wednesday, October 22 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, noon Pacific. We will go over some of the polling and discuss what voters are thinking about the partisans and the issues in the run-up to the November election. Is minimum wage helping? Is Obamacare hurting? Are there any persuadable voters or is this entirely a turnout election? Register here to participate in this timely discussion.
Anti-sweatshop initiative: Your state or locality probably buys clothing for your police, firefighters, security guards, sanitation workers, maintenance workers and more. And there’s a good chance you buy products from Asian sweatshops. But you don’t have to! Your jurisdiction can join this effort to require vendors to promote fair labor standards.
Scholars Strategy Network is a great policy resource: Hundreds of scholars from universities across the nation are providing expert nonpartisan policy materials online through the Scholars Strategy Network. These cover a very wide variety of topics, so check it out!
Free book on messaging: Want to know how to persuade voters on a wide variety of issues? Read Voicing Our Values: A message guide for candidates and lawmakers by either downloading a free PDF of the book here or buying a printed copy on Amazon here.
Limit license plate reader databases: All over the nation, police agencies are using license plate readers which tell them exactly which vehicle was in a certain location at a certain date and time. While there are some uses to the data, police are currently storing millions of records about the cars of innocent Americans. The model License Plate Privacy Act, based on a newly-enacted law in Tennessee, limits the amount of time government agencies can hold on to those records.
Understand the anti-teacher narratives: If you listen to the advocates for increased standardized testing and decreased rights for teachers, you will hear a series of narratives or stories that underlie all their arguments. Read about narratives, and how to rebut them, on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.
Shock poll—government regulation has become a political winner: Wednesday, October 8 @3pm Eastern, 2pm Central, 1pm Mountain, noon Pacific. There is brand-new eye-opening polling data from Celinda Lake which shows that Americans overwhelmingly favor government regulation, especially when it’s described in a populist way. Register here to join this surprising discussion.
Voters are exasperatingly uninformed: It is not just your imagination. A new Annenberg poll finds that only about 1/3rd of Americans know who controls the U.S. House or Senate, only about 1/3rd can name all three branches of government, and about 1/3rd can’t even name one branch.
New report on four key tax policies in the states: The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has a brand-new 34-page report describing and discussing four key tax policies.
Victories and defeats in 2014: This up-to-date resource provides ideas for progressive legislation and warns you of right-wing campaigns: The Compendium of State and Local Legislation.