Data Brokers Don’t Need to Know Your Weekend Plans.
Progressive Mass
by Jonathan Cohn
19h ago
I hope you were able to enjoy the long weekend. But do you know who doesn’t need to know what you did over the weekend? Data brokers. Currently, there is no law in Massachusetts or federally to prevent the sale and purchase of cell phone location data. Every day, companies collect and sell sensitive location information from cell phones, revealing information about where we live, work, and socialize. Here’s just one example: Politico recently reported that a data broker company tracked people’s visits to nearly 600 Planned Parenthood clinics in 48 states, including Massachusetts. The company s ..read more
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MA Senate Finishes Up Its Budget Debate. Let’s Talk about the Recorded Votes.
Progressive Mass
by Jonathan Cohn
5d ago
Yesterday, late at night, the MA Senate passed its FY 2025 budget. I’ll defer discussion on the specific funding levels to another time and instead highlight some policy victories in the amendment process and the recorded votes. On the first hand, two amendments that Progressive Mass had advocated for passed, in modified form: Sen. Cindy Creem’s Amendment #100: Improving Voting Access, which would decouple the municipal census and voter registration status. Currently, cities and towns are required to mark registered voters as “inactive” if they don’t fill out the annual municipal census, a do ..read more
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10 Weeks Left in the Legislative Session. How Has Your Legislator Been Voting?
Progressive Mass
by Jonathan Cohn
5d ago
Did you know that there are only 10 weeks left in the formal legislative session? That’s right: all the major decisions being made and votes being cast on Beacon Hill will be happening in the next 70 days. But that’s all still to come. Let’s take a moment to talk about the session so far with our Legislator Scorecard. Our 2023-2024 Scorecard Fewer Recorded Votes: As of today, the House has only taken 107 recorded votes. By this date in 2022, the House had taken 187 votes, and in 2020, 174. The same problem exists in the Senate, where there have only been 148 recorded votes so far as opposed to ..read more
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Letter: “The ‘benefit,’ Mr. Speaker, is more affordable housing, including in wealthier areas”
Progressive Mass
by progressive.mass
1w ago
Jan Soma, “The ‘benefit,’ Mr. Speaker, is more affordable housing, including in wealthier areas” (Letter), Boston Globe, May 22, 2024. Matt Stout’s March 16 article describes House Speaker Ron Mariano’s reticence to embrace the real estate transfer fee portion of Governor Maura Healey’s housing bond bill. Mariano is quoted as saying that relatively wealthy communities would disproportionally benefit from a local real estate transfer fee. Let’s consider the benefits: As clearly stated in the governor’s proposal, transfer fee proceeds would be deposited in affordable housing trusts that use the ..read more
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193rd Session: House Roll Call Votes in Review
Progressive Mass
by Jonathan Cohn
1w ago
Crafting a scorecard depends on recorded votes, and the House has simply not taken very many recorded votes in the 193rd legislative session (2023-2024) to date.  As of today, the House has only taken 107 recorded votes. By this date in 2022, the House had taken 187 votes, and in 2020, 174.  Not every vote is worth scoring: we have generally avoided scoring votes that the Legislature must take (veto overrides line item budget vetoes, enactment of state loans, public land transfers), as well as the non-controversial unanimous or near-unanimous votes that occur on budgets and supplemen ..read more
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193rd Session: Senate Roll Call Votes in Review
Progressive Mass
by Jonathan Cohn
1w ago
For the 193rd Session scorecard, visit this page. Starting the Session: Rules  Whereas the House has been the home of contentious rules debates in recent sessions, the Senate began with more of a rules fight than the House, as Senate Leadership put forth an amendment to eliminate term limits for the Senate President (what had been a welcome check on the centralization of power, in contrast to the House). The repeal passed 32 to 6 (RC#7), with three Democrats—John Keenan (D-Quincy), Becca Rausch (D-Needham), and Walter Timilty (D-Milton)—joining Republicans.  Tax Policy  After la ..read more
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Take Action: Your Legislator Needs to Hear from You about the Housing Crisis
Progressive Mass
by Jonathan Cohn
1w ago
Massachusetts has a housing crisis. It’s true all across the commonwealth, and it registers as a top priority in every poll. We know that in order to address our housing crisis, we need every tool in the toolbox. Unfortunately, because of heavy lobbying from the real estate industry, one of those vital tools is under attack: the real estate transfer fee local option. Under Gov. Healey’s housing bill, a community could choose to impose a small fee on high-end real estate purchases to build and preserve affordable homes if this tool is important to them in preserving their community. Has your st ..read more
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PM in the News: Earmarks in the Senate Budget
Progressive Mass
by progressive.mass
1w ago
Matt Stout and Samantha Gross, “$1.5m for a wedding venue and conference center. $250,000 for historic ships. Here’s what top Senate brass put into the budget.,” Boston Globe, May 17, 2024. “It really is a fundamentally broken process where you have pet projects of specific legislators getting designated funding outside any kind of rationale or equitable analysis of whether or not that is a worthy use of public funds,” said Jonathan Cohn, policy director for the group Progressive Massachusetts. The approach, he said, means that earmarks are doled out “not based on need, but rather on power and ..read more
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PM in the News: “Are Massachusetts politics on immigration changing? Strategists, activists weigh in”
Progressive Mass
by progressive.mass
2w ago
Cassandra Dumay, “Are Massachusetts politics on immigration changing? Strategists, activists weigh in,” The Sun Chronicle, May 12, 2024. Jonathan Cohn, policy director of the activist group Progressive Massachusetts, said Democrats who choose to “appease” “the most stridently anti-immigrant voter” pose a more important threat to their party than Republican campaigning. “Too many Democrats have adopted a conservative framing of an increased number of immigrants and refugees as being a terrible burden — rather than viewing them as people who we should feel so blessed want to live here,” Cohn sai ..read more
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Progressive Mass 2024 Lobby Day
Progressive Mass
by progressive.mass
2w ago
Join fellow activists from across the Commonwealth to build momentum for key progressive priorities on Beacon Hill! We’ll be lobbying about key priorities from our Legislative Agenda, especially about affordable housing, criminal legal reform, and climate action. We’re delighted to have with us as speakers:     Mark Martinez from the Mass Law Reform Institute     Sana Fadel from Citizens for Juvenile Justice     Jess Nahigian from the Massachusetts Sierra Club Whether you’ve lobbied before or are lobbying for the first time, we’ll make sure that y ..read more
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