An Update and Dates for 2nd Round of Petition Gathering

4/8/14   Since my last entry Progressive Newton followed closely as the House of Representatives inched toward passing a minimum wage bill. On March 26, two of us went to Beacon Hill for the Raise Up Massachusetts lobbying day. We were inspired to see the fired-up-and-ready crowd of almost 500 people packed into the Church on the Hill before we headed across the street to visit Representatives Ruth Balser, Kay Khan, and John Lawn.

Two days later, a number of us in Newton urged our representatives to support Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier’s amendment to improve the tipped minimum wage provisions in the House bill. We were excited to see all three of our representatives among the 40 the Raise Up Mass. coalition persuaded to co-sponsor the amendment. Unfortunately, during floor debate on April 2 that amendment and one to index the minimum wage to inflation were withdrawn, seeming unlikely to pass.

But we did get a minimum wage of $10.50 to pass the House, and without the unemployment insurance benefit cuts we’d feared. As the House and Senate wrangle over their dueling bills, we’ll continue to make our voices heard to get the best minimum wage bill possible. And, as a fallback, we’ll be out collecting signatures again between May 10 and June 14 (mark your calendars!) to bring that issue and the earned sick leave initiative to the November ballot.

Newton also sent folks up to the 5th Middlesex Senate district on April 1, where Progressive Massachusetts’s fantastic endorsee, Rep. Jason Lewis, won a special election to replace Katherine Clark in the State Senate. A big win for all of us.

Most recently, on April 6, several of our members attended the Progressive Mass. policy conference in Worcester. It was a great day, hearing from a wide range of inspiring and informative speakers, connecting with committed progressives from across Massachusetts, and asking the gubernatorial candidates tough questions. Everyone involved should be proud.

We’re planning to meet as a group soon to discuss our continued work for Raise Up Mass. and other projects we’d like to tackle. If you’re a progressive in Newton who’d like to help make Massachusetts better, we want you on board! Just contact us at (617) 340-9527 or progressivenewton@gmail.com.

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