(Originally published at Medium)
Between the spectacle of national affairs and the immediacy of local politics, we often lose sight of happenings on a state level. Our best opportunity to incite progressive change is through state government. With that in mind, here are three bills to watch (and fight for) in 2018:
New York Health Act (A4738/S4840*)
This single-payer bill has been kicking around the state legislature in one form or another for years, though it’s only recently started to pick up steam — passing the State Assembly for the third consecutive year and coming one(!) sponsor short of edging past the Senate.
Say goodbye to premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and restrictive networks. The bill is funded through progressive taxation. 98% of New Yorkers (or those earning less than $400,000/year) will spend significantly less than they do now. And the care is more comprehensive than commercial insurance, with mental health, dental, vision, and reproductive care included in the bill.
Take Action: Campaign for New York Health
Climate and Community Protection Act (S.8005 / A.10342*)
The Climate and Community Protection Act — or CCPA — is one of the most far-reaching climate bills in the country. It facilitates the transition to 100% clean energy by 2050. The bill passed the State Assembly last year and has bigger ambitions in 2018.
A sister piece of legislation — the Climate and Community Investment Act — funds the transition to renewable energy through a corporate polluter fee. A study by economist Robert Pollin estimates that if passed the two bills would create 145,000 green jobs annually in New York State.
Take Action: New York Renews
New York Votes Act (A05312*)
New York is notorious for some of the most antiquated voting laws in the country. We’re one of only 13 states without early voting and have the earliest party change deadlines in the country. The New York Votes Act would modernize our voting system by introducing early voting, automatic voter registration, same day registration, consolidated election days, “no excuse” absentee voting, uniform polling hours, and new party enrollment deadlines.
The bill would also restore voting rights for parolees. Nearly 50,000 individuals in New York State are barred from voting due to past felony convictions. We can’t claim to be a progressive leader without inclusive voting laws.
Take Action: Let NY Vote
* Bill numbers are from the 2017 legislative session