Don’t let Trump distract you from all the progressive ballot measures that just passed

Even in defeat, Trump is doing it again—sucking up all the attention with aimless lawsuits and absurd tweets about voter fraud and the “Fake News Media.”

But there’s plenty of good news coming out of last week.

Voters passed a host of ballot measures in states and localities that make government work for all of us, not the wealthy few who rig the rules in their favor. They voted to raise revenue for education, transit, and libraries; expand family leave; reject the failed war on drugs; give workers a raise; and more.

  • Florida voters passed Amendment 2, which will raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. The Florida Policy Institute estimates this will lift pay for 5 million Floridians.
  • In Colorado, voters approved Proposition 118, providing workers in the state 12 weeks of paid family leave and 16 weeks for the birth of a child. Reasons to Be Cheerful pointed out how in Iceland, paid family leave has helped contribute to the country’s high rate of gender equality.
  • Arizona voters passed Proposition 208, increasing taxes on high-income earners to raise funding for teachers and schools. Despite big business opposition, the tax increase was likely bolstered by teacher strikes in recent years and long-term organizing by organizations like LUCHA and unions like UNITE HERE.
  • Louisiana voters (thankfully) rejected Amendment 5, which would’ve allowed localities to give special property tax breaks to manufacturing corporations. The state already gives one of the largest tax breaks for industrial property in the nation. The Louisiana Budget Project writes, “If industrial property tax breaks were the key to a vibrant, thriving economy, Louisiana would be Silicon Valley. But it’s not.”
  • In Nebraska, voters passed Initiative 428, capping predatory payday lenders’ rates at 36 percent annually.
  • California voters approved Proposition 17, which will allow people with felonies on parole to vote.
  • In every state where a ballot measure asked voters to turn back the war on drugs, people approved decriminalization.
  • In Nevada, voters passed Question 6, requiring all utility providers to acquire half of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
  • Colorado voters rejected a ban on most abortions at 22 weeks or later in pregnancy, protecting the right to choose.
  • Voters in Multnomah County, Oregon, passed Measure 26-214 to provide universal tuition-free preschool for Portland’s three- and four-year-olds by taxing high income earners.
  • Portland, Maine, voters passed Question A, increasing the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and requiring time-and-a-half pay during emergencies. They also approved Question C, what was deemed a “Green New Deal for Portland,” and Question D, rent control and tenant protections.
  • Over 80 percent of Philadelphia voters approved the ban of the use by police of “stop-and-frisk” tactics, which disproportionately target people of color.
  • Voters in San Francisco passed Proposition L, raising taxes on corporations that pay their CEO 100 times or more than the median of its local employees.
  • Voters in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Columbus (Ohio), and several other jurisdictions adopted measures to rein in the power of police.
  • Atlanta voters approved a ballot measure to give property tax breaks to homeowners who live in permanently affordable housing sponsored by the Atlanta Community Land Trust.
  • As EveryLibrary reports, voters in 17 states approved 28 measures supporting public libraries. This includes at least $728 million for new construction and renovation of library buildings and hundreds of millions of dollars for collections, programs, and staffing.
  • As the Economic Policy Institute reports, multiple cities passed measures creating new dedicated revenue for public transit, including Austin, San Antonio, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, and Fairfax, Virginia.

There are plenty more, especially at the local level. Did anything “pro-public” happen in your neck of the woods?

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Photo by Phil Roeder.