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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

State Legislative Progress Reports

Note: this item is from regular TDS contributor Matt Compton, who is Communications Director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), and represents one in a series of “partner reports” from major Democratic and progressive organizations.
It’s no secret that state governments have been forced to make some tough choices in the current economic climate. But even as lawmakers grapple with budget shortfalls, Democrats in legislatures across the country are making an effort to pass smart, progressive laws on a number of fronts.
At the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, we are launching an effort to catalog that good work in a series of progress reports highlighting important legislative accomplishments at the state level.
For instance, before this year, many believed that the 2009 legislative session would be an unfavorable environment for pursuing equal rights and the legalization of same-sex marriage, but the opposite has proven to be true. Democrats led the charge in states like New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine to legalize gay marriage, and lawmakers in states stretching from Minnesota to Montana to Hawaii introduced bills that would roll back same-sex marriage bans or expand legal recognition for gay couples.
Read the DLCC Equal Rights Progress Report here.
This legislative session will also be remembered as a year when lawmakers devoted significant focus to energy innovation. Hundreds of state-level energy bills were filed in 2009, and Democrats worked to pass significant legislation boosting wind and solar power production. Lawmakers from Iowa to New Mexico to Washington saw their legislation become laws.
Read the DLCC Renewable Energy Progress Report here.
These accomplishments prove that state legislatures have the capacity to act as laboratories of innovation, even in touch economic times. In places where Democrats hold majorities, that means forging a path toward more progressive public policy.
These kinds of reforms are important to note early because transformational state policy initiatives can become models for national action.
Look no further than Massachusetts.

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