It’s been a tough year for progressive causes. Whether it’s the unprecedented attack on workers and organized labor or the insistence of making those least responsible for the country’s financial woes—the poor and middle class—the ones affected most by policies meant to address them. That doesn’t mean that all of 2011 has been lost to extremely conservative policies, though. Always looking for the silver lining, YES! Magazine and the Progressive States Network have a list of 13 progressive pieces of legislation that advanced in 2011.
In every region of the nation, in red states and blue states alike, momentum increased behind a variety of common-sense, positive, pragmatic measures in the states that contrast sharply with the extreme and unpopular priorities of the right. Even as moderate and progressive lawmakers found themselves forced to play defense against an unprecedented assault on the middle class in many states, they still were able to advance measures to rebuild their state economies, protect the middle class, and build healthier and stronger communities.
Among these measures are Illinois’ SB 2505, which offers a responsible way to come up with needed revenue, and considerations by many states to set up partnership banks—similar to the Bank of North Dakota—that would take money out of Wall Street banks and use it to grow local economies.