A GREEN NEW DEAL FOR CONNECTICUT AND THE USA
POVERTY TO BE DEEMED NATIONAL EMERGENCY
RE-INTRODUCE THE NEED ACThttps://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/2990 The Need Act (National Emergency Employment Defense Act of 2011), the reform proposals presented in the form of a bill by US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Democrats on September 21, 2011. The bill proposes a historical monetary reform, which, among other things, intends to make an end to the system of fractional reserves ("fractional reserve banking") as well as a repayment of US government debt. In addition to these targets, the aim of the reform also allow investment and the creation of many new jobs, and the idea is that all this must be accomplished without either raise taxes or increase debt. The method is to put the Federal Reserve, that is, the central bank, the Treasury and then have them printed and inject an appropriate amount of the newly created United States banknotes, which in time, means an amount that does not create inflation. http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HR-2990.pdf
DECENT JOBS FOR ALLPublic jobs for the unemployed in public works and public services to meet community-defined needs.
LIVING WAGES FOR ALL• A national $15/hour minimum wage.
• Include tipped workers in the minimum wage increase.
• Enforce minimum wage and labor laws. Increase funding and staffing for the Department of Labor in order to rapidly resolve the 14,000 case backlog of years old complaints about unpaid wages.
LIVING INCOMES FOR ALLA living income above poverty for all who cannot or should not work.
Built into the progressive personal income tax.
HEALTHCARE FOR ALL• A publicly-funded, single-payer health care program for all Americans equal to Congress’ health plan.
• All medically necessary services covered. Everybody in. Nobody out.
• Free at the point of delivery. No co-pays or deductibles. Just health care.
QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL• Fully fund public schools with an equitable state aid formula.
• 100% Foundation Aid for public schools.
• Fully funded, full day, and developmentally appropriate Universal Pre-K and Kindergarten with certified and unionized educators.
• Opt out of high-stakes testing for students, teachers, and schools.
• Opt out of Common Core and Race To The Top.
• Opt into common standards, curricula, and diagnostic tests written by professional teachers in the schools, not by outside corporate contractors.
• Opt into teacher and school evaluation based on collaboration.
• State legislation to reduce class sizes and caseloads.
• Free tuition at public universities.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR ALL• Income-based tax credits for renters.
• Income-based property tax circuit breaker for homeowners.
• Moratorium on home foreclosures.
• Require refinancing of mortgages at home's current market values.
• State funding for underfunded public housing authorities.
• Build new high-quality, mixed-income public housing.
PUBLIC TRANSIT FOR ALL• Build an electrified rail and vehicle transportation system that includes convenient and affordable intra-urban mass transit, inter-urban rail for intermediate distances, and high-speed rail for long distances.
• Dedicated funding for transit improvements as part of a Green New Deal.
100% CLEAN ENERGY BY 2030Build in 15 years a full clean energy system based on:
• Energy production from distributed solar, wind, wave, tidal, hydro, and geothermal energy production, where every home, office, and factory is retrofitted to be a solar power producer;
• Energy storage from electrolytic hydrogen, battery, potential, and thermal energy;
• Transportation through electrified vehicles and rails;
• Heating and cooling by electricity-powered air- and ground-source heat pumps, heat exchangers, and backup electric resistance heaters;
• An interactive smart grid to match energy supply and demand and sales and purchases of distributed energy producers and consumers.
BAN ON FRACKING.• No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure.
• No new gas pipelines.
• No Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export facilities.
• No railway tank cars, tank trucks, or liquid cargo barges carrying fracked shale oil or Alberta tar sands bitumen through Connecticut.
TAX THE RICH – SHARE THE REVENUESBy restoring the more progressive tax structure of the 1970s, we could increase revenues while cutting taxes for 95% of Americans. • End corporate welfare.
• Restore the more progressive personal and business income taxes of the 1970s.
• More progressive estate taxes.
• Cut regressive sales and property taxes.
• Circuit breaker on property taxes and rents.
• State payment for state mandates on local governments.
• Restore state revenue sharing with municipal governments to 8% of state revenues.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMThe United States has the most prisoners and highest incarceration rates in the world by far. The many costs of these disparities hit communities of color and the working class particularly hard. From the "war on drugs" to "broken windows" theory to "stop and frisk" to arrest quotas for police officers, policing practices in the State of Connecticut have targeted poor communities of color for grossly disproportionate arrests, convictions, and incarceration. It is time for state government to redress this failure to guarantee equal justice under law.
INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF POLICE BRUTALITYIt is unrealistic to expect district attorneys to be able to prosecute the police departments they work with on a daily basis.
TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSIONThe Governor should appoint a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission charged with examining and addressing the impact of the War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration, including the devastating and lingering impact on people and communities of color. The Commission would assess the impact, hear from the people affected, and recommend policies to end mass incarceration and repair its damages.
MARIJUANA REFORMRe Legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana.
END THE “WAR ON DRUGS”Decriminalize drugs. Treat drug abuse as a health problem, not a criminal problem. Drug treatment on demand, not mass incarceration. Save lives from the epidemic of heroin overdose deaths by allowing opioid and heroin addicts to seek medical treatment instead potentially deadly fixes in the unregulated underground drug economy. End drug testing as unreasonable search & seizure.
FREE PRISONERS OF THE WAR ON DRUGSFreedom and amnesty for all drug war prisoners currently serving time in prison or on parole for nonviolent drug offenses. Re-invest the savings from reduced incarceration and reentry support for former prisoners and reparations for the communities most damaged by mass incarceration.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL PRISONERSEducation opportunities for all incarcerated individuals, from basic literacy and numeracy to GED to college courses.
BAN SOLITARY CONFINEMENTThe UN Special Rapporteur on Torture declared in 2012 that solitary confinement can amount to torture as defined in Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture. Enact the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement bill. The HALT bill would establish residential rehabilitation units (RRUs) as an alternative to isolated confinement. RRUs would provide additional programs, therapy, and support to address underlying needs and causes of behavior, with 6 hours per day of out-of-cell programming plus one hour of out-of-cell recreation. The bill would also enhance due process protections before placement in RRUs, create a clear process for release from RRUs, and mandate greater training for correctional officers working in RRUs or adjudicating disciplinary hearings.
BAN THE BOXEnd the practice of employers and public colleges using criminal history to screen applicants. No evidence suggests that past criminal histories of students are relevant risk factors that affect the rate of crime on campuses. A Ban the Box law will stop the practice of automatically disqualifying applicants who are fully qualified. Employers would be prohibited from asking a potential hire to check a box on the initial job application indicating if he or she has a criminal history. Employers would have the right to know an applicant’s criminal history, but the inquiry would be deferred until a conditional offer of employment. With over one-fourth of American adults having an arrest or conviction, a Ban the Box law will open up job opportunities to many in our communities who are now excluded.
VOTING RIGHTS FOR FELONSEnd the loss of voting rights for felons and parolees. Denying voting rights is not much of a punishment. Encouraging felons to participate in civic affairs can be part of rehabilitation and reintegration into society after serving time.
SAFE PAROLE ACTEstablish a transparent and accountable parole system that enables inmates to earn parole by successfully completing rehabilitative and educational programs.
RIGHT TO A TRIAL BY A JURY OF PEERSChange state law so that defendants in cities have the same right as defendants in towns to a jury of their peers from the same municipal jurisdiction.
BAN WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE BY DRONESProhibit warrantless drone surveillance in airspace that violates our Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATIONProbation or work release for paying fines, victim restitution, and community service. Work release and education release for prisoners preparing for reentry into society.
ADOPTEE RIGHTSDue to current laws millions of adults that were adopted as children are now being denied access to vital records regarding their births. This is a basic human right that the Green Party should be committed to help in abolishing the secrets and lies that surround many adoptions around the world by creating necessary transparency between adoptees, their mothers and adoptive parents. Reform items include the following: • Immediate and direct access to all identifying birth, hospital, foster care and adoption agency records and files concerning the adult adoptee (including the original adoption plans and any contracts that pertain to the adoptee or in which they are mentioned) to assist with researching their genealogy, medical history and the truth regarding the circumstances surrounding their adoptions and, if applicable, their time in foster care. • Strict financial penalties need to be enforced when birth/adoption records have been lost or destroyed while under the care of agencies, hospitals, lawyers, etc. that have assumed the responsibility of storing these vital records. • Full reparations for historical injustices in adoption.
WORKER AND CONSUMER COOPERATIVESSpecial priority on organic, urban, vertical farming. Repurposing unused industrial spaces into worker-owned farms & housing to benefit the homeless. Cooperatives are how we can own our own jobs because they locally owned, democratically controlled, and have no incentives to move jobs and capital out of state. Co-ops will uproot today's extreme income inequality where it is first generated, at the point of production in capitalist firms where owners and management take the net business income that workers created with their labor.
PUBLIC ENERGY SYSTEMInvestor-owned utilities and energy suppliers have utterly failed over the course of repeated energy crises since 1974 to convert to sustainable, locally-produced, clean energy. It is time to democratize the utilities and fossil-fuel industries under public ownership and democratic control. The road to solar power is public power. We need a public energy system to realize the goal of 100% clean energy by 2030.
UNIVERSAL BROADBAND AND DIGITAL DEMOCRACYHigh-speed Internet service – also known as broadband – is a basic public necessity like electricity, water, and transportation infrastructure. Too many people in Connecticut do not have access to affordable quality broadband services. Instead of a digital democracy, we have a digital divide where many, particularly in low-income communities, are unable to access the political, economic, and social resources of the Internet. People who do have broadband connections pay more for much poorer service than people in other developed nations. U.S. broadband quality, speed, and adoption rates are far lower than Asian and European nations. South Koreans have Internet speeds 200-times faster than we have for only $27 a month. Because the U.S. broadband market is dominated by a small number of giant telecoms, broadband service here is slow, expensive, and inaccessible to many people. The telecoms are also using their political influence to destroy Net Neutrality and prevent competition from municipally-owned broadband systems. Net Neutrality prohibits Internet service providers from discriminating against users based on the type of content they are seeking to access. Net neutrality is essential for the free and open communications necessary for a democracy. All people in a democratic society must have equal and open access to information and the means of communication. Democratic media in the digital age means that everyone should have access to all forms of electronic and digital media.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND FOOD JUSTICEFood is a necessity and a fundamental human right. All people have a right to sufficient, safe, and nutritional food. Those who produce it have a right to a fair return for their labor. Food should be produced in an ecologically sustainable manner. Farmer and consumers are natural allies. The government should represent the interests of farmers and consumers instead of the corporate oligopolies of the food and agriculture industry. Giant vertically-integrated food and agricultural corporations stand in the middle marketing, processing, wholesaling, distributing, and retailing to make monopolistic profits by squeezing both farmers and consumers. Much can be done to more directly connect farmers and consumers and minimize middleman costs. A strong agricultural economy is the basis for revitalizing rural economies, repopulating rural communities, and supplying our cities with healthy food. Agriculture provides the value added that fuels commerce in the towns. It should fuel the expansion of clean green manufacturing based on biodegradable food, fuel, and fiber feedstocks. Agriculture maintains the rural landscape that is the foundation for tourism and recreation, including hunting and fishing.
SUPPORT FAMILY FARMS• Guarantee a Living Income for Working Farmers: Commit to ensuring that every working farmer gets a fair return on their labor and earns a living income.
• Empower Family Farmers in Marketing and Processing Agricultural Products: Enact reforms to enable farmers to collectively bargain with firms that market and process agricultural product, including reforms of agricultural cooperative laws to enable democratic farmer control of marketing and processing cooperatives.
• Tax Relief for Farmers: Increase state revenue sharing of more progressive personal and business income taxes, with business tax loopholes eliminated, in order to reduce local property and sales taxes, which are regressive taxes that hit farmers especially hard. Property taxes should only pay for local property-related services (local police, fire, garbage, snow plowing). Schools and other public works and services should be paid for mainly by progressively graduated personal and business income taxes.
• Phase Out CAFOs: Corporate factory farming in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) is driving family farms off the land. CAFOs undermine small, diversified, farms where free-range poultry and livestock are part of a sustainable farm ecosystem producing for local consumers. CAFOs are negative for the environment, food safety, public health, the ethical treatment of animals, nearby property values, and rural economic prosperity.
• End Corporate Farming: Prohibit non-farm corporations from owning and controlling farms.
• New Farmer Training: Establish a new farmer training program supported by departments of Labor and Education that compensates existing farmers as mentors and teachers.
• Land and Financing for New Farmers: Establish a program to enable new farmers to affordably finance and purchase land and equipment to start new farms, including urban farms.
• Enact a Farm Workers Bill of Rights: Extend to farm workers the same rights under labor law as other workers, including A Day of Rest, Overtime Pay, Collective Bargaining Protections, Disability Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Child Labor Protections, and Occupational Safety and Health Standards. Corporate farms compete unfairly against working farmers by being allowed to exploit cheap labor at sub-poverty wages and benefits and unsafe working conditions.
PROTECT FARMLAND• Environmental Protection Fund: Increase funding for the Environmental Protection Fund. EPF funds programs like the Farmland Protection Program, Conservation Partnership Program, and the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Program that help farmers protect their land from real estate development and enhance water quality.
• Ban Fracking: Protect Connecticut farms from the air, water, and land pollution, climate change, and degradation of rural infrastructure and property values that hydrofracking of shale formations for natural gas would bring to Connecticut.
EXPAND AND IMPROVE MARKETS FOR FARM PRODUCTS• Collective Bargaining by Farmers: Support farm associations to bargain collectively with large buyers (public and corporate) for fair contracts for their products.
• State Procurement of Local Farm Products: Require state and state-funded institutions to buy more food grown on Connecticut farms, including schools, hospitals, prisons, senior and child care centers.
• Regional Food Processing and Distribution: Increased state financing for regional food processing and distribution facilities.
• Expand the Certified Raw Milk Market: Establish a Certified Raw Milk Program to regulate the production, consumption, marketing, distribution, and off-farm retail sale of raw milk.
• Expand Green Manufacturing: Promote green manufacturing that relies on locally produced biodegradable food, fuel, and fiber.
RE-LEGALIZE INDUSTRIAL HEMP• Enable Hemp Research: Pass state legislation enabling Connecticut agricultural schools to research industrial hemp under new provisions in the 2014 federal farm bill.
• Defend Hemp Growers: Require the state Attorney General to defend Connecticut hemp growers prosecuted by the federal government.
• Demand that the federal government re-legalize hemp.
INCREASE CONSUMER ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOOD• Public School Education: Mandate and fund a food, agriculture, and nutrition curriculum for K-12 public school students, including a home economics curriculum that includes the knowledge and skills to purchase and prepare fresh foods and access to some form of agriculture: a school or community garden, or urban or rural farm.
• Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFP): Increase funding for community food projects, including Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), food cooperatives, urban farms, and community gardens.
• Farm to Table Program: Establish a program to enable farmers to sell fresh foods directly to childcare facilities and senior meal programs.
• Soda Tax: Enact a sugary beverage tax, with revenues used to fund nutrition, food, health and agriculture programs.
• Urban Farms: Establish a program to support the expansion organic food production by urban farms and community gardens.
RESTRICT GMOs• GMO Labeling: Pass the bill requiring labeling of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in food. Consumer have a right to know.
• GMO Moratorium: Apply the Precautionary Principle to GMOs and place a state moratorium on them until safety can be demonstrated by long-term studies on health impact, genetic drift, pest resistance, biodiversity, and soil and other ecosystems.
TRANSITION TO ORGANIC AGRICULTURE• Ban Neonicotinoids: Ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that are contributing to the Colony Collapse Disorder die-off of bees, which are necessary for crop pollination.
• Ban Antibiotics in Animal Feed: Antibiotics should only be used to treat illness and injury. Overuse of antibiotics is creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that endanger human and nonhuman animal health.
• Organic Agriculture Transition Plan: Develop a plan to encourage and help farmers transition to organic farming, including research, training, subsidies and incentives to support farmers' transition to organic agriculture while natural systems of soil fertility and pest control are being restored. Organic agriculture should be promoted to protect the environment and the health of food producers and consumers, and to fight climate change by sequestering carbon in revitalized soil ecosystems.
• Agriculture School Support: Direct Connecticut schools to focus education and research on organic food production by family farms and community gardens.
• State Procurement: Use state purchasing power to provide markets for organic farms.
FAIR LABOR PRACTICES FOR FARM WORKERS• Enact a Farm Workers Bill of Rights: Extend to farm workers the same rights under labor law as other workers, including A Day of Rest, Overtime Pay, Collective Bargaining Protections, Disability Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Child Labor Protections, and Occupational Safety and Health Standards. Corporate farms compete unfairly against working farmers by being allowed to exploit cheap labor at sub-poverty wages and benefits and unsafe working conditions.
• Halt the ICE Raids: Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has dramatically increased workplace and community raids in recent years. The detentions of immigrant workers is not only devastating for their families, it is disrupting the labor of migrants and immigrants on which many farms depend.
END HUNGER• Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program: Increase funding to fund and support food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters in Connecticut.
• Increase SNAP Benefits: Use the USDA’s Low-Cost Food Plan, rather than the Thrifty Food Plan, as the basis for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), which will increase their purchasing power by about 30 percent.
• Raise the Maximum SNAP Shelter Deduction: Adjust SNAP benefits to variable regional housing costs.
• Increase Child Nutrition Funding: Increase supplemental funding for the various federal child nutrition programs, including Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and school meals.
• Increase Funding for Meals on Wheels for Senior Citizens.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONWe address many environmental issues in the Green New Deal and Sustainable Agriculture sections of this platform. Much more must be done. Citizen Enforcement of Environmental Laws: Enable broader categories of citizens and environmental groups to bring litigation to enforce environmental regulations. End Solid Waste Incineration: Garbage incineration is a financial drain as well as a source of dangerous environmental pollution. Rapidly phased out and ban waste incineration. A Zero Waste Solid Waste Policy: Enforce existing laws related to solid waste and recycling. Promote reuse and reduction. Oppose incineration and landfills. Require packaging to be reusable if possible, or at least recyclable. Require waste manufacturers to be legally and financially responsible for waste disposal. Adopt Extended Producer R
SUPPORT WORKERS' RIGHT TO ORGANIZE UNIONS AND BARGAIN COLLECTIVELYExtend the right to majority card-check recognition of union bargaining status to all Connecticut workers, with the right of new unions to submit a first contract to binding arbitration at the request of the union.
PAY EQUITYEnact a Pay Equity law to insure that workers are paid equal pay for work of comparable worth. Jobs traditionally done by women and people of color have been systematically underpaid. This reform will end this institutionalized discrimination against women and minorities.
PAID FAMILY LEAVE INSURANCEA minimum of twelve weeks paid family leave for each newborn or adopted child, and for taking care of ill family members.
CHILDCARE AND ELDERCARESubsidized, high quality child care and elder care for all who need it.
A GUARANTEED ADEQUATE INCOMEA guaranteed adequate annual income for all, indexed to inflation, which will bring both families and individuals up and out of poverty.
LABOR LAW PROTECTIONS FOR FARMWORKERSExtend to farmworkers the same rights under labor law as other workers, including A Day of Rest, Overtime Pay, Collective Bargaining Protections, Disability Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Child Labor Protections, and Occupational Safety and Health Standards.
LABOR LAW PROTECTIONS FOR PRISONERSEnact legislation to end the super-exploitation of prison labor at pennies per hour, which undercuts the wages of workers and earnings of businesses outside the prison system. The prison labor system as it exists now is akin to slavery and the prison labor camps in other authoritarian countries. Work done by prisoners can be part of rehabilitation and enable prisoners to acquire job skills, support their families, and have savings upon release. Work done by prisoners for private contractors and for public services should be paid prevailing wages. Prison workers should have all the protections of labor law, including the right to organize unions.
JUST TRANSITIONEstablish a Just Transition Income Support Program to compensate all workers whose jobs are eliminated by steps taken to protect the environment. Displaced workers would receive full income and benefits as they make the transition to alternative work.
FAIR LABOR PRACTICES FOR FARMWORKERSExtend to farm workers, most of them immigrants, the same rights under labor law as other workers, including A Day of Rest, Overtime Pay, Collective Bargaining Protections, Disability Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Child Labor Protections, and Occupational Safety and Health Standards.
ENACT THE WOMEN'S EQUALITY AGENDA• Pay Equity – Equal Pay for Equal Work: Outlaws workplace wage secrecy policies and increases damages for violations to 300% of unpaid wages.
• Strengthening the Law against Sexual Harassment: Extends the law to every workplace.
• Attorney’s Fees for Employment, Credit, and Housing Sex Discrimination Cases: Enables litigants who win a sex discrimination case to collect attorney’s fees.
• Ending Familial Status Discrimination in Employment: Extends the state law against familial status discrimination in housing and credit to employment.
• Ending Discrimination in Housing based on Domestic Violence Victim Status and Source of Income: Ends discrimination and evictions against victims of domestic violence and users of Section 8 rental assistance.
• End Prosecution of Victims of Domestic Violence for “Violating” their own Order of Protection: Ends the arrests of protected parties when a respondent violates an order of protection, or when a protected party appropriately contacts a respondent.
• Remote Testimony by Domestic Violence Victims: Pilot program to allow domestic violence victims to testify remotely.
• Strengthening Laws against Human Trafficking: Better protection to survivors of human trafficking, especially minors, by treating survivors as victims and increasing penalties to punish offenders.
• Ending Pregnancy Discrimination: Requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to pregnant workers.
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS• Allow Medicaid funding for abortions.
• Make emergency contraception available over the counter regardless of age.
• Enact the "Boss Bill" to prohibit an employer from taking adverse action against an employee because the employee or their dependent made a reproductive decision that conflicts with the employer's personal or religious beliefs.
END POVERTYCall for Poverty to be deemed National Emergency 15% of all women live below the federal poverty line. Mothers are now the primary breadwinners in four out of ten American households, but 31% of female-headed families live below the poverty line. 70% of single mothers working full time do not earn enough to provide basic economic security, defined as being able to meet basic expenses without public assistance. 60% of single women fall below the basic economic security standard. A program to provide economic security for working mothers, women, and all citizens should include: • Jobs for all willing and able to work, with public jobs for the unemployed in public works and public services to meet community-defined needs.
• A state $15/hour minimum wage, indexed to productivity.
• A guaranteed adequate income above poverty for all who cannot or should not work.
• Education in lieu of work requirements for people participating in TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families).
• Exempting women from TANF work requirements if they have children under five.
• Quality, affordable childcare for all who need it.
• A minimum of twelve weeks paid family leave for each newborn or adopted child, and for taking care of ill family members.