HOORAY FOR L.A….TPP DEAL KEEPS GETTING WORSE, IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE…Promoting Police Accountability and De-Militarizing Police Forces…Debt is the New Normal, but Some Have It Worse than Others…Clean Water Win…Big Polluters Don’t Deserve a Voice at the UN…A Fair Work Week for All…Strengthening Intelligence Oversight

HOORAY FOR L.A. – National Employment Law Project Executive Director Christine Owens celebrated the Los Angeles City Council’s announcement Tuesday that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 by 2020: “…The L.A. City Council’s endorsement of $15 is further proof that what seemed like an unrealistic economic aspiration only two years ago is mainstream economic reality today” … READ: “Minimum Wage Increase Helps Workers, Employers” by Pennsylvania Business for a Fair Minimum Wage member and small business owner Amy Edelman.

TPP DEAL KEEPS GETTING WORSE – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) have begun collecting signatures from Democrats on a letter rejecting the proposed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. While the TAA is meant to help workers displaced by trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the current TAA proposal is funded by cutting health care benefits for seniors … READ their letter HERESIGN a petition from Democracy for America telling the Senate to reject Medicare cuts and Fast Track HERE, and CALL Minority Leader Pelosi at (202) 225-0100 telling her to STOP FAST TRACK, then REPORT how it went to MoveOn.org HERE.

… AS IF THREATENING TO CUT MEDICARE WEREN’T BAD ENOUGH, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says that millions of jobs are at stake unless a provision is added to TPP to prevent currency manipulation. While the Obama administration has denied this danger, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka last week described their argument as “unadulterated horse waste.” READ: “Stop Currency Manipulation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

PROMOTING POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY – More than three dozen Progressive groups–including ACLU, ColorOfChange.org, Demos, Free Press, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, NAACP, and National Council of La Raza–released a set of guidelines last Friday to ensure that police-operated body cameras are used to enhance civil rights. READ: “The People’s Manifesto on Police Body-Cameras.”

… COMING ON THE HEELS of this coalition effort, President Obama announced Monday that his administration will ban federal transfers of certain types of military-grade gear to local police departments … READ: “Police Body-Worn Cameras: Evidentiary Benefits and Privacy Threats” over at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS).

DEBT IS THE NEW NORMAL – A new analysis from Demos shows that students of color have to take out higher loans than white students and are much more likely to drop out without receiving a degree, often because they can’t afford to continue. Report author Mark Huelsman: “…We have created a system based almost entirely on acquiring debt to get ahead, with no regard to how it would impact different communities.” READ ”The Debt Divide: The Racial and Class Bias Behind the ‘New Normal’ of Student Borrowing” and SIGN a petition from Democracy for America telling the Department of Education to discharge all debt for former students of the now bankrupt for-profit Corinthian Colleges HERE.

CLEAN WATER WIN – Sierra Club, MountainTrue, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Waterkeeper Alliance issued a joint statement this week in response to Duke Energy pleading guilty to nine violations of the Clean Water Act and pledging to close their Asheville coal plant: “Duke can do better, and our community deserves better” … This is the 190th closure of a coal plant since the beginning of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. LEARN MORE about the campaign HERE and SIGN their petition telling Congress not to follow the old fossil fuel agenda HERE.

… ELSEWHERE, a broad coalition of organizations–including 350.org, Corporate Accountability International, CREDO Action, Daily Kos, Greenpeace USA, League of Conservation Voters, People for the American Way, Rainforest Action Network, RH Reality Check, and Sierra Club–joined forces to demand that big polluters be barred from participating in the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. SIGN their petition–which Corporate Accountability International will deliver to the Convention in Germany the first week of June–HERE.

A FAIR WORK WEEK FOR ALL – 61% of all women in the workforce are employed in hourly jobs, and over a third of women work part time according to a new report from the Center for Popular Democracy as part of their Fair Workweek Initiative. This leaves women disproportionately vulnerable to unsustainable scheduling practices and low wages. READ ”Hour by Hour: Women in Today’s Workweek” and LEARN MORE about the Fair Workweek Initiative HERE.

STRENGTHENING INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT – The Brennan Center for Justice is hosting a symposium on “Strengthening Intelligence Oversight: Lessons from the Church Committee” next Thursday, May 28 at 8:30 am in Washington, DC. The event will feature a keynote discussion with former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Senator Gary Hart, and Brennan Center Chief Counsel Fredrick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. RSVP HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE …

 IT TAKES A VILLAGE: Demos President and Top Wonk Heather McGhee speaks about how we need to accept government’s role in our economy.

… FAR FROM OVER: Sierra Club Executive Director and Top Wonk Michael Brune explains that even if Keystone is defeated, the fight against tar sands pipelines is just beginning.

… CORPORATE COOPERATION: Demos Senior Fellow and Top Wonk Nomi Prins predicts the Starbucks and Spotify partnership will set an important corporate precedent.

… TALK ABOUT INEQUALITY: Economist and Top Wonk Joseph Stiglitz discusses his new book, The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

… ON OUR AGENDA …

Visit our Twitter @PractProgress. Like what you see? JOIN the movement by sending tips, news, and reactions to PracticalProgress@agendaproject.org.

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DID REPUBLICAN CUTS KILL AGAIN?…$15 AND A UNION…TPP TRANSPARENCY, PLEASE…Criminal Justice Briefing **TODAY** In Washington, DC…This Mother’s Day, How About Equal Rights?…Hold ALEC Accountable…A Right To Breathe Easily…With a Little Help from Organized Labor

DID REPUBLICAN CUTS KILL AGAIN? – Despite the Amtrak tragedy on Tuesday–and arguments by experts that better technology might have prevented the crash–yesterday, the GOP-led House Appropriations Committee voted to cut Amtrak’s funding by an additional $252 million.

Americans demand to know what role budget cuts played in the incident … READ: “After the Amtrak Crash, It’s Time To Get Serious About Transportation Infrastructure” over at The New Yorker and “Why Is Funding Amtrak Such a Struggle? Because Republican Districts Don’t Use It” over at The Washington Post.

$15 AND A UNION – Prominent labor leaders from unions including New York State AFL-CIO, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, and New York Hotel Trades Council backed Governor Cuomo’s (D-NY) announcement last week that he will convene a Wage Board to advise raising the minimum wage in the fast food industry in New York state … The announcement comes after years of concerted effort by unions and Progressive organizations such as Business for a Fair Minimum Wage and Fight for 15, who organized the largest global minimum wage demonstration ever last month. READ Gov. Cuomo’s announcement HERE and SIGN a petition to the Wage Board in favor of a $15 minimum wage from Fight for 15 HERE.

TPP TRANSPARENCY – Sierra Club Responsible Trade Program Director Ilana Solomon lauded senators for blocking a bill that would grant President Obama Fast-Track authority to push the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress: “Despite facing intense pressure from big polluters and other corporations to ram through a reckless trade deal, the Senate today stood up for our air, water, land–and democracy” … MEANWHILE, in a public Statement of Principles adopted by its National Governing Board, Common Cause called on Congress last week to adopt a more transparent and balanced review process for TPP. READ their Statement HERE.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE BRIEFING **TODAY** – The Brennan Center for Justice is hosting a Capitol Hill Briefing on “What Caused the Crime Decline?: The Need for Criminal Justice Reform“–with introductory remarks by Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar (both D-MN)–**TODAY** at 2:00 pm in Washington, DC. READ the accompanying report HERE and RSVP HERE.

THIS MOTHER’S DAY, HOW ABOUT EQUAL RIGHTS? – MomsRising–along with more than 30 other organizations including Center for American Progress, National Women’s Law Center, and Mi Familia Vota–launched #MissionPossible this week, a campaign for paid sick days, affordable childcare, fair pay, and family leave policies meant to build on the momentum of Mother’s Day. Members of the organization kicked off the campaign by delivering first hand accounts of motherhood to members of Congress. LEARN MORE HERE and SIGN a petition in support of the campaign HERE.

… ELSEWHERE, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) President and Top Wonk Caroline Fredrickson was featured on Uprising Radio last Friday discussing her new book, Under the Bus: How Working Women are Being Run OverWATCH the segment HERE and READ interviews with Fredrickson over at Truthout HERE and Salon HERE.

HOLD ALEC ACCOUNTABLE – Common Cause–in conjunction with the Center for Media and Democracy–filed a second supplemental submission to the IRS on Tuesday with new evidence in support of a whistleblower complaint against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), charging the organization with tax fraud. ALEC currently operates as a corporate lobbying group while enjoying the tax benefits of being registered as a 501(C)(3) nonprofit charityREAD the new supplemental complaint HERE and SIGN a petition to the IRS telling them to investigate ALEC HERE.

A RIGHT TO BREATHE EASILY – Over the past 10 years, federal grants to state clean air programs have dropped in value by 21% in inflation-adjusted dollars–and Congress is poised to reduce the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget once again, according to new findings from the Center for Effective Government. The report shows the need for stricter air quality regulation and presents policy solutions. READ ”Gasping for Support” and CHECK OUT an interactive map of air quality nationwide HERE.

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM ORGANIZED LABOR – Last week, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a new report showing that partnership with unions has helped revitalize the American auto industry. Report co-author Martin Mulloy explained: “While the financial industry was still reeling from the recession in 2008, the auto industry was well along on a transformational journey, in large part due to its partnership with the UAW [United Auto Workers].” READ: ”The Decline and Resurgence of the U.S. Auto Industry.”

FROM THE WONK WIRE …

 TAKE IT TO THE BANK: Demos Senior Fellow and Top Wonk Nomi Prins doubts Hillary Clinton’s populist approach after her years of supporting big banks.

… NEW BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD: Brennan Center Fellow and Top Wonk Ciara Torres-Spelliscy explains how corruption and bad governance runs New York.

… JUST DON’T DO IT: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich blames unjust labor laws like TPP rather than individual corporations like Nike for bad labor practices.

… ENVIRONMENTAL NIGHTMARE: Sierra Club Executive Director and Top Wonk Michael Brune is disturbed by President Obama’s support for arctic drilling.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

… ON OUR AGENDA …

Visit our Twitter @PractProgress. Like what you see? JOIN the movement by sending tips, news, and reactions to PracticalProgress@agendaproject.org.

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BATTLE OVER FAST TRACK HEATS UP…RIGHT TO WORK JUST PLAIN WRONG…Marriage Equality Goes Before the Court…Congrats, Attorney General Lynch!…What Can You Get For $334 Billion?…Non-Candidates Gathering Funds and FEC Complaints…$12 by 2020…Schoolhouse to Jailhouse…Every Voice Center Launch…Bipartisan Solutions

BATTLE OVER FAST TRACK HEATS UP – Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to President Obama this week demanding that he release the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) text before the fast-track vote. While the President claimed the text of the agreement was open, the Senators pointed out that only members of Congress can view it and are then prohibited from discussing it in public … ELSEWHERE, a new paper from the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) shows that the gains from the World Trade Organization (WTO)–a previous multilateral trade liberalization agreement–are extremely small.

READ the full report HERE and the Senators’ letter HERE and SIGN a petition to President Obama from Democracy for America demanding that he release the text of TPP HERE.

RIGHT TO WORK JUST PLAIN WRONG – Wages in “right to work” states are 3.1% lower for both union and nonunion workers than in states without “right to work” legislation, according to new data from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) … The new report coincides with presidential hopeful Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) trip to Iowa this week, where he promoted a federal right to work policy. READ the full report from EPIHERE.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY BEFORE THE COURT – This week, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) blog launched an online symposium on the consolidated marriage equality cases currently before the Supreme Court. ACS hosted a briefing last Thursday, and the Court began hearing oral arguments this Tuesday. WATCH a video of their briefing HERE, and READ the two most recent symposium postsHERE and HERE.

CONGRATS, ATTORNEY GENERAL LYNCH! – Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President and CEO Wade Henderson remarked on Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s long-belated confirmation last week: “After more than 165 days and countless meetings, marches, prayer vigils, press conferences, and hunger strikes, we’re pleased that the Senate finally did the right thing.” Lynch is the first African-American woman to hold this post. SEE which senators voted for and against her confirmation HERE.

WHAT CAN YOU GET FOR $334 BILLION? – With $334 billion in revenue, the government could cut the nation’s student debt by a third, replace or repair all public schools, and fix our wastewater and sewage systems, according to a new analysis by the Center for Effective Government. Instead, the House voted earlier this month to repeal the estate tax and give a $334 billion tax cut to some of the wealthiest individuals in the country … what’s up with that? READ the analysis from Center for Effective Government HERE and SIGN a petition from MovOn.org telling Senate Democrats to stay united against the repeal HERE.

“NON-CANDIDATES” GATHERING FUNDS AND FEC COMPLAINTS – American Democracy Legal Fund filed another FEC complaint against unofficial presidential contender Jeb Bush this week, alleging that Bush is evading campaign finance restrictions by not officially declaring his candidacy. Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed similar complaints against Bush, Rick Santorum, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), and Martin O’Malley last month. READ the latest complaint HERE and SIGN a petition from Common Cause telling the FEC to investigate all “non-candidates” HERE.

$12 BY 2020 – Yesterday Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage (BFMW) launched a new sign-on statement for business owners and executives to support raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. BFMW member Gina Schaefer will speak at the press conference **TODAY** where Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) will introduce the new Raise the Wage ActSIGN if you’re a business owner or executive HERE.

SCHOOLHOUSE TO JAILHOUSE – Advancement Project and DeSoto County Parents and Students for Justice filed a Title VI complaint Tuesday against the DeSoto County School District and Board of Education in Mississippi, challenging the disproportionate suspension of Black students in DeSoto County Schools. READ the complaint HERE and LEARN MORE about Advancement Project’s “Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track” program HERE.

EVERY VOICE CENTER LAUNCH – Public Campaign is now officially called Every Voice Center to better reflect the close relationship between Public Campaign and Every Voice (formerly Public Campaign Action Fund). Their new website launches in a few weeks. LEARN MORE HERE.

BIPARTISAN SOLUTIONS – Solutions: American Leaders Speak Out on Criminal Justice–edited by Brennan Center for Justice President and Top Wonk Michael Waldman and Justice Program Director and Top Wonk Inimai Chettiar–was released this week. The essay collection features contributions by a bipartisan group of prominent political figures. LEARN MORE HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE …

… PEOPLE WITHOUT POWER: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich details how more and more parts of American society are disenfranchising the average American.

… UNASKED QUESTIONS: University of Missouri-Kansas City Economics and Law Associate Professor and Top Wonk William Black argues that Republicans’ failure to examine Loretta Lynch’s deal with HSBC shows again how both parties are ruled by big banks.

… HAUNTED BY HISTORY: Demos President and Top Wonk Heather McGhee connects every American to the legacy of slavery and shows how it is an intractable part of American society.

… DANGEROUS DECISIONS: Demos Senior Fellow and Top Wonk Nomi Prins reviews Janet Tavakoli’s book detailing her thirty years on Wall Street and how the seeds of the financial crisis had been planted decades before.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

… ON OUR AGENDA …

Visit our twitter @PractProgress. Like what you see? JOIN the movement by sending tips, news, and reactions to PracticalProgress@agendaproject.org.

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PROGRESSIVES FIGHT BACK AGAINST FAST TRACK…MAJOR CORPORATIONS ARE ROBBING THE ECONOMY…Populism2015…Everything’s Bigger in Texas, Including Disenfranchisement…Not Such a Budget Battle?…Under the Bus NYC Event…In Your Backyard…Women In Combat…It’s Time Conference 2015

PROGRESSIVES FIGHT BACK AGAINST FAST TRACK – The Coalition to Stop Fast Track–which includes AFL-CIO, ACLU, Sierra Club, Public Citizen, CREDO Action, Free Press, MoveOn.org, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Democracy for America, USAction, Working Families Party, and Campaign for America’s Future (CAF)–is launching a seven-figure ad campaign to pressure congressional Democrats to block the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) … This latest push comes on the heels of Congress granting President Obama fast-track authority for the proposal. Over 1,000 people–organized by CAF, National People’s Action (NPA), USAction, and Alliance for a Just Society–took to the streets to protest fast-track last weekend in Washington, DC.

READ The Trans-Pacific Partnership is Unlikely To Be a Good Deal for American Workers” over at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), SIGN UP to call your members of Congress through AFL-CIO HERE, and FLOOD Washington with calls and emails **TODAY** as part of the Internet Vote HERE.

MAJOR CORPS ROBBING THE ECONOMY – Citizens for Tax Justice released new findings that fifteen Fortune 500 companies paid no federal income tax on $23 billion in profits in 2014, and they paid almost no federal income tax on $107 billion in profits over the past five years. All but two of these companies actually received tax rebates in 2014. READ: “Fifteen (of Many) Reasons Why We Need Corporate Tax Reform: Companies From Various Sectors Use Legal Tax Dodges to Avoid Taxes” and “Who Pays Taxes In America in 2015?

POPULISM2015: BUILDING A MOVEMENT FOR PEOPLE AND PLANET – NPA, USAction, Alliance for a Just Society, and CAF gathered 750 organizers and activists in Washington, DC at Populism2015 last weekend to outline a 12-point policy agenda for economic, environmental and racial justice. Speakers included CAF Co-Director and Top Wonk Robert Borosage, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), and many more.

NPA Executive Director George Goehl TELLS PP: “Leaders from more than 30 states–including key primary and swing states like Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia–are going home from Populism2015 to inject the ideas from our people and planet first agenda into the political debate.” LEARN MORE HERE.

EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN TEXAS, INCLUDING DISENFRANCHISEMENT – The Brennan Center for Justice launched a new web series this week highlighting stories of voters blocked in the 2014 elections due to Texas’s restrictive photo ID law. The series comes just ahead of oral arguments on the law in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals next week. READ the first two installments HERE and HERE.

NOT SUCH A BUDGET BATTLE? – Both the House and Senate budget plans get 69% of their non-defense cuts from low- and moderate-income programs, according to a new analysis from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) President Robert Greenstein. As the House and Senate attempt to resolve the differences between their budget plans, this analysis shows that they are largely aligned. READ: “Ten Serious Flaws in the House and Senate Budget Plans.”

UNDER THE BUS NYC EVENT – Demos, The New Press, and ColorofChange.org are hosting a discussion next Wednesday, April 29 in New York City about Under the Bus: How Working Women are Being Run Over, the much-anticipated new book by American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) President and Top Wonk Caroline FredricksonREAD ”ACS President: For Vast Majority of Working Women, ‘Lean In,’ and ‘Opt Out,’ Do Not Cut It,” WATCH a trailer for the book HERE, and LEARN MORE HERE.

IN YOUR BACKYARD – Two years after the deadly explosion in West, Texas, the Center for Effective Government released a new report looking at potentially hazardous chemical facilities and the lack of information that local communities have about some of the dangerous substances they use. READ ”Chemical Hazards in Your Backyard: Do Your First Responders Have the Information They Need in an Emergency?” and CHECK OUT the accompanying interactive map HERE.

PP BOOK PICK: “The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them” by economist and Top Wonk Joseph Stiglitz, out this week from W. W. Norton.

WOMEN IN COMBAT – On Monday, April 27 No Exceptions–an initiative by the Truman Project and Center for National Policy in support of full combat inclusion–is participating in “Women in Combat: Where They Stand” at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. Panelists will include Pentagon officials, members of Congress, and Truman & CNP Executive Director Michael Breen. LEARN MORE about No Exceptions HERE and the event HERE.

SPEAKING OF GENDER EQUALITY, the inaugural It’s Time 2015: The Partnership Summit to Elevate Women’s Leadership will be held May 1-3 in Baltimore. Featured speakers will include Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien, and actress Rosario Dawson. LEARN MORE HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE …

… TAX TRICKERY: Center for Economic and Policy Research Senior Economist and Top Wonk Eileen Appelbaum outlines how private equity firm partners avoid paying millions in taxes each year.

… INEQUALITY, NOT OPPORTUNITY: EPI President and Top Wonk Lawrence Mishel explains why the country should focus on inequality rather than equal economic opportunity.

… SMART SUPPORTERS: Brennan Center Fellow and Top Wonk Ciara Torres-Spelliscy projects the importance of a growing part of the electorate: highly educated women.

… CHEATING THE CHIEF: Alliance for Justice President and Top Wonk Nan Aron supports Wisconsin Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson’s lawsuit against the partisan law attempting to strip her of her role.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

… ON OUR AGENDA …

Visit our twitter @PractProgress. Like what you see? JOIN the movement by sending tips, news, and reactions to PracticalProgress@agendaproject.org.

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PROGRESSIVES UNITED TO GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS…BUT WHERE IS MARY JO WHITE??…Vote to Repeal the Estate Tax is Ridiculous…Stop Fast Track for TPP!…March2Justice Happening NOW…Happy Birthday, Democracy Alliance!…ALEC Continues Its Intimidation Attempts

PROGRESSIVES UNITED TO GET MONEY OUT – Public Citizen President Robert Weissman lauded presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s announcement Tuesday that getting money out of politics will be one of the four pillars of her campaign: “This move reflects the basic reality–recognized by the vast majority of Americans–that our democracy is being stripped away by a handful of Citizens United-enabled billionaires and giant corporations” …

… OUT OF TOUCH AS USUAL, the RNC responded by calling Clinton a hypocrite, completely failing to recognize that unlike the Koch brothers and their ilk, major Democratic donors and the vast majority of Americans are joining together to GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS … Speaking of which, the Patriotic Millionaires are bombarding the White House Senior Policy team TODAY to promote an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending, with support from The Brennan Center for Justice, Issue One, and Voices for Progress. CHECK OUT the newly revamped Patriotic Millionaires website, which will serve as a central component in the Millionaires’ two-year campaign to fight dark money in politics, raise the minimum wage, and implement a progressive tax structure HERE.

… WHERE IN THE WORLD?: Public Citizen launched “Where is Mary Jo White?” this week, a campaign urging the SEC chair to do something about the one million comments already made in support of requiring all publicly-traded companies to disclose their political spending. LEARN MORE HERESIGN their petition HERE, and CALL White at (202) 551-2100 to demand that she support this rule.

ESTATE TAX VOTE – Patriotic Millionaire Guy Saperstein blasted the upcoming House vote to repeal the estate tax, commenting that it “is undermining democracy and promoting a wealthy aristocracy more suited to 19th century Europe than 21st century America.” The White House agreed and added that the repeal will only affect 5,400 families nationwide.

SIGN a letter to House Speaker John Boehner opposing the repeal from a coalition including Campaign for America’s Future, Daily Kos, Economic Policy Institute Policy Center, National People’s Action, RH Reality Check, RootsAction, The Nation, The Other 98%, and many more HERE.

STOP FAST TRACK NOW – AFL-CIO is organizing a National Day of Action to oppose Fast Track **THIS SATURDAY, APRIL 18.** The event will come on the heels of the news that leading House Democrat Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) will also oppose Fast Track authorityREAD more from The Nation HEREFIND an event near you this weekend HERESIGN a petition opposed to TPP from Democracy for America HERE, and CALL your representative by entering your phone number HERE.

MARCH 2 JUSTICE – A group of 100 activists organized by Justice League NYC began a nine-day, 250-mile “March 2 Justice” on Monday from Staten Island–where Eric Garner was killed–to Washington, DC. The marchers will stage protests and rallies in Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Wilmington, Delaware along the way. LEARN MORE HERE and WATCH #WhyWeMarch from Justice League NYC HERE.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEMOCRACY ALLIANCE – The Democracy Alliance celebrated its 10th birthday this week with a private conference in San Francisco, where top donors gathered to discuss institutions and initiatives that will put America back on the right track.

ALEC CONTINUES INTIMIDATION ATTEMPT – Conservative think tank American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has set its sights on CREDO Action, who received a cease and desist letter last week alleging that the Progressive organization had misrepresented ALEC’s opposition to net neutrality. Common Cause and the League of Conservation Voters received similar letters last week. CREDO Action Political Director Becky Bond is staying strong: “Trying to silence a progressive organization like CREDO with legal intimidation just shows how desperate and radically out-of-step ALEC has become” …

… Over 100 organizations have left ALEC in the past year, including T-Mobile as of last Wednesday. READ CREDO’s full response to ALEC HERE.

NYC RETAILERS IN HOT WATER – New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to 13 retailers last week–including Sears, Target, Gap, J.C. Penney, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Ann Taylor–asking about the companies’ practices with on-call staffing, which violates New York state employment law … This news comes in the wake of new data from the Economic Policy Institute that at least 17% of workers nationwide have unstable schedules, and that this is likely a conservative estimate. READ: “Irregular Work Scheduling and Its Consequences.”

LLC LOOPHOLES – Last week, The Brennan Center for Justice released a letter to the New York Board of Elections urging them to close a loophole that allows unlimited campaign contributions from individuals who use a network of limited liability corporations (LLCs). They cite an example of one wealthy donor who contributed at least $4.3 million to political committees over the past two years using 27 separate LLCs … A coalition of Progressive groups–made up of Citizen Action, the Working Families Party, Common Cause of New York, and Every Voice–joined the outcry this Monday …

READ the Brennan Center’s full letter HERE and a post about the loophole from Top Wonk Lawrence Norden HERE, and SIGN a petition from Common Cause telling the Board of Elections to close the loophole HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE …

… NOT A BAD APPLE: Former NAACP President and CEO and Top Wonk Benjamin Todd Jealous charges Apple with discrimination over the firing on employees with arrest records.

… GREEK DRAMA: Economic and Top Wonk Joseph Stiglitz and Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis discuss the current state of Greece and the Eurozone.

… FAITHFUL ACCOUNTING: Brennan Center National Security Program Co-Director and Top Wonk Faiza Patel combats the idea that violence is caused by a religious faith.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

… ON OUR AGENDA …

Visit our twitter @PractProgress. Like what you see? JOIN the movement by sending tips, news, and reactions to PracticalProgress@agendaproject.org.

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THE WRONG CONVERSATION AROUND SEXUAL ASSAULT…RAND PAUL IS IN THE RACE…ALEC Is Getting Desperate…Democracy in the Dark Event **TODAY** in NYC…Fight for $15 on 4/15…The Push for Full Employment…America’s Most Wanted

THE WRONG CONVERSATION AROUND SEXUAL ASSAULT – Rolling Stone officially retracted “A Rape on Campus” this week after a devastating report in the Columbia Journalism Review, which concluded that the reporters had failed at every step of the process. The conversation around this controversy, though, MISSES THE POINT …

… End Rape on Campus (EROC) Co-Founder and Consultant Annie Clark TELLS PP: “Only 2-8% of reported sexual assaults are false, which–according to the FBI–is the same as every other crime; yet it’s the only crime where the victim is being blamed. The fact is that UVA has been under investigation for mishandling other cases, and we don’t hear about that.”

LEARN MORE about EROC HERECHECK OUT resources from Know Your IX HERE, and WATCH a trailer for The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses HERE.

RAND PAUL IN THE RACE – Campaign for America’s Future Online Producer Terrance Heath summed up the Progressive response to Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) announcement this Tuesday that he will run for president: “If you don’t like Rand Paul’s position on any given issue, just wait a while and he’ll choose another one, and claim that it was really his position all along.” READ: “Rand Paul Loves Big Government” over at The Nation and “Rand Paul Is Not A Libertarian” over at ThinkProgress.

ALEC IS GETTING DESPERATE – Following a mass exodus of more than 100 companies from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) over the past year, ALEC’s lawyers sent cease and desist letters to Common Cause and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) this week, threatening to sue unless the organizations retract their statements that ALEC denies climate change. LCV Senior Vice President for Communications David Willett said it best: “Usually if someone wants to get serious about tackling climate change, they ask about working with us, they don’t threaten to sue us.”

READ a fact sheet on ALEC and climate change from Common Cause HERE and SIGN their petition urging Pfizer to join the ALEC exodus HERE.

DEMOCRACY IN THE DARK EVENT **TODAY** – Brennan Center for Justice Chief Counsel Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.’s new book–Democracy in the Darkwas released earlier this week. LISTEN to him discuss the book on The Diane Rehm Show HERE and DON’T FORGET to attend the Brennan Center’s book talk **TODAY** at 6:00 pm in New York City.

FIGHT FOR $15 ON 4/15 – Fight For 15–in partnership with allies including AFL-CIO, OUR Walmart, Making Change at Walmart, and many more–are organizing a massive National Day of Action on April 15 to fight for $15 minimum wage and a union for all low-income workers. FIND an event near you HERE and DOWNLOAD materials from OUR Walmart HERE.

… This event comes in the wake of the announcement last week that McDonald’s will raise its wages by more than 10% for 90,000 employees. Demos Senior Policy Analyst Catherine Ruetschlin outlined the shortcomings of this plan: “McDonald’s current average wage sits well below the industry’s average … Moreover, this wage increase does not include the vast majority of McDonald’s employees who work at its franchises.” WATCH Ruetschlin discuss the raise on Fox News HERE.

WORKERS’ RIGHTS MUST READ: “Six Charts Explain How Workers’ Compensation is Deteriorating” over at Center for Effective Government.

A POWERFUL NEW PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE – The State Innovation Exchange (SiX)–a major new state-focused organization–announced a partnership last week with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) … This partnership comes on the heels of the launch of SiX’s Opportunity Works for US agenda–a progressive push for legislation that will protect and expand the rights of workings Americans. LEARN MORE HERE and CHECK OUT EPI’s Raising America’s Pay agenda, an 11-point set of policy solutions to combat wage stagnation.

PP MUST READ: “In Rahm Emanuel’s ‘Embarrassing’ Victory, a Warning for Democrats” over at Campaign for America’s Future.

THE PUSH FOR FULL EMPLOYMENT – The Full Employment Project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) hosted “Full Employment: How Can We Get There and Stay There? Why Does It Matter?” last week and released five new papers in conjunction with the event. READ them all HEREWATCH a video of the event HERE, and LISTEN to an interview on full employment with CBPP Economist and report author Jared Bernstein over at Campaign for America’s Future HERE.

AMERICA’S MOST WANTED – Severe weather caused $19 billion in damages and took 65 human lives in 2014 alone, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress. READ: “Extreme Weather on the Rise” … ELSEWHERE, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report of the Top 10 Oil & Gas Companies for Spills & Legal Violations. Along with naming these companies, the report found a serious lack of data that is easily available to the public. READ: “Fracking’s Most Wanted: Lifting the Veil on Oil and Gas Company Spills and Violations.”

FROM THE WONK WIRE …

… COMPELLING CONVERSATIONS: Demos President and Top Wonk Heather McGhee discusses the state of racial justice in the Progressive Movement, inequality in an election cycle, and which feminist she would want to be stuck on a desert island with.

… HIGHLY INTERESTED IN LOW INTEREST: CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker tells the Fed to pump the brakes on increasing interest rates.

… A CLEANER FUTURE: Sierra Club Executive Director and Top Wonk Michael Brune announces the success of the Beyond Coal campaign and the real world impact it’s having.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

… ON OUR AGENDA …

Visit our twitter @PractProgress. Like what you see? JOIN the movement by sending tips, news, and reactions to PracticalProgress@agendaproject.org.

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A LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE…#GETMONEYOUT NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION **TODAY**…TPP Leak Is Bad News For Lobbyists, But Good News For Transparency…Tax Dodging All Around…Stop Predatory Lending…Women, Incarcerated Launched This Week…Unemployment Crisis + Wage Parity…Lessig Endorses Warren…Feeling Stuck

A LICENSE TO DISCRIMINATE – Thousands rallied in Indiana last week to protest the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence (R) last Thursday. The law–which opens the door for discrimination based on sexual orientation for those claiming religious objections–has faced extreme backlash from over 60 organizations, businesses, celebrities, editorial boards, cities, and states … Despite this public outcry and the $256.4 million Indiana is set to lose as a result–according to the Center for American Progress–Arkansas has followed suit with a similar bill … Even Wal-Mart Chief Executive Doug McMillon knows what’s up: “HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold.”

READ ”Even Indiana Republicans Are Telling Mike Pence His Discrimination Law is Wrong” over at The Nation and SIGN petitions from Human Rights Campaign to the governors of Indiana and Arkansas HERE and HERE.

#GETMONEYOUT NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION **TODAY** – People are rallying at 57 events in 50 cities organized by Money Out, Voters In **TODAY**–on the first anniversary of the McCutcheon Supreme Court decision–to demand that President Obama sign an executive order to make federal contractors disclose their political spending … The top 10 federal contractors have made $1.5 trillion from the government since 2000 according to a new Brennan Center for Justice report by Daniel I. Weiner, Brent Ferguson, and Top Wonk Lawrence Norden.

READ the full analysis from the Brennan Center HEREFIND a rally near you HERE, and SIGN a petition from Public Citizen telling President Obama to require political spending disclosure from federal contractors HERE.

TPP LEAK IS BAD NEWS FOR LOBBYISTS – The New York Times–in partnership with Wikileaks–obtained a section of the confidential proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement this week, and progressives were (unsurprisingly) unhappy with what they saw. Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN): “The United States is leading a global race to the bottom.” READ the leaked section HERE and an analysis of the text from Public Citizen HERE.

TAX DODGING ALL AROUND – The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength slammed a proposal to repeal the federal estate tax on inherited wealth that the House Ways and Means Committee passed earlier this week. Patriotic Millionaire and author Andrew Tobias commented: “The dumbest thing we could do, with inequality soaring and our infrastructure crumbling, is cut–let alone eliminate–the tax on ‘billion-heirs’” … The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities agreed; READ: “Eliminating Estate Tax on Inherited Wealth Would Increase Deficits and Inequality.”

… MEANWHILE, the Center for Effective Government and the Institute for Policy Studies singled out another group who is not paying their fair share. According to their new analysis, if just 26 companies paid the taxes they’re avoiding through overseas tax havens, the government would gain enough revenue to repair wastewater and stormwater systems; repair or replace all deficient dams; and restore all local, state, and national parks for the entire country. READ: “Burning Our Bridges.”

STOP PREDATORY LENDING – 500 organizations–including AFL-CIO, ACLU, Center for Effective Government, the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National People’s Action, NETWORK, Other98.com, PICO National Network, Public Citizen, United for a Fair Economy, and USAction–signed a letter from Americans for Financial Reform responding to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed rules to regulate predatory payday loans. National People’s Action Policy Director Liz Ryan Murray summed it up: “While the CFPB’s proposal includes several necessary provisions for short and longer term small dollar credit, it’s riddled with loopholes.” READ the CFPB fact sheet HERE and SIGN a petition to close the loopholes in the proposal HERE.

WOMEN, INCARCERATED – RH Reality Check launched “Women, Incarcerated” this week, a new investigative series looking at systemic abuses against women in prison. READ the first two articles HERE and HERE.

UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS – Black unemployment levels remain higher than they were before the recession in 28 states, while rates for whites, Hispanics, and Asians have fallen to just above pre-recession levels, according to new data from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). EPI economist and report author Valerie Wilson: “The unemployment rate for black communities is at a crisis level.” READ ”Projected Decline in Unemployment in 2015 Won’t Lift Blacks out of the Recession-Carved Crater“ OR, if short on time, 7 key findings from the report over at AFL-CIO.

SPEAKING OF WORK DISPARITIES, Paycheck Fairness Act co-sponsor Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) outlined the reach of the bill, which was reintroduced in both houses of Congress last week: ”Equal pay is not just a problem for women, but for families, who are trying to pay their bills, trying to get ahead, trying to achieve the American Dream” … The bill’s introduction comes just before Equal Pay Day on April 14–the day that the average woman catches up in earnings to what the average man would have made in the previous year. LEARN MORE HERE and SIGN a petition from MomsRising telling your senators to vote yes on the bill HERE.

EQUAL PAY MUST READ: “Legions of Women Workers in U.S. Still Lack Minimum Wage and Labor Protections” by American Constitution Society for Law and Policy President Caroline Fredrickson.

LESSIG IS IN FOR WARREN – Harvard academic and Top Wonk Lawrence Lessig has signed on to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for president. He will officially call for her to enter the race at a MoveOn.org rally on April 20 in New York City, where he will be joined by Fordham University Associate Professor of Law and Top Wonk Zephyr Teachout and former Obama administration official Van Jones. LEARN MORE HERE and SIGN UP to be notified when tickets become available HERE.

FEELING STUCK – CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker released a new report this week as part of the AARP Public Institute’s “Future of Work@50+” series. The report looks at the effects of the Affordable Care Act on “job lock“–a labor market pattern that occurs when workers are reluctant to leave a job that offers health insurance because they cannot otherwise obtain affordable insurance. READ: “Job Lock and Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Evidence from the Literature.”

FROM THE WONK WIRE …

… SCHOOLS NEED SUPPORT, NOT SUSPICION: Fordham University Associate Professor of Law and Top Wonk Zephyr Teachout decries New York’s new budget and how it allocates school aid.

… DISAPPEARING ON DARK MONEY: Brennan Center Fellow and Top Wonk Ciara Torres-Spelliscy is waiting for SEC Chair Mary Jo White to show up and fight against dark money.

… RETIREMENT READY: Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analyst and Top Wonk Teresa Ghilarducci questions if American workers are prepared for retirement.

… INHERITING THE ONE PERCENT: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich dispels the myth that those with money are the ones who work hard and those without do not.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

… ON OUR AGENDA …

VISIT our Twitter @PractProgress and EMAIL US at PracticalProgress@agendaproject.org.

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PP REVAMP…TAKE OUR SURVEY!…TED CRUZ RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT…MEANWHILE, WARREN STILL SAYS SHE’S NOT…Budget Says What??…A Very Special Nation Issue…What the Frack?…Wins and Losses in Wisconsin…

IN 592 DAYS the nation will: ELECT a new president … ELECT or DEFEAT 24 vulnerable Republican senators … VOTE on minimum wage ballot initiativesSEND 34 vulnerable house members packing … or not. With so much to be decided, we had NO CHOICE! We just had to EXPAND PRACTICAL PROGRESS–so more Progressives are on top of the Most Important News from the Progressive Movement!

Help us Help YOU! Please FILL OUT our (very very) short survey so that we can make Practical Progress the NEWSLETTER YOU NEED IT TO BE!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming …

IT’S OFFICIAL – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) formally announced his 2016 presidential bid earlier this week, or, as the Center for Public Integrity put it, “Ted Cruz’s Presidential Cash Hunt Commences.” READ ”Ted Cruz’s Biggest Liability Is Probably His Constant Lying” over at The Nation and SIGN a petition from NARAL telling Sen. Cruz to trust women HERE.

MEANWHILE, WHILE WARREN STILL SAYS SHE’S NOT — Last weekend, The Boston Globe became the first major newspaper to come out in support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The issue also included an op-ed in support of Sen. Warren by MoveOn.org Civic Action Executive Director, Anna Galland. READ the Boston Globe editorial board’s article HERE and Galland’s op-ed HERE.

BUDGET SAYS WHAT?? – The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities crunched the numbers on the proposed Republican House budget and found that it calls for a drastic reduction in Pell Grants for low- and middle-income families, would slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $125 billion, and overall would get 69% of its cuts from programs for people with low or moderate incomes. Of course, the budget fails to address the more than $1 trillion a year that high-income households receive in tax code loopholes.

… Fed up, the Congressional Progressive Caucus created an alternative: “The People’s Budget.” READ their full proposal HERE and an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) analysis of it HERE and SIGN as a citizen co-sponsor of The People’s Budget HERE.

A VERY SPECIAL NATION ISSUE – To mark 150 years of progressive journalism, this week The Nation published a special anniversary issue–one of the longest in the magazine’s history–and made the issue free to download as a PDF. LEARN MORE HERE and DOWNLOAD the PDF HERE.

WHAT WORKS TO RAISE WAGES – EPI released a new report last week as part of “Raising America’s Pay,” a multiyear research and public education initiative to combat wage stagnation, also known as “the liberal plan to save the middle class.” The report complements an 11-point policy plan–The Agenda to Raise America’s PayLEARN MORE HERE and READ ”How to Raise Wages: Policies That Work and Policies That Don’t.”

WHAT THE FRACK? – Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Fracking Policy Analyst Amy Mall slammed the Obama administration’s new regulations for fracking on federal and tribal lands for being too lax: “The bottom line is: these rules fail to protect the nation’s public lands–home to our last wild places, and sources of drinking water for millions of people–from the risks of fracking”… Sierra Club Our Wild America Campaign Senior Director Dan Chu agreed: “The only true way to protect communities from fracking is to not frack at all.” SIGN a petition to stop fracking now HERE.

WINS AND LOSSES IN WISCONSIN – The Supreme Court allowed a restrictive Wisconsin voter ID law to stand this week, granting a victory to presidential hopeful Gov. Scott Walker (R). Should the Supreme Court have accepted the case challenging the law? Ari Berman over at The Nation says yes … ELSEWHERE IN WISCONSIN, a federal court blocked an admitting privileges requirement for abortion providers. READ the full story over at RH Reality Check HERE.

DEMOCRACY IN THE DARK – The Brennan Center for Justice is hosting a book party to support Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.’s Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy on Thursday, April 9 in New York City. The book explores the history of the tension between secrecy and democracy in America. RSVP HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE 

… SHAKE, RATTLE, AND ROLL: Journalist, author and Top Wonk Naomi Klein sees the recent drop in oil prices as a great opportunity to expand renewable energy.

… LESSONS THAT STICK: Sierra Club Executive Director and Top Wonk Michael Brune recalls the Exxon Valdez oil spill and outlines the lessons we should learn from it.

… LISTEN UP, HILLARY: Demos Senior Fellow and Top Wonk Richard Brodsky explains what the Cuomo and Emanuel elections say about the current state of Democrats.

… LEAVE AND NEVER COME BACK: Center for Economic and Policy Research Domestic Policy Director and Top Wonk Nicole Woo calls for abolishing the debt ceiling in America.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

… ON OUR AGENDA 

VISIT our twitter @PractProgress and E-MAIL us  at PracticalProgress@agendaproject.org!

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THE PROGRESSIVE COALITION THAT WASN’T…PROGRESSIVISM GETS A LIFT…Budget Battle Kicks Off With GOP House Proposal…How Low Can We Go?…Together We Rise…Get Rid of It All…Wonk Writings…CPCs Are Not OK…Hunting Ground Update

THE PROGRESSIVE COALITION THAT IS NEITHER PROGRESSIVE, NOR A COALITION — Actual bona fide progressives called foul this week as the “Progressive Coalition for American Jobs” launched media buys in Oregon and Washington state. Despite years of entirely consistent, unequivocally unified work against bad trade deals by progressive organizations like MoveOn.org, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Fight for the Future, Demos, AFL-CIO, Campaign For America’s Future, and Presente, the “coalition” insisted to Politico that progressives were “split on TPP.”

Hmmm.

Perhaps 270 Strategies–the PR firm behind the so-called coalition–should rethink their, eh hem, “strategy.”

Democracy Partners Co-Founder Mike Lux TOLD PP: “There is no such thing as a ‘progressive coalition’ in favor of the TPP, because the progressive movement is about as unified as it can be against it.”

Many questions and few answers as the TPP negotiations continue in strictly-enforced secrecy

PROGRESSIVISM GETS A LIFT AS MINIMUM WAGE GETS A RAISE — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is rallying support for a bill that would gradually raise the current federal minimum wage to $12 an hour–up from previous proposals of $10.10 an hour–and index these wages to the median wage. Democratic senators obviously saw the (progressive) writing on the wall from minimum wage ballot initiatives passing in five states last year, including four red states … Too bad presidential contender Jeb Bush is stuck in 1938, before the federal minimum wage was even created.

SHARE your story in support of raising the minimum wage with National Employment Law Project (NELP) HERE.

BUDGET BATTLE KICKS OFF — The House GOP calls their budget–proposed Wednesday–”A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America,” but Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) President Robert Greenstein knows what’s really going on with their plan: “It’s sure to significantly increase poverty, hardship, and inequality.” READ his full analysis HERE … Think this budget battle is purely symbolic? READ: “Four Reasons the Coming Congressional Budget Battle Matters” over at Campaign for America’s Future.

HOW LOW CAN WE GO? — State unemployment insurance programs are failing their critical goals of income replacement and supporting economic growth, according to new findings from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). READ: “How Low Can We Go?: State Unemployment Insurance Programs Exclude Record Numbers of Jobless Workers.”

TOGETHER WE RISEOver 6,000 people across 16 states and dozens of cities joined the “We Rise” Day of Action–organized by National People’s Action, USAction, the Center for Popular Democracy, and other allies. Protesters made a public push against regressive policies that hurt workers, people of color, and the environment and called on elected officials to put people and planet first. LEARN MORE HERE and CHECK OUT photos from the event HERE.

GET RID OF IT ALL — A broad coalition of progressive organizations–including Campaign for America’s Future, Courage Campaign, Daily Kos, Democracy for America, RH Reality Check, RootsAction, The Nation, and Working Families–have joined together to demand that the government forgive the $1.3 trillion in student debt that Americans collectively owe. SIGN their petition HERE.

WONK WRITINGS — Three Top Wonks–Fordham University Associate Professor of Law Zephyr Teachout, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt, and Yale Law School J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law Heather K. Gerken–contributed columns to the spring issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, released earlier this week. READ the full issue HERE.

CPCs ARE NOT OK — According to a new report from NARAL–released last week in conjunction with National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day–crisis pregnancy centers target and lie to women about abortion options. NARAL President Ilyse Hogue sums up the findings: “Pregnant women absolutely need objective, accurate information and superior services in order to make the best decision. Crisis pregnancy centers offer the exact opposite of that.” READ the full report HERE and an interview about reproductive justice with Dr. Cheryl Chastine of the South Wind’s Women Center over at RH Reality Check HERE.

PP MUST READ: “Not All Working Women Can ‘Lean In’” by American Constitution Society for Law and Policy President Caroline Fredrickson.

HUNTING GROUND UPDATEThe Hunting Ground–a new documentary about sexual assault on college campuses produced by Amy Ziering–opens in four new cities this week. WATCH the trailer HERE and FIND a showing near you HERE.

FULL EMPLOYMENT FORUM — The Full Employment Project of CBPP is hosting “Full Employment: How Can We Get There and Stay There? Why Does It Matter?” on Monday, March 30 at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke will give the keynote speech, followed by a discussion by leading economists from Brookings Institution, EPI, CBPP, the International Monetary Fund, and NELP. RSVP HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

BOGUS BANKING BONUSES: Institute for Policy Studies Director and Top Wonk Sarah Anderson provides context for the enormous bonuses given to Wall Street employees.

BONDS, SAFE BONDS: Yale University Professor and Top Wonk Robert Shiller details why the current bond market is unlikely to crash.

REDEFINING REDISTRIBUTION: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich predicts a need to change definitions of key economic phrases in light of our changing times.

SIMPLY SEEKING SOLUTIONS: CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker points to those who are ignoring simple truths about economic inequality and how to fight it.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA 

… PP congratulates Arun Ivatury for being named Director of Policy at SEIU! Ivatury is leaving his post as Senior Campaign Strategist at NELP. We wish him all the best! …

KEEP A LOOK OUT next week for a revamped PP and CONTACT us at our new email address: PracticalProgress@agendaproject.org! … More exciting announcements to follow!

IN THE MEANTIME, visit our twitter @PractProgress

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WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??…50 YEARS AFTER SELMA…SiX on the States…No TPP: Fair Trade, Not Free Trade…Not All Inequality is Equal…Going Global for International Women’s Day…Information is Not Quite Free Yet…Premiere of “The Burden” March 27!

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?? – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-NJ) summed up responses to the 47 Republican senators who sent a letter to Iran attempting to undercut a potential nuclear deal: “It’s beyond disturbing.” READ ”Meet Tom Cotton, the Senator Behind the Republicans’ Letter to Iran” over at The Nation and SIGN a petition to file treason charges against these senators HERE.

50 YEARS AFTER SELMA80,000 people–including President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Rev. Al Sharpton, members of Congress, and representatives from Advancement Project, ColorOfChange, NAACP, and #BlackLivesMatter–descended on Selma last weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery and the “Bloody Sunday” when police confronted protesters. ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson on the present-day struggle: “When we look forward, we’ve got to think about not just how we defend what we’ve won, but what the new models and new systems for protections are that we need for the future.”

READFrom Selma to Texas: Why the Voting Rights Act is Still Vital” over at The Brennan Center for Justice and SIGN a pledge to keep marching for voting rights from Advancement Project HERE.

SiX ON THE STATES — Last week the State Innovation Exchange (SiX)–a major new state-focused organization–and the Center for American Progress (CAP) hosted “An Economic Opportunity Agenda in the States,” a discussion about state-level policies to grow the middle class, moderated by SiX Executive Director Nick Rathod. The same week, representatives of SiX also met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and White House officials. WATCH a video of the event with CAP HERE and FIND OUT more about SiX HERE.

FAIR TRADE, NOT FREE TRADE – AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka slammed President Obama’s intention to fast-track the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement: “We are going all out to oppose it: phone banks, leaf letting, door knocks in various congressional districts and Senate states in informing the general public, and we will continue this until we are successful in defeating it” … Presente Executive Director Arturo Comona agreed and urged Latino leaders to take a stand against the proposal. READ his op-ed HERE and SIGN a petition to create a trade deal that works for working families HERE.

UNEQUAL INEQUALITY — Demos has developed the Racial Wealth Audit, a new tool that is used to evaluate the impact of housing, education, and labor markets on the racial wealth gap. The tool will be featured in an upcoming series of briefs looking at racial wealth disparities and the policies that have caused them. READ more HERE.

ELSEWHERE, the Fed Up Coalition–made up of AFL-CIO, Center for Popular Democracy, Demos, Economic Policy Institute, National Employment Law Project, and many others–also released a new report on racial disparities in wages and employment across the country. READ: “Wall Street, Main Street, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard: Why African Americans Must Not Be Left Out of the Federal Reserve’s Full-Employment Mandate.”

GOING GLOBAL FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY — In honor of International Women’s Day last week, Planned Parenthood released a video celebrating the last 20 years of progress for women’s rights around the world … Meanwhile, the No Ceilings Foundation published a new global analysis of the inequalities women continue to face. READThe Participation Report” and SIGN a petition from MomsRising telling Congress to pass the Fair Paycheck Act HERE.

INFORMATION NOT QUITE FREE — 10 out of 15 of the federal agencies who consistently receive the most Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests failed to achieve satisfactory grades on the Center for Effective Government’s access to information scorecard. Open Government Policy Director and report co-author Sean Moulton summed up the problem: “Agencies are trying to establish a public infrastructure for the 21st century, but permanent progress is difficult when agency budgets are uncertain and declining.”

READ the full report HERE and SIGN a petition urging Congress to strengthen the FOIA HERE.

THE BURDEN — The Truman National Security Project and Operation Free are premiering The Burden: Fossil Fuels, the Military, & National Security at the nation Environmental Film Festival in Washington, DC on Friday, March 27. The documentary looks at fossil fuel dependence as a national security issue and examines the military’s transition away from oil. WATCH the trailer HERE and RSVP for the premiere HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

PROJECTING DIVERSE VOICES: Demos President and Top Wonk Heather McGhee outlines how the voices of smaller donors can be heard in election cycles.

WHEN IT’S GOOD TO SAY NO: Brennan Center Fellow and Top Wonk Ciara Torres-Spelliscy explains why the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear cases on campaign finance reform is a good thing.

TRADING AWAY THE FUTURE: Sierra Club Executive Director and Top Wonk Michael Brune details how passing the TPP will negatively impact climate change.

HELP FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT: Former IMF Chief Economist and Top Wonk Simon Johnson commends the White House for fighting big banks and providing sound advice to retirees.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA

Visit our twitter @PractProgress

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