Approved progressive measures on ballots that folks should know more about

I don’t think there is anything else in the world that has captured our attention today and yesterday more than the Presidential race. Not the Senate races. Not the House of Representatives races. Not even Covid. Everything else has to take a backseat, but there are measures or propositions on the ballots that I personally support and think should be called out more. I hope you will find them helpful.

Florida voters approved a significant raise in the minimum wage.

I am not a huge fan of Florida, but this move is awesome! Florida voters approved the raise of the minimum wage from $8.56 per hour to $15 per hour from now till at least 2026. For every working individual, that’s double what they are getting paid now. Imagine the relief that these hard-working people and their family will have from this measure. Critics of this measure would tell you that it’s hurting their business and keeping the wages low would stimulate business and the trickle down economics. Have you ever known the trickle down economics work before? Me neither! If business owners can retain more profits at the expense of employees, there is no way that they will let it go. That’s not in the human nature. The only way to improve the livelihood of workers is to make the minimum wage high enough. Is $15 per hour sufficient? I don’t know. But it sure is a hell lot better than $8.56/hour.

The City of Portland in Maine banned the use of facial recognition, imposed a rent control and raised the minimum wage

The City of Portland in Maine also lifted the minimum wage to $15/hour, but it also did two other things: ban the use of facial surveillance technology and impose more rental protections for renters. In addition to limiting an annual increase in rent to the rate of inflation, the measure also mandates the creation of an oversight body that handles rental disputes and shortens the length of unofficial leases. All of these are legislations truly by and for citizens. It’s not uncommon to hear about renter abuses by landlords. If you read any rental agreements, the clauses embedded in those agreements aren’t particularly in the best interest of renters. Although it likely won’t solve all potential issues, the new approved measure is a step in the right direction and tips the scale a bit more in favor of renters.

Paid and Medical Leave in Colorado

It’s still mind-blowing to me that paid and medical leave isn’t universal in America. But the state of Colorado took a step in the right direction by approving the measure that requires companies to pay workers 12 paid weeks for childbirth and family emergencies which include medical occasions. There is not much else to elaborate on this. I’ll just let State Senator Faith Winter take it from here:

I am happy for the workers of Colorado. The new law will ensure that mothers don’t have to return to work mere days after giving birth, she said, and that cancer patients can take time to heal.

Source: CPR

Data privacy expansion and voting rights restoration for folks on parole in California

California’s voters approved a proposition called Prop 24 built on the California Consumer Privacy Act. The proposition will allow consumers an ability to limit how businesses can use their data such as race, location and health information. There will also be a new body that oversees the adoption of the law and the new proposition. In my opinion, our privacy is our right. Companies such as Internet Service Providers shouldn’t be able to exploit our own data and sell it to advertisers without our consent. Sadly, that’s what is happening across the country. Along with other egregious violations of our privacy. Hence, I do think this is a good proposition to have in effect.

Another approved proposition is the restoration of voting rights for folks on parole. Called Proposition 17, it gives people back the rights to vote after they serve their sentences. I mean, everyone makes mistakes. Just because there is a stain in a person’s record should rid you of one of his or her basic human rights, especially in a democracy. It baffles me so much that there are many states in the country where folks are deprived of their voting rights simply because they made a mistake in the past. Well, the way to integrate them back into a society is firstly to let them be a human, with human rights. It’s reported that the proposition will help 50,000 Californians have their voting rights back. 50,000!

Find other ballot measures here

Thought on Howard Schultz’s alleged presidential run

There has been significant coverage on Howard Schultz’s intention of running in 2020 as an Independent. The coverage, as I have seen so far, has been pretty negative, coming from multiple angles and parties. Most don’t want him to run. The hostility makes me think about the implications of democracy. Specifically, the reaction from Democrats startles me.

In a democratic society, everyone is allowed to voice their opinion and do what is permitted by the laws. Hence, the criticisms and hostility towards Howard Schultz are perfectly fine. What should have been better is the reaction from Democrats, in my opinion. It’s almost a given that Donald Trump, as the sitting president, will be the GOP nominee in 2020. The GOP so far has shown in multiple instances that it is no longer the party of rules, laws and principles as it claims. As a party that advocates democracy and the word is actually part of the party’s name, the Democrats should encourage the principles of a democratic society.

Instead, they complain about the possibility that Independents such as Howard Schultz will take votes away from their candidates and help re-elect Trump. In truth, so many voters in 2016 sat out of the election because they didn’t like any of the candidates from the two main parties. I myself talked to a few of them in Nebraska. Therefore, if voters don’t like your candidates, what difference would having Independents like Schultz make?

Plus, telling Howard Schultz to stand down goes against the principles of democracy. In the time of confusion right now, the Democrats ought to try to emphasize the principles of democracy. Also, they should just stop trying too hard to be relevant such as Elizabeth Warren’s DNA going-nowhere story or her having a beer in the kitchen on Instagram. Instead, work on practical agendas and communication. Convince voters why your candidates should be elected, rather than criticize or discourage those who just exercise their rights.

At the end of the day, there is a price for everything, including living in a democratic society, isn’t there?