Friday, June 18, 2010

EMILY's List Announces EMpower

cross-posted from Sum of Change

On Thursday, June 17th 2010, EMILY's List announced a new program called EMpower. We were filming WIN's 21st Annual Women Opening Doors for Women, where Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY's List, announced the new program:

What is EMpower?
Twenty-five years ago, 25 women gathered in a basement, rolodexes in hand, to send letters to their friends about a network they were forming to raise money for pro-choice Democratic women candidates. Today, EMILY's List is one of the nation's largest and most successful political action committees. But the fight isn't over, and while the tools are different, the mission remains the same. It's time to EMpower the next generation of Democratic women. It's our time. EMpower is a place to network, to learn about candidates throughout the country, to collaborate, and to see our individual and collective impact make a real difference.
Learn More »

Thursday, June 17, 2010

CWA Endorses CA's Control and Tax Ballot Initiative

I do not typically think too much of endorsements, but this one is an exception:

Initiative could create tens of thousands of new jobs, billions in wages in California

(Oakland, CA) Today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 9415 announced its support for the California initiative to control and tax cannabis.

“The labor movement is coming together behind this initiative,” said Sally Venable, President of CWA, Local 9415. “With California’s state budget in disarray, and people out of work, it’s time to harness this incredible revenue stream and create tens of thousands of high quality, union jobs, by controlling and taxing cannabis in California.”

According to a study by the California Chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), a controlled and taxed cannabis market could create between 60,000 and 110,000 new jobs, and $2.5 – $3.5 billion in new wages for workers each year.

Last month, almost 100 workers in Oakland’s medical cannabis industry voted to unionize and joined United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Local 5.

UFCW Local 5’s Dan Rush, who oversees statewide ballots matters for the Union and who has been assigned by Local 5 to work full time on the campaign, said controlling and taxing cannabis could help save thousands of public sector jobs which are currently on the chopping block. “California is laying off teachers, firefighters, and nurses left and right,” Rush said. “Controlling and taxing cannabis will generate billions in revenue to help us save these vital services and jobs.”

Rush and CWA, Local 9415 join a broad and growing coalition supporting the Initiative, including medical professionals, law enforcement professionals, faith leaders, economists, and elected officials.

Similar to current alcohol and tobacco laws, the Initiative will give local governments the ability to control and tax the sale of small amounts of cannabis to adults age 21 and older. The Initiative includes significant safeguards and controls: it will increase the penalty for providing marijuana to a minor, expressly prohibit the consumption of marijuana in public, forbid smoking marijuana while minors are present, ban possession on school grounds, and maintain the current law against driving under the influence.

California’s tax regulator, the Board of Equalization, estimates that marijuana taxes could generate $1.4 billion in revenue each year.

The California Legislative Analyst's Office states that in addition to generating new revenue, the Initiative would allow correctional and law enforcement resources to be redirected to more pressing needs. The LAO says that in addition to generating “a few hundred millions of dollars annually” it could also save “several tens of millions of dollars annually” and permit the “redirection of court and law enforcement resources.”

A summary of the Initiative’s fiscal benefits is available at:

A summary of the Initiative’s public safety benefits is available at:
This Union endorsement is sure to reinforce the message that we can create jobs in a time of economic turmoil with sensible regulations and a legal cannabis market along the lines of alcohol.