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States can lead, follow, or get out of the way

In California, we like to lead. I’ve said it before. It’s an idea woven into the marrow of Next Generation, and this week it was proven true again.

In the past few days, several promising bills have passed through the California Legislature: the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522), the “Fair Start” bill (SB 837), and the Child Care and Development Services Act of 2014 (SB 1123). “The forward momentum of these bills,” states Ann O’Leary, Vice President and Director of our Children and Families program, “has given us hope that our elected leaders understand the widespread value of ensuring that our state’s most vulnerable children and families have a strong start in life.” For what to expect in the coming weeks, see today’s post from Children and Families Associate Director Sarah Crow, “What are we doing for working families?”

Meanwhile, in Congress, the news is less exciting. This week’s “Pat’s Picks” examines the problem through the lens of Shaheen-Portman, the energy efficiency bill “built to pass Congress” that couldn’t pass Congress. Here too, on climate, California is leading. With President Obama expected to announce new EPA rules that could open the door for state level carbon markets, eyes are turning to the Golden State and its cap-and-trade program for role modeling – which incidentally, is expected to collect about $5 billion a year by decade’s end.

I think California is a pretty great role model already, but we at Next Generation are not blind to areas in need of improvement. We’re committed to continue pushing the nation’s largest and most populous sate to be an even better example, and to use that example to help the country as a whole lead.

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