2021 is a call to action.
2020 presented us with unprecedented challenges all at once — the pandemic and resulting economic recession, a historic assault on our democracy and the long overdue recognition of the need to address racial inequality in our country. President Biden has pledged to “build back better”, and we agree that we must create a path forward that is not a return to a pre-COVID normal, but that unites us and works better for everyone. Such an urgent and ambitious goal will require a true partnership between federal, state and local elected leaders, and over the next four years, the NewDEAL pledges to promote state and local ideas that will help us build back better, with a special emphasis on addressing long-standing racial inequities. Check this page frequently for new policy recommendations and upcoming programming.
We must build back better.
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This week’s five stories on Building Back Better in the States
AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN FUNDING
Kentucky: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer proposed a plan for distributing the city’s first round of funding from the American Rescue Plan, with 10 percent allocated to the city’s most urgent needs, including the COVID-19 response, vulnerable resident stabilization, and economic recovery. Remaining funds would support the city’s Build Back Better initiative as well as his initiative on Advancing Racial Equity; A Path Forward.
Colorado: The legislature has approved legislation sponsored by Senator Chris Hansen to require gas utility companies to create clean heat plans to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with providing fuel to homes and businesses. His bill now heads to the governor’s desk.
DEMOCRACY & VOTING RIGHTS
Maine: House Speaker Ryan Fecteau successfully passed his voting access bill through the state house. The Act to Establish Ongoing Absentee Voting would allow the automatic mailing of absentee ballots to people over the age of 60 and people with disabilities after they request one for the first time, rather than requiring voters to request an absentee ballot for every election.
Utah: Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced a change to the city’s healthcare coverage to include gender-affirming surgery. As states throughout the U.S. move to restrict access to gender-affirming healthcare, the city’s new policy will include this crucial coverage for all employees and eligible independents.
Missouri: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’s zero-fare bus program anticipates soon receiving federal funding. A total of $10.5 million in federal funding from the Resilient Repairs Act has been requested to purchase the zero-fare buses and is part of a larger plan to future-proof Kansas City’s infrastructure investments.
Tracking the Recovery database
Explore our new database of ways NewDEALers around the country are using stimulus funds to build back better and speed up the recovery as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Equity Initiative
Hear from NewDEALers on how they’re tackling systemic injustice, and how they’re working to ensure we address discrimination at the core of our institutions in this historic time of disruption.