Rent Caps Gain Traction Across the Country
As rents continue to rise nationwide, localities are working to keep their residents in their homes. In Cudahy, CA, LP member and Mayor Elizabeth Alcantar drew on her experiences growing up as a renter to lead the effort to pass rent control and just cause protections for her community. Similarly, in nearby Maywood, the City Council voted to extend their rent freeze and indicated interest in pursuing permanent rent control legislation. Minneapolis City Councilmembers also voted to pass a rent stabilization policy to go before voters on the November ballot. While the Mayor indicated he would veto the policy, the City Attorney said that he did not have the authority to do so. Local Progress and Local Progress Impact Lab have been developing resources to support local electeds on developing rent stabilization policies. Stay tuned! Read more about Cudahy →
Six Florida Cities End Court Challenge of HB 1 After Succeeding in Reducing Harm
On June 8, the six Florida cities who sued Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over HB 1 ended their legal challenge after successfully reducing the law’s harm. As Florida localities began to reimagine public safety to meet their communities’ needs after the racial justice protests of 2020, Governor DeSantis signed an anti-protest and anti-local democracy bill – known as HB 1 – into law to repress forthcoming progress. The law stripped localities’ control over their law enforcement budgets – undermining the ability of local governments to pass budgets responsive to their communities’ needs. In direct response to the cities’ lawsuit and following a failed attempt by Governor DeSantis to dismiss the challenge in court, the state legislature made important changes to the bill. “After over a year of fighting back against HB 1, [this] is a victory for everyone concerned about the law’s impact on home rule and participatory democracy,” said Francesca Menes, LP’s Deputy Organizing Director. “HB 1 reflects a troubling trend of state executives and legislatures undermining local democracy and further marginalizing communities often left out of governance. The end of this lawsuit reenergizes our fight against abusive state preemption – in Florida and across the country.” Read more →
Supporting LGBTQ+ Communities in the Face of Targeted Attacks
Local governments have a role to ensure that their communities are inclusive of everyone. With increasing attempts to discredit and fire LGBTQ+ teachers, as well as restrict preferred bathroom use and gender affirming care for trans children, school boards across the country are passing resolutions to show their support for their communities. In Virginia Beach, the school board passed an affirming resolution to protect LGBTQ+ students, in direct opposition to Governor Youngkin. As North Carolina’s general assembly doubled down on legislation targeting queer and trans people, Asheville’s Council passed a resolution affirming their support for LGBTQ+ communities, with the recognition that more action needs to be taken moving forward. In El Paso, librarians, local electeds, parents, students, and teachers are pushing back against book bans and fighting to keep books depicting the experiences of LGBTQ+ authors and people of color on school shelves. Read more →
The Links Between Housing Justice and Environmental Justice
ith much of the country experiencing smoke from wildfires this month, and climate catastrophes only intensifying, local governments are calling for urgent action and connecting the role of housing to combatting the climate crisis. In Detroit, City Councilmember and LP Board Member Gabriela Santiago-Romero called attention to the inequities of the climate crisis: “This is a daily lived experience for generations of people in District 6 and in Southwest Detroit.” In New York City, LP member Lincoln Restler called for more proactive ways to address the air quality crisis and noted the particular vulnerabilities that people experiencing homelessness face during environmental crises. Localities across the country have begun implementing long-term recommendations like electrifying buildings and improving ventilation and air filtration. In Los Angeles, LP member Eunisses Hernandez advocated to mandate air conditioning in rental units to mitigate the extreme heat from climate change. Unfortunately, at the same time, red states are continuing to preempt cities and counties from setting policies to protect their own communities from climate disaster. Read more →
📚 School Board Members Are Organizing to Build a Multi-Racial Democracy
Public schools are the center of our communities and the bedrock of a healthy democracy. That’s why 40 school board members from 16 states across the country gathered in Baltimore for two days of strategy, peer learning, community building, and leadership development at our first-ever school board convening. In total, LP members came from 37 school districts that represent 1,644,557 students from across the country! The convening marked an important evolution of our school board work – building on the establishment of our school board steering committee and the growth of our school board cohort over the past year (which now includes more than 265 members).
🏘 Local Leaders in Minnesota Convene Around Housing Justice
Dozens of LP members and partners from across the state came together in St. Paul earlier this month for the second LPMN State Meeting. This year’s state meeting focused on housing policy, and created a space for members to strategize on policy and narrative, learn from one another, build community, and dream up change. Members and partners met after a state legislative session that saw support for tenant protections and a huge investment in affordable housing. Building on the wins at the state level, attendees reflected on the progress that’s been made thus far to advance housing justice and strategized around policies that they can move at the local level, like tenant relocation assistance and rent stabilization, to continue to keep their communities housed.
🧠 Upcoming Policy & Strategy Primers
Our Policy & Strategy Primers are a series of foundational learning sessions on policy tools and strategy designed to help local electeds and staff figure out where and how to get started on key issues. The series operates on a regular, recurring schedule throughout the year focusing on issues related to housing, community safety, economic justice, and communications strategies. Next up are Equitable Development in July, Advancing and Protecting Workers’ Rights in August, and Community Safety in September!
🔗 Community Connectors Grant Program
Smart Growth America, Equitable Cities, the New Urban Mobility Alliance, and America Walks have created the Community Connectors program to advance locally driven projects to reconnect communities separated or harmed by transportation infrastructure. The grants are geared towards leaders (both in and outside of government) in small and mid-sized communities. The teams will also received technical assistance and participate in a learning exchange program over the course of 18-24 months. The deadline to apply is July 15.
📝 New LPIL Policy Brief: Regulating Short Term Rentals
Unregulated short-term rentals remove housing units from long-term residents, contributing to increased prices and displacement. Communities of color often bear the consequences. Short-term rentals have grown exponentially since online platforms, like Airbnb, were founded. In some communities, the number of entire housing units listed as short-term rentals has exceeded the number of units available for rent. And since the pandemic, short-term rental activity has intensified in small cities and rural areas. That’s why Local Progress Impact Lab recently released a policy brief on ways to regulate short term rentals.
🎒 New from HEAL Together: Unmask the Attack on Public Schools
HEAL Together, in partnership with True North Research, released a new infographic entitled “Unmasking the Attacks on Our Public Schools” to expose the billionaire donors behind the attacks on public schools. In recent years, groups pretending to be grassroots and community-driven have sought to discredit and dismantle public education by attacking inclusive history curriculums, diversity initiatives, and teacher’s unions; spreading inflammatory and inaccurate information about what is taught in public schools; and diverting taxpayer dollars for public education to charter, private, and religious schools or home-schooling/microschools.
Board Member, Florence Unified School District Governing Board
Sherri Jones is a Board Member on the Florence Unified School District Governing School Board and co-chair of the Local Progress Women’s Caucus. First elected in 2020, she has worked with or on behalf of young children in Arizona for more than 20 years – including as an after-school lead teacher, school age enrichment program manager, early childhood specialist, program coordinator, leadership coach and program development specialist. As the only Black woman and person of color on her board, Sherri has recognized the role of education as a base for a multiracial democracy and has supported several efforts through Race Forward’s national education initiative, Honest Education Action and Leadership (HEAL Together). As a leader in the LP Women’s Caucus, she is helping create more avenues to support women in office.