By: Estela Reyes ~ 10-23
I want to start this month’s column with a big ‘Thank You’! Thank you for reading into and engaging with the work of your elected officials. It is a joy of this job to hear constituents’ advocacy and carry their voices to the State policy-making level. I am thankful to every one of you.
This month I was excited to recognize and remember our veterans. I sit on the Committee of Veterans and Federal Affairs, so I am highly attuned to the issues regarding veterans. I will continue to advocate for veteran support here at the State House.
In my community, I was excited to give out buckets for veterans filled with supplies to assist those through the cold winter months.
The buckets were donated to the State House and handed out to veterans across the state. If you or someone you know is a veteran and has any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to my legislative aide Laura (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will assist you with where to take your question.
Also at the State House, this November’s calendar was full of committee hearings in preparation for closing out the First Session. During a Committee hearing, anyone can testify in support or opposition to the bill on the docket.
The committee members either favorably report a bill, meaning they recommend the passage of it, or they give an adverse report, signaling that they want the bill to be killed. Committee members vote based on testimony, research backing the bill, and their political ideology. If you feel inclined to advocate for or against a bill, please check out malegislature.gov for more information on how to do so.
An important piece of legislation this month that I co-sponsor is H.1099, An Act establishing a transportation network driver bill of rights. This bill gives rideshare drivers the right to organize and protect themselves against retaliation from organizing. It bars unions from coercion and requires them to represent workers fairly through a bargaining unit of 25% of the eligible voters.
Bargaining is industry-wide. Many constituents advocated in support of this bill, which is another reason I was happy to support it.
Representatives are also able to testify on legislation. In my testimony for H.1099 I shared that our current system is failing rideshare drivers. These drivers often rely on a large portion, or all, of their income to provide for themselves and their families.
The uncertainty of their pay, high demand, ever-evolving technology, and manipulative practices by the companies, creates high levels of stress and can be emotionally taxing. We as state legislators must take action to protect these workers and their worker rights. I believe in workers getting the money they deserve.
Please stay involved with local politics by contacting your representative’s office and being active in your community. And please, save time to take care of yourselves as well.◊