“The other Vermont” vs. special interests: Vt. Senate President Tim Ashe

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe launched the 2019-2020 legislative biennium with a challenge to his colleagues: “I challenge each of you, and I challenge myself, to never let go of this one question: what can we do to improve life in the other Vermont?” Ashe describes “the near complete takeover of the legislative process by special interests” that inspired his challenge. He also discusses his proposal to reduce Vermont’s incarceration rate and end the use of out-of-state prisons, legalize and tax marijuana sales, and speculates on whether this session will end in a raft of vetoes by Gov. Phil Scott as it did in 2018. (February 13, 2019 broadcast)

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe

 

Ban the Box: Helping ex-prisoners

“Ban the Box” refers to the policy of removing the conviction history check-box from job applications. If employers must ask about convictions, they can ask later in the hiring process. The call to “ban the box” has become a powerful movement for fair hiring.

Today, over 100 cities and counties have adopted “ban the box” and a total of 19 states representing nearly every region of the country that have adopted the policies

Last April, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed an Executive Order to implement a ‘ban the box’ state hiring policy. Vt’s ‘ban the box’ Executive Order removes questions about criminal records from the very first part of job applications for state employment. Agencies will continue to conduct background checks, but only after an applicant has otherwise been found qualified for the position. The policy will prevent applicants from being immediately screened out of state jobs because of a criminal conviction. The policy will not apply to law enforcement, corrections, or other sensitive positions.

We talk about the effort to get all Vermont employers to ban the box with:

Russ Bennett, from NorthLand Design & Construction, chair of the VBSR Public Policy Committee

Chris Curtis, staff attorney, Vermont Legal Aid

Manuel La Fontaine, who was formerly incarcerated, and now works to ban the box nationally with the group All of Us or None.

When We Fight, We Win: Greg Jobin-Leeds on transformative movements

wwfwGreg Jobin-Leeds is the author of When We Fight, We Win: 21st Century  Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World. The book, rich with art curated by the activist art group AgitArte, chronicles the movements for same-sex marriage, Black Lives Matter, the DREAM Act, climate justice, mass incarceration, Occupy Wall Street, and others. Jobin-Leeds is the son of Holocaust survivors. He discusses what he has learned about how to successfully make transformative change in the 21st century.

Greg Jobin-Leeds, author, When We Fight, We Win: 21st Century  Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World (The New Press, 2016)