Celebrating Gen Z and Millennial Policy Champions
March 31, 2023
By: Alexa Whaley
On Friday, March 31st, Millennial Action Project celebrates our young policy champions throughout the year. This is part of our National Week of Action.
Young state legislators are uniquely positioned to effect change and advance future-oriented policy solutions. Here are our top policy champions this year!
Our policy champions who are strengthening democracy are…
- Rep. Michael Smith (R-DE) | Delaware Future Caucus Co-chair
On top of co-chairing and launching a Future Caucus in his own state this year, Rep. Smith introduced a bipartisan bill, DE HB 43. This act allows Delaware voters who are not affiliated with a political party to vote in a political party’s primary election.
Okayyyyy, Rep. Smith… We see you. ????
2. Rep. Jasmine Clark (D-GA) | Georgia Future Caucus Co-chair
Rep. Clark is known for being a bold advocate in her state. Most recently, she introduced GA HB2 which extends the period for mandatory advance voting, revises times for holding run off elections for general and primary elections.
But she didn’t stop there…. She also proposed an amendment to the state constitution to provide for persons 17 years of age to be able to vote in Georgia elections, GA HR345.
LFG Rep. Clark!
3. Rep. Julie Fahey (D-OR) | Former Oregon Future Caucus Co-chair
Rep. Fahey is a longtime member of the MAP SFCN network — in large part because of her work in strengthening democracy.
In 2021, she was able to pass OR HB2323, a bipartisan legislation outlaws misinformation to voters regarding the date of an election, deadlines, and other election info.
In 2019, she sponsored OR SB670, a bill that prohibits the name of the clerk/filing officer from appearing in official capacity on voters’ pamphlets or other ballot information — keeping the election workers safe!
Drop a ❤️ in the chat if you support our election workers!
4. Del. Kayla Young (D-WV) | MAP State Future Caucus Network Member
Delegate Young is hard at work in West Virginia. Just this year, she introduced WB HB3020 which mandates the Secretary Of State to utilize the state’s electronic center to assist with online voter registration.
But strengthening our democracy isn’t something new for her… In 2021, she sponsored the bipartisan bill WV HB2927 which allows for the addition of caregiving expenses to campaign financial expenditures. A critical need for working parents and caregivers who serve in elected office!
Alexa please play, “Mother” by Meghan Trainor… ✨
5. Rep. Steven Sainz (R-GA) | Georgia Future Caucus Co-chair
Rep. Sainz is a Republican in Georgia who was able to come up with creative, bipartisan legislation to safeguard elections. In GA HB1085, Rep. Sainz co-sponsored a bill that provides for municipalities to have the option of providing instant-runoff voting for local elections.
We ❤️ safe elections.
6. Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R-AR) | Arkansas Future Caucus Co-chair
Rep. Pilkington is constantly coming up with new ways to better his state. He recently was able to sponsor AR SB253 which provides for greater specificity in election procedures.
He has also served as the primary sponsor for AR HB1844 which creates the bipartisan Public Office Filing Fee commission to help set filing fee rates for candidates for political office.
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CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Our policy champions for criminal justice reform are…
- Rep. Daniel Pae (R-OK) | Criminal Justice Reform Advisory Council Co-chair and Oklahoma Future Caucus Co-chair
Rep. Pae has consistently been recognized for his work in criminal justice reform. While there are many pieces of legislation that we could point to, OK SB172 is a bill that Rep. Pae co-sponsored and passed with bipartisan support known as “Ida’s Law.” The bill provides resources toward investigations of missing and murdered indigenous persons, and requires greater cooperation with federal law enforcement on these matters.
Most recently, he sponsored OK HB2110, a bipartisan bill which expands immunity from prosecution for emergency medical assistance personnel for rendering assistance for drug or alcohol overdose.
Keep up the great work, Rep. Pae!
2. Rep. Leslie Herod (D-CO) | Criminal Justice Reform Advisory Council Co-chair (2021)
As the former co-chair of MAP’s Criminal Justice Advisory Council, Rep. Herod has always made criminal justice reform a top legislative priority. In this current session, she is a co-sponsor on the bipartisan bill, CO HB23–1074 which expands access to postconviction DNA testing to prove the person’s actual innocence. In 2021, she also worked with her colleagues across the aisle to get CO HB21–1315 enacted. The law eliminates certain fines and fees required from juvenile individuals in the criminal justice system.
An advocate for everyone… C’mon Rep. Herod!
3. Sen. Breanne Davis (R-AR) | Arkansas Future Caucus Vice Chair
In Arkansas, we have quite the policy champion: Sen. Breanne Davis is forging bipartisan partnerships to see criminal justice reform policy passed in her. She is the primary co-sponsor of AR HB1382. The bill creates a pilot re-entry program for former offenders, and also creates a tax credit for businesses that hire certain former offenders.
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4. Rep. Taylor Small (D/Progressive-VT) | Criminal Justice Reform Advisory Council Member
Rep. Taylor Small is a progressive advocate in her state, but that hasn’t stopped her from bridging across the aisle to get things done! Just this session, she introduced VT H.142, a bipartisan bill that increases the minimum age for juvenile delinquency proceedings and requires childhood trauma / adverse childhood experiences to be considered to all defendants under 18 years of age.
Not to mention — in 2021, she was the primary sponsor of VT H. 128 — a Democratic bill that was later signed by a Republican governor. The bill prohibits the defense for any offenses committed in response to the discovery or knowledge regarding an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Slay, Rep. Small!
5. Rep. Jamie Scott (D-AR) | Criminal Justice Reform Advisory Council Co-chair & Arkansas Future Caucus Co-chair
When it comes to criminal justice reform, we often look to Rep. Scott. She tirelessly advances this work by building coalitions across the aisle in her super-majority state.
Two bipartisan bills that we are particularly proud of include AR HB1793 which establishes a policy to offer mammograms and prostate screenings to inmates and detainees.
She also just sponsored AR HB1462 which creates criteria to certify the circumstances of homeless youth and waives various education and governmental fees for said youth.
Now that’s a W, Rep. Scott!
6. Rep. Tanner Magee (R-LA) | Criminal Justice Reform Advisory Council Co-chair (2021)
As the sole sponsor of LA HB247, Rep. Turner moved the needle on criminal justice reform in his state. The bill requires the recusal of trial and judges from cases if a substantial basis exists that would prevent the judge from conducting the trial in a fair and impartial manner. Although introduced by a Republican, this bill was signed into law by the Democratic governor of Louisiana.
He has also sponsored LA HB249 which allows for courts to reduce or waive fines and fees if it is determined that said fines or fees would cause substantial financial hardship on a defendant or their financial dependants. The bill received wide bipartisan support.
Brb… Dm-ing Rep. Turner up for some tips on coalition building… ????
Future of Work
Our policy champions for the Future of Work include…
- Rep. Jennifer Bacon (D-CO) | Future of Work Advisory Council Co-chair
As the co-chair of MAP’s national network dedicated to future of work issues, it’s safe to say that Rep. Bacon keeps the future of work at top of mind. In her own state’s legislature, she was able to enact the bipartisan bill, CO HB21–1288 which created a startup loan program in her state to provide loans and grants to businesses seeking capital to start, restart, or restructure a business.
Rep. Bacon said let’s get this bread. ????
2. Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-GA) | Future of Work Advisory Council Member
Rep. Gambill is another future of work champion — coming up with creative policy solutions to advance his state! With his GA HB218 bill, students who graduated from an ineligible high school or a home study program are now eligible to receive the HOPE scholarship as a Zell Miller Scholarship Scholar.
Rep. Gambill is focused on the kids. He most recently sponsored GA HB130 which provides for the Georgia Student Finance Authority to support student loan repayments.
Let’s go, Rep. Gambill!
3. Rep. Jeremy Gray (D-AL) | Future of Work Advisory Council Member and Alabama Future Caucus Co-chair
As co-chair of the Alabama Future Caucus and member of the Future of Work advisory council, Rep. Gray has made future-oriented policymaking a top priority. Last year, he sponsored the bipartisan bill AL HB609 which created the “Innovate Alabama Matching Grant Program” — providing assistance to business entities that have received federal Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology transfer research grants.
And he has only gotten more creative with his policies. He recently introduced and sponsored, AL HB518 which creates a small business micro-loan program funded by tax credits through the Alabama Small Business Micro-Loan Program.
4. Rep. Nick Hoheisel (R-KS) | Future of Work Advisory Council Member and Kansas Future Caucus Co-chair
Rep. Hoheisel plays a key role in both the Kansas Future Caucus and on the Future of Work Advisory Council. He is constantly coming up with new ways to look out for his constituents and better his state. For this reason, he recently introduced KS HB2265 which provides a sales tax exemption for required school textbooks.
In 2021, he was able to sponsor and pass in committee KS HB2462, a bipartisan bill that removes leasing restrictions on employees a part of short-term employment contracting companies.
“Bag alert… Major bag alert…”
5. Rep. Wesley Harris (D-NC) | North Carolina Future Caucus Co-chair
Rep. Harris might be a new co-chair to the North Carolina Future Caucus, but being an effective legislator is nothing new to him. Just this session, he was able to introduce NC H379 which prohibits credit reporting agencies from collecting score information relating to a lawsuit against a customer by the customer’s landlord.
Back in 2021, he was the primary sponsor of NC H1082, a bipartisan bill that provided for a an inquiry to the creation of a North Carolina State Infrastructure Bank and how such a bank could strengthen economic and community development.
So creative! Let’s go, Rep. Harris!
6. Sen. John Michael Montgomery (R-OK) | Oklahoma Future Caucus Co-chair
Sen. Montgomery is a policy wonk. If there’s an issue, he’s probably got a bill on it — and the future of work is no exception. In Oklahoma, he worked with his Democratic colleagues on OK HB2451, a bill that authorizes income tax credit for certain qualified employer childcare expenses just this year.
In 2021, he sponsored another bipartisan bill OK SB229 which was able to be enacted. The bill allows for taxes on marijuana retail sales and directs those taxes to eligible public and charter school districts.
Sounds lit … ????
Energy and Environment
Our policy champions for energy and environment are…
- Rep. Devin Carney (R-CT) | Connecticut Future Caucus Co-chair
As co-chair of the Connecticut Future Caucus, Rep. Carney works as an effective bridge builder in his state legislature. In the last legislative session, Rep. Carney was able to co-sponsor and enact CT HB6526, an act that mandates provisions in new electric supplier contracts and prohibits the transfer of customers without approval.
Furthermore, he also just co-sponsored CT HB5407 which requires wind energy developers to compensate for negative impacts to fisheries and the environment, as well as compensate for not creating the number of jobs agreed to in their contracts.
These are some bold bills to bring forth. Thanks, Rep. Carney!
2. Rep. Brianna Titone (D-CO) | State Future Caucus Network Member
Colorado is known for its views, wildlife, and natural resources, and Rep. Titone has done an excellent job at safeguarding her state from climate change. In CO HB22–1381, she was the primary sponsor. This bipartisan bill created a grant program in the Colorado Energy Office to help subsidize the implementation of geothermal energy heating sources in new buildings.
The future thanks you, Rep. Titone! ♻️
3. Rep. Alex Andrade (R-FL) | MAP State Future Caucus Network Member
FL HB4569: Provides a $5,000,000 appropriation for the Ecosphere Restoration Institute Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Statewide Restoration and Aquaculture Program. (Sole sponsor, passed committee).
FL CS/H1475: Requires state Department of Environmental Protection to adopt statewide rules for cleanup target levels for perfluoroalkyl & polyfluoroalkyl substances (forever chemicals). (Co-sponsor, bipartisan, enacted).
4. Sen. Chris Lee (D-HI) | Former MAP Energy Learning Network Member
Hawaii is one of the most expensive states for energy and Sen. Lee from Hawaii wasn’t going to kick this can down the road. He was able to sponsor and introduce HI SCR242, a bipartisan bill which tapped the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to convene a working group to advise in the creation of a Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for Hawaii residents.
Way to go, Senator Lee!
5. Sen. Becca White (D-VT) | Vermont Future Caucus Co-chair
Vermont is one of the most green states — and Senator White may be in part to thank. In January, she introduced VT S24 which requires the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation to adopt low carbon fuel standards for gasoline and diesel substitutes to be the basis of a Clean Fuels Program.
In February, she also introduced VT S64 which enacts various updates to current state regulations for excessive vehicle emissions.
Okayyyyy Senator White, we see you… ????
6. Sen. Andre Jacque (R-WI) | Highlighted by National Caucus of Environmental Legislators
Being proactive while also preventing climate change is the balancing act of our time. Rep. Jacque in Wisconsin is doing his best to do both! He sponsored WI SB91 which created a system for buying and selling water pollution credits through a central clearinghouse. The bill was able to be enacted in 2019.
One of his newer bills, WI SB518, allows environmental remediation tax credits to be distributed to tax incremental districts to combat pollution associated with structure redevelopment. This bipartisan bill was also able to be enacted.
Way to protect and preserve, Rep. Jacque! ????
That’s a wrap on our policy champions!
To learn more about the work of our State Future Caucus Network, check out the MAP Storybank — our curated database of stories about young lawmakers governing effectively.
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