Young Legislators Collaborate Over Future of Work and Criminal Justice Reform
September 28, 2022
Last week, Millennial Action Project (MAP) was able to host two advisory council meetings: one for our Future of Work Advisory Council and one for our Criminal Justice Reform Advisory Council. These councils include members from both parties — Republican and Democrat — working together to create policy products that will be available to the full State Future Caucus Network. Council members then work in their own state capitols to move and pass bipartisan legislation that will address these issues.
On Tuesday, we had our Future of Work Advisory Council (FWOAC) meeting. The council is co-chaired by Rep. Jennifer Bacon (D-CO) and Rep. Judd Strom (R-OK) and focuses on issues such as innovation and entrepreneurship as well as worker and student rights.
On Thursday, we hosted our final Criminal Justice Advisory Council of the year. Rep. Daniel Pae (R-OK) and Rep. Jamie Scott (D-AR) co-chaired the 2022 council.
“In my state, I am in the super-minority, so I have to have a lot of friends to get anything done. It’s why during the legislative session, I will get dinner with a new member of the opposite party every week. Everything I work on with criminal justice is bipartisan,” Rep. Jamie Scott (D-AR) said at the start of the meeting.
She went on to explain how she and Rep. Aaron Pilkington, her Republican co-chair for Millennial Action Project’s Future Caucus in Arkansas, were able to pass HB1470 last year. This bill amends the law to prohibit solitary confinement in juvenile detention facilities and restrictive housing for women in correctional or detention facilities for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, postpartum or caring for a child.
“I think the legislators are committed to building the coalitions, the bridges, the relationships and everything else we have to do to move the needle– the roadblock might be other individuals, but the heart for the work is there in the chambers. We need to keep working on the issues that our country needs us to lead on, especially as young people,” Rep. Scott.
Rep. Daniel Pae (R-OK) shared his work on Possession with Intention to Distribute (PWID) reform — explaining his state’s current ambiguity around the law. “PWID is still a felony in our state. Our bill sought to bring clarity. It added an objective list of standards for when law enforcement pulls over or arrests someone they can use the criteria as the means to justify a PWID charge,” said Rep. Pae.
“When it comes to criminal justice reform, there is going to be opposition. The key is bringing people together and talking about the issues and seeing where we can find consensus. Be persistent, always try to find those areas you can find agreement on, take those small steps to ultimately bigger progress. Never give up.” — Rep. Daniel Pae (R-OK)
Both advisory councils pointed out the importance of coalition building when doing policymaking. From Future of Work to Criminal Justice Reform, there are many groups ranging in ideological perspectives who have a stake in these issues. From workforce innovation or rehabilitation in the justice system, MAP is committed to building spaces where legislators can come together, put aside their differences, and discover innovative policies that will move our communities forward.
Additional programming for the Criminal Justice Reform Advisory Council will start again next year. The Future of Work Advisory Council is continuing its work for the rest of the year. Be on the lookout for our next meeting. For further questions about the CJRAC or FWOAC’s past and future programming, contact Sam Sherwood at [email protected].
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