Policy Advocacy, Reports, & Recommendations

We develop innovative policy recommendations and spearhead legislative campaigns that enable more localized, just, and resilient economies. Ready to be a Policymaker in Your City or State?

We want to empower you to make policy! To create economically resilient communities, we need to change or create countless local, regional, state, and federal laws. These new laws would remove barriers to and create incentives for local food production, renewable energy projects, local industry, worker-owned enterprises, shared housing, and other aspects of thriving communities. 

Active Campaigns

Worker-Owned Recovery California
The Worker-Owned Recovery California (WORC) Coalition was formed to advance a comprehensive state policy agenda that addresses the COVID-19 economic crisis.

Local Worker Cooperative Ordinances
The Law Center advises cities on how to cultivate cooperative local economies. Our model policies, including those designed for Oakland and Berkeley, outline a range of strategies, including worker buyout incentives and support, preferential procurement and contracting with local cooperatives, and creative strategies for cooperative access to finance.

Homes for Communities Not Corporations
We worked with Sen. Nancy Skinner to propose amendments to SB 1079 to reduce land grabs resulting from foreclosure auctions. On August 10th, 2020, a significant section was aded to the bill that could be a huge win for tenants, land trusts, local governments, and real estate cooperatives.

Save Seed Sharing Campaign
Click here to read about the national campaign to reform state laws that threaten our seed commons and the right to share local seeds. 

Policy Reports and Recommendations

Check out our policy reports below and/or read about our transformative policymakers program here.

Policy Recommendations for a Worker-Owned California State Economic Recovery

In the midst of a pandemic and transformative moment for civil rights in this country, the Worker-Owned Recovery California (WORC) Coalition raced against the clock to intervene in California's state budget bill. The Law Center is a member of this coalition, and our Policy Director, Yassi Eskandari, is its coordinator. WORC's goal for this campaign was to ensure that worker-owned businesses were included in California's economic recovery efforts and, to that end, WORC advocated for $10M to fund education, technical assistance, and forgivable loans to businesses that transition to worker ownership. 

This budget request was submitted for the June 15, 2020 budget with the backing of State Assemblymembers Chu, Kalra, Gonzalez, Limón, Bloom, Bonta, and Chiu, in order preserve the economic backbone of our state, reward both workers and selling business owners, and set California on the path to a more equitable economy. 

Arcade City PDF

Evaluating the Potential of Cooperative Risdesourcing: A Case Study of Arcade City in Austin, TX

Considering all the legal drama that is happening in California with Uber and Lyft around worker classification, here's a reminder of how things could be if those ridesharing giants were coops instead. "Instead of optimizing the online economy for growth and short-term profits for the few," the emerging Platform Cooperative movement is trying to build a more sustainable and equitable business model for the 21st century.

Regulating_Short-Term_Rentals_Title_Page_Sustainable_Economies_Law_Center.png

Policy Recommendations for Equitable Short-Term Rental Regulation

Short-term residential rentals, like those facilitated by online platforms like Airbnb, Homeaway, and Flipkey, have become a popular alternative to traditional hotels. Increased short-term rental (STR) activity has exacerbated many municipal issues, including neighborhood quality; access, availability, and cost of housing; and decreased public revenues. Short-term rentals can also provide some benefits, including creating opportunities for income generation; diversifying travel options; and spreading tourism dollars to local residents and businesses. Our recommendations for equitable short-term rental regulation balance the potential benefits of STRs with the need to protect public interests.

Worker_Coop.png

Local Ordinance for the Promotion of Worker Cooperatives

Worker cooperatives create quality jobs, grow local wealth, and promote economic resilience. Local governments can be instrumental in fostering the development of worker cooperatives by removing several key barriers and providing essential technical, strategic, and financial support. We've drafted a worker cooperative development policy tailored to the city of Oakland, California, a perfect example of a city that could benefit from a thriving cooperative economy and everything that comes with it. The ordinance can be easily tailored to fit the needs of any U.S. city, and we welcome inquiries from cities wishing to adopt a similar policy. 

Policies_for_Shareable_Cities_Cover.png

Policies for Shareable Cities: A Primer for Urban Leaders 

Policies for Shareable Cities is the first policy handbook of its kind. It includes over 30 recommended policies for how cities should regulate the true sharing economy in the areas of food, work, housing, and transportation. 

 


Past Campaigns

Berkeley's Small Business Revolving Loan Fund for Worker Cooperatives

Status: Passed in 2019

Berkeley's local business loan fund can now be used to help workers become owners of the companies they helped build, elevating the quality of their jobs and saving the businesses from closure.

Campaign for Municipal Support for Worker Cooperatives

Status: Passed in 2019

Berkeley becomes the first city to commit to enacting a procurement incentive for worker cooperatives as well as earmarking money for coop conversions.

California
Seed
Democracy Act

Status: Passed in 2016

Creating a clear legal space for seed sharing.

 

California Local Economies Securities Act

Status: Stalled in 2016

Creating opportunity for small businesses, farms, and renewable energy projects to raise money from local investors.

California Worker Cooperative Act

Status: Passed in 2015

Creating a worker cooperative legal entity and capital raising options that recognize the unique and valuable impact of worker coops.

California Neighborhood Food Act

Status: Passed in 2014

Guaranteeing the rights of renters and HOA residents to grow their own food. 

 

Act to Facilitate Creation of Coop Housing in California

Status: Passed in 2014

Facilitate the development of cooperative housing

California Homemade
Food Act

Status: Passed in 2012

Legalizing certain types of home-based food enterprises.

U.S. CROWDFUND Act
(Part of the JOBS Act)

Status: Passed in 2012

Allowing businesses to raise capital through crowdfunding intermediaries.

 

More on the Law Center's Advocacy in California

  • 2020: We support a state California State Public Bank bill (AB 310) that would create a State Public Bank that can leverage its capital to build a just and equitable post-COVID economy. Read more about the bill here
  • The Law Center supports a California bill to establish the Nutrition Incentives Matching Grants Program (AB 1321) to create incentives for recipients of nutrition assistance programs (eg CalFRESH, food stamps) to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts at California farmers' markets and small retailers. Read more about it here.
  • Sustainable Economies Law Center opposes bill to ban right of local government to tax short term rentals (AB 1220). Read our opposition letter here.

Contact:

SELC Policy Director and Staff Attorney, Yassi Eskandari: yassi [at] theselc.org

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: