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Senator Lesser speaks about the Role States Play in the Trump Era

Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs: Senator Eric Lesser "Roles the States Play in the Trump Era

On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, State Senator Eric Lesser, First Hampden and Hampshire District, spoke to the Law School on "The Role States Play in the Trump Era." He noted that the States are often described as the "Laboratories of Democracy.” That is, the States have long played the role of adopting public policy and programs on an experimental basis before gaining national recognition. For example, early in the 20th century State governments enacted minimum wage and maximum hours statutes years before the Congress adopted the nation-wide program in 1938 that regulated wages and hours of work.

Senator Lesser observed that Massachusetts, in particular, has long been a testing ground for ideas that eventually become national policy. In an era of record partisanship and cynicism in Washington (especially among young people), the States can continue to play a prominent role in charting an alternative course and rekindling a sense of common purpose. Because State government is closer to the people than the national government, local citizens are positioned to influence public policy in a real and substantial way. Senator Lesser complimented Western New England Law School for advancing those opportunities to participate in state government by holding State legislative hearings at the Blake Law Center here in Springfield.