Caption : Capitol Hill briefing with young expert panelists speaking on issues covered in Generation Progress' newly released report, "Ten Ways the New Congress Can Act for Young People." (March 2019)     Credit : Mina Jafari/Generation Progress

As the 116th Congress works to frame their priorities for the next two years, members must center young people in their policy proposals and legislation. This fact sheet is based on Generation Progress’ 2019 report, which you can read in its entirety here.

1. PROTECT THE RIGHT TO VOTE

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Ensure fair access to the democratic process through Automatic Voter Registration (AVR), pre-registration, and Election Day registration.

2. IMPLEMENT COMMON-SENSE GUN LAWS

Address the U.S. gun violence epidemic by investing in research and passing legislation that enforces universal background checks, increases funding for nationwide gun violence prevention and intervention programs, bans assault weapons and high capacity magazines, enables the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence as a public health issue, disarms all domestic abusers, and makes ERPOs available in every state.

3. ENACT BOLD CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS TO CURB MASS INCARCERATION

Rethink national policies that exacerbate the mass incarceration problem in the U.S. by making sure marijuana legislation includes strong provisions that clear marijuana criminal records and ensure meaningful reinvestment in communities of color, reforming the pretrial system including the removal of barriers to bail payments, improving the timeliness and quality of national data collection, and passing legislation to automatically expunge certain federal offenses from criminal records.

4. PROTECT DACA RECIPIENTS AND TPS HOLDERS

Provide permanent protections to young immigrants by passing legislation that puts Dreamers and TPS holders on a pathway to citizenship.

5. TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH CLEAN ENERGY PROPOSALS AND INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT

Heed the warnings from climate scientists on the dangers of inaction on climate by passing bold legislation that takes on carbon emissions and invests in clean energy and infrastructure.

6. SHORE UP PROTECTIONS AND ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES

Center the needs of young people and their reproductive health by protecting and expanding the ACA and Medicaid, investing in pregnancy prevention programs, and stopping the Trump administration’s proposed domestic gag rule.

7. ADDRESS THE STUDENT DEBT CRISIS

To curb the mounting student debt crisis, Congress must pass legislation that ensures young people have access to free or debt-free college, implement solutions to help borrowers, tackle bad actors profiting off of borrowers, and hold for-profit colleges accountable for cheating student borrowers.

8. PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE FEDERAL PROTECTIONS FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY

Congress should fight anti-LGBTQ bullying, discrimination, and mistreatment, by passing explicit protections to end discrimination in all areas of life, increase and improve assistance for runaway and homeless youth and survivors of violence, and end conversion therapy.

9. REMOVE STRUCTURAL BARRIERS FACED BY YOUNG PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

In order to remove barriers faced by disabled youth, Congress must provide access to comprehensive care that does not discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and provides the right to access long-term supports and services, ends subminimum wage and segregated employment, and eradicate asset limits for people with disabilities.

10. DISMANTLE BARRIERS TO OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR AND YOUNG PEOPLE OF ALL FAITHS

The 116th Congress should invest in young people of color by creating racial and economic opportunities and providing civil rights protections. They should similarly invest in young people of faith with welcoming attitudes toward religious diversity and rejecting any attempts to restrict or manipulate constitutional protections of religious freedom.

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