We Couldn't Have Done It Without You. Just about every company goes into business to make money. In 1985, we went into business with a different sort of bottom line: make change. Since then, with your help, we've been doing that. And last year was no exception. While we began 2009 with great hope, we knew from 25 years' experience that real progress takes work. So we rededicated ourselves and used our activism tools to win important progressive victories.
Fair pay for all workers
President Obama responded quickly to the concerns of CREDO members. The first law he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which we've long advocated. The act ensures that all individuals who are subjected to pay discrimination have the right to go to court for justice.
Better healthcare for kids
Days later, Congress enacted progressive legislation by expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which extends health coverage to millions more low-income kids.
New rules to curb global warming
CREDO members have long urged action on climate change. And for years we saw nothing but gridlock from the Bush administration. But in April, the new EPA took a big step by declaring CO2 and other gases a danger to public health. With Congress in neutral, the EPA can now move forward and regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. What's more, in July, Obama ordered to carmakers to raise fuel economy.
Black eye for coal
Coal-burning power plants emit more global-warming gases than any other source. That's why we're working to shut them down. In 2009, we helped halt 21 coal-fired power plants and pushed the EPA to delay 79 permits for mountaintop-removal coal mining.
Momentum for marriage equality
Since the movement began, we've pressed officials to extend same-sex marriage rights. Many challenges remain but in 2009 we won important progress in many states, including Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire. While resistance is fierce and progress at times halting, soon many more Americans may enjoy the rights that all committed couples deserve.
End to Bush torture tactics
CREDO members took action repeatedly to protest the Bush administration's torture policy. One of Obama's first acts in office was his order barring the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods and reaffirming our nation's commitment to human rights.
Justice for Sotomayor
In August, the Senate made history by confirming Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and only the third woman named to the Supreme Court. Although she faced opposition from senators more interested in their own political agenda than her qualifications, pressure from CREDO members helped convince the majority to act wisely.
Funding for family planning
Title X provides federal money to reproductive healthcare clinics serving millions of low-income Americans. Last year some Congressmembers, with backing from right-wing lobby groups, tried to strip Title X support from clinics that raise the topic of abortion. But thanks in part to urging from CREDO members, Congress rejected the attempt and maintained Title X funding.
Accessibility for birth control
March brought another win for reproductive health, when years of lobbying by CREDO members finally paid off. Congress canceled a federal budget provision that since 2005 had prevented drugmakers from discounting contraceptives sold to college clinics and health centers serving low-income people. The action made birth control once again affordable for millions of women.
Green light for wilderness protection
President Bush always left the gate open for bulldozers on public lands. But on March 25, the House closed access to extensive areas of wildlands with passage of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which now protects over 2 million acres of wilderness in nine states from logging and development.
Stricter fishing catch limits
In one of its final acts under Bush, the National Marine Fisheries Service took an important step toward protecting the world's oceans. It issued new rules for fisheries management that will require catch limits to be dictated by the best available science, not the interests of the fishing industry.
The goal of rehabilitation is to reintegrate ex-felons into everyday life and restore a sense of responsibility. In April, Washington state legislators opened an important avenue for people who have paid their debt to society to contribute by restoring their right to vote.
Rights for domestic partners
Also in April, lawmakers in Washington state acted to extend marriage-like rights to same-sex couples and to unmarried heterosexual couples when one partner is at least 62. Then, in November, voters confirmed their action at the polls by approving Referendum 71, the first gay-equality law in the U.S. passed by voters rather than a court or legislature.
Cap on ship stacks
Freighters and tankers bring a lot of unwanted cargo to the Northwest every year: tons of toxic pollution. Oregon and Washington members urged the EPA to cap ship emissions and in December it did, passing new rules to reduce emissions by U.S.-flagged vessels.
With health reform on life support in Congress, states like Oregon are moving more robustly. In June, Oregon passed laws that will extend coverage to many more people while improving the delivery of care and slowing the rise of costs.
Dry cleaners arbitrarily charge women more than men. That's annoying. But when health insurers do the same, it can be life threatening. In California, we pushed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to stop insurers from gouging women and in October he listened, barring them from charging people different premiums based on their gender.
California is among the states most severely burned by the housing meltdown. CREDO members urged action to address the cause of the problem — mortgage abuse — and in October Gov. Schwarzenegger responded by signing AB 260, which provides a range of protections to mortgage holders against predatory lenders.
For years, CREDO members urged passage of the Bigger Better Bottle Bill. Finally, New York state lawmakers approved the legislation, which adds a deposit to a wide array of drink containers and will mean much less litter in parks, playgrounds and streets.
No burning garbage
The skies in Massachusetts have been clearer for decades thanks to a ban on new waste incinerators. And when the Department of Environmental Protection proposed lifting the ban, CREDO members raised a stink. Officials listened and extended the ban.