About Steve Masters

Steve Masters has a rare combination of skills that make him uniquely 3839955.jpgsuited to help your organization take your advocacy, community development or government contract initiatives to the next level.

Unparalled Legislative and Zoning Expertise

Steve spent twelve years at the Philadelphia City Council where he drafted many ground breaking and innovative bills, including:

  • the nation’s strictest anti-predatory lending law
  • all recent gun violence prevention bills, including Philadelphia’s referendum on reducing gun violence which passed by a 4-1 margin throughout the city
  • landmark labor rights legislation including legislation to extend the prevailing wage to service employees and a bill to protect contract workers such as janitors and nurses, who before the bill’s passage could lose their jobs simply because the ownership of the building where they worked changed hands
  • path breaking bills promoting sustainability and energy conservation
  • legislation to provide employment security to victims of domestic violence
  • numerous quality of life bills, including a bill to regulate outside promoters at night clubs and one to require bouncers at night clubs to be well-trained in non-violent conflict resolution
  • a comprehensive overhaul of the laws regulating dogs and cats in the City
  • legislation to bring pawn shops and cash for gold dealers into the 21st Century so that police can instantly search their inventories for stolen merchandise

Steve also served as Council President Anna Verna’s zoning lawyer for over ten years, helping developers and concerned community groups settle their differences and reach community benefits agreements that stood the test of time. When negotiated solutions weren't possible, Steve turned to the courts to win decisive legal victories for his clients.

A Winning Track Record

Since launching JustLaws last October, Steve has scored major victories for his clients.

  • On January 31, 2013 Steve secured a stunning upset for a client when the Philadelphia City Council failed to challenge the Mayor’s veto of legislation allowing a massive wall wrap – the bill had passed earlier by a “veto-proof” margin of 16 to 1.
  • Earlier, Steve helped another client defang a destructive bill and simultaneously enact landmark legislation transforming the city’s approach to cyclists and pedestrians. 
  • Newly minted RCO 13th Ward Executive Committee and the surrounding community were vehemently opposed to a developer’s plans to erect a Dollar General store in their North Philadelphia neighborhood. With the help of JustLaws the RCO was able to win a unanimous decision of the Zoning Board denying the developer’s variance.
  • Another brand new RCO, Progressive Communities CDC, was shocked to discover that a developer had included three vacant City-owned properties in their major development project when those very same lots had been promised to the RCO. They feared that their plans to develop a mosque and community center would never be realized. After they hired JustLaws, Progressive was able to win a major settlement with the Developer. The settlement includes the Developer’s support for the City transferring those three vacant properties and two others to Progressive, a major role for Progressive in guaranteeing that the project will employ 50% minority contractors and local residents and a significant financial contribution to Progressive to build their economic development capacity. 
  • This Spring JustLaws launched its JustContracts project to dramatically increase the participation levels of minority and women-owned business in government contracts historically lacking any diversity. This past September, Steve's testimony on JustLaws' efforts to open up the City's $23 million water treatment chemical contract to women and minority owned businesses led off a City Council public hearing called to investigate the City's progress with increasing contractor diversity, resulting in a pledge from the City's top diversity officer to reopen that contract one year early and require all future bids to include mandatory participation ranges for women and minority owned enterprises.

In addition, Steve has over thirty years experience leading successful grassroots legislative advocacy campaigns on the local, state and national levels in the areas of gun violence prevention and promoting U.S. leadership to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Steve will draw on his extensive experience as both an inside player and an outside advocate to design and guide your organization’s legislative advocacy, community development or contract bid strategy.