House Passes Minimum Wage Increase, Senate Expected to Vote Soon
Under the new leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the 110th Congress voted yesterday to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15-an-hour to $7.25-an-hour by 2009. All House Democrats and 82 Republicans supported the legislation, which passed 315 to 116. Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA) issued a statement on the new legislation, known as the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, emphasizing the importance of the bill for women and working mothers. "Today, women and minority workers are overrepresented among minimum wage workers. Too many women struggle to make ends meet throughout their working life and retirement," Solis said. "The Fair Minimum Wage Act will give 1.4 million working mothers a pay raise."
Congresswoman Solis also noted the inclusion of workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in the legislation. A territory of the United States that has been exempt from US labor and immigration laws, CNMI has a garment industry that is highly dependent on the cheap labor of immigrant women. The Fair Minimum Wage Act will raise the CNMI minimum wage from $3.05-an-hour to the US federal minimum wage by $0.50 increments every six months. Ms. magazine brought the plight of low-wage women workers in CNMI to the attention of readers across the nation in an investigative report, "Paradise Lost."
The Senate must now vote on the legislation, and, if it is approved, it must be signed by President Bush.
Raising the minimum wage was one of Speaker Pelosi's objectives for the first 100 hours of Congress. The current federal minimum wage of $5.15 has not been raised since September 1, 1997, despite the fact that Congress has voted for its own raise seven times in the past nine years. This is the longest stagnant wage since the minimum wage was established in 1938, and, according to the Associated Press, "inflation has eroded the minimum wage�s buying power to the lowest level in about 50 years."
9/12/2014 Violence Against Women Act Turns 20 - Saturday will be the 20th Anniversary of the groundbreaking federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Passed in 1994, VAWA was the first piece of federal legislation to specifically address domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and to provide federal funding to improve local response to violence against women, including training and resources for law enforcement and judges.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday issued a proclamation commemorating the VAWA anniversary. . . .
9/12/2014 Indiana Woman Charged With Feticide For Premature Delivery - An Indiana woman has been charged with feticide after she delivered prematurely and sought hospital treatment.
Purvi Patel, 33, sought help at an emergency room for vaginal bleeding where it was discovered that she had delivered prematurely at home. . . .