A bill to raise the US minimum wage, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month without amendments, is in its fifth day of debate in the Senate. Republicans are stalling the bill's passage by proposing a number of amendments. Yesterday, a cloture motion requiring 60 votes to end the floor debate failed, gaining only 56 votes.
"Why can't we do just one thing for minimum wage workers, no strings attached, no giveaways for the powerful?" Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-MA) told the Associated Press in response to the vote.
The House version of the bill, which passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support, would raise the minimum wage from $5.15-an-hour to $7.25 by 2009, and include the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, a US territory hitherto exempt from US minimum wage laws. A minimum wage increase was one of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) six goals for the first 100 hours of Congress. She calculates that, of the 13 million people who would likely benefit from such an increase, 26 percent would be parents, 36 percent would be people of color, and 59 percent would be women.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .