The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 passed the United States Senate yesterday on a vote of 94-3 after nine days of debate. The Senate bill and the House version that passed earlier this month, will raise the minimum wage from $5.15-an-hour to $7.25 by 2009. The Senate's version of the bill, however, includes $8.3 billion in tax breaks that were not included in the House's version. The bill will next be sent to a conference committee for Representatives and Senators to agree upon a final version. Republicans, including President Bush, have signaled that they will not support the bill unless the tax exemptions are included.
The act also provides that the Fair Labor Standards Act apply to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a US territory that has been exempt from US labor and immigration laws. Ms. magazine brought the plight of the predominately female, low-wage work-force in the CNMI to the attention of readers across the nation in an investigative report, "Paradise Lost."
Echoing the opinion of many Democrats, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) said of the bill "It should not be loaded up, it should not be complicated... The notion that we are still using this as a bargaining chip, dickering for various other tax breaks I think makes no sense. It's time to get this done."
5/1/2015 House Reverses DC Law Banning Reproductive Health Discrimination by Employers - The US House of Representatives voted Thursday night to overturn a Washington, DC, law that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who use their insurance to cover procedures like in-vitro fertilization or abortion and contraception like birth control pills and IUDs for themselves, their spouses, or their children.
The District's council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act last year. . . .
4/30/2015 400 Women and Children Have Been Rescued From Boko Haram in Nigeria - In two different operations in under a week, Nigerian troops have rescued more than 400 women and children who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram.
On Tuesday, Nigerian troops announced they rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram - and today news has come out that troops rescued another 160 women and children.
While the news is promising and shows progress made in Nigeria to combat Boko Haram, the girls rescued were not the Chibok girls who inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement last year. . . .