Connecticut legislature working toward passage of mandatory sick days

It seems only logical that if we as a nation value public health that restaurant and hospitality industry workers should not come to work sick. Yet, 85 percent of food-service workers do not get paid time off when they are ill. To make matters worse, those workers, who usually get hourly pay that is lower than the minimum wage, cannot afford to take time off for illness. So, they come to work sick.

It does not take a policy expert to figure out this poses not only a public health concern, but concern for the children of workers' without paid sick pay.

Connecticut took a step forward this past Friday when paid sick days legislation (SB 601) cleared the judiciary committee with a vote of 19-13. Forty percent of Connecticut workers are currently without paid sick days. The bill still needs to pass the Senate.

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Iowa (!) Becomes 19th State To Outlaw Anti-LGBT Discrimination

Ahhh, Spring, the time of year when the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing and state legislatures are in full swing, churning out legislation. Just last week Oregon's legislature passed a "gay rights bill" to a willing governor, Washington's legislature enacted domestic partnership legislation and New York's governor may introduce a marriage equality bill into that state's law-making body. Late Wednesday comes word that the unlikely state of Iowa will join Oregon in the ranks of "free states," just days after re-entry of the federal gay rights bill.

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Weekly Election Reform and Voting Rights News Update

By Erin Ferns

This an entry in a series of blogs to keep people informed on current election reform and voting rights issues in the news.

Featured Story of the Week:
Voter Turnout Among the Young Still Lags - Associated Press

More than half of American citizens ages 18 to 24 do not vote on Election Day, according to a recent Associated Press story. Their  parents and grandparents, in comparison, vote at a rate of about 70 percent. This story considers why young people do not vote, despite flashy efforts to mobilize them, and considers what can be done to change the situation.

The story proposes two reasons why young people don't vote at high rates: their transient lifestyles (many prospective young voters are either students or starting careers) and their inability to relate to current political issues.

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Laboring Under Apprehension

Cross-posted from The Texas Blue

I come from a union family, so it has been a source of disappointment for me to observe the decline in union membership that's been underway for some time. There's a new bill up for consideration in the House which makes it easier for workers to unionize, and it is meeting expected resistance from business interests.

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Nancy Pelosi: The Price Of A Soul

On February 28, 2007 Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), one of the 73 members of the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, and member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, introduced HR 1234:a bill to immediately end the United States occupation of Iraq:
"This is the plan that will get our troops home the fastest. It is workable and achieves the goals of ending the war and enabling our troops to come home," Kucinich said.

HR 1234 is a plan for the United States to use existing money to bring the troops and necessary equipment home and transition to an international security and peacekeeping force.

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