Every other Thursday, Equal Voice News tracks the latest from the Trump administration and whether its policies are creating poverty or prosperity. We have reports from families and grassroots organizations working on those issues around the country. Here’s our latest:
As D.C. Sputters, Good Caregiver News for Families in Hawaii
Far from the policy stops and starts in Washington, D.C., there was grassroots and legislative progress in Hawaii during the week of July 3, when policymakers enacted a landmark plan to give caregivers and families relief – $70 daily for long-term care costs – Jobs With Justice, a community organization, reports.
“The program’s goal is to keep more people in the workforce while also providing quality care for aging family members. No one should have to choose between their retirement security and caring for their parents as they age,” Jobs With Justice’s executive director Sarita Gupta wrote on the group’s blog, where there are more details.
Further reading: Hawaii Passes Law to Ease Responsibility of Elder Care (NBC News).
Wages Support Families. So Let Employees Keep What They’ve Earned.
“Widespread wage theft is robbing hard-working San Diegans of income they earned,” said the center’s executive director Kyra Greene said in a statement about the report.
One critical finding:
“Wage theft is widespread, but complaints are rare. Employers in San Diego and Imperial counties committed one type of wage theft, failure to pay the minimum wage, an estimated 40,000 times last year. Yet only 82 workers filed claims with the state Labor Commissioner.” — Confronting Wage Theft: Barriers to claiming unpaid wages in San Diego.
Check out the rest of the findings in the report.
Some Real News: Democrats and Republicans Back Paid Sick-Leave Laws
Arizona leads off this story about how “More states adopt tough paid sick-leave laws” (USA Today), and it points out bipartisan interest in these changes for working families.
More than a thousand miles away along the West Coast, “Retail and restaurant workers have the worst schedules. Oregon plans to change that,” Vox reports.
And in Jacksonville, Florida, “Mayor Lenny Curry proposes paid family leave for city employees,” according to the Florida Times-Union.
And With the Minimum Wage, a Glance at Updates:
- “Minimum Wages Tick Up in Many Cities With New Fiscal Year.” (NBC News)
- “Oak Park shows its class by not opting out of county minimum wage” in Cook County. (Chicago Tribune column.)
- “Republicans in several states are lowering the minimum wage – yes, you read that right.” (Salon)
What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been, and Families Are at the Center of It
The effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act continues its strange trip through the Senate, with a new Republican bill unveiled on July 13. Medicaid – the massive federal health care plan for the poor, elderly, families raising children with disabilities and others – is facing large changes, and those changes are drawing a lot of analysis.
For example, the “Senate GOP effort to shield disabled from Medicaid changes would leave many kids on the outside,” The Washington Post reports. It adds that [Sen.] “McConnell’s claim that Senate GOP health bill would not ’cause anyone currently on Medicaid to come off it’,” in a separate analysis.
A full vote on the bill is expected during the week of July 17.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Newly-Approved Illinois Budget.
After a two-year battle, Illinois finally passed a state budget. Here is the story. And here is an analysis of the good and lots of the bad in that budget, according to The People’s Lobby Education Institute.
“It’s not even close to the budget we marched to win. It stops the bleeding, but it leaves the people of Illinois worse off than before,” the group said on its Facebook page. Read the full statement here.
Grassroots Organizations Challenge White House’s Elections Move.
President Donald Trump has created an advisory commission to look into allegations of voter fraud in last year’s election. But, there is a fair amount of blowback, largely because people are questioning whether the questions are substantiated.
The Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and ACLU of Florida are among those who have significant questions. They joined a coalition during the week of July 10 that is challenging the commission in federal court, News4Jax reports.
“The lawsuit calls for the commission to cease conducting any business until it fully complies with federal law; furthermore, it seeks to prohibit the transmission of voter data to the Commission,” FLIC said in a statement.
What We Want to Read and Hear.
Black immigrants often face a challenging journey in America, and Black Alliance for Just Immigration’s Carl Lipscombe lays out those challenges and that journey, which is often overlooked, in an in-depth conversation at Longreads, “An Unforgiving Legal System Welcomes Black Immigrants to America.”
Over at The New York Times, author Tracie McMillan asks “What do we think poverty looks like?”
Finally, we are looking forward to checking out this new book: “How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It.”
But, we’ll start with the podcast.
(Sources: Jobs With Justice digest, Associated Press, news outlets, and, of course, our neighbors. Paul Nyhan is the senior writer for Equal Voice News, which is published by Marguerite Casey Foundation. Ebony Slaughter-Johhnson, an Equal Voice News contributor, provided research assistance with this digest.)