NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE VICTORY…CALL FOR A RAISE…SPEAKING OF EQUAL PAY…THE WORST THING SINCE CITIZENS UNITED…Align Against the Pipeline…Ryan Budget Hurts Poor, Surprises No One…The Nation Live-streams Thomas Piketty TONIGHT…

NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE VICTORY — Yesterday Gov. Cuomo (D-NY) signed legislation adding New York State to the National Popular Vote (NPV) Compact. The state joins California, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington in an interstate agreement that commits their electoral college votes to the presidential candidate with the national popular vote. NPV currently has 165–or 61 percent–of 270 votes necessary to secure a majority stake in the Electoral College.

CALL FOR A RAISE – AFSCME created a patch-through hotline for people to call their Senators and urge them to support the upcoming floor vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act. CALL 1-888-851-1916 and SHARE with people you know. Last week the Progressive States Network held a national week of action for “Real Prosperity Across America,” where 45 state legislators in 20 states participated in events highlighting the need to raise the minimum wage. NETWORK Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell: “Giving a just salary to those who work hard every day is good for our nation and good for our economy. Give America a raise so that all hardworking people can support their families.” AFL-CIO released their annual Executive Paywatch Report this Tuesday which found that on average CEOs make 774 times more minimum wage workers. Meanwhile, Maryland just voted to raise their minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018.

MIN WAGE MUST READS: “Food Stamps Don’t Keep Walmart’s Prices Low, They Keep Its Profits High,” “It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage,” “6 Surprising Facts About the Minimum Wage,” and “These Three Business Owners Have Happily Raised the Wage.”

SPEAKING OF EQUAL PAY …  Women’s participation in the labor market added $1.7 trillion to the GDP in the last decade, according to new findings by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and the Center for American Progress (CAP). Despite this fact, in 2013 the average female worker made $3.01 an hour less than her male counterpart. CAP Senior Fellow, Co-Author of the report, and Top Wonk Heather Boushey: “The finding that the movement of women out of the home has a measurable impact on GDP and on the middle class make the need to restructure our employment standards for the reality of the 21st century work force even more urgent.” READ: “The Economic Importance of Women’s Rising Hours of Work” and “Fair Pay for Women Starts With a Fair Minimum Wage.”

LET’S GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT — TheNation.com will be live-streaming a forum on French economist Thomas Piketty’s new book, Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, today at 6pm EST. The event is hosted by the CUNY Graduate Center and will feature University of Wisconsin-Madison Economics Professor Steven Durlauf, Princeton University Professor Paul Krugman, and Nobel Prize Winner and Top Wonk Joseph Stiglitz. READ The Nation’s review of Piketty’s book and WATCH the discussion LIVE TODAY HERE.

THE WORST THING SINCE CITIZENS UNITED — Demos Vice President of Legal Strategies slammed the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. FEC ruling that abolished individual caps on political contributions: “[The] decision shows how fatally flawed the Court’s approach to money in politics has become. It will do incalculable harm to our democracy, allowing millions of new dollars to flow. This will lead to even further domination of our politics and public policy by the economic elite, pushing ordinary Americans further out of the political process. READ Demos’ new report, “McCutcheon Money: The Projected Impact of Striking Aggregate Contribution Limits” and WATCH Demos President and Top Wonk Heather McGhee‘s reaction to the Court’s ruling.

This is the sixth Roberts Court decision in the past seven years that has weakened campaign finance laws. The Brennan Center for Justice breaks down the previous pro-money cases HERE.

SIGN Democracy for America’s petition urging Congress to pass the Government by the People Act–which would match small-dollar donations with public funds–HERE. Bloomberg Businessweek, Salon, Politico, and The Daily Beast also covered the story.

ADVANCING JUSTICE — Advancement Project will be hosting a panel discussion in honor of the organization’s 15th anniversary on April 23 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Advancing Justice: Faces of the Modern Movement for Racial Justice will be moderated by MSNBC host Karen Finnery, and feature North Carolina NAACP State Conference President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Dream Defenders Executive Director Philip Agnew, and Advancement Project Co-Directors Penda D. Hair and Judith Browne Dianis. FIND OUT more HERE.

ALIGN AGAINST THE PIPELINE – Over 100 leading scientists and economists signed a letter last week urging the President to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The group joins 200 business owners, Silicon Valley venture capitalists, professors, and more than 2 million online signees. The proposed 1,179 mile Keystone XL Pipeline would pump tar sands oils from Alberta, Canada to Texas refineries. READ NRDC’s issue brief “Climate Impacts of the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline” and SIGN the NoKXL Pledge of Resistance, organized by CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, and the Other 98%.

RYAN BUDGET HURTS POOR, SURPRISES NO ONE69 percent of cuts in Paul Ryan’s new budget proposal come from programs for people with low or moderate incomes, according to new findings by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Meanwhile, millionaires would receive average tax cut of at least $200,000. READHow the Ryan Budget Fails Our Economy by Failing Economics” over at CAP.

The New York Times, Huffington Post, MSNBC, USA Today, and Politico also covered the story.

TRAFFICK REPORT — At an event featuring Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), sponsor of the bi-partisan End Sex Trafficking Act, CAP released a new report highlighting the difficulties law enforcement officials face in combating sex trafficking. 293,000 American youth are at risk of becoming sex trafficking victims, according to recent data by the FBI. READ: “3 Key Challenges in Combating the Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States.”

FROM THE WONK WIRE

DON’T BLOW IT: Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and Top Wonk Mary Anne Hitt calls on Congress to vote in favor of extending the Production and Investment Tax Credits for renewable energy. The wind industry currently employees 80,000 Americans. SIGN Sierra Club’s letter to Congress HERE.

POST-RACE HICCUPS: Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow and Top Wonk Robert Kuttner explores how much the President’s race has factored into opposition against him in the past six years.

POPULARITY CONTEST: FairVote Executive Director and Top Wonk Rob Richie reports on the year’s snowball of bipartisan support for the National Popular Vote.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA … Check out and FOLLOW PP’s TWITTER ** @PractProgress **

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BUSINESS LEADERS STORM THE HILL…MIN WAGE ROUNDUP & MUST READS…7.1 MILLION ENROLL IN OBAMACARE…BEWARE OF HOBBY LOBBY…The Black and White of Marijuana Arrests…”The Invisible War” Wins Peabody!…

BUSINESS LEADERS STORM THE HILL — Last week members from the Smart Capitalists, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, the Main Street Alliance, and American Sustainable Business Council stormed the Hill to support the Harkin-Miller Fair Minimum Wage Act. The group met with senior White House officials and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. Following the trip Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) visited Smart Capitalists Scott and Suzanne Nash‘s MOM’s Organic Market Alexandria outpost. MOM’s currently pays employees $10 per hour and will be raising their wages to $12 per hour by the end of the year. Card Marketing Services CEO and Smart Capitalist Stephen Prince tells PP: “[Congress] needs to stop spending our country’s valuable time and resources on a self-evident piece of legislation and move onto issues that have true gray areas. This one does not.” Intermedia Partners, LP Managing Partner and Smart Capitalist Leo Hindery, Jr.: “If I were CEO of McDonald’s I would be embarrassed. I would be so embarrassed I would try to rectify this inequality.” … Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Founder and Director Holly Sklar tells PP: “Businesses need customers who can afford their products. We can’t build a strong economy on falling wages.”

… MIN WAGE ROUNDUP: Connecticut became the first state to pass a $10.10 minimum wage last Thursday. The state was a recent stop on the “Give America a Raise” 10-state bus tour, which culminated today at the Capitol in DC. The tour, organized by Americans United for Change, kicked off in Maine on March 24th. AFSCME, SEIU, AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, USAction, the National Employment Law Project, Jobs with Justice, and others co-sponsored or partnered with AUFC. Meanwhile … Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint still refuses to publicly debate AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the minimum wage.

Republican Senators still on the fence: Ayotte (NH), Blunt (MO), Coats (IN), Collins (ME), Corker (TN), Flake (AZ), Heller (NV), Kirk (IL), McCain (AZ), Murkowski (AK), and Portman (OH).

MIN WAGE MUST READS: “Harry Reid Not Budging on Minimum Wage,” “8 Businesses That Pay More Than Minimum Wage and Are Doing Quite Well,” “Raising the Minimum Wage is Popular in Republican Swing Districts, Too,” and “Raising the Minimum Wage Does Not ‘Kill Jobs.’” SEE how many workers would benefit from a minimum wage raise in your state HERE.

OBAMACARE FOR ALL — 7.1 million Americans signed up for coverage though Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges before the deadline this past Tuesday. READ: Media Matter’s “From ‘Doomed’ to Boom: How the Press Missed the Obamacare Comeback Story.” The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, and NPR also covered the story.

BEWARE OF HOBBY LOBBY — Center for American Progress (CAP) President Neera Tanden broke down what’s at stake when the Supreme Court rules on Sebelius v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. this term: “A bad Hobby Lobby decision will have an immediate negative impact on the right of a woman to make personal health care decisions, but it could also become a blueprint for discrimination against people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; allow corporations to evade important federal laws; and change the corporate structure as we know it.” READ: “Discrimination? Corporate Loopholes? Law Avoidance? Hobby Lobby’s Potentially Slippery Slope.”

90 REASONS AND COUNTING — Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) released a new report disclosing that 90 Fortune 500 companies–including Dupont International Paper, Boeing, and Tenet Healthcare–have gone at least one full year without paying state income taxes in the past five years. READ90 Reasons We Need State Tax Reform” and SEARCH CTJ’s “Corporate Tax Explorer database” to find out which companies in your state are shifting the tax burden onto small businesses and middle class families HERE.

MARIJUANA ARRESTS UNCOVERED — A black individual is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white counterpart, according to “The Uncovery,” a new advocacy tool created by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Interband that highlights racial disparities in marijuana related arrests. CHECK OUTThe Uncovery” and READ the ACLU’s recent companion report “The War on Marijuana in Black and White.”

VIVA ARCTIC ICE CAPS — CAP published “Why a Melting Arctic Could Sink the Global Economy,” outlining the necessary steps that Secretary of State John Kerry needs to take to combat the consequences of climate change as he assumes the position of Chair of the Arctic Council in 2015. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Arctic Report Card author Howard Epstein outlines the stakes: “The Arctic is not like Vegas. What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.” READ the full report HERE.

CAPITAL IN THE 21st CENTURY — The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth will be hosting a presentation by Paris School of Economics Economist Thomas Piketty on the findings from his new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century on Tuesday, April 15 at the EPI headquarters in Washington, D.C. Featured Panelists include EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens, Nobel Laureate and MIT Professor Emeritus Robert M. Solow, and White House Council of Economic Advisers member Betsey Stevenson. The discussion will be moderated by CAP Senior Economist and Top Wonk Heather Boushey. FIND OUT more and RSVP HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

BANK ON THIS: University of Baltimore Law Professor and Top Wonk Cassandra Jones Havard explains why the US Postal Service is the perfect vessel to bring banking to low-income consumers.

CAPITOL TENSION: Columbia University Professor and Top Wonk Andrew Gelman refutes Slate columnist Jamelle Bouie’s claim that a predominant amount of white Americans support the death penalty due to racism.

PASS THE MIC: Brennan Center for Justice Deputy Director and Top Wonk Lawrence Norden pleas for members of the New York state Senate and Governor Cuomo to support a reform package during upcoming budget negotiations that would eliminate pay-to-play politics in public finance.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA

INVISIBLE WAR WINS PEABODY! … PP congratulates the team behind Academy Award nominated documentary “The Invisible War” for winning a 2013 Peabody this week! “The Invisible War” Producer Amy Ziering tells PP: “We are most grateful and honored to receive a Peabody Award for “The Invisible War,” as this recognition most importantly continues to give this issue a national platform and spotlight. We will accept it behalf of all of our courageous service members who dared speak up in hopes of making a difference. We will continue our fight alongside them for justice and our work with Senator Gillibrand’s bi-partisan coalition to ensure that the MJIA gets passed when it next comes up for vote. Only then will we be able to raise our glasses and most truly celebrate.” FIND OUT more about “The Invisible War” HERE

Check out and FOLLOW PP’s TWITTER ** @PractProgress ** …

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BUSY BUSY BUSY…PROGRESSIVE FEMALE LEADERS ON RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE…MOMMA WANTS YOU TO ENROLL IN OBAMACARE…HIGHER ED, NOT DEBT….One Nation Under-Wood…The Presidents’ Bankers…Follow PP On Twitter!…

BUSY BUSY BUSY – As the female head of the Texas GOP PAC RedState Women tries to justify unequal pay for women, Progressives are making raising the minimum THE top women’s issue of 2014. Raising the minimum wage would instantly reduce the gender pay gap by nearly five percent, according to a White House Council of Economic Advisors report. PROGRESSIVE FEMALE LEADERS ON RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGENOW President Terry O’Neill: “[It is] absolutely essential to empowering women today” … Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards: “[It is] a defining issue of our time” … National Women’s Law Center Co-Founder and Co-President Nancy Duff Campbell: “[It is] more critical than ever in the fight for equal pay for women” … EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock: “[Raising the minimum wage] is one of the most important things we can do” … Agenda Project Founder and President Erica Payne: “Women … are at the center of a critical–and imminently winnable–fight that would instantly create a measurably more equal nation.”

These women all agree with EPI, Demos, the NAACP, over 600 economists, The Smart Capitalists, 57 percent of business owners, the Obama Administration, and even top conservatives that raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do … so why are top broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBS, and PBS silent on this issue?

Over 15 million women, including one in five working mothers, would receive a raise if the federal minimum wage was increased to $10.10, according to new findings by the NWLC. Women make up two-thirds of all minimum wage workers. More than 70 percent of restaurant servers are women. A mother with two dependents working full time on a minimum wage salary still falls $4,000 short of the poverty line … Raising the federal minimum wage would also reduce government spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $46 billion over the next 10 years. CAP President Neera Tanden sums it up: “Lawmakers calling themselves fiscal conservatives should wholly embrace a minimum wage increase…”

MIN WAGE MUST READS:Hey Sheryl: Lean on This” by Agenda Project President and Smart Capitalists Spokesperson Erica Payne; “The Great U-Turn” by Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich; and “Understanding CBO’s Minimum-Wage Report” by CAP Senior Fellow Scott Lilly. WATCH an animated history of the minimum wage and DOWNLOAD Half-in-Ten’s minimum wage action toolkit.

MOMMA CARES — With 13 days left before the March 31st enrollment deadline, Healthcare.gov launched #YourMomCares, a video campaign featuring Jonah Hill, Adam Levine, Jennifer Lopez, and Alicia Keys’ moms encouraging viewers to enroll in the ACA exchanges. Over 5 million individuals have already signed up, with 8 out of 10 insurees eligible for federal financial assistance to help pay for the insurance. Also CHECK OUT Obama on Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns, which has already garnered 15 million views and a 40 percent increase in traffic to Healthcare.gov.

On March 6th CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker gave testimony on the impact of the ACA on self-employment at the Obamacare and the Self-Employed: What About Us? hearing before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce. READ his testimony HERE.

HIGHER ED, NOT DEBT — Demos, Generation Progress, CAP, Working Families, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, and many other organizations launched “Higher Ed, Not Debt,” a campaign focused on tackling the $1.2 trillion education debt currently affecting over 40 million Americans. Demos Vice President of Policy and Research and co-author of the new report “The Great Cost Shift Continues: State Higher Education Funding After the Recession“: “The diminishing affordability of higher education is eroding one of the last secure pathways into the middle class. The growth of our debt-for-diploma system has only intensified since the Great Recession.” WATCH an informational video about the campaign HERE.

MYTHBUSTERS, PROGRESSIVE STYLE — Media Matters created “Mythopedia,” a new app designed to quickly fact-check Conservative dissemblings. The site now has around 400 entries but will be updated regularly, and can be downloaded on smartphones. Simply enter a claim into the search engine and find out the real facts with links to research. TRY it HERE.

ONE NATION UNDER-WOOD – Taking a cue from House of Cards season 2, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a new report finding that combating currency manipulation would increase the annual GDP by between $288-$720 billion, create 2.3-5.8 million jobs, and reduce trade deficits. The report cites China and several other foreign countries involved in currency manipulation. READ: “Stop Currency Manipulation and Create Millions of Jobs.”

AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW – CAP published “Beyond Bullying,” a new study analyzing how hostile school climates exacerbate the school-to-prison pipeline for LGBT students of color. The report was released in conjunction with the President’s launch of the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. “Beyond Bullying” co-author Preston Mitchum: “LGBT youth, particularly those of color, are pushed out of schools and into juvenile and criminal justice systems at alarming rates. What’s more, the higher rates of punishment of these youth do not correlate to higher rates of misconduct. We must continue to examine the experiences of LGBT youth in schools, beyond bullying, to better understand why they are disproportionately caught in the school-to-prison pipeline.” CHECK OUT an infographic and READ the full report HERE.

THE PRESIDENTS’ BANKERS — Demos Senior Fellow and Top Wonk Nomi Prins will be discussing her new book All the Presidents’ Bankers at The Strand in New York on Tuesday, April 8. Fellow Top Wonk Tom Ferguson: “All the Presidents’ Bankers is gracefully written, carefully researched, and accessible. It is a must read for anyone concerned with politics and economics–in other words, just about everybody.” FIND OUT more and RSVP HERE.

TRANSPARENCYCAMP – Sunlight Foundation will be hosting the fifth annual TransparencyCamp open.gov “unconference” May 30 and 31 at the George Mason University Arlington campus. Events will focus on topics like government transparency and opening up public data. Everyone is welcome. LEARN MORE and REGISTER HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: NRDC Executive Director and Top Wonk Peter Lehner explains the decimation of the Monarch butterfly due to the rise of glyphosate herbicides.

UNCHAINED MELODY: Social Security Works Co-Director and Top Wonk Nancy Altman and Social Security Works Founding Co-Director and Top Wonk Eric Kingson reveal how Progressives defeated the chained CPI.

SO LONG, FAREWELL: Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO and Top Wonk Jamie Rappaport Clark bids a thankful farewell to retiring Congressmen Miller (D-CA) and Moran (D-VA).

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA …  Check out and FOLLOW PP’s Twitter ** @PractProgress ** 

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CALLING FOR A RAISE…INVISIBLE WAR NO MORE…MILLENIALS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE…RIGHTING VOTING RIGHTS…Ask and Tell…Mortgage Forgiveness…What About Us?…Sustainable Spring…WhatsApp With That?…

CALLING FOR A RAISE – The National Employment Law Project created a hotline for people to call their Representatives and urge them to sign the Fair Minimum Wage Act discharge petition, which House Democrats filed last Wednesday. The petition must get 218 signatures in order to force an immediate vote. CALL 1-888-851-1916 and SHARE with people you know. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a minimum wage worker must work at least 67 hours a week to afford rent. FIND OUT if you could live on the minimum wage in your state HERE.

Meanwhile, Smart Capitalist Ron Unz‘s ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to 12 dollars an hour in California just got an endorsement from PayPal Co-Founder and GOP donor Peter Thiel, who recently agreed that a higher minimum wage was something to “seriously consider.” CHECK OUT the Smart Capitalists in the news HERE.

MIN WAGE MUST READ: Behind the Kitchen Door, a book exposing how restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in the country, authored by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) Co-Founder Saru Jayaraman. FIND out about ROC United’s Living Off Tips campaign to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers HERE.

INVISIBLE WAR NO MORE – Producer of Academy Award nominated documentary “The Invisible War” Amy Ziering tells PP about the need to pass Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)’s Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA), which if legalized would remove the chain of command from the oversight of sex crimes: “We need everyone to call their Senators and tell them to vote in favor of MJIA to ensure that our service members have access to an impartial system of justice — which is the very thing they pledge to defend for us with their lives. It’s the least we can do for them.” The vote is expected in the next few days. Protect our Defenders, CAP, The National Women’s Law Center, 19 out of the 20 female members of the U.S. Senate, conservatives Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and countless others have all come out in support of MJIA. JOIN them by SIGNING a petition HERE and CALLING your Senator at 1-888-907-6886. Undecideds include Marco Rubio (R-FL), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Mike Lee (R-UT).

READ: “The Time Is Now for Military Justice for Assault Victims” by National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill.

FIND OUT more about “The Invisible War” and the #NotInvisible campaign HERE.

MILLENIALS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCEEvery 70 minutes a 15-24 year old American dies due to gunfire, according to new findings by Generation Progress and the Center for American Progress (CAP). Just two weekends ago the groups hosted the first National Summit on Gun Violence and America’s Youth, featuring NAACP, Million Hoodies, Dream Defenders, reformed gang members, and individuals directly impacted by gun violence. READYoung Guns: How Gun Violence is Devastating the Millennial Generation” and FIND out more about the summit HERE.

RIGHTING VOTING RIGHTS4,000 MoveOn.Org members delivered a 200,000+ signature petition supporting the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (VRAA) to congressional offices on February 21st, in junction with their new “Defend the Vote” campaign. The VRAA is the first bipartisan attempt in Congress to restore some of the protections the Shelby County v. Holder ruling took away last year, which has been evident in disastrous discriminatory voting laws in states like Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia.

Demos recently published “Millions to the Polls: Practical Policies to Fulfill the Freedom to Vote for All Americans,” outlining multiple strategies advocating for effective voting reform. ACLU Action drafted a petition urging Congress to pass the VRAA. SIGN HERE.

ASK AND TELL — CAP released a new study detailing why LGBT servicemen and women need civilian workplace protections, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). A large portion of LGBT service members are not active-duty, meaning they must also have civilian jobs; veterans currently experience a 3.3 percent higher rate of unemployment than their civilian counterparts. CAP Executive Vice President for External Affairs Winnie Stachelberg: “It’s unacceptable that we send men and women overseas to defend our values, such as equality, only to deny them these basic freedoms as soon as they return home.” READ: “The Freedom to Serve and the Freedom to Work.”

MORTGAGE FORGIVENESS — Americans for Financial Reform joined the National Housing Law Project, National Urban League, Home Defenders League, Consumer Action, CAP, and over 215 other organizations in signing a letter to Congress insisting that they extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act. READ the letter HERE.

WHAT ABOUT US? — CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker will be testifying on Thursday to the Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce about the effect of the Affordable Care Act on the self-employed. WATCH the livestream HERE.

SUSTAINABLE SPRING — Sierra Club is hosting a talk on toxins in schools on Wednesday, March 19th at the Seafarers & International House in New York. “Toxins in Schools and All Around Us” is the latest installment of their Sustainability Series. FIND out more HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

INCONVENIENT TRUTHS: Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar and Top Wonk Ruth Greenspan Bell questions if the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the best route to controlling greenhouse gases.

UNTANGLING FREE SPEECH: University of Chicago Law School Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Top Wonk Geoffrey Stone connects the dots between the noose, Ole Miss, and free speech.

WHATSAPP WITH THAT?: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich spells out why WhatsApp is everything wrong with the U.S. economy.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA … PP congratulates current CAP Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President Jessica O’Connell on her upcoming role as EMILY’s List Executive Director. CAP President Neera Tanden: “Jess has always had a deep commitment to ensuring that women are equally represented at all levels of government, and her management and leadership will be invaluable at EMILY’s List as she continues to fight for more opportunities for women.”

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SMART CAPITALISTS STORM THE HILL…STOP THE COMCAST MONOPOLY…GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE…OUR FUTURE, TOGETHER…JUSTICE FOR JORDAN?…Dragnet Nation…Olympic Economics…American Hustled…

SMART CAPITALISTS STORM THE HILL — Last Wednesday members of the Smart Capitalists for American Prosperity–a bipartisan group that includes dozens of the country’s top business leaders and investors–met in DC to announce their campaign to increase the federal minimum wage to at least $10.10 and index it to inflation. The group RELEASED a letter to the President and Congress, garnered media attention at a press conference, attended the President’s executive order signing to raise the minimum wage for federal contract employees, and met with senior White House officials. They were joined by NETWORK Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell and fellow “Nun on the Bus” Sister Richelle Friedman. Just last night GAP announced that they would raise their minimum wage to $10 by next year amidst reports that Wal-Mart is considering a hike.

Agenda Project President and Smart Capitalist Spokesperson Erica Payne: “Increase income, build demand for American products, raise the standard of living for millions of working citizens without costing Americans a cent in new taxes. This is a non-partisan no-brainer.”

Co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Smart Capitalist Ben Cohen: “There is only so much Chunky Monkey one rich guy can eat. For Ben & Jerry’s to succeed, we need more than one ice cream buying rich guy. Raise the minimum wage and everyone can have a scoop.”

READ: “Raising the Minimum Wage Would be Good for Wal-Mart and America” by former publisher of The American Conservative and Smart Capitalist Ron Unz.

STOP THE MONOPOLY — Free Press created a petition urging the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department to reject the $42.5 billion merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. If the merger is approved, Comcast would have unprecedented control over the country’s TV and Internet-access markets and over half of “triple-play” customers in the country. READComcast-Time Warner Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test” by Katrina vanden Heuvel and SIGN the petition HERE.

USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN, The New Yorker, and The Nation also covered the story.

FOR THE PEOPLE — Incoming Demos President and Top Wonk Heather McGhee lauded the introduction of H.R. 20–The Government by the People Act–that would encourage small dollar contributions to congressional races and act as a countermeasure to Citizens United: “Everyone should have an equal say in our democracy through the principle of one person, one vote–not one dollar, one vote.” READ Demos’ explainer on The Government by the People Act HERE.

OUR FUTURE, TOGETHER – The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a new video with interactive tools that details the critical role immigrants play in the U.S. workforce and economy. The data is based on their 2013 report “Our Future, Together.” WATCH HERE.

JUSTICE FOR JORDAN? — Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis reacted to the attempted murder verdict Michael Dunn received on Tuesday for the November 2012 murder of 17-year-old Jordan Davis: “[The] decision is the beginning of the dispensation of justice, but the fact that jurors could not convict Dunn of first degree murder–when his killing of Davis was not a matter of debate–it is a travesty that must be rectified in a second trial. It is also further evidence that laws such as ‘Stand Your Ground’ muddy the boundaries of self-defense so much, that the imagination of the shooter is given the same weight as the reality of his victim’s intractable death.” 

READ more commentary from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, ColorOfChange, and others HERE.

DRAGNET NATION — The Brennan Center for Justice is hosting a conversation with Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist Julia Angwin this Monday, February 24th in New York. Topics will include her new book Dragnet Nation and the sweeping surveillance state. FIND out more and RSVP HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

OLYMPIC ECONOMICS: Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Top Wonk Jeffrey Sachs explores the economic state of Russia from the 1980 Moscow Winter Olympics to the 2014 Sochi games.

AMERICAN HUSTLED: Brennan Center Fellow and Top Wonk Ciara Torres-Spelliscy analyzes the plot of American Hustle to show the lunacy of Super PACs and big money in politics today.

POLITICS OF LANGUAGE: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich breaks down why “we” and “they” are the most important words in politics.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

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HUGE DEMAND FOR A HIGHER WAGE…MORAL MARCH ON RALEIGH…NO TO THE BIG OIL STATUS QUO…MEET THE (ALL MALE) PRESS…Family Act Turns 21…The Voting Rights Playbook…Attack of the Robots…Civil Rights Through Living Wages…Pay To Play…

HUGE DEMAND FOR A HIGHER WAGE Over 21 million Americans would be directly affected by a federal wage increase to $10.10 per hour, according to a new state-specific infographic by Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC). PCCC also created a petition calling on congressional republicans to publicly support a federal raise in the minimum wage. SIGN HERE. Just last week, female Democratic senators came together to demand an increased minimum wage, joining ranks with PCCC, EPI, Demos, the NAACP, over 600 economists, and 62 percent of Americans.

Former publisher of The American Conservative Ron Unz: “I advocate for business but also believe businesses should pay their way and not burden taxpayers. They will reap benefits in the long run from raising workers out of poverty.” READ: “6 Reasons Conservative Ron Unz Wants to Raise the Minimum Wage to $12 an Hour” over at AlterNet.

MORAL MARCH ON RALEIGH — The Forward Together Moral Movement is organizing a march of thousands this Saturday in Raleigh to protest the notoriously oppressive and regressive agenda of Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly. The coalition, which consists of over 160 civil rights, women’s rights, faith-based, labor, LGBT, immigrant justice, student and environmental communities and is led by the North Carolina NAACP, will march to the State Capitol. Last year they held over 30 Moral Monday rallies. North Carolina NAACP and Forward Together President Rev. William J. Barber, II: “Last year they had their time to vote and abuse power. This year we will vote with our voices to show power of the people.”

TWEET @ncnaacp and FIND out more event info HERE. WATCHCan Moral Mondays Save North Carolina?” over at The Nation.

NO TO THE BIG OIL STATUS QUO — Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Top Wonk Jeffrey Sachs sums up the recent findings from the State Department Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone Pipeline: “According to the State Department Report, we are trapped in the Big Oil Status Quo We Can Believe In.” Since 1990, pipelines in the U.S. have spilled more than 110 million gallons of crude oil and petroleum, including oil from tar sands that is 15 to 20 percent dirtier than conventional petroleum. The proposed 1,179 mile Keystone XL Pipeline would pump tar sands oils from Alberta, Canada to Texan refineries.

READ NRDC’s recent report on the climate impacts of the KXL and SIGN the NoKXL Pledge of Resistance, organized by CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, and the Other 98%.

MEET THE (ALL MALE) PRESS — 24 women leaders and organizations–including WAM! Executive Director Jaclyn Friedman, NARAL President Ilyse Hogue, and MomsRising Executive Director and CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner–penned an open letter to the six network and cable news heads urging them to increase the diversity on their Sunday morning political talk shows. The effort came in response to a recent Media Matters report that found that the vast majority of hosts and guests were men. READ their full report HERE.

FAMILY ACT TURNS 21 — An expansion in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) would increase access to leave for up to 8.3 million more employees, according to new findings from The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in honor of FMLA’s 21st anniversary. READ: “Expanding Federal Family and Medical Leave Coverage: Who Benefits from Changes in Eligibility Requirements?

THE VOTING RIGHTS PLAYBOOK – The Center for American Progress (CAP) published a new report detailing the need for federal voting protections post Shelby County vs. Holder. The controversial ruling struck down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act, which had enabled Section 5 to regulate discriminatory voting laws. READ: “The Voting Rights Playbook: Why Courts Matter Post-Shelby County v. Holder.”

FROM THE WONK WIRE

ATTACK OF THE ROBOTS: CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker reveals why economists are not very good at economics through the lens of patent laws.

CIVIL RIGHTS THROUGH LIVING WAGES: NAACP President and CEO and Top Wonk Benjamin Todd Jealous argues that the State of the Union takeaway is tangible progress on civil rights.

PAY TO PLAY: Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and Top Wonk Lawrence Lessig recounts his 185-mile walk across New Hampshire that focused on grassroots efforts to remove big money corrupting politics.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

PP will be back after President’s Day!

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CAF CREATES BEST TOOL EVER…GIVE AMERICA A RAISE…A NOT SO HAPPY ANNIVERSARY…ADVANCEMENT PROJECT APPLAUDS PA VOTING RIGHTS VICTORY…New CAP Report Lays Out Quick and Clear Citizenship Plan…PP Congratulates Top Wonk and Future President of Demos Heather McGhee!…

CAF CREATES BEST TOOL EVER – Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) created a new tool that directly connects constituents with their Senators by simply entering a zip code. CHECK IT OUT HERE. This tool will be critical to put pressure on Congress as efforts ramp up to  … “GIVE AMERICA A RAISE” — Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) letter in support of the Harkin-Miller Bill which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 has now garnered over 600 signatures from leading economists, including over 20 Top Wonks. National Employment Law Project Policy Analyst Jack Temple TELLS PP: “Low-wage jobs are defining the core of the US economy today–which is why raising the minimum wage is not only a top-tier political issue today, but also an urgent economic priority that cannot wait another year.” Despite the fact that low-wage workers are more educated than ever, the minimum wage is 23 percent less than its peak inflation-adjusted value in 1968, according to EPI President and Top Wonk Lawrence Mishel. After months of protests and pressure the President announced on Tuesday an executive order to increase government contract workers’ salaries to $10.10 an hour. The vote for a federal hike is expected in the coming months.

… Democratic Senators who have yet to sign onto Harkin-Miller: Baucus (MT), Bennet (CO), Carper (DE), Coons (DE), Donnelly (IN), Feinstein (CA), Hagan (NC), Johnson (SD), Kaine (VA), King (ME), Landrieu (LA), Manchin (WV), McCaskill (MO), Menendez (NJ), Nelson (FL), Pryor (AR), Shaheen (NH), Tester (MT), Udall (CO), Udall (NM), and Warner (VA).

… Republicans that are on the fence include: Alexander (TN), Ayotte (NH), Chambliss (GA), Collins (ME), Corker (TN), Flake (AZ), Graham (SC), Heller (NV), Isaakson (GA), Johnson (WI), Kirk (IL), McCain (AZ), McConnell (KY), Murkowski (AK), Portman (OH), and Toomey (PA).

A NOT SO HAPPY ANNIVERSARY — Planned Parenthood Action Fund launched a petition urging the Senate not to join the House in passing the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R.7). The controversial bill–which the White House said on Monday that the President would veto if it made it to his desk–would significantly reduce the amount of ACA subsidized health insurance plans that could cover abortion procedures. SIGN Planned Parenthood’s petition HERE.

Last week marked the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. READ: NARAL’s recent study “Who Decides?: The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States” and “No, Ross Douthat, Restricting Abortion Won’t Shore Up Marriage” over at The Nation.

PA VOTING RIGHTS VICTORY — Advancement Project Co-Director and Top Wonk Penda D. Hair lauded a Pennsylvania state judge’s ruling that struck down the state’s voter ID law as unconstitutional: “Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania citizens who lack one of the limited forms of acceptable photo ID can now cast their ballots without burdensome obstacles. By protecting voting as a fundamental right, [the] decision affirms that all Pennsylvania voters should have the opportunity to participate equally in the democratic process.”

The highly restrictive voter ID law was signed into effect in March 2012 despite no evidence of even a single case of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. Plaintiffs included the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, the Homeless Advocacy Project, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and individual voters.

QUICK AND CLEAR CITIZENSHIP? — The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a new report examining the economic benefits of granting full citizenship. The report compares countries in North America and Europe, concluding that the optimal waiting period for citizenship is roughly 5 years. READ: “The Economic Case for a Clear, Quick Pathway to Citizenship.”

38 LEGISLATURES IN SESSION NOWPublic Leadership Institute–a sister organization of Progressive Majority–and ALICE have collaborated to publish Progressive Agenda, an outline of current issues and legislative models to advance Progressive policies at the state and local levels. 48 legislators in 27 states are currently using the Agenda as a tool to organize inside chambers. FIND out more and DOWNLOAD the Agenda HERE.

SIZING UP THE SURVEILLANCE STATE — Next Wednesday, February 5, the Brennan Center for Justice will be hosting a special phone briefing to discuss the recent major developments in NSA Surveillance. Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program Co-Directors Faiza Patel and Elizabeth Goitein will be joined by Brennan Center Fellow Mike German on the panel. RSVP to John Donahue at john.donahue@nyu.edu or (646) 292-8333.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

CUTTING THE LINE: Brennan Center for Justice Democracy Program Director and Top Wonk Wendy R. Weiser boils down the bipartisan efforts to bring efficiency and equality back to the electoral process.

TICK TOCK TO REVOLUTION?: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich spells out three reasons why the middle-class isn’t fuming at the shocking state of income inequality.

THE REAL INEQUALITY AGENDA: CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker distinguishes between an increase in the federal minimum wage and a greater inequality agenda.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA … PP congratulates current Demos Vice President of Policy and Outreach and Top Wonk Heather McGhee on her upcoming role as the President of Demos. Current Demos President Miles Rapoport: “She is really one of the most extraordinary leaders I have ever met.” Her term will begin on March 10.

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RAISE THE WAGE MOVEMENT GROWS…41 YEARS LATER, ROE STILL AT RISK…STATE OF THE DREAM…EPA STANDS BEHIND BRISTOL BAY…America Votes Summit…Immensity Undermines Responsibility…Bubble Burst…Inequality and Justice for All…

RAISE THE WAGE MOVEMENT GROWS — The Economic Policy Institute found that if the minimum wage was raised to $10.10 it would create 85,000 new jobs and add $22 billion to the U.S. economy in the initial phase-in period alone. Just this Wednesday Pentagon food service and janitorial staff went on strike yesterday morning to demand a higher minimum wage. Currently, three out of four government contracted service employees make less than $10 an hour, and four out of ten subsidize their full-time income with public assistance to make ends meet.

To date, EPI, Demos, the NAACP, 75 leading economists, members of the US Senate and House, the leaders of national religious organizations, over two-thirds of small business owners, and even Bill O’Reilly and Phyllis Schlafly have come out in support of an increased minimum wage. The President is expected to make reducing income inequality a central theme of his State of the Union address.

READ: “Even These People Think it’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

41 YEARS LATER, ROE STILL AT RISK — The Center for Reproductive Rights launched a new series of PSAs to commemorate the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, starring actor Mark Ruffalo and Tony and Grammy Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater. The videos are in conjunction with the Center’s recent State of the States report, which features interactive maps and highlights current litigation focused on abortion. Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northrup: “It’s time to seize this vital opportunity to reclaim the rights that Roe recognized and the protections it established more than four decades ago.”

WATCH Alliance for Justice’s short documentary Roe at Risk highlighting the current threats to the monumental decision HERE.

STATE OF THE DREAM — United for a Fair Economy (UFE) released its 11th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day report, finding that five million Americans–primarily low-income racial minorities–will be denied health insurance because they live in the 25 states that have refused Medicaid expansion. Report author and UFE Executive Director Brian Miller: “It’s bad enough that communities of color face additional health hazards and stressors. Now we have politicians around the nation trying to block health insurance that would have otherwise been extended to millions of low-income Americans.” READ: “State of the Dream 2014: Healthcare for Whom? Enduring Racial Disparities.”

EPA STANDS BEHIND BRISTOL BAY — Western Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Joel Reynolds lauded the EPA’s recent Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment analyzing the potential impacts of mining development on the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska: “This is a scientific indictment of the Pebble Mine — or any other large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed. The assessment documents what we’ve feared for years — Pebble Mine would destroy the world-class salmon fishery, cost jobs and endanger the communities and wildlife that depend on it.” The proposed Pebble Mine would destroy nearly 94 miles of Bristol Bays streams, which house the world’s largest sockeye salmon run — a $480 million annual business that supports 14,000 full and part-time jobs. READ: “Bristol Bay Assessment Fact Sheet” and “EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Has Everyone Buzzing.”

VoteVets created a petition addressed to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stressing the need to protect Bristol Bay. SIGN HERE.

AMERICA VOTES STATE SUMMIT — America Votes will be hosting their 2014 State Summit February 4-5 in Washington DC. Issues including the Affordable Care Act, minimum wage and job growth, and electoral landscapes will be among the main topics covered. LEARN MORE by checking out the agenda and an FAQ. REGISTER HERE.

FROM THE WONK WIRE

IMMENSITY UNDERMINES RESPONSIBILITY: Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor and Top Wonk Anat Admati connects the dots between financial institutions, ineffective intervention, and perverse incentives.

BUBBLE BURST: Institute for New Economic Thinking Director of Institutional Partnerships and Top Wonk Marshall Auerback pins down the characteristics of an economic bubble.

INEQUALITY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich refutes David Brooks’ inane comments on inequality.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

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TOP WONKS DEMAND A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE…SO DOES A PATRIOTIC MILLIONAIRE…AND A TOP REPUBLICAN…LADIES — THIS MEANS YOU…The Governor, the Bridge, His Wife, and Her Charity…Progressives to Rally in NYC…300+ Days Without Representation…

TOP WONKS DEMAND A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE — The Economic Policy Institute published a letter on Tuesday signed by 75 economists urging Washington to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, which would provide higher wages for 17 million Americans by 2016. Signers include Top Wonks Dean Baker, Jared Bernstein, Alan Blinder, Heather Boushey, Arindrajit Dube, Nancy Folber, Richard Freeman, Heidi Hartmann, Lawrence Mishel, Robert Reich, John Schmitt, Heidi Shierholz, and Joseph Stiglitz. University of Texas Chair in Government and Business Relations and Top Wonk James Galbraith recently made his case for a higher minimum wage, and elsewhere Assistant Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts Amherst and Top Wonk Arindrajit Dube delved into the “Minimum Wages and the Distribution of Family Incomes.” READ an analysis of the paper by CEPR Senior Economist and Top Wonk John Schmitt HERE.

A PATRIOTIC MILLIONAIRE SECONDS DEMAND FOR HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE … Venture Capitalist and Patriotic Millionaire Nick Hanauer spells out the capitalist’s case for a 15 dollar minimum wage HERE

AND A TOP REPUBLICAN AGREES … Silicon Valley tycoon and former publisher of the American Conservative Ron Unz says: “A large minimum wage hike would constitute an enormous, permanent economic stimulus package.”

SO WHO DOESN’T WANT TO RAISE THE MINIMUM? See Huff’s story HERE.

LADIES — THIS MEANS YOU – As the minimum wage debate heats up, Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress (CAP) released the third Shriver Report, analyzing the realities of 42 million American women on the economic brink. President of Families and Work Institute Ellen Galinsky: “We know low-income women are the backbone of our economy and of their families … What they need — and what our economy needs — are supportive, flexible, Effective Workplaces, which benefit the employee, the employer, and our nation as a whole.”

READA Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink,” TWEET #ShriverReport and WATCH an informational video HERE.

THE GOVERNOR, THE BRIDGE, HIS WIFE, AND HER CHARITY  — As questions mount about NJ Gov. Tony Soprano, eh hem, Chris Christie’s bridge closure our sources say Christie’s wife is still sitting on more than half of the funds her charity raised for Sandy victims. SEE the Daily Agenda’s original story HERE. Looks like using Sandy relief funds to produce self-serving tourism ads are just the tip of the iceberg. CNN broke last night that Port Authority created an executive position for a Christie ally. READ: “Christie: A Bully’s Bully” over at The Nation.

Huffington Post, MSNBC, Politico, and Roosevelt Institute also covered the story.

PROGRESSIVES TO RALLY IN NYC — January 21 is the fourth anniversary of Citizens United — a ruling that paved the way for Super PACs to spend over 600 million dollars in the 2012 election alone. Fair Elections for New York and American Family Votes will be hosting Sen. Elizabeth Warren and NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to discuss taking on big money’s power over the economy. Co-sponsors include Americans for Campaign Reform, Brennan Center for Justice, ColorOfChange, Common Cause/NY, CREDO, Democracy Matters, Demos, Greenpeace, MoveOn.Org, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Sierra Club, and more. FIND out event details and RSVP HERE.

MoveOn.Org, Demos, and the Democracy Initiative will also be hosting a virtual teach-in on the anniversary discussing immediate grassroots solutions on the 21st. Leaders from the Sierra Club, NAACP, and Communications Workers of America will be featured. RSVP to WATCH it live HERE.

300+ DAYS WITHOUT REPRESENTATION  — North Carolina NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber slammed NC Govenor McCrory’s recent Writ of Election decision that would delay a special election in the state’s 12th Congressional District until November, leaving the seat empty: “While Congress debates the Farm Bill, budget issues, immigration reform, historic national security issues, and the future of Section 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act itself, the 12th District — comprised of citizens of North Carolina from all walks of life” Black, Latino, White, poor and rich; hard-working Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — will be without a voice.”

A STEP TOWARD FAIR DISCIPLINARY POLICIES – Advancement Project Managing Director of Programs James Eichner lauded the Obama Administration’s groundbreaking new legal guidelines for addressing racial discrimination in public school discipline: “The DOJ/DOE guidance confirms what advocates on the ground have been saying all along: there are stark racial disparities in school discipline, and schools are needlessly funneling children of color from the classroom to the criminal justice system.”

FROM THE WONK WIRE

CARBON CUTTING PROGRESS: Georgetown Climate Center of Georgetown Law Executive Director and Top Wonk Vicki Arroyo stands by the EPA’s newly proposed rules to cut carbon pollution from new power plants.

FEAR CONQUERS ALL: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich explains why fear is crux of low-wage workers’ self-sabotage.

FDL BOOK SALON — This Sunday Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Top Wonk Michael Konczal will be hosting an online book salon featuring CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker. They will be discussing Dean Baker’s new book Getting Back to Full Employment. FIND out more HERE.

Find more at www.TopWonks.org.

ON OUR AGENDA … PP congratulates Demos President Miles Rapoport on his next step as President and CEO of Common Cause. We second Demos’ Board Chair Amelia Warren Tyagi’s sendoff: “In his 13 years as President, Miles has built Demos up to where it is today: full of potential, and ready to take the next, exciting leap forward.” Demos will announce its new President in the coming weeks … our sources say Top Wonk Heather McGee has been tapped for the top job.

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MAXING OUT THE MINIMUM…DISCREDITED…LETTERS FROM IRAN…Advancement Project Urges End of WI Discrimination Engine…Alliance for Justice Checks SCOTUS on Reproductive Rights…

MAXING OUT THE MINIMUMOver 4.5 million workers began receiving higher pay on January 1st when thirteen states raised their minimum wages … however no state has yet to pass a minimum wage properly adjusted to inflation — roughly $10.74, according to Raise the Minimum Wage. This number jumps to 25 dollars an hour if average labor productivity is factored in. Director of the Center for American Progress’ Half in Ten and the Poverty and the Prosperity Program Melissa Boteach hammered home the point: “The War on Poverty hasn’t failed; rather, our economy has failed… We have an economic and moral obligation to help raise people out of poverty, and it starts by enacting realistic policies that invest in job creation, increase wages, and expand educational opportunities for all people.”

READ: “Proposal to Strengthen Minimum Wage Would Help Low-Wage Workers, With Little Impact on Employment” by the the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Millions and Provide a Modest Economic Boost” by the Economic Policy Institute, and “50 Years After the War on Poverty, Will the Middle Class Become the New Poor?” by AlterNet Senior Editor Lynn Parramore.

DISCREDITED — 47 percent of employers conduct credit checks on their job applicants, a practice that Demos, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and others hope to prohibit through the Equal Employment for All Act. Sen. Wareen summed up the problem on a recent press call with Demos: “Let people compete for jobs on the merits, not whether they already have enough money to pay all their bills.” Demos has found that one in ten unemployed people claim that they were denied jobs based on the results of credit checks. READDiscredited: How Employment Credit Checks Keep Qualified Workers Out of a Job” and WATCH Demos Vice President of Policy and Outreach and Top Wonk Heather McGhee voice her support for the bill HERE.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and The Hill covered the story.

LETTERS FROM IRAN — Berim and Netformance launched Letters from Iran, an online campaign of over 500 letters from individuals from Iranians to Americans. This effort comes as a group of foreign policy experts and the White House urge against new Iran sanctions. Berim and Netformance are planning a Hill Action Day on January 30th. CHECK OUT Letters from Iran and FIND out more HERE.

ADVANCEMENT PROJECT URGES END OF WI DISCRIMINATION ENGINE — Advancement Project urged a federal court to issue a permanent injunction preventing Wisconsin’s Voter ID Laws from going back into effect in the wake of the November bench trial. The groups contest that the current legislation violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which prohibits discriminatory voting practices on the basis off color, race, and/or language. This is the first case to come to trial following the Supreme Court’s June Shelby County v. Holder ruling that struck down Section 5 of the VRA. READ the full post-trial brief HERE.

Advancement Project Co-Director and Top Wonk Penda D. Hair: “As the leading democracy in the world, it is our responsibility to ensure that states do not pass laws that hinder citizens’ inalienable right to vote. States across the nation have an obligation to ensure that citizens have equal access to the ballot.”

IN THEIR WORDS — As the U.S. Supreme Court gears up to rule on three cases surrounding birth control and abortion, Alliance for Justice (AFJ) has released a new report breaking down the views each Justice has on reproductive rights issues. The study analyzes confirmation hearings, voting records, and their legal writings. READ: “In Their Words: The Supreme Court Justices on Abortion.”

FROM THE WONK WIRE

THE GREAT REDISTRIBUTION: Former Secretary of Labor and Top Wonk Robert Reich explains why 2013 was the year of a Great Redistribution upward.

TOO BIG TO ENFORCE: University of Missouri Kansas City Associate Professor of Economics and Law and Top Wonk William Black evaluates the consequences of the Volcker Rule.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Princeton University Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and Top Wonk Alan S. Blinder investigates the role the poor play in the battle against fraud in free phone service.

AVERTING LAYOFFS — CEPR Co-Director and Top Wonk Dean Baker will be speaking at the national conference “Averting Layoffs & Saving Jobs Through Work-Sharing,” organized by the National Employment Law Project and the Center for Law & Social Policy. The conference is today, Friday January 10th in DC. FIND out more and RSVP HERE.

Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.

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