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 VIOLENCE — Every 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. READ “Young Guns: How Gun Violence is Devastating the Millennial Generation” and FIND out more about the summit HERE.
RIGHTING VOTING RIGHTS — 4,000 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.
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.”