Short-term Health Plans Skirting ACA-Required Benefits and Protections to be Expanded

by Amy Goldstein

02.20.18   The Trump administration is proposing to significantly broaden Americans' ability to rely on short-term health plans that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act's benefits requirements and consumer protections. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday morning that a rewrite of federal rules would extend the time consumers can hold such health plans from three months to 12 months. The plans were intended until now to be a brief gap-filler for people between jobs or fo… Continue Reading

Trump Health Plan Gets Mixed Reviews in CT

by Ana Radelat

02.19.18   Washington - Connecticut officials have joined a pushback against a Trump administration plan to allow unrelated employers to band together so they can provide their employees affordable - but perhaps limited - health care, while others in the state are celebrating the move. The plan, proposed by President Donald Trump in October, is being implemented by Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who is in the process of issuing a rule that would allow employers to join together to form an association … Continue Reading

Behind The Minimum Wage Fight, A Sweeping Failure to Enforce the Law

by Marianne LeVine

02.18.18   As Democrats make raising the minimum wage a centerpiece of their 2018 campaigns, and Republicans call for states to handle the issue, both are missing an important problem: Wage laws are poorly enforced, with workers often unable to recover back pay even after the government rules in their favor. That's the conclusion of a nine-month investigation by POLITICO, which found that workers are so lightly protected that six states have no investigators to handle minimum-wage violations, while 26 add… Continue Reading

Betsy DeVos and Democrats Call for Congressional Hearings in Wake of Florida School Shooting

by Moriah Balingit

02.16.18   Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Democratic members of Congress are calling on congressional leaders to hold hearings on school shootings following a massacre at a Florida high school that left 17 dead and scores more wounded Wednesday. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, allegedly carried out by a student who had been expelled, is the deadliest high school shooting in the nation's history and marked another spate of violence at a time when gun violence in schoo… Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Rules Gardendale Can't Form School System, Finds Racial Motives

by Kent Faulk

02.13.18   A federal appeals court ruled today that Gardendale can't form its own school system and agreed with a judge's finding that racial motives were involved in the attempt to split from the Jefferson County system. The three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Haikala rescind the part of her order from last year that allowed Gardendale to secede over a three-year period from Jefferson County schools and form its own system. Circuit Judge… Continue Reading

Douglas County Schools Must Pay the Private Education Costs of Student Who Has Autism, Judge Rules

by John Aguilar

02.12.18   A federal judge on Monday ruled that the Douglas County School District did not provide an adequate education to a student who has autism and must reimburse his family for the cost of sending him to a private school for students with disabilities. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock represents the latest, and possibly final, chapter in a long-running legal battle between the family of a student known in court records as Endrew F. and the 68,000-student school district that went al… Continue Reading

As Black Lung Cases Rise, Will Clinic Funding Follow?

by Sam Pearson

02.09.18   A rise in incidences of black lung disease among coal miners is prompting some lawmakers to try to send more money to cash-strapped rural health centers that could hold the key to piecing together missing data. An extra $2.7 million is little in the context of the broader federal budget, but proponents say this amount, that includes funding for the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, is crucial if health workers are to respond effectively to recent findings by the National Institute of Occup… Continue Reading

Make Way for Higher Education

by Lauren Camera

02.09.18   Moreover, the effort comes as colleges and universities seek to redefine themselves in a rapidly changing market and become more affordable and accessible to increasing numbers of low-income applicants. "The fact that they're doing once-a-week hearings is an indication that this isn't just some random thing that they want to look like they're working on," says Tamara Hiler, senior policy advisor and higher education campaign manager at Third Way. "I've been really, really surprised at the nuanc… Continue Reading

CBO Estimates Show House Higher Ed Bill Could Hit Student Loan Borrowers Hard

by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel

02.07.18   College students would lose $15 billion in federal student aid over the next decade if House Republicans succeed in turning their higher education bill into law, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform Act, sponsored by Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), aims to overhaul the federal law governing almost every aspect of higher education. The 590-page… Continue Reading

Democrats Balk at Rubio-Ivanka Paid Leave Proposal

by Ian Kullgren

02.06.18   House Democrats are resisting the latest paid leave idea concocted by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ivanka Trump. At a Democratic roundtable on paid leave today at the Capitol, Democrats and their allies criticized Rubio's framework, which would allow people to dip into Social Security benefits to care for a new child or sick family member, saying it wouldn't be sustainable and - in its purest form - wouldn't give workers paid time off. Instead, they reaffirmed their support for the "FAMILY Ac… Continue Reading

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra Says Trump Administration Proposal Could Mean Billions in Lost Tip for Workers

by Andrew Khouri

02.05.18   California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra joined a coalition Monday to oppose a U.S. Department of Labor proposal governing tips, arguing the new rules could result in workers losing billions of dollars each year. Becerra, along with 16 other attorneys general, filed a letter of opposition with the department on the last day of public comment for a proposal that would rescind portions of a 2011 Obama rule that mandated workers receive the tips given to them. Becerra's spokesperson said the o… Continue Reading

The Effects of 137 Minimum Wage Hikes, In One Chart

by Christopher Ingraham

02.05.18   Last summer, a paper on the effects of Seattle's minimum-wage increase made national headlines with its conclusion: The change made low-income workers worse off, not better, because it forced employers to cut back on hiring and hours to afford paying higher wages. Although the finding contradicted years of research showing that the minimum wage had little to no effect on hiring practices, the paper was widely read and generally well regarded because of its reliance on high-quality data and conv… Continue Reading

Inspector General Probes Labor Dept. on Tip Pool Rulemaking

by Ben Penn

02.05.18   The Labor Department's Office of the Inspector General is investigating the agency's handling of a tip pool regulation, following a Bloomberg Law reportthat the DOL buried internal estimates on the proposal's impact on workers. The OIG sent a memo to the DOL's Wage and Hour Division Feb. 5, alerting the agency's acting administrator that an audit will commence on the tip pool rulemaking process. The department's internal oversight office launched the review Feb. 2 in response to the media contr… Continue Reading

Trump's New Rule Could Take Billions In Tips From Workers And Give It To Their Bosses

by Nicole Goodkind

02.05.18   President Donald Trump's Department of Labor wants to give restaurant owners greater control over pooled tips, but reportedly agency officials purposefully hid evidence that shows this rule change could take billions from restaurant workers and give the money to their bosses. The Labor Department announced in December that it would work to undo an Obama-era regulation that stopped employers from collecting and redistributing workers' tips however they wanted if the workers earned the federal mi… Continue Reading

Trump Administration Faces Audit of Proposed Rule That Could Let Bosses Keep Tips

by Danielle Paquette

02.05.18   The Labor Department's Office of Inspector General said Monday it was launching a review of how Trump administration officials crafted a proposed rule that would allow employers to keep tips. The move followed reports that the department had ignored an economic analysis that found such a measure would drain "billions" from workers' pockets. "The Office of Inspector General is initiating an audit of the rulemaking process used by the Wage and Hour Division related to its proposal to rescind por… Continue Reading

White House Plan Giving Restaurant Owners More Control Over Tips Under Fire

by Scott Horsley

02.05.18   It's last call for public comment on a Trump administration proposal that would give bar and restaurant owners more control over workers' tips. The Labor Department has been asking for feedback, and already hundreds of thousands of people have weighed in. Many say they say they're opposed to a rule that would allow restaurant owners to pocket tips for themselves. "I think it's another example of corporate greed gone wrong," says Julie Holmes, a former waitress from Virginia. "It basically mak… Continue Reading

House Dems Demand Labor Dept. Details on Tip Pooling Rule

by Ben Penn

02.02.18   The Labor Department is under heightened attack today from Democrats, who are demanding the release of economic data that Bloomberg Law reported was scrubbed from the agency's tip pool proposal. Four House Democrats, in an oversight letter sent this morning to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, asked the DOL to fork over copies of all analyses completed as part of the tip pool rulemaking process. Their letter cites Bloomberg Law's reporting that the department conducted, and then shelved, estima… Continue Reading

Scott To Demand Info About Negative Tip Pool Analysis

by Andrew Hanna

02.01.18   Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said today he will demand information from Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta about whether his agency suppressed an economic analysis of a proposed rule change to pool workers' gratuities. The letter comes after Bloomberg reported the department shelved a report showing the rule change could transfer billions in tips from employees to business owners. The ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee said he wants all DOL-conducted analyses on the … Continue Reading

NLRB Member Is Under Investigation for a Conflict of Interest

by Ian MacDougall

02.01.18   The inspector general for the National Labor Relations Board is investigating whether a Trump appointee to the board breached government ethics rules, according to two congressional officials with knowledge of the investigation. The probe centers on whether the NLRB member, William Emanuel, took part in a case in December that had involved his former law firm and if so, whether his participation was improper because he had a conflict of interest. David Berry, the NLRB's inspector general, opene… Continue Reading

Dem Lawmakers Call on Labor Department to Rescind Tip-Pooling Rule

by Lydia Wheeler

02.01.18   House Democrats are calling on the Department of Labor to withdraw it's proposed tip-pooling rule following a report that agency officials hid an unfavorable economic analysis. Bobby Scott (Va.), the top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Rep. Mark Takano (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Workforce Protections Subcommittee, said the public cannot fully comment on the rule without access to all the information. Bloomberg Law reported Thursday that senior depart… Continue Reading

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