Shelley Cadamy: Taking Away Health Coverage is No Way to Strengthen Oklahoma’s Workforce

by Shelley Cadamy

02.25.18   The Trump administration recently announced it would allow states to impose work requirements on adults who get their health care through Medicaid. Work requirements can seem like a good idea on the surface - a handful of Oklahoma lawmakers have already filed legislation to put them in motion. However, work requirements for SoonerCare are too simplistic to address the very complicated problem of getting every able Oklahoman into the workforce. I'm a workforce development director, and when … Continue Reading

Conflict Cited in NLRB Joint-Employer Case Draws Hearing Request

by Josh Eidelson

02.23.18   A top House Democrat wants Congress to review whether a Trump labor-board appointee should have recused himself before casting the deciding vote to overturn a hot-button ruling making it easier for employees of contractors and franchises to pursue claims against big corporations. In a report issued Feb. 9 and shared with members of Congress Feb. 15, the National Labor Relations Board's Inspector General David Berry flagged what he called "a serious and flagrant problem and/or deficiency" in the… Continue Reading

Rep. Rochester: It's Time for Congress to Act on School Shootings

by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester

02.22.18   "We're children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role," Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Senior David Hogg told CNN in an interview about the school shooting he had just survived. Those words have been replaying in my head over and over. A high school senior sharing his story of children trying to get an education and prepare for their future, instead of desperately trying to avoid being hit by bullets flying through classrooms, is telling lawmakers that it… Continue Reading

Black Lung Disease Comes Storming Back in Coal Country

by Nadja Popovich

02.22.18   Federal investigators this month identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung cases ever officially recorded. More than 400 coal miners frequenting three clinics in southwestern Virginia between 2013 and 2017 were found to have complicated black lung disease, an extreme form characterized by dense masses of scar tissue in the lungs. The cluster, identified following an investigation by National Public Radio, adds to a growing body of evidence that a new black lung epidemic is emerging… Continue Reading

Labor Dept. Tip-Pooling Response Doesn’t Satisfy Top Democrat

by Ben Penn

02.21.18   The Labor Department responded to a House Democrat's oversight request on the tip pooling proposal by firmly defending the rulemaking in the face of criticism, according to a letter provided to Bloomberg Law. The letter was deemed inadequate by its recipient, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.). "The Department failed to even address reports that this information was withheld, an action, that if true, compromises the integrity of the rulemaking process," Scott said in a statement provided to Bloomberg La… Continue Reading

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

DeVos and Democrats Urge Congress to Hold Hearings on School Shootings

by Erica L. Green

02.17.18   A chorus of Democratic lawmakers have joined the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, in calling for Congress to act after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla. In a letter on Friday, all 17 Democrats on the House Education Committee urged Representative Virginia Foxx, the committee's chairwoman, to convene hearings on school shootings, describing them as a "public health epidemic." The panel has not addressed the issue since February 2013 - two months after a shooting at Sa… 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

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