As part of the National Week of Action For Real Prosperity Across America, Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard and State Reps. Cynthia Stafford, Victor Torres, Jose Javier Rodriguez, Kionne McGhee, Shevrin Jones, Bobby Powell, Clovis Watson, and Ricardo Rangel are taking the Minimum Wage Challenge. Here's a mid-week check-in.
Media Advisory: On April 7 at 10:30am ET, Americans United For Change & Progressive States Network will hold a national press call to discuss the 11-state “Give America A Raise” bus tour & Week of Action in 20 states.
WCTV's Lanetra Bennett reports: "The Florida AFL-CIO, young workers, union members, activists, Rep. Dwight Bullard and students from across the state of Florida are urging legislators to take action this legislative session on: establishing tuition equity for students, ensuring workers have an effective mechanism to recover stolen wages, and raising the state's minimum wage to $10.10. The group says that 70 percent of jobs being created are part-time. A warehouse worker from Jacksonville, Florida, Dave Snyder, says, "It's not a living wage. I'm here to tell you as a person who works two jobs: one in the middle of the night at a warehouse loading boxes; and the second one in a call center for minimum wage. I'm here to tell you, it's not enough to make ends meet with rent, with the cost of living. This is the fundamental issue of my class and my generation." The coalition is also fighting for issues that affect Florida's teachers, such as testing and accountability."
Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard is taking the Minimum Wage Challenge as part of the National Week of Action for Real Prosperity Across America. “I can think of no greater matter of importance than someone's ability to work and earn a decent wage," Senator Bullard stated. "Let those who would deny it try to live on it for just a week.
For many American teenagers, hearing criticism of their supposed apathy towards the issues of the day is almost a routine occurrence. But not for this group of Florida students. Dream Defenders, a Miami-based group of young people organized in reaction to the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, is now working alongside Florida state lawmakers, including Progressive States Network member Sen. Dwight Bullard, to call for the passage of "Trayvon's Law" -- a package of legislative proposals that affect them directly. Last month, forty students belonging to the group took part in training on how to speak effectively about the proposal to lawmakers. Then they did exactly that, meeting with state legislators and their aides in the Florida state capitol. It's the kind of advocacy work that would impress professionals who do it for a living.
The plain hypocrisy of "small-government" conservatives backing state efforts to preempt local communities from passing their own wage and benefits standards continues to gain attention, even as more local efforts to pass paid sick days and living wage laws advance. But, as reports this week showed, corporate-backed state legislative intrusions into local communities have not been limited to attacking wage and benefits standards -- they have also extended to blocking local environmental regulations and redrawing district lines for local offices:
Recent scandals in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. that revealed coordinated efforts by teachers and administrators to manipulate student test scores are shining an even brighter spotlight on the failure of standardized test-centric policies in the states. A backlash is brewing in many states as more and more parents and legislators alike start asking questions about corporate education "reform":
With more and more sessions drawing to a close, the latest count shows 15 states that have rejected expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, 20 that have agreed to comply with the law and expand coverage, and the rest still debating expansion. In many states -- including Florida and Ohio -- that debate is playing out in a contentious intramural fight among conservatives themselves. Conservative governors supporting expansion are running into opposition from ideologically opposed lawmakers in their own party, as the political debate over Medicaid increasingly appears to be taking place entirely on one side of the aisle: