Iowa State Senator and PSN board member Joe Bolkcom shares his experience pushing for progressive initiatives on wage standards, election reform, anti-war resolutions, and integrative immigration policy, as well as a the promise of state legislators using their growing ranks to form a national coalition for change.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson recently signed a wage enforcement bill (H 489)
to allow underpaid workers to collect their back wages plus twice that
amount in damages. The bill was backed by community groups and labor
unions as well as the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.
New Mexico now becomes the eighth state that allows workers to collect
treble damages against employers violating the minimum wage — a key
deterrent to employers to ensure compliance with the minimum wage.
AMERICANS are hardly in the mood to
welcome new immigrants. The last thing we need, the reasoning goes, is
more competition for increasingly scarce jobs. But the need for
immigration reform is more urgent than ever.
Recently conservatives in Montana sought to roll back the annual cost-of-living wage increases for minimum wage workers that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2006 by 73-27%. Montana is one of twenty-seven states (plus the District of Columbia)
that has a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage, and one
of eleven states that index the minimum wage to the consumer price
index. Montana progressives successfully fought a conservative push by
the restaurant industry to keep wages stagnant.