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Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision a blow to contraceptive coverage, but New York coverage law still stands

Guest post by Lois Uttley, Director, Raising Women’s Voices – NY

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Unions add power to Democrats’ bid to regain state Senate

Newsday | June 28, 2014 | Column by Michael Gormley
ALBANY – The Democratic plan to regain control of New York’s Senate from Republicans was hatched at a Working Families Party convention in May where the headliners were New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and, by video, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
But the muscle to make it happen was in the union members standing behind de Blasio.

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Koch Brothers in Film and Books

New NY 23rd | June 27, 2014 | Post by pystew
The Koch Brothers have been quietly involved with changing the direction of our governmental system for the pass four or five decades. Americans are just beginning to recognize their names, and most of us are unfamiliar with the impact they have had on our the political scene. The fact that they (David and Charles Koch) were responsible for a quarter of all the private money spent to influence 2012 elections should motivate us to find out more about them.

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The Nation: 84 Percent of NYC Fast Food Workers Report Wage Theft in a New Survey

In 2010, New York passed a statewide anti–wage theft law that the Progressive States Network described as the strongest in the country. In January, the Chicago City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that threatens offending companies with the loss of their business licenses.

Radical Right-Wing Tax Plans Run Into Trouble

Taxes are on the minds of many this week as April 15th approaches. They're also on the minds of many conservative governors -- in states such as Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Nebraska -- who have seen their radical tax proposals to further enrich corporations and the wealthy run into major resistance from voters, businesses, and even conservative lawmakers. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who this week withdrew his regressive plan that would have eliminated the state income tax while raising the sales tax, has seen his standing drop sharply in the polls. In the run up to Tax Day, increasing attention is being focused on how tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations increase burdens on the middle class.

One Million New Yorkers Set to Benefit from Paid Sick Leave

After years of debate and delay, paid sick days may soon become a reality for approximately one million New Yorkers who do not currently have access to them.

Latest Conservative Punching Bag: The Jobless

With the debate in D.C. currently centered around exactly how much more federal budget austerity to enact, and with the budget sequester threatening 750,000 jobs nationwide looking more and more likely to go into effect March 1st, the jobless also continue to be under attack in the states. This week, one state signed devastating cuts to their unemployment insurance system into law, another advanced a restructuring of their system that would endanger their federal funding, and efforts to ban employer discrimination against the jobless ran into the veto pen of a billionaire big-city mayor:

SCOTUS to Take Center Stage on Voting Rights Act, Marriage Equality

In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two high-profile challenges affecting states directly: Shelby County v. Holder, a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as two cases on same-sex marriage. Arguments in the Voting Rights Act case are scheduled for February 27th, while arguments in the two marriage cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, are set for late March. States and the Obama administration are already filing briefs in advance of both cases. At the same time, efforts to advance marriage equality continued this week in state legislatures including Minnesota and New Jersey:

Bad Flu Season Amplifies Calls for Paid Sick Days

Out sick this week? You weren't alone. In the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in years, states and municipalities across the nation are seeing an increasing focus on workers' lack of access to paid sick time. Unfortunately, in some places, that has also meant conservatives focused on pre-empting and reversing existing protections, including taking away the rights of local municipalities to determine what's best for their communities:

Multiple States Mull Raising Minimum Wage

Many states are already considering action on the minimum wage in new sessions — by legislation or by ballot initiative. Polls and studies released this week continued to show both the broad and deep popularity and the positive economic effects of raising the wage: