Held as part of the National Week of Action for Real Prosperity Across America, Washington State Senators participated in a work session on Tuesday to address retirement insecurity. “We have a retirement income crisis that threatens Washingtonians and Americans, we are less prepared to retire than in past decades.” said Sen. Steve Conway. “Retirement shouldn’t be a gamble."
On Tuesday, Washington Senate lawmakers launched a discussion on retirement insecurity as part of the National Week of Action for Real Prosperity Across America. Nine participants from business, labor, finance and research sectors presented information on a wide variety of issues ranging from defined benefit pension plans, to small business options, to worker retirement readiness.
Washington state legislators are focusing on retirement security as part of the National Week of Action For Real Prosperity Across America. View here more details and background information for the work session scheduled for April 8.
As of this week, more than half of the fifty states had already seen their 2013 legislative sessions adjourn. In many of those that are still going, budget debates are front and center as lawmakers race to the finish line. In some states, issues that had previously been pushed to the backburner are back on the front one, in others, major provisions are being inserted into the budget at the midnight hour, and everywhere, final showdowns are shaping up as sessions wind down.
This week, Seattle became the latest city to see strikes by fast-food workers calling for higher wages, following similar actions in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Detroit this year. Echoing the calls of workers in other cities, Seattle workers were demanding the right to organize without employer retaliation as well as higher wages. Washington state currently has the nation's highest minimum wage, at $9.19 an hour.
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.
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:
For months, conservative strategists and pundits have publicly ruminated on the need to turn their focus away from "divisive" social issues — things like the war on women's health that dominated statehouses in 2011 and 2012, when states passed an astounding 135 restrictions on abortion. But if this is the national strategy, word has apparently not yet filtered down to the states just yet. Here's just some of the anti-women's health bills that have been proposed and passed in statehouses over the past week as the war on women continues unabated:
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: