"The right to vote is at the very foundation of our American system, and nothing must interfere with this very precious right."
– President Gerald Ford "[T]he right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its luster diminished."
– President Ronald Reagan
Like millions of Americans, President Obama doesn't think it makes a lot of sense to fire an employee or force her to take unpaid leave because she's six months pregnant and needs a stool to sit on while working the cash register.
This is a situation many pregnant workers still face, even in 2014. That's why President Obama stood up on Monday and called on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.).
A 13-year-old boy named Jon Carmichael killed himself during spring break in 2010.
According to a civil rights lawsuit brought by his parents, a few days before Jon killed himself, football players at his middle school in northern Texas had attacked him in the locker room, stripped him nude, tied him up, placed him in a trash can, and called him a "fag," "queer," and "homo," while the whole event was videotaped and later posted on YouTube.
Some of America's most vulnerable workers are victims of modern-day slavery, and the government knows it. What's worse: These workers are protecting U.S. military and economic interests – but the U.S. isn't protecting them.
What happens in Texas's educational system is closely watched by the rest of the nation, from its textbook selection to a recent rollback of the state's high-stakes testing requirements. We can add funding for public education and universal pre-K to that list. During the 2011 legislative session, the Texas legislature had cut $5.4 billion from public education for the 2012-2013 biennium, slamming students and teachers with the brunt of the first education cuts the state enacted in more than four decades. The cuts also came as the $3 billion in emergency aid that Texas received from the 2009 federal stimulus was drying up.
The last few years have seen a wave of proposed and enacted restrictions on abortion rights. 2013 began no differently, with the first three months of the new year seeing legislators in 14 states introduce bans, including 10 proposals that would ban nearly all abortions. But recently, from Texas to Ohio to North Carolina, the pace and intensity of these attacks has picked up even more, drawing local protests, national attention, and displays of solidarity from state lawmakers across the country.
This week saw the case for budget austerity at both the state and federal levels continue to rapidly fall apart. A new Congressional Budget Office report showed that the federal budget deficit problem may not actually be that much of a problem anymore, and debates over what to do with budget surpluses began to percolate in the states as treasuries started to count tax revenues that came in last month, even as the pain from sequestration cuts also continued to be felt in all fifty states:
After a year that started off with a wave of efforts to suppress the vote - many of which continue - more and more states are now looking at enacting significant reforms to modernize voter registration and protect and expand voting rights. Here's a roundup of recent developments:
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.