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Nebraska: Equal Pay for Women Reduces Poverty

Women have made great strides in my lifetime. We have moved from a world where women were considered suitable as secretaries to one where women are suitable to be Secretaries of State. However, women are still earning only 77 cents on the male dollar in the workforce. Over the course of a lifetime, 77 cents for every dollar equates to more than one million dollars in reduced earnings.

 

In January of this year, I introduced LB 1085 In Nebraska to address the equal pay issue. I took this action in order to reduce the impact of wage discrimination on children living in poverty.

 

We live in a world where women are often the primary bread-winners in their homes.  Most two-parent households are also two-income households, so wage discrimination impacts nearly every working person.

 

Equal compensation for women is crucial for the support of our children, too many of whom live in poverty. If the wage gap is finally closed, the poverty rate for all working women would be cut in half. The poverty rate for working single mothers would also fall by half–from 30% to 15% nationally.

 

A Progressive Voice in Annapolis, Maryland

During my eight years representing Maryland’s District 20 in the General Assembly, my priorities have always been protecting women, children, working families and our environment. During this Week of Action, I’ll be doing everything I can to enact legislation to further these priorities and improve the lives of many Marylanders.  Some proposals before the House of Delegates don’t go far enough, but I’ve learned as a legislator that sometimes the race to the finish is a marathon and not a sprint!

 

How Paid Family Leave is Benefitting Rhode Island Families

Every one of us knows that all too familiar push-pull between work and family responsibilities, but when an emergency arises, that push-pull can tear us apart. Working families in Rhode Island now can rest a little easier knowing that if they have a seriously ill family member or choose to welcome a new child into their home, they will not lose their job, their home, or their economic security. In 2013, my bill to provide our families with paid time off from work to care for a loved one or bond with a child became law. Rhode Island is now the third state to provide paid family and medical leave insurance, and the first one to do so with job protection for everyone who uses it. Nearly 80 percent of the Rhode Island work force now has coverage for the moments when they need it most: a stressful, family crisis or that joyous, but sometimes overwhelming moment when you bring a child home for the first time.

#EqualPayPA: Equal Pay in Pennsylvania

I understand the barriers women face to achieve success in male dominated professions.  As one of too few women serving in the General Assembly in Pennsylvania, and the only women representing the Greater Pittsburgh area in the State House, I understand the pressure and the high expectations we put on ourselves to do well and succeed.  This is absolutely one of the reasons so many of the women I know are of the most driven and dedicated professionals in their field.  Women are increasingly becoming the primary breadwinners in households, and graduating with higher degrees at a greater rate than men.  Times have changed, but pay discrimination has not.

Despite all of this great progress toward dignity and respect for women, it is still too often that I hear stories from my constituents about not being hired or getting passed over for promotions and raises due to their gender.  Some of these women I have gotten to know.  They work hard, yet do not receive the appropriate compensation for their work—pay based upon education, training, and experience.

Living Our Values: A Proposal for Paid Parental Leave in North Dakota

As a member of the North Dakota Senate, it is my job to make sure that our laws reflect the values of the people in our great state.  One thing I know for sure is that we value families.  Yet I am distressed that this fundamental value is often not reflected in the way our state does business.

For example, we know that it is critical that newborn babies have the opportunity to bond with their parents.  Yet we have done little to ensure that parents who want to take parental leave are able to.   Too many families cannot afford to take unpaid leave, especially when they have a newborn child at home and all of the expenses associated with that.  One story of a mother of a newborn son really shows how much parents have to struggle to do right by their families:

North Carolina: Raising the Minimum Wage is a Women’s Issue

In North Carolina the minimum wage isn’t enough to support an individual, let alone a family. Our minimum wage has remained stagnant at $7.25/hour for years, which is completely unacceptable when the majority of minimum wage earners are women, many of whom are supporting children during these increasingly expensive times.

As the daughter of elderly parents, I can relate, but still only in a small way to what single mothers with small children and aging parents have on their plates.  As the Shriver Report described it, women are brushing the hair of their children with one hand while administering medication to aging parents with the other.  Why should this be the norm?  For the good of every generation we should examine our motives if we are trying to keep families from prospering.

Michigan Families Need a Raise

Michigan needs to raise the minimum wage.  Not just because it’s the right thing to do for the minimum wage workers in this state.  It is important for everyone in the states and is the single most important thing that could be done to help our state recover from the worst economic recession in a decade.  People don’t have money to spend on the basics like groceries and gas.  This sets off a ripple effect, causing harm to many people, businesses and industries beyond low wage earners themselves.  When someone can’t afford to buy groceries, they definitely aren’t going to be going out to eat, buying new clothes or spending any unnecessary money that would help stimulate the local economy.  Growing up in a family of 14 children, I know firsthand how challenging it is to raise a family and make ends meet.  Working families need to be supported, and it is time to give them a raise.

Massachusetts Should Be Leading the Way on Earned Paid Sick Time

Guaranteeing earned paid sick time for the people of Massachusetts is a priority that I’ve long fought for as a representative in the state legislature. As a mom with a background in nursing and interest in public health policy, it is also an issue that resonates with me personally. These are the key reasons why earned paid sick time is a primary focus of mine, particularly during the National Week of Action, when state legislators across the country are promoting a shared agenda designed to secure real prosperity for all Americans.

What does real prosperity look like in Massachusetts? I am proud of the great strides our Commonwealth has made on economic security issues, but one area where we are falling short is that currently, close to one million workers in Massachusetts are unable to earn paid sick time at their jobs. As a result, they face losing wages or their actual job if they choose to take care of themselves or their family members when they get sick. It shouldn’t be this backwards in a state as forward thinking and financially prosperous as Massachusetts.

Climate Change is a Mother’s Issue

When you consider the wide reaching impacts of climate change, highlighted by the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  report, it is easy to want to bury your head in the sand. It is easy to turn on the TV, read a book, or think about what to have for dinner.

But when something threatens the health and future of our kids, well, moms don’t tend to walk away.

World scientists, governments, and health activists have been making the connections between climate change and public health for years. Here’s some of what they found. Climate change is linked to:

Maryland Advances Bill against Shackling

On Friday, April 4, the Maryland Senate voted unanimously to limit the use of restraints on pregnant women in prison and jail. The legislature must now reconcile the Senate version with the House version passed last month before the governor can sign the bill into law.

Among the differences to be ironed out are the breadth of protections afforded pregnant women from the risks of shackling, the scope of exceptions under which corrections personnel can legally restrain a pregnant woman or woman giving birth, and the type of reporting and oversight that will be required.

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