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Happy Labor Day

September 4, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Happy Labor Day
Labor Day Parade in downtown St. Louis, 2009

Missouri is book-ended on eat side by blue-ish cities: Kansas City on the West and St. Louis on the East. In between is a lot of red. Wages & labor, among many others, are areas where the differences clash.  Though the GOP controls Jefferson City the people are fighting back.

From last month:

With the submission of more than 300,000 signatures Friday, Missouri’s right-to-work law won’t go into effect Aug. 28 and its fate likely will be put to voters in 2018.

 The law is suspended, Secretary of State spokeswoman Maura Browning told St. Louis Public Radio. The office still needs to verify that at least 100,000 of the signatures are from registered voters — the minimum to force a statewide vote in November 2018. (St. Louis Public Radio)

If the signatures are conformed, this gives lots of time to mount a campaign to override the legislature on unions. St. Louis’ higher minimum wage has been rolled back by the state GOP, but again efforts are underway to change that as well:

In Missouri, advocates of a higher minimum wage are already mobilizing a new statewide campaign to get a minimum wage measure on the November 2018 ballot. If organizers with the “Raise Up Missouri” campaign gather enough signatures and voters approve it next year, Missouri’s minimum wage would go up to $8.60 in 2019 and increase 85 cents each year until 2023, when it would hit $12 an hour.

Jake Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at Washington University who studies labor and inequality, points to the successful 2014 statewide measure raising Arkansas’ minimum wage as an example of the issue’s resonance beyond a liberal base. (Post-Dispatch)

Arkansas is just as backwards as Missouri, perhaps more. So if they can increase their statewide minimum wage we should too.

Have a great Labor Day today.

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: Missouri GOP Gutted Missouri’s Civil Rights Law

August 9, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Missouri GOP Gutted Missouri’s Civil Rights Law
Top of the Civil Courts building in rainbow colors for PrideFest2013

Senate Bill 43, signed by Gov Greitens, guts Missouri’s civil rights protections:

The governor’s signature on Senate Bill 43, for which Greitens had not publicly stated his support, will require workers who claim discrimination in wrongful-termination suits to prove that bias was the explicit reason they were fired. The current standard requires only that dismissed workers prove that bias merely was a contributing factor.

“I’ve met with passionate advocates on both sides of SB 43,” Greitens said. “I respect all of them. I’ve listened to every side. I believe we need to bring Missouri’s standards in line with 38 other states and the federal government.”

The new law applies a “motivating factor” standard for employment discrimination cases, which Greitens’ office said is in keeping with standards used by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in analyzing claims under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The measure changes Missouri’s whistleblower laws — including removing protections for state employees — and limits punitive damages for victims of workplace discrimination.

The bill also says employees can’t sue the individual who engaged in discriminatory actions. They can sue only the business itself.(KC Star)

The applies to all discrimination, not just employment. Housing, public accommodation, etc are all changed. As a gay disabled person this is troubling.

Despite high-profile opposition from civil rights groups, a personal friend and Democratic lawmakers, Gov. Eric Greitens approved a measure that will require people to explicitly prove their race, sex or other protected status actually motivated their boss or colleague to mistreat them to win an employment discrimination case.

[snip]

Missouri workers currently need only prove their protected status was a “contributing factor” to prevail in court. For example, if a Hispanic plaintiff is fired for being late for work while white workers show up late and aren’t fired, the Hispanic employee could ask a jury to compare the treatment and contend that race “contributed” to the boss’s decision.

Under the new law, which goes into effect Aug. 28, such an employee would need to meet a higher standard: The worker would have to show that race explicitly “motivated” mistreatment through, for example, written documentation of racist comments. (Post-Dispatch)

To  prove motivation in a discrimination case is nearly impossible.  Therefore, I applaud the National NAACP for backing the Missouri NAACP Travel Advisory, as a way to call attention to what is happening. They and other groups should boycott Missouri until this is reversed.

Readers were split in the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: The NAACP travel advisory is unnecessary and should be pulled

  • Strongly agree 9 [23.68%]
  • Agree 5 [13.16%]
  • Somewhat agree 4 [10.53%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 2 [5.26%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 7 [18.42%]
  • Strongly disagree 10 [26.32%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [2.63%]

Everyone reading this falls into at least one protected class, but your legal options to address discrimination will soon be limited.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Is The NAACP Travel Advisory For Missouri Necessary?

August 6, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Is The NAACP Travel Advisory For Missouri Necessary?

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Please vote below

Recently the National NAACP recognized a Missouri NAACP travel advisory issued in June, relating to SB43, which changes the standards used in discrimination lawsuits. Governor Greitens signed the bill into law.

The organization is circulating a travel advisory after the state passed a law that Missouri’s NAACP conference says allows for legal discrimination. The warning cites several discriminatory incidents in Missouri, included as examples of “looming danger” in the state.

The NAACP says this is the first travel advisory ever issued by the organization, at the state or national level. The Missouri conference initially published the advisory in June, and it was recognized nationally at the NAACP’s annual convention last week. (CNN)

Here’s more:

Black travelers in the state are “subject to unnecessary search seizure and potential arrest,” the Missouri NAACP warned.

“Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri,” the original advisory stated. “Warn your families, co-workers and anyone visiting Missouri to beware of the safety concerns.”

The advisory wasn’t just prompted by concerns about safety on the road. At the time, the state’s Republican governor had not announced whether he would sign or veto legislation that the NAACP has described as bringing back “Jim Crow.” (NPR)

Today’s poll question is about the issuance of a travel advisory.

This poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: Gov Greitens Should Veto Minimum Wage Bill

May 24, 2017 Economy, Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Gov Greitens Should Veto Minimum Wage Bill
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011

Nearly 85% of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll disagreed with the statement that Gov Greitens should sign the bill that would strip St. Louis of setting its own minimum wow higher than that of the state. More than half picked the “strongly disagree” option.

Here’s the final breakdown:

Q: Agree or disagree: Gov Grietens should sign the bill limiting the minimum wage to the same $7.70/hr statewide.

  • Strongly agree 2 [6.25%]
  • Agree 1 [3.13%]
  • Somewhat agree 1 [3.13%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 3 [9.38%]
  • Disagree 7 [21.88%]
  • Strongly disagree 17 [53.13%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [3.13%]

A thriving economy has goods/services being exchanged at good pace. Those with minimum wage jobs spend every dollar they get:

Those in the bottom 30% of the income scale make an average of $14,000 a year, including the value of many government benefits like food stamps or disability payments. But they spend more than $25,000, or 182%, of their annual income mostly on basic needs like housing, food and transportation, according to a CNNMoney analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. 

Worth noting is that this group includes senior citizens, who supplement their income from Social Security with savings, and students, who turn to mom and dad for help. Also, research shows that some underestimate how much aid they receive from the government. 

But the data also includes many low-income families and individuals who just don’t make enough to get by. Often, they have to decide what bills to pay or they turn to payday lenders or credit cards. (CNN/Money)

This is 182% of their income, while the rich only spend 61% of their income. For the middle class it’s 89%. If we pay those at the bottom a little more the money will circulate through the economy — not sit in accounts here and abroad. Foe nearly 40 policies of both Republicans & Democrats have eroded the middle class and condemned the poor to a life of struggling to stay afloat.

St. Louis needs an improved economy — paying workers more is the best way to do so. Please contact Gov Greitens immediately and let him know he should veto the minimum wage bill.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Gov Grietens Sign The Minimum Wage Bill?

May 21, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Gov Grietens Sign The Minimum Wage Bill?
Please vote below

On Friday May 12th, in the final minutes of the session, the Missouri legislature sent a bill to Governor Greitens that would nullify St. Louis’ recent increase in the minimum wage. 

The House failed to adopt an emergency clause on the bill, meaning it won’t immediately take effect should Gov. Eric Greitens sign it, which sponsoring House Rep. Jason Chipman said he had promised to do. The new minimum wage in St. Louis would instead be nullified in August if the measure becomes law. 

Speaking to reporters after session’s end, Greitens said he’d have to take a close look at the bill before making a final decision. (Post-Dispatch)

Missouri’s minimum wage is $7,70/hr while St. Louis’ new minimum wage is $10/hr.

Which brings us to today’s poll:

The poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

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