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  • Okla. Republicans Pass Ban on Minimum Wage Hikes

    Republican legislators in Oklahoma took an extreme stand against the state's working families this week by passing SB 1023. The bill, which bans all state municipalities from setting their own minimum wage laws, was promptly signed by Republican Governor Mary Fallin. The law's other provisions also ban the establishment of mandatory employee benefits, including vacation or sick leave days.

    Gov. Fallin’s action appears to thwart efforts by an Oklahoma City group that had been circulating a petition calling for a local vote on whether to increase the city’s minimum wage from the national standard of $7.25 an hour up to $10.10 an hour.

    Oklahoma City attorney David Slane, who serves as spokesman for the group circulating the petition, said his coalition is contemplating its next move.

    “Of course we’re disappointed that the governor and the Republican Legislature stood in the way of the people having the right to vote on whether they want to raise minimum wage,” Slane said. “We’re looking now at the possibility of a constitutional challenge to the law that was signed because we think that it abrogates the people’s right to have an initiative petition. ... We’re going to explore all options, including the possibility of a statewide initiative petition.”

  • TN Legislators Concerned Mop Sink in State Capitol Bathroom is Part of Muslim Prayer Ritual

    From April 14, 2014:

    The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that two state legislators expressed concerns about a mop sink in a recently renovated restroom of the Tennessee State Capitol, fearing the sink was actually a "Muslim foot bath." Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey confirmed he had been approached by a House and Senate member regarding the sink's intended usage.

    According to the Times Free Press:

    Republican Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, confirmed that he had spoken to Humphrey about whether there were religious reasons for the new sink after the issue was raised by Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma.

  • Montana Republican Sends Ominous Warning Letter to Rental Tenants, Mocks Single Mothers

    From April 14, 2014:

    Montana state Rep. Dave Hagstrom (R) sent a pointed warning letter to the low-income tenants of one of his eleven rental properties in South Billings, cryptically telling them they should "accept that not everyone, including yourself, needs to live as long as they currently do, or as ‘comfortably’ as they currently do.”

    Hagstrom also rails against a host of government services, saying the nation's financial problems stem from “free healthcare services at Riverstone Health, more money for food in schools for the kids, more money to help pregnant single moms stop smoking, more money to help elderly people get out of nursing homes and get individualized care in their own homes, etc." He also accuses his tenants, and all Americans, of "living in a bit of a fairytale lifestyle."

    From Montana Street Figher blog:

    If that weren’t enough, the Representative from Billings goes on to mock single mothers.  The government “creates a mindset that if I have kids and their dads are dead-beats, the government should buy my groceries and help me get a job while they provide day-care for my kids and send me to school to educate me so I can get a better job.”

  • DLCC Honors Republican Glenn Grothman (WI) as Model for GOP Diversity Push

    From April 1, 2014:

    Washington, D.C. — Today, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) Executive Director Michael Sargeant released the following statement applauding the efforts of Wisconsin state Senator Glenn Grothman to showcase the Republican Party’s true values for women and minority voters.

    “Senator Grothman is the most accurate messenger Republicans could ask for as they seek to broaden their appeal to women and minority voters,” said Sargeant. “Grothman has single-handedly made it his mission to show every non-white-male voter in America how the Republican Party’s values and policies impact them every day.”

    “Whether he’s educating women about why ‘money is more important to men’ or restricting access to birth control on the basis that ‘unwanted or mistimed’ pregnancies are ‘the choice of the women, Sen. Grothman demonstrates the Republican Party’s responsiveness to the needs of women voters.  Specifically, their supposed need to ask Republican politicians like Grothman for permission to earn money and make health care choices,” Sargeant continued.

    “Senator Grothman is also leading the way in Republican outreach to African Americans,” Sargeant noted.