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Stem the Rising Tide of Corporate Inversions

Posted by Tiffany Ray, Intern | Posted on: August 11, 2014 at 02:30 pm

Taxpayers scored a major win this week when Walgreen Co. nixed plans to become the latest U.S. corporation to move its corporate address abroad in order to dodge tax bills here at home. Public outcry against the legal loophole known as “inversion” is reaching a fever pitch; clearly, Walgreen was listening. Let’s hope Congress is, too.

Inversion is a scheme by which a company based in the U.S. can merge with a company abroad and then re-incorporate in that other country – one with a more advantageous tax structure, typically the UK, Ireland, or Switzerland – to avoid paying taxes at home.

These U.S. inverters are, literally and figuratively, un-American. With each new deal that’s struck, they push even more of the tax burden onto workers, families, and small business [PDF].

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After Hobby Lobby Decision, State Legislators Mobilize to Protect Employees’ Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services

Posted by Sarah Brafman, Intern | Posted on: August 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm

“I’ve never been so fired up about a case before,” a friend recently wrote me, referring to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

My friend is not the only one fired up about the Hobby Lobby decision. According to a recent poll, more than 7 out of 10 U.S. women voters believe that corporations should not be allowed to opt out of a law when they feel it conflicts with their own religious beliefs. And in an interview with Katie Couric, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who penned the Hobby Lobby dissent, said, “Contraceptive protection is something every woman must have access to, to control her own destiny…[Hobby Lobby] has no constitutional right to foist that belief on the hundreds and hundreds of women who work for them who don’t share that belief.”

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¡RJ AHORA! Celebration History During the Latina Week of Action

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: August 08, 2014 at 04:42 pm

Twenty years ago, when a group of visionary Black women created the Reproductive Justice framework, I was still in school, with no idea that a movement was being formed. Nor did I know how important that movement would be as it helped shape and reframe our understanding of reproductive issues, bringing a human rights and justice framework to the reproductive health community and creating a more inclusive movement. Reproductive Justice requires that all people have “the economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality, and reproduction for ourselves, our families, and our communities in all areas of our lives.” [PDF] This challenges all of us to work towards a more just world in which we have not only the legal right to reproductive freedom but, also, the resources to exercise those rights and choose whether and when to have children and to be able to parent the children we do have with dignity in healthy and safe environments.

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Proposed Department of Labor Rule Will Shed Light on Federal Contractor Pay Practices, Help to Uncover Discrimination

Posted by Emily Werth, Fellow | Posted on: August 07, 2014 at 04:36 pm

It is a very simple principle — you can’t fix a problem that you don’t know about.

With that in mind, yesterday the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs — the agency charged with enforcing laws that prohibit discrimination by companies that contract with the federal government — announced a proposal for a new rule that will require certain contractors to report on how they pay their workers.

The annual Equal Pay Report that contractors will have to submit if this new rule is adopted will include information about employee compensation and the demographics of the company’s workforce. Having such data will help OFCCP to root out pay discrimination against women and minorities more effectively. The collection and reporting of this data to the government will also give contractors strong incentives to proactively monitor their own pay practices and to eliminate any unjustified pay disparities.

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National Breastfeeding Month: Celebrating Moms, Babies, and the Affordable Care Act

Posted by Gabrielle Schechter, Intern | Posted on: August 07, 2014 at 12:45 pm

It’s no accident that the US Breastfeeding Committee (“USBC”) chose August as National Breastfeeding Month. After all, it’s the most popular month to be born in the United States. This year the USBC kicked off #NBM14 by inviting Americans to share in #SixWords what breastfeeding means to them.

The facts are clear. Breastfeeding means:

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Not Waiting Around: States and Businesses Take Action to Raise Workers’ Wages

Posted by Therese Salazar, Intern | Posted on: August 07, 2014 at 12:28 pm

In case you missed it, Kentucky State University interim president Raymond Burse announced this week that he’ll take a pay cut of $90,000 to subsidize raises for those workers on the university campus who make very low wages. The college president’s move will ensure that the university’s hourly workers make at least $10.25 per hour. Approximately 24 workers on the campus will see a raise, including some workers who had been making the current federal minimum wage of just $7.25. By absorbing the pay cut himself, Burse saved the institution from making a difficult decision like deducting funds from other university program areas, while guaranteeing that the hardworking employees of Kentucky State University receive a raise they deserve – and very much need.

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Closing the Literacy Gap Through Early Learning

Posted by Holly Flynn, Intern | Posted on: August 07, 2014 at 12:09 pm

As summer winds down this month, children across America are getting their backpacks, pencils, and books ready to go back to school. While a new school year means a new classroom, new teacher, and new lessons to learn for most children, some will be left behind, held back a year because they have difficulty reading. The New York Times reported Monday that more and more states are requiring schools to hold back third graders who do not read on grade level. Yet when children are forced to repeat a grade, it may already be too late—several studies have found that students who have to repeat a grade are more likely to drop out of high school. A more effective way to improve children’s literacy is by ensuring children have high-quality early learning opportunities that give them a strong start even before entering kindergarten.

Low-income children are particularly likely to lag in their reading skills. Children in economically disadvantaged families may lack opportunities to develop their language skills at home.  They tend to be read to less regularly, have fewer books in their homes, and hear fewer words in their early years.  In addition, they often are unable to participate in high-quality early learning programs, because such programs are too costly for their parents, unavailable in their neighborhoods, or inaccessible due to parents’ challenging work schedules, lack of transportation, or other barriers.

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Judicial Nominations Update: August Edition

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: August 05, 2014 at 09:58 am

Last week, the Senate left for its August recess after having confirmed Pamela Harris to a Maryland-based seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and obtaining cloture on the nomination of Jill Pryor to a seat on the Eleventh Circuit (her confirmation vote presumably will take place shortly after the Senate returns in early September). 

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