One of the nation's best-known charities is paying disabled workers as little as 22 cents an hour, thanks to a 75-year-old legal loophole that critics say needs to be closed.
Goodwill Industries, a multibillion-dollar company whose executives make six-figure salaries, is among the nonprofit groups permitted to pay thousands of disabled workers far less than minimum wage because of a federal law known as Section 14 (c). Labor Department records show that some Goodwill workers in Pennsylvania earned wages as low as 22, 38 and 41 cents per hour in 2011. Read The Full Story
A House vote on a bill that would allow states to force online retailers to collect sales tax is a couple of months away, but the Republicans in the Tennessee delegation are being lobbied heavily. The state’s two Democrats, Congressman Steve Cohen and Congressman Jim Cooper, support the bill, which as already passed the U.S. Senate.
But conservative critics have Tennessee’s Republican House members jittery. Even though the bill is supported by the state’s two Republican senators and Gov. Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, and House Speaker Beth Harwell (all Republicans), activists are calling support for the bill support for a tax increase. Large businesses in the state and chambers of commerce are also calling the congressmen to explain how the present system is hurting retailers’ bottom line by giving their out-of-state competitors an advantage and urging a vote for the bill. Read The Full Story
The Obama administration will start formal peace talks with the Taliban on Thursday in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, the first direct political contact between them since early last year and the initial step in what the administration hopes will lead to a negotiated end to the protracted war in Afghanistan. Read The Full Story
In a major loss for individual rights vis-a-vis the police, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that prosecutors could use a person’s silence against them in court if it comes before he’s told of his right to remain silent. The prosecutors used the silence of Genovevo Salinas to convict him of a 1992 murder. Because this was a non-custodial interview, the Court ruled that the prosecutors could use his silence even though citizens are allowed to refuse to speak with police. It is of little surprise that the pro-police powers decision was written by Samuel Alito who consistently rules in favor of expanding police powers. Read The Full Story