WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats approved legislation Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, to $15 an hour, transforming an issue that once splintered the party into a benchmark for the 2020 election.
Even though the bill has little chance of passing the Republican-led Senate, or being signed into law by President Donald Trump, the outcome pushes the phased-in rate to the forefront as the new standard, one already in place at some leading U.S. corporations.
While the increase would boost pay for some 30 million low-wage workers, intended as one answer to income inequality, passage was assured only after centrist Democrats won adjustments to the bill. Reluctant to embrace the party’s left flank, they pushed for changes, including a slower six-year phase-in of the wage. It’s a reminder of moderates’ influence on policy, but also the limits.
“We’re testing candidates from the presidential all the way down to the school board,” said Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union whose members cheered passage from the House gallery. To address stark income inequality, she said, “they have to raise wages.”
A hike in the $7.25 hourly wage has been a top Democratic campaign promise, and what Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland called Thursday the “right thing to do.”
“America’s workers deserve a raise,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference with labor leaders and employees ahead of voting. Lifting a young girl into her arms, Pelosi said, “This is what it’s all about… It’s about family.”
The last increase in the federal minimum occurred 10 years ago, the longest stretch without an adjustment since the wage floor was first enacted during the 1930s. The wage protection covers millions of low-wage workers in all types of jobs.
Under the House bill, for the first time, tipped workers would be required to be paid the same as others earning the minimum, boosting their pay to $15 an hour, too. It’s now $2.13, in what labor scholars call a jarring remnant from the legacy of slavery, when newly freed workers received only tips.
Republicans in the House balked at the wage hike, which would be the first since Democrats last controlled the majority. Just three Republicans joined most Democrats in passage, on a 231-199 vote.
During the floor debate, Rep. Ronald Wright, R-Texas, called it a “disastrous bill.”
Republicans have long maintained that states and municipalities are already able to raise the wage beyond the federal minimum, and many have done so. They warn higher wages will cost jobs, especially among smaller business owners.
Wright said the bill should be renamed the “Raising Unemployment for American Workers Act.”
While opponents have long said higher minimum wages lead to job losses, economists say new studies are casting doubt on those long-held theories.
A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office sent mixed messages. It said more than 30 million workers would see bigger paychecks with a higher wage, lifting more than 1 million workers from poverty. It also said between 1 million and 3 million jobs could be lost.
At time of wage stagnation and grave income inequality that’s playing out on the campaign trail, Democrats led by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, are willing to accept that tradeoff.
But swift passage earlier this year ran into trouble when centrists and those Democrats from rural regions and Southern states raised concerns.
While the new Democratic majority is often seen as pushing the House leftward, many of the freshmen are actually moderates from districts won by Trump in 2016. Those same freshmen will face some of the toughest reelection races in 2020.
The moderate Blue Dog Coalition, led by Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., advocated for changes to the wage bill. With some two dozen members, the caucus has enough votes to deny Pelosi a majority and sink the legislation.
They wanted the longer phase of six years instead of five. And they included an amendment requiring a report from the General Accountability Office, after the first phases of the wage hike, to assess the economic impact on jobs and whether wages should be fully raised to $15.
“I’ve always been one to believe compromise is not a dirty word,” Murphy said in an interview. “It has helped us get things done.”
Most members of the Blue Dogs and another centrist caucus, the New Democratic Coalition, ended up voting for the bill. They also held the line against a Republican alternative.
Progressives and labor leaders said they could live with the changes. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the bill is popular back home and far from Trump’s characterization of Democrats as “socialists.”
The idea of a $15 hourly wage, “somehow that’s an out-of-the-mainstream thought?” he said. “Of course not.”
Advocates who have been trying to boost wages for workers for years said they were stunned at how quickly the debate shifted.
Sara Jayaraman, president of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, group founded with displaced workers from the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, said boosting the tipped wages in particular, for waiters and other tipped workers, was a milestone.
It’s “historic moment and a historic bill,” she said. “Once you start raising workers’ wages it’s hard to go back.”
Alliance – To bring the 2019 Heritage Days week to an end, the City of Alliance welcomes you to play in the Heritage Days 3-Person Scramble at SkyView Golf Course on Sunday, July 21.
This is a 9-hole scramble with tee-off time at 3:00 p.m. Entry fees are $10 for members and $25 for non-members; additional fees include cart rental. Registrations will be accepted until the 3:00 p.m. tee time.
Dinner following the Scramble will be Pot Luck style. Please bring your choice of meat to grill and a side dish to share with all players.
For additional information, please contact the SkyView Golf Course at (308) 762-1446.
The Alliance Chamber of Commerce “Hunt for the Item” will be happening July 15 – July 19. The item is hidden somewhere in the city of Alliance.
If you find the item you can win $300 in Chamber Bucks with a Heritage Days button or $50 without a button.
Alliance Chamber Director Susan Unzicker said, “It’s an object that has to do with the theme.” The theme for Heritage Days this year is “There’s No Place Like Alliance”.
- Clue #1, July 15
There’s no place like Alliance, is the Heritage Days theme,
And this year’s item fits that theme like a dream.
- Clue #2, July 16
Three taps of your heels and you’ll be sitting pretty,
On your way to finding what saved Dorothy from the Emerald City.
- Clue # 3, July 17
Past the fountain, which sparkles like the land of OZ,
But don’t go too far, or you will fail in your cause.
- Clue #4, July 18
If you reach the pool, let me give you this clue,
Head back to the block where the boys of Fall play in Blue.
By Maunette Loeks
GERING — Nearly two weeks after a Wyoming man was last seen, investigators say the man has not made contact with friends or relatives.
Chance Englebert, 25, of Moorcroft, Wyoming, has not been seen or heard from since Saturday, July 6. Englebert left a Gering residence in the 400 block of O Street, leaving at about 7:30 p.m. after becoming upset during a disagreement with his wife, Baylee. The couple had been staying at a relative’s home.
Gering Police Investigator Shawn West told the Star-Herald police have received tips of reported sightings of Englebert from Omaha to Casper, Wyoming. Some have included reported sightings on Interstate 80, on the sides of roadways, and even in a Casper, Wyoming, Walmart. However, West said, all of those reported sightings have been investigated and police have either been unable to confirm them, as in the reported sightings along roadways, or were not Englebert.
You can read the full story from the Star-Herald here: https://www.starherald.com/news/local_news/police-continue-to-follow-tips-as-wyoming-man-chance-englebert/article_354a5f16-7af2-59f4-8d4d-05901d506d6a.html
LINCOLN — With extremely hot weather predicted for the next several days across much of the state, the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) is urging motorists to be prepared. Plan ahead for your trip by packing a travel survival kit.
“When it gets this hot, it doesn’t take long for the heat to affect people,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “We want people to remember that if they become stranded on the road, they can call the NSP Highway Helpline to reach NSP dispatchers and request help from a trooper.”
The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for a large part of central and eastern Nebraska and Heat Advisories for additional counties throughout the state. Heat Index readings are expected to be to reach more than 100 degrees in each of the next three days.
NSP recommends that motorists keep a travel survival kit in their vehicle that can help in the event they become stranded. These items could include:
- Water – one gallon plus one bottle per person
- High-energy or dehydrated foods
- Phone chargers
- Sunscreen and protective clothing
- Tool kit
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Tow rope
- First Aid kit
Any motorist in need of assistance can reach the NSP Highway Helpline by dialing *55 from a cell phone or 1-800-525-5555 from any phone.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Union Pacific Corp. delivered 4% more profit in the second quarter even though it hauled less freight because it cut its expenses by 7%.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based railroad said Thursday it earned $1.57 billion, or $2.22 per share, in the quarter. That’s up from $1.51 billion, or $1.98 per share, a year ago.
The results, aided by Union Pacific’s operations changes, beat the $2.12 per share that analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected.
The railroad said revenue declined 1% to $5.6 billion in the period, which still beat Street forecasts of $5.58 billion.
Union Pacific cut its expenses by 7% to $3.3 billion in the quarter. That helped it deal with a 4% drop in the shipments it handled.
Union Pacific has been working to streamline its operations by running trains on a tighter schedule so it can use fewer locomotives, cars and employees to move the same freight. The company operates 32,400 miles of track in 23 Western states.
The railroad said it expects to handle about 2% less freight during the second half of the year, but that decline should be offset by additional cost reductions.
Union Pacific said it expects its workforce will be down 10% at the end of the year. And the company expects productivity gains of at least $500 million over 2019.
Shares of Union Pacific rose $7.76 to $172.31 in morning trading.
NORTH PLATTE — Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) have arrested two people and seized several controlled substances following a pursuit in central Nebraska Tuesday evening.
At approximately 7:20 p.m., NSP received a report from a motorist that a Cadillac Escalade was driving dangerously on westbound Interstate 80 near Odessa. A trooper was able to locate the vehicle as it was exiting I-80 at Elm Creek.
The Escalade then reentered westbound I-80 and fled, reaching speeds of 114 miles per hour. During the pursuit, the Escalade used the shoulder to pass other vehicles, changed lanes abruptly, and objects were thrown from the vehicle.
Spike strips were successfully deployed near Lexington and the vehicle came to a stop at the Cozad exit, near mile marker 222. At that point, the driver, Jesus Garfio, 27, and passenger, Jenna Martinez, 33, both of Denver, Colorado, were taken into custody. The pursuit lasted approximately 20 minutes.
Following the pursuit, troopers found methamphetamine and more than $16,000 in the vehicle. Garfio was also in possession of heroin and suspected counterfeit Oxycodone pills. Martinez was in possession of heroin and marijuana. A baggie of methamphetamine was recovered from the interstate.
Both were arrested on multiple drug offenses, tampering with physical evidence, littering, and possession of drug money. Garfio was also arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, and driving during revocation. Both were lodged in Dawson County Jail. The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and Cozad Police Department assisted in this case.
*All individuals included in this post are innocent of crimes until proven guilty in a court of law. The Panhandle Post assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, or completeness, of this information. Any person who believes information provided is not accurate may submit a complaint via the “Contact Us” tab on the homepage.
Box Butte Co:
-Samual J Burtis A, Class 1 Misdemeanor, Assault 3rd degree, Resist arrest
-Jeffrey W Heusman, Class 1 Misdemeanor, Assault 3rd degree, Class 1 Misdemeanor, False imprisonment 2nd degree
-Ethan Zapata, Class W Misdemeanor, DUI, Infraction, Possess/consume open alcohol container
Scotts Bluff Co:
-Anastacio Garcia, False reporting
-Rachael American Horse, Fugitive
-Christopher Torres, Trespassing
-Timothy Britthouer, Trespassing
-Crystal Cabello, Assault on Officer
-Samuel Turner, Infraction, Possess marijuana 1 oz or less
-Makenzie A Dunkel, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Haley Mahr, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Biruta Walton, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Blake Ruggies, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Kami J Wills, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Stephen Puzzo, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Jennifer Comstock, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
Jack L Isaacs, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Joseph McCance, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Devin Wright, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Mark Reichman, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-David Bolen, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Frederick Rudd Sr, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Terran Merriman-Honerkamp, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Mary Homquist, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Howard Jensen, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
-Coy Colgate, Class 5 Misdemeanor, Unlawful entry without park permit
The Nebraska Arts Council is partnering with West Nebraska Community College to sponsor Nebraska’s Panhandle Arts Conference at the WNCC campus.
The conference is for arts professionals including artists, board members, community leaders, volunteers and administrators. The conference is designed to provide inspiration, networking opportunities, hands-on workshops, and artist showcases.
The conference will be held July 25 at WNCC in Scottsbluff. Registration is now open online, If you need to register by phone, call 402-595-2122 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.
Every two years, the Nebraska Arts Council presents the Governor’s Arts Awards to artists, patrons and organizations who have made a significant contribution to the cultural landscape of Nebraska. Now, we want to recognize some of the people who make the arts happen—behind the scenes—BiTSy.
These awards are voted on by the staff of the Arts Council, because we see the hard work and dedication that goes unnoticed for the most part. There are no categories for these awards, just reasons as to why we feel the award was deserved.
BiTSy Award Winner – Kyren Conley
Conley is an exellent example of the next generation of arts administrators, she is the newly appointed Executive Director at the Carnegie Arts Center in Alliance. Her ideas for community engagement are breaking down barriers, and are spreading through the community.