Passed by Congress June 13, 1866, and ratified July 9, 1868, the 14th amendment extended liberties and rights granted by the Bill of Rights to former slaves.
Following the Civil War, Congress submitted to the states three amendments as part of its Reconstruction program to guarantee equal civil and legal rights to black citizens. The major provision of the 14th amendment was to grant citizenship to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States,” thereby granting citizenship to former slaves. Another equally important provision was the statement that “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The right to due process of law and equal protection of the law now applied to both the Federal and state governments. On June 16, 1866, the House Joint Resolution proposing the 14th amendment to the Constitution was submitted to the states. On July 28, 1868, the 14th amendment was declared, in a certificate of the Secretary of State, ratified by the necessary 28 of the 37 States, and became part of the supreme law of the land.
July 4, 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.
We celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of American democracy.
“Salute to the Military“
President Obama and First Lady Michelle will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families with a Seventh Annual “Salute to the Military” USO Concert at the White House. The celebration includes a barbeque, USO concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn.
8:10 PM EDT: USO Concert
8:45 PM EDT President Obama Delivers Remarks at a Fourth of July Celebration
9:15 PM EDT: National Capital fireworks display
Middle Class Economics Rewarding Hard Work by Restoring Overtime Pay
Middle class economics means that a hard day’s work should lead to a fair day’s pay. For much of the past century, a cornerstone of that promise has been the 40-hour workweek. But for decades, industry lobbyists have bottled up efforts to keep these rules up to date, leaving millions of Americans working long hours, and taking them away from their families without the overtime pay that they have earned. Business owners who treat their employees fairly are being undercut by competitors who don’t.
Today, President Obama announced that the Department of Labor will propose extending overtime pay to nearly 5 million workers. The proposal would guarantee overtime pay to most salaried workers earning less than an estimated $50,440 next year. The number of workers in each state who would be affected by this proposal can be found here.
The salary threshold guarantees overtime for most salaried workers who fall below it, but it is eroded by inflation every year. It has only been updated once since the 1970s, when the Bush Administration published a weak rule with the strong support of industry. Today, the salary threshold remains at $23,660 ($455 per week), which is below the poverty threshold for a family of four, and only 8 percent of full-time salaried workers fall below it.
President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to update regulations relating to who qualifies for overtime pay so that they once again reflect the intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to simplify the rules so they’re easier for workers and businesses to understand and apply. Following months of extensive consultations with employers, workers, unions, and other stakeholders, the Department of Labor developed a proposal that would:
Raise the threshold under which most salaried workers are guaranteed overtime to equal the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers. As proposed, this would raise the salary threshold from $455 a week ($23,660 a year) – below the poverty threshold for a family of four – to a projected level of $970 a week ($50,440 a year) in 2016.
Extend overtime pay and the minimum wage to nearly 5 million workers within the first year of its implementation, of which 56 percent are women and 53 percent have at least a college degree.
Provide greater clarity for millions more workers so they – and their employers – can determine more easily if they should be receiving overtime pay.
Prevent a future erosion of overtime and ensure greater predictability by automatically updating the salary threshold based on inflation or wage growth over time.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the Affordable Care Act. It is here to stay.
And, Democrats and Republicans in Congress paved the way for the United States to rewrite the rules of global trade to benefit American workers and American businesses.
On Friday, the Court recognized the Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality. With that ruling, our union became a little more perfect — a place where more people are treated equally, no matter who they are or who they love.
These steps build upon America’s steady progress in recent years. Out of the depths of recession, we’ve emerged ready to write our own future. Our businesses have created 12.6 million new jobs over the past 63 months — the longest streak on record. More than 16 million Americans have gained health insurance. More kids are graduating from high school and college than ever before.
But more work lies ahead, if we are to succeed in making sure this recovery reaches all hardworking Americans and their families.
We’ve got to keep expanding access to affordable health care. Right now, 22 states haven’t expanded Medicaid — even though, under the ACA, they can. We’ll keep encouraging those governors to do the right thing for their constituents. And we’re making sure people know all the ways that they can benefit from the ACA. Wednesday, I’ll go to Tennessee to meet Americans whose lives have been changed by this law, and to talk about how, instead of refighting settled battles of the past, we can move forward together.
We’ve got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded. Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That’s partly because we’ve failed to update overtime regulations for years — and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year — no matter how many hours they work.
This week, I’ll head to Wisconsin to discuss my plan to extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers in 2016, covering all salaried workers making up to about $50,400 next year. That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve — since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t.
That’s how America should do business. In this country, a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. That’s at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America.
Girl Scouts Inaugural Guests at First Ever White House Campout
June 24, 2015 gsblog
On June 30, First Lady Michelle Obama will host the first-ever White House Campout as part of the Let’s Move!Outside initiative. The Campout is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior and will celebrate the National Park Service Centennial as well as Great Outdoors Month. The Campout will take place in one of the most historic backyards and National Parks in the Nation – the White House South Lawn.
As Honorary National President of Girl Scouts of the USA, the First Lady will welcome fifty fourth-grade Girl Scouts to participate in activities to earn their Camper Badge, and to celebrate the release of the new Girls’ Choice Outdoor badges. The Girl Scouts will engage in both new and traditional outdoor activities, including rock wall climbing, knot tying, orienteering, and tent pitching. Later that evening, the participants will be joined by NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, who will join a stargazing activity led by NASA staff and scientists on the South Lawn before the girls settle in for the night.
Let’s Move!Outside was created to encourage kids and families to take advantage of America’s great outdoors—which abound in every city, town, and community. Through public-private partnerships and in conjunction with all levels of government, the Department of Interior leads Let’s Move!Outside to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors.
As part of the centennial celebration of the National Park Service, in which the First Lady serves as honorary co-chair, President Obama launched the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative. This new initiative calls on each of our agencies to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors and inspire a new generation of Americans to experience their country’s unrivaled public lands and waters. Starting in September, every fourth-grader in the nation will receive an “Every Kid in a Park” pass that’s good for free admission to all of America’s federal lands and waters — for them and their families — for a full year.
Regular exercise in nature is proven to improve children’s physical and mental health. Outdoor activity helps kids maintain a healthy weight, boosts their immunity and bone health, and lowers stress. Let’s Move!Outside was created to get kids and families to take advantage of America’s great outdoors – which abound in every city, town, and community. Through public-private partnerships and in conjunction with all levels of government, the Department of Interior leads Let’s Move!Outside to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve, and work outdoors.
Kids need at least 60 minutes of active and vigorous play each day to stay healthy, and one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to meet this goal is by playing outside. By linking parents to nearby parks, trails and waters – and providing tips and ideas – Let’s Move!Outside can help families develop a more active lifestyle.
Police raids on gay bars and nightclubs were a regular event in cities across the United States. Commonly the police would record the identities of all those present, which would be subsequently published in the newspaper, then load up their police van with as many as it would hold. Kissing, holding hands, or even being in a gay bar at all was used as grounds for arrest on indecency charges at that time. The Stonewall raid on June 29, 1969 started out just like any other raid. Seven plainclothes policemen entered the bar along with one uniformed policeman, allegedly to investigate improprieties in the liquor license. They cleared the bar, whose clientele remained on the sidewalk and street outside. The situation took a dramatic turn for the worse, and the police began beating people who resisted with their nightsticks. The crowd started throwing rocks and bottles rather than coins. The police took refuge inside the Inn, which they trashed. This was the first time the homosexual community had resisted with such force. With this event, the gay rights movement was ignited.
“While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.”
6/1/07 Senator Barack Obama
Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins
Here Are the Six Major Rulings We’ll Get From the Supreme Court This Week
Jun 24, 2015 12:14 PM PDT Greg Shohr – bloomberg
The U.S. Supreme Court is saving the best for last.
The nation’s top court will issue a series of major rulings over the next several days as it closes its nine-month term. In addition to landmark gay-marriage and Obamacare cases, the court will decide on potentially far-reaching disputes involving housing discrimination, redistricting, air pollution and lethal injection.
“Almost all of the remaining rulings have huge implications and promise to be closely divided,” said Tom Goldstein, a Washington appellate lawyer whose Scotusblog website tracks the court.
The first of seven rulings will come at 10 a.m. Washington time Thursday, with more scheduled for Friday and Monday. The court doesn’t say in advance which decisions are being released which day, but it almost always resolves all its pending cases by the end of June.
Before they pack up, the justices will also say whether they will supplement the session that starts in October with new cases on abortion, affirmative action and union fees.
Here’s what’s coming from the Supreme Court over the next week:
No case is bigger than the one that could legalize same-sex weddings nationwide. Only 11 years after Massachusetts became the first gay-marriage state, the court would be putting the capstone on the biggest civil rights transformation in a half-century.
Three years after upholding President Barack Obama’s signature health-care [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] law against a broad constitutional challenge, the court will decide whether a four-word phrase will severely undercut the measure.
The biggest race case of the term may produce a long-sought legal victory for lenders and insurers, as well as social conservatives. The court is poised to say whether people suing under the U.S. Fair Housing Act can win their case without showing intentional discrimination.
The April 29 argument over lethal injection methods might have been the most heated of the term, with one justice accusing death penalty opponents of waging a “guerrilla war” and another saying she couldn’t trust a state lawyer.
The court may deal a fresh blow to efforts to make federal elections more competitive by barring states from setting up independent commissions to draw congressional district boundaries. The issue is whether an Arizona commission strips state lawmakers of power reserved to them by the U.S. Constitution.