Pres Obama Immigration Orders Face Major Test in Federal Court

04/16/2015

nation-of-immigrants

Obama immigration orders face major test in federal court

President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will be tested on Friday when a federal appeals court considers whether to lift an order blocking the actions to allow millions of immigrants without legal status to remain in the United States.

Lawyers from the federal government and 26 states opposed to Obama’s immigration policies will make oral arguments in front of a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the most conservative circuit in the country.

The administration is seeking an emergency stay lifting a Texas judge’s order freezing Obama’s November executive actions, which could provide deportation relief and work permits to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Supporters of Obama’s programs are hopeful the court’s recent dismissal of a separate lawsuit against the immigration programs are a sign the judges will be on their side.

The panel may take days or weeks to decide on the government’s motion.

If it lifts U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen’s preliminary injunction, the Obama administration could begin implementing its programs. If it does not, Obama’s actions will remain in limbo.

The atmosphere surrounding the hearing is expected to be charged. More than 150 people plan to demonstrate outside the courthouse, including immigrants eligible for relief under Obama’s programs, according to immigrant-rights groups.

With just 21 months in Obama’s presidency, his administration is acting aggressively to resolve the legal issues surrounding the immigration programs, a key part of his presidential legacy.

But Obama’s lawyers could face an uphill battle in court on Friday.

For more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/239130-obama-immigration-orders-face-major-test-in-federal-court

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President Obama’s Immigration Timeline:

We are and always will be a nation of immigrants - sml

White House Hispanic 

WH.gov en Español

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What Will YOU Do to End Inequality?

04/15/2015

Anti-LGBT Bills Introduced in 28 States

The wave of anti-LGBT bills filed across the country continues to swell. As of today, lawmakers have introduced more than 85 anti-LGBT bills in 28 state legislatures.

Some state legislative sessions have already drawn to a close, but other state legislatures will be in session for several more weeks or even months.  So far this year 34 anti-LGBT bills in nine states have been defeated or failed to meet key legislative deadlines, but two have passed — one in Arkansas and one in Indiana.

Among the recently introduced anti-LGBT legislation is a pair of bills in Nevada that would allow individuals and businesses to use religion to challenge or opt out of laws, including laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.  Similar legislation was also recently introduced in Montana and is still pending in Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Texas and elsewhere.

Bills that would allow adoption agencies to use religion to discriminate against eligible parents and guardians have been newly introduced in Alabama and Florida. These new bills are similar to a series of bills moving through the Michigan legislature.

Even in states with long traditions of support for equality, anti-equality lawmakers are introducing anti-LGBT bills.  Massachusetts, for example, is the latest state with a bill that would criminalize transgender people for using appropriate restrooms.  Anti-transgender “bathroom surveillance” bills have are now pending in Florida, Texas and a handful of other states.

For more: http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/anti-lgbt-bills-introduced-in-28-states

About GLSENs Day of Silence

GLSENs Day of Silence is a national day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.

History
Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to the organizing efforts in over 8,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country in 2008, its textured history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach.

Organizing for Day of Silence
Organizing a Day of Silence (DOS) activity or event can be a positive tool for change-both personally and community-wide. By taking a vow of silence, you’re making a powerful statement about the important issue of anti-LGBT bullying, and when you organize others to join you that message becomes stronger. Discover ways of organizing your event here.

Your Rights
While you DO have a right to participate in GLSENs Day of Silence between classes and before and after school, you may NOT have the right to stay silent during instructional time if a teacher requests for you to speak. According to Lambda Legal, “Under the Constitution, public schools must respect students’ right to free speech. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, as well as the right to wear buttons or T-shirts expressing support for a cause.” However, this right to free speech doesn’t extend to classroom time. “If a teacher tells a student to answer a question during class, the student generally doesn’t have a constitutional right to refuse to answer.” We remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class.  Find more Lambda Legal advice here.

For more: http://dayofsilence.org/resources/

PBO Strive for Complete Equality for LGBTForward For Equality_sml


Paycheck Fairness Act – Isn’t It About Time?

04/13/2015

Equal Pay - Women Breadwinners

The Paycheck Fairness Act is proposed legislation that would add procedural protections to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Fair Labor Standards Act as part of an effort to address male–female income disparity in the United States. A Census Bureau report published in 2008 stated that women’s median annual earnings were 77.5% of men’s earnings, newer studies suggest, when the data is controlled for certain variables, the residual gap is around 7%, the same study concludes that the residual is due to the fact that “hours of work in many occupations are worth more when given at particular moments and when the hours are more continuous. That is, in many occupations earnings have a nonlinear relationship with respect to hours.”

The House of Represen­tatives approved the bill in January 2009. The United States Senate failed to move the bill forward in November 2010. President Barack Obama said in March 2011 that he will continue to fight for the goals in the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill was reintroduced in both houses of Congress in April 2011.

The 2010 bill had no Republican Party co-sponsors, though a group of four Republican senators had supported an earlier bill to address gender-based wage discrimination, including Susan CollinsKay Bailey HutchisonLisa Murkowski and Olympia Snowe. On June 5th, 2012 the bill fell short of the 60 votes necessary to override a filibuster and did not make it to the Senate floor for debate. The vote went along party lines, excluding a vote against by Democrat Harry Reid. (A vote which left Democrats the option to introduce the bill again at a later time.) On April 9, 2014, in another straight-party-line vote, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199; 113th Congress) was again blocked by a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Once again, Senator Reid changed his vote from support to oppose, as a tactical maneuver to keep the bill alive.

The 2010 Senate version of the bill had the support of the Obama administration and that of Democrats in the Senate. The American Civil Liberties Union supported S.182, citing the 2008 data from the United States Census Bureau that women’s median annual earnings were 77.5% of the male median, African-American women’s median annual earnings were 64% of the white male median, and Hispanic women’s median annual earnings were 54% of the white male median. The American Association of University Women also supported the bill, citing the organization’s 2007 research report, Behind the Pay Gap, which showed that women earn less than their male colleagues just one year out of college. The pay gap has widened 10 years after graduation.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paycheck_Fairness_Act

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Presidential Proclamation — National Equal Pay Day, 2015

NATIONAL EQUAL PAY DAY, 2015

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In the United States, the promise of opportunity is built on the idea that everyone who works hard should have the chance to get ahead.  This creed is at the core of our democracy, and it is central to our belief that America does best when all people are able to share in our Nation’s prosperity and contribute to our success.  Yet every day, countless women perform the same work as their male colleagues only to earn less than their fair share.  On National Equal Pay Day, we mark how far into the new year women would have to work just to earn the same as men did in the previous year, and we renew our efforts to end this injustice.

On average, full-time working women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, and women of color face an even greater disparity.  This wage gap puts women at a career-long disadvantage, and it harms families, communities, and our entire economy.  Today, in more than half of all households, women are breadwinners — 49 million children depend on women’s salaries.  But our economy and our policies have not caught up to this reality.  When women experience pay discrimination it limits their future, and it also hurts the people they provide for.  It means less for their families’ everyday needs, for investments in their children’s futures, and for their own retirements.  These effects reduce our shared prosperity and restrict our Nation’s economic growth.  Wage inequality affects us all, and we each must do more to make certain that women are full and equal participants in our economy.

When we take action to help women succeed, we help America succeed, and my Administration is committed to ensuring women have every opportunity to reach their fullest potential.  The first bill I signed as President was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the following year — to crack down on violations of equal pay laws — I created the National Equal Pay Task Force, which to date has helped women recover millions of dollars in lost wages.  If workers do not know they are underpaid, they cannot challenge the inequality; that is why we are going to require Federal contractors to submit data on employee compensation, including data by sex and race, and why last year I signed an Executive Order prohibiting Federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their pay.  And I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to protect all people’s fundamental right to a fair wage.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/13/presidential-proclamation-national-equal-pay-day-2015

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Did You Know That Women Are Still Paid Less Than Men?

On average, full-time working women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. This substantial gap is more than a statistic — it has real life consequences. When women, who make up nearly half the workforce, bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families, and over a lifetime of work, far less savings for retirement.

President Obama supports passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a comprehensive and commonsense bill that updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work.

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GET THE FACTS

GOP Blocks Equal Pay

Senate Republicans again kill Paycheck Fairness Act

4/09/14 01:06 PM – Steven Benen – maddowblog

The third time was not the charm. Democratic efforts to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act failed to overcome Republican opposition in the 111th Congress and the 112th Congress, and as of this morning, it failed once again at the hands of a GOP filibuster.

Senate Republicans filibustered a debate on a Democratic pay equity bill backed by President Barack Obama Wednesday.

Sixty votes were needed to allow the bill to be debated on the Senate floor, but Republicans refused to allow the bill to come up for debate after complaining Democrats weren’t allowing votes on their amendments.

The roll call from the vote is online here. Note that the final tally was 54 to 43 – six votes shy of the supermajority needed to end Republican obstructionism – but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) switched his vote for procedural reasons, leaving it at 53 to 44.

The legislation received exactly zero Republican votes, as was the case with previous efforts to pass the bill.I

In case anyone needs a refresher, the Paycheck Fairness Act is a perfectly credidble piece of legislation that would “enhance the remedies available for victims of gender-based discrimination and require employers to show that wage differences are job-related, not sex-based, and driven by business necessity. The measure would also protect employees from retaliation for sharing salary information, which is important for deterring and challenging discriminatory compensation.”

As we’ve discussed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was an important step forward when it comes to combating discrimination, but it was also narrowly focused to address a specific problem: giving victims of discrimination access to the courts for legal redress. The Paycheck Fairness Act is a broader measure.

Republicans have responded that they endorse the idea of equal pay for equal work, but in recent years, much of the party remains opposed to policymakers’ efforts to do something about it. (This morning, some GOP senators also raised procedural objections about amendments.)

As for the electoral considerations, aren’t GOP lawmakers worried about rejecting measures like these in an election year?

Apparently not.

Senate Republicans aren’t sweating a ramped-up push by Democrats and President Barack Obama for new pay equity legislation – pushing forward women Republicans to rebut charges they have a woman problem and doubting the issue will resonate with voters. […]

Republicans argue that the Democrats’ bill – along with their so-called “Fair Shot” agenda for the year – is a political ploy that will not fool voters.

I’m not sure who’s trying to fool whom in this model. Dems put together a bill; the bill is popular; and they’ve pushed it repeatedly for six years. That sounds less like a p.r. stunt and more like an effort to address a problem.

As for the midterms, Republicans have struggled of late with the gender gap. At a minimum, today’s vote won’t help.

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#EqualPayNow

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Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2015

04/12/2015

Good Jobs Green Jobs 2014Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2015 - Speaker Elizabeth WarrenGood Jobs, Green Jobs 2015

Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2015 takes place April 13 in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Hilton Hotel. Good Jobs, Green Jobs is the nation’s leading forum for strategizing and implementing environmental solutions that create and maintain quality, family-sustaining jobs and ensure the health and safety of our workplaces and communities.

This year’s Conference is focused on Energizing America. Our energy infrastructure is critical to determining how we address the threat of climate change, how we create family-sustaining jobs and increase global competitiveness, and how we protect the environment and secure the economy for generations to come. Accelerating the deployment of renewable energy, scaling up energy efficiency in our built environment, and upgrading and repairing our energy distribution systems are all critical components of achieving that goal.

The 2015 Conference will build upon the success of previous Conferences that brought together thousands of business, labor, environmental and non-profit leaders to turn ideas into action.

For more: http://www.greenjobsconference.org/about

Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2015 FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/goodjobsgreenjobs

Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2015 Twitter: https://twitter.com/gjgjconference

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Monday, April 13, 2015
Vice President Biden delivers remarks
Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2015
Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C.

#GJGJ2015

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WH Tumblr Q&A on Issues Facing the LGBT Community

04/09/2015

WH LGBT Rainbow

Join a Tumblr Q&A on Issues Facing the LGBT Community

This week, the Obama administration took important steps toward LGBT equality and fairness. President Obama’s Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination went into effect — protecting about 1.5 million Americans from discrimination based on who they are or who they love. The White House also responded to a petition signed by more than 120,000 Americans about banning the practice known as conversion therapy: President Obama agreed.

To continue the conversation about this week’s actions and the Administration’s commitment to LGBT equality, we’re hosting a Tumblr Q&A tomorrow, April 10, at 2:00 p.m. ET with:

Here’s how you can join the Q&A:

  • Starting now, you can post your questions using the Ask Box on Tumblr.
  • On Friday at 2:00 p.m. ET, follow along live as senior officials take your questions.

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Learn more:

PBO Strive for Complete Equality for LGBT

US LGBT Rights Timeline 1903-2014  (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

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 White House – LGBT

 LGBT Democrats Facebook

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7th Summit of the Americas

04/07/2015

Summit of Americas 2015

2015 CEO Summit of the Americas

2015 CEO Summit of the Americas



On April 10-11, 2015 the Heads of State and Government of the Americas will address the Seventh Summit central theme, “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas“, within which will be discussed several sub-themes, among them security, energy, health, education, migration flows, democratic governance, and citizen participation. The Summit, which occurs every three years, offers the opportunity for countries to jointly define a hemispheric agenda at the highest level to address urgent challenges and propel positive change.

The Seventh Summit of the Americas will take place in Panama City, Panama on April 10-11, 2015.

Participants:

For more information: http://www.summit-americas.org/seventhsummit.htm#

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4/9/15 FACT SHEET: The President’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative and Programs to Support Youth Development in Central America and the Caribbean
4/9/15 FACT SHEET: U.S.-CARICOM Summit – Deepening Energy Cooperation
4/10/15 FACT SHEET: U.S. Cooperation with Central America; Meeting with Members of the Central America Integration System (SICA)
4/11/15 FACT SHEET: U.S. Participation in the 7th Summit of the Americas

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U.S. – South America Trade Agreements https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas

4/10/15 FACT SHEET: U.S. Cooperation with Central America; Meeting with Members of the Central America Integration System (SICA)

Summit of the Americas Facebook
Summit of the Americas Twitter

#VIISummit

President Obama in Town Hall with Young Leaders of the Americas University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica

President Obama in Town Hall with Young Leaders of the Americas
University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica (more photos)

President Obama’s Summit of the Americas Itinerary 

Wednesday, April 8th

President Obama departs the White House en route to Jamaica

President Obama arrives Kingston, Jamaica
Norman Manley International Airport

President Obama meets with Embassy personnel and families
Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica

Thursday, April 9th

President Obama participates in a guest book signing
Jamaica House, Kingston, Jamaica

President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with the Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller
Jamaica HouseKingston, Jamaica

President Obama participates in a meeting with the Caribbean Community leaders
University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica

President Obama participates in a town hall with young leaders
University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica

President Obama lays a wreath at Heroes Park
Heroes Park Memorial, Kingston, Jamaica

President Obama visits The Bob Marley Museum
Kingston, Jamaica

President Obama departs Jamaica en route to Panama
Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica

President Obama arrives in Panama City, Panama
Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, Panama

President Obama meets with Embassy personnel and families
Westin Playa Bonita, Panama City

Friday, April 10th

President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with the Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela
RIU Hotel, Panama City, Panama

President Obama holds a multi-lateral meeting with SICA Presidents
RIU Hotel, Panama City, Panama

President Obama participates in the Summit of the Americas CEO Forum ‘100,000 Strong in the Americas’ Initiative
RIU Hotel, Panama City, Panama

President Obama delivers remarks at a Civil Society Forum
Hotel El Panama, Panama City, Panama

President Obama participates in a Civil Society Forum
Hotel El Panama – Panama City, Panama City, Panama

President Obama attends the Summit of the Americas Opening Ceremonies
ATLAPA Convention Center, Panama City, Panama

President Obama attends the Summit of the Americas Leader’s Dinner
Panama Viejo, Panama City, Panama

Saturday, April 11th

President Obama attends the official Summit of the Americas events
ATLAPA Convention Center, Panama City, Panama

President Obama participates in a press conference
ATLAPA Convention Center, Panama City, Panama

President Obama departs Panama en route Washington, D.C.
Tocumen International Airport, Panama City, Panama

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World Health Day 2015

04/06/2015

WHO - World Health Day 2015

The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) was  established on 7 April 1948. It is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

In the 21st century, health is a shared responsibility, involving equitable access to essential care and collective defence against transnational threats.

For more: http://www.who.int/about/en/

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World Health Day 2015: From farm to plate, make food safe

2 APRIL 2015 | GENEVA who.int/en/

New data on the harm caused by foodborne illnesses underscore the global threats posed by unsafe foods, and the need for coordinated, cross-border action across the entire food supply chain, according to WHO, which next week is dedicating its annual World Health Day to the issue of food safety.

World Health Day will be celebrated on 7 April, with WHO highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety under the slogan “From farm to plate, make food safe.”

“Food production has been industrialized and its trade and distribution have been globalized,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “These changes introduce multiple new opportunities for food to become contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals.”

Dr Chan adds: “A local food safety problem can rapidly become an international emergency. Investigation of an outbreak of foodborne disease is vastly more complicated when a single plate or package of food contains ingredients from multiple countries.”

Unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, and cause more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhoea to cancers. Examples of unsafe food include undercooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.

For more: http://who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/food-safety/en/

About FoodSafety.gov

FoodSafety.gov is the gateway to food safety information provided by government agencies.

According to the Key Findings of the Food Safety Working Group:

“The federal government will enhance http://www.foodsafety.gov to better communicate information to the public and include an improved individual alert system allowing consumers to receive food safety information, such as notification of recalls. Agencies will also use social media to expand public communications.”

Selected Federal Agencies with a Role in Food Safety

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serve important roles in ensuring food safety in the United States. More >

State Agencies

During an investigation of foodborne illness or a recall, federal government agencies may work with state agencies such as the state department of public health. Get information about your state… More >

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Affordable Care Act – The Core Principle

“We are a nation that faces its challenges and accepts its responsibilities. We are a nation that does what is hard. What is necessary. What is right. Here, in this country, we shape our own destiny. That is what we do. That is who we are. That is what makes us the United States of America. And we have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.”

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— President Barack Obama, March 23, 2010

 

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

What if I have job-based insurance?

How can I get coverage at lower costs?

What do small businesses need to know?

Am I eligible for Medicaid?

What if I’m self-employed?

What if I have a pre-existing condition?

How the Affordable Care Act is helping people in your State

Health Resources and Services Administration app Find a Health Center

ObamaCare sign up
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