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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:18pm
Tue Apr 19, 2016

Pending U.S. Trade Deals Could Gut Environmental Policies, Report Argues

A leading environmental group is sounding the alarm over climate threats posed by pending trade agreements, including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP is a free trade agreement among the United States and 11 other countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The agreement was signed in February and still needs ratification from the U.S. Congress.

In a recent report, the Sierra Club says the TPP and another proposed trade agreement under negotiation between the United States and the European Union, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), “threaten efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

“Like NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement], the TPP and TTIP would give foreign corporations broad rights, including the right to challenge new fossil fuel restrictions that thwart their ‘expectations’ for a stable business environment,” the report explains. “The trade deals would empower the corporations to bypass U.S. courts and take such challenges to tribunals of three private lawyers, unaccountable to any domestic legal system, under a process known as ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ (ISDS).”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:31pm
Fri Apr 15, 2016

SCOTUS To Hear Oral Arguments Monday In Major Immigration Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday in a major case challenging the Obama administration’s executive actions on immigration. Ahead of oral arguments, Democratic congressmen and advocates are detailing what the case’s potential outcomes could mean for the immigrant community.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:00pm
Wed Apr 6, 2016

Parents Press Illinois Lawmakers To Pass Standardized Testing Opt-Out Bill (VIDEO)

Chicago parents are putting pressure on Illinois Senate President John Cullerton over a standardized testing opt-out bill that has been pending in the upper chamber for nearly a year. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:26pm
Mon Apr 4, 2016

Internal Poll Shows Most Business Executives Back Minimum Wage Hike, Other Pro-Worker Measures

Most U.S. business executives support policies to boost the minimum wage and provide workers with paid sick time, predictive scheduling and increased maternity and paternity leave, an internal poll shows.

The poll findings, obtained by the progressive watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, clash with the policy positions of business groups fighting against such proposals.

Luntz Global, operated by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, conducted the poll of 1,000 U.S. business executives on behalf of the Council of State Chambers. Among those surveyed, 63 percent belong to a chamber of commerce.

According to the findings, 80 percent of survey respondents backed an increase in their state’s minimum wage, compared to 8 percent who opposed the idea.

Quick Hit
by Op-Ed
8:09pm
Tue Mar 29, 2016

Op-Ed: Friedrichs Decision Is A Win For Workers, Albeit A Temporary One

The following is from Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute.

The Supreme Court’s 4-4 split decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which was issued today, upholds a lower court decision that permits public employee unions to assess fees on non-members who benefit from collective bargaining and union representation. The decision is a victory for working people, whose rights are protected by strong unions even if they themselves are not in a union.

It is also a reminder about the importance of the president’s choice of the next Supreme Court justice, since the 4-4 split guarantees that another case attacking union security agreements will find its way to the Court before long.

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