Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME in favor of the plaintiff, a local government worker who asserted that being required to pay fees to the union at his workplace violated his first amendment rights. This ruling has been anticipated for years (a similar case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, was deadlocked after Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death).
Welfare and the politics of poverty
Great recap of the welfare reform travesty – in which Clinton admits that the poorest families in the U.S. are worse off after welfare reform. Also describes how state control, combined with fiscal downturns, pulled money away from the poor.
States fighting the minimum wage
What rights to cities have to regulate the conditions under which their residents work? If some state legislatures had their way: none. With federal efforts to increase pay for the lowest earners stalled by Republican opposition, a slew of states, cities and towns across the country have hiked the local base pay on their own….
San Jose Clears Out Its Homeless Camp
A city memo from this fall estimates a shortage of 16,000 affordable housing units. But resources to deal with that shortage have dwindled as well. In California, redevelopment funds from the state had been a reliable means of developing affordable housing, but when California was facing its severe budget deficits in the midst of the…
What it means to privatize the justice system
Great article about the consequences of turning over parts of the criminal justice system to private, for-profit companies. How do the companies make money? By charging offenders on probation for their own monitoring, and by racking up fines and interest charges on the cost of traffic tickets and small court fines. There are already many…