Nevada Republicans sponsoring ‘Pop-Tart gun’ bill

Written by The AP Wednesday, 25 February 2015 12:29

Nevada Assembly Republicans are backing a bill that would bar schools from punishing students who play with toy firearms.

Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler is sponsoring the AB121, which would forbid schools from punishing students that play with toy guns or pretend to use a firearm.

Wal-Mart criticizes so-called 'conscience protection' measure

Written by The AP Wednesday, 25 February 2015 10:27

Wal-Mart this week criticized a measure in the retail giant's home state that opponents say sanctions discrimination against gays and lesbians, while Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also expressed concerns about the legislation.

The proposal to prohibit state and local governments from imposing a "substantial burden" on someone's religious beliefs faced new resistance a day after Arkansas became the second state to bar cities and counties from expanding anti-discrimination protections to gays and lesbians.

Reward offered after throats of 14 pelicans are slashed, 10 die

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 24 February 2015 07:11

Two national organizations — the Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust — are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for slashing the throat pouches of 14 brown pelicans in South Florida, leaving 10 dead and another four injured.

This adds to existing rewards totaling $6,000 offered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and a local construction company. FWC is investigating the incidents, which occurred in January.

Labor Dept: Married gay couples protected under Family and Medical Leave Act

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Monday, 23 February 2015 13:31

Workers in legal, same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live, will now have the same rights as those in opposite-sex marriages to federal job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a spouse with a serious health condition.

The U.S. Labor Department announced a rule change to the FMLA on Feb. 23 in keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor. That ruling struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law.

Labor chief: Unions to push wage issues in 2016 election

Written by The Associated Press Wednesday, 25 February 2015 10:45

Politicians of all ideologies have failed American workers in an era of rising corporate profits and declining wages, the top U.S. labor leader said this week, vowing to pressure candidates running for president in 2016 to address the issue.

The largest U.S. association of workers is meeting in Atlanta this week to work on its strategy for the upcoming campaign. The leader of the 12.5-million member organization said higher wages can be a "unifying progressive value," but acknowledged unions are struggling to connect with voters skeptical of the benefits of organized labor.

Obama vetoes Keystone XL pipeline bill

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 24 February 2015 14:44

President Barack Obama has vetoed the Keystone XL oil pipeline bill. The veto is the third of Obama's presidency.

The White House notified the U.S. Senate of the presidential action mid-day on Feb. 24.

Following the money behind ‘right-to-work’

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 24 February 2015 06:00

With hearings and protests taking place on “right-to-work” legislation, the watchdog group One Wisconsin Now released research on the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair. That research revealed “the stage has been set for Walker’s latest assault on Wisconsin’s middle class for his personal political benefit with a well-financed propaganda campaign utilizing a nationwide web of front groups.” 

“Once again we see the ‘Wisconsin Money Badger’ Michael Grebe and his Bradley Foundation paving the way for Gov. Walker’s right-wing, tea party agenda with a massive propaganda campaign,” said One Wisconsin Now executive director Scot Ross. “This time it’s the wrong-for-Wisconsin right-to-work law that cuts wages and benefits not just for union members but all Wisconsin workers.” 

Defense secretary comments on transgender military service

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Monday, 23 February 2015 11:07

Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter addressed the issue of military service by transgender people — who are currently prohibited from serving openly — in a town hall in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

When asked about transgender service members serving in “austere environments” such as Afghanistan, Carter replied, in part, “And I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.”

U.S. names 1st envoy for LGBT rights

Written by The AP Wednesday, 25 February 2015 10:37

The United States named its first international envoy for gay rights this week, tasking a veteran diplomat with leading U.S. efforts to fight violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals overseas.

Randy Berry, currently the consul general in the Netherlands, will promote human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, Secretary of State John Kerry said. A longtime foreign service officer, Berry has served at U.S. posts in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda and South Africa, and speaks Spanish and Arabic.

Walker takes lead in national GOP presidential poll

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Tuesday, 24 February 2015 14:12

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker jumped to the lead in the latest national poll on GOP presidential candidates.

In the poll released on Feb. 24 by Public Policy Polling, Walker was at 25 percent, with Ben Carson at 18 percent, Jeb Bush at 17 percent and Mike Huckabee at 10 percent. Rounding out the field of contenders are Chris Christie and Ted Cruz at 5 percent, Rand Paul at 4 percent and Rick Perry and Marco Rubio at 3 percent.

Right-to-work hearing today at Capitol, along with protests

Written by The AP Tuesday, 24 February 2015 05:46

Opponents of a Republican push to turn Wisconsin into a right-to-work state planned to converge on the Capitol on Feb. 24 to hold a rally and testify in opposition of the measure on a fast track in the Legislature.

Gov. Scott Walker, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, has said he will sign the bill into law once it clears the Republican-controlled Legislature. Lawmakers made a surprise announcement late last week that they were going to push the bill through in a matter of days, giving union opponents little time to organize against it.

Hundreds mark 50 years since Malcolm X’s assassination

Written by FRANK ELTMAN,
Associated Press writer
Monday, 23 February 2015 09:46

Activists, actors and politicians gathered on Feb. 20 in New York City to honor civil rights leader Malcolm X with a ceremony at the Harlem site where he was killed 50 years ago.

About 300 people gathered to hear remarks from one of Malcolm X’s six daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as elected officials. The ceremony was held at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, formerly known as the Audubon Ballroom.