Living Wage, Right Wing Strategy, Police Body Cams, and More

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Living Wage Act: Most local governments lack the power to raise the minimum wage. But most can increase the minimum pay for those working for the local government either as employees or through government contractors, and more than 100 have done so. Here is a simple model bill.

The Right Wing Isn’t Crazy, It’s Strategic: So far this year, the Oklahoma House banned AP American History, the Tennessee House named the Holy Bible as “the official state book,” the Mississippi House passed the “Jesus Take the Wheel” bill, and there’s so much more. It’s easy to dismiss the right wing as crazy. But these bills have a political purpose that we can’t dismiss. Read about it on IdeaLog, our blog intended to raise eyebrows and engage minds.

Reproductive rights and a proactive women’s agenda: Rescheduled from last week—now Wednesday, May 6 @3:00pm Eastern, 2:00pm Central, 1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific. Our guest, Susan Frietsche of the Women’s Law Project, will explain what’s going on and—using Pennsylvania as an example—how reproductive rights advocates can change the debate with a proactive policy agenda.

Hawaii on the verge of raising the minimum age for smoking to 21: Because 95 percent of adult smokers started before they turned 21, more than 60 localities in seven states have raised the age for buying tobacco to 21. Hawaii is poised to become the first state to increase the age to 21 for both the sale of tobacco products and smoking in public.

Thoughtful rules for police body cams: As momentum increases to address excess use of force by police, many jurisdictions are considering body cameras on police. The ACLU recently republished a discussion of the rules needed for proper body cam use, and the Maryland legislature approved cautious legislation to deal with these questions while moving forward on body cams.

Latest update on legislation at the state and local levels: Read about it in our Compendium. And we welcome input! If you have additions, please contact Michael Weiss at