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If you're among the country's lowest earners, you may be ringing in the new year with a pay hike. Fourteen states will be raising their minimum wages with the arrival of 2016, according to an analysis of state laws by Yannet Lathrop of the National Employment Law Project. The raises will range from a nickel an hour in South Dakota to a full dollar in California and Massachusetts. Continue reading:
Earlier this month, African-American elected officials from across New Jersey came together for a historic meeting.  This summit was a first for New Jersey, and occurred as we mark the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – a historic moment in the political history of our country and the state – and as we reflect on the progress we have made over the last five decades. Continue reading:

A newly qualified November 2016 ballot measure would impose price controls on state drug purchases, potentially setting up an expensive battle with the pharmaceutical industry.  The California secretary of state's office announced Thursday evening that proponents of the California Drug Price Relief Act had turned in more than enough valid voter signatures to make next fall’s ballot, based on a random sample of the nearly 543,000 signatures proponents submitted this summer. Continue reading:

A grand jury will not indict anyone in connection with the death of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in a Texas jail cell in July.  Five months after her death drew national protests, one of the special prosecutors for the case, Darrell Jordan, told The Washington Post that the grand jury decided not to indict anyone, including staff at the Waller County Jail where Bland was held, in connection with her death. Continue reading:

Maryland officials are reviewing online fantasy-sports operations to determine how the state should regulate the leagues and whether some may be illegal under a 2012 law restricting such activities to non-commercial purposes. Continue reading:
Texas has violated the constitutional rights of foster children by exposing them to an unreasonable risk of harm in a system where children "often age out of care more damaged than when they entered," a federal judge ruled Thursday. Continue reading:
Missouri Lawmaker Tries to Stop Football Players from Striking. How? By taking away a player’s scholarship for not playing — unless it’s injury related.  Because the job of a “student athlete” is to entertain, make money for the school, and shut up.  Don’t get any ideas into your head about injustice or standing up for something. Continue reading:

The Paris Agreement to address climate change, adopted on Saturday, will be remembered as a big step forward and at the same time a frustrating set of compromises and omissions. The COP21 conference brought every country to the table, they all accepted the science of climate change, and they agreed to work together to do something about it. But some proved more ambitious than others, and the rich countries didn’t come up with enough money to get the best deal possible. Continue reading:

The number of new drugs approved in the United States this year has already topped last year's 18-year high, yet large pharmaceutical companies are still struggling to get a decent return on their research dollars.  In fact, returns on research and development (R&D) spending by the world’s top drugmakers have fallen to just 4.2 percent, or less than half the 10.1 percent recorded in 2010, according to a report on Monday from consultancy Deloitte. Continue reading:
Ali Sinicrope and her husband would like to buy a house, but they’re not sure they can afford it. They’re public school teachers in Middletown, Connecticut, and they owe $80,000 in student loans.  “It just adds up,” Sinicrope, 40, said of the $600 monthly payment her family strains to make. “That’s less money, now, that we can save toward a house, that’s less money that we can put toward our kids’ college tuition.” Continue reading: