Weekly News Round Up
A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues
By Tess Koenigsmark
The big news this week was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which forced the nation to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go. Read the full transcript of Obama’s speech at the commemoration here. Some criticized the celebrations for reflecting too much on the past instead of the work still to be done, especially after several young organizers were cut from the roster of speakers.
California’s senate has passed legislation that would increase the number of abortion providers by allowing nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to perform the procedure. While conservatives argue that this puts women at a greater risk, abortion is a very low-risk procedure, and nurse practitioners are already performing abortions in Oregon, Montana, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Connecticut has approved regulations for medical marijuana that will allow for the opening of marijuana dispensaries. Much of the debate over regulations focused on fears of a potential federal government response. That argument is now moot, as the Justice Department announced Thursday that it will not interfere with state decisions to legalize marijuana.
Fast food workers in Hartford walked off the job Thursday for a one-day strike protesting low wages. Unions and the Connecticut Working Families Party supported the strike, one of many happening around the country on Thursday. The workers are asking for a $15/hour wage. It’s not news that the minimum wage, which the majority of these workers make, has fallen well behind the cost of living. Conversations about what compensation minimum wage workers “deserve” often provoke incredibly frustrating but predictable indignation from folks who argue that such “menial” labor isn’t deserving of higher wages. My rule: if you haven’t worked a minimum wage service job in the last decade, take a back seat.
In light of the fast food strikes, the director of Connecticut’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women makes a case for why economic security is a women’s issue (and I would add, a feminist issue as well).
The US is changing its process for recognizing Native American tribes, which may directly affect tribes here in Connecticut.
A giant WTF?! to Montana, where a teacher convicted of raping a 14-year old student will serve only 30 days in jail. The judge decided that the girl was equally responsible for the “situation.” Horrifying.