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Alabama’s Senior GOP Senator Rejects Moore

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

 

While it was disturbing, it was sadly unsurprising that Donald Trump eventually endorsed Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore, and implored his own supporters to vote for a man accused of serial sexual predationagainst young girls.

But it was certainly unexpected to hear the opposite message from the man who holds Alabama’s other Senate seat.

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby is no moderate. He recently pushed for his party’s tax scam bill by saying that the poor don’t deserve tax breaks because they “create nothing.” His voting record was recently ranked as the third most conservative in the U.S. Senate, and his views on issues like abortion rights, LGBTQ equality, and civil rights have earned him decidedly poor ratings from organizations like the ACLU, the NAACP, and the Human Rights Campaign.

But even he has his limits, and Moore ran up against them as the disturbing allegations against him became harder and harder for Shelby to ignore.

As he told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday morning, while Shelby wants to see a Republican win the race, he would “hope that Republican would be a write-in” — which is how he himself voted, though he would not say the name he wrote on his ballot.

“I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore, I didn’t vote for Roy Moore,” he declared.

He noted that he wanted to “vote Republican” and that he agreed with Trump and others in his party in wanting to retain that seat.

But the allegations against Moore were a “tipping point” for Shelby.

“So many accusations … when it got to the 14-year-old’s story, that was enough for me,” he said.

“I said, ‘I can’t vote for Roy Moore.’”

If someone as conservative as Shelby can see how abominable it would be to elect a man like Moore, there is simply no excuse for anyone else in the party — whether lawmaker or voter — to refuse to accept that reality.

Putting party over country is bad enough — putting party over victims of alleged child molestation and over basic human decency and empathy is beyond the pale.

 

Democratic California Prepares To Resist Trump Agenda

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – Lawmakers in Democrat-controlled California are already laying the groundwork to fight President-elect Donald Trump’s conservative populist agenda.

On Monday, leaders of both houses of the legislature introduced measures to protect undocumented immigrants in the state from efforts by a Trump administration to deport them once the billionaire businessman takes office Jan. 20.

The bills followed closely on Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s nomination of U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra as attorney general, a high-ranking Democrat who challenged the incoming administration to “come at us” on such issues as climate change, immigration, and worker protections.

“Immigrants are a part of California’s history, our culture, and our society,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Democrat from Los Angeles, responding to Trump’s calls to deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

“We are telling the next Administration and Congress: if you want to get to them, you have to go through us.”

California voted decisively for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election, choosing the former first lady over Trump by 28 percentage points.

Democrats hold two-thirds majorities in both houses of the legislature, and every statewide office. The most populous U.S. state, California has more than 2.7 million undocumented immigrants – about 7 percent of its 39 million population.

Brown’s nomination of Becerra last week positions the state to fight back against efforts to weaken progressive policies with a reliably progressive attorney general steeped in the ways of Washington.

On its first day back from recess on Monday the legislature passed resolutions urging Trump to abandon his deportation promise, and introduced two bills aimed at protecting immigrants.

One measure would set up a fund to pay for lawyers for immigrants facing deportation. Another would train criminal defense attorneys in immigration law.

At a news conference on Monday, Brown and Becerra avoided antagonistic language about Trump.

But both men promised to protect the state’s interests.

“I don’t think California is out there to pick fights,” Becerrra said. “But we certainly will stand up for the rights that we do have.”

The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Republican leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley criticized the legislature’s moves.

“Democrats stole a page out of President-Elect Trump’s campaign playbook and pushed a rhetorical, divisive agenda designed to inflame tensions many of us seek to soothe,” Mayes said.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Andrew Hay)

IMAGE: U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA), nominated to serve as California’s attorney general, speaks on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

California Lawmakers, Unions Reach $15 Minimum Wage Deal: Papers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – California lawmakers and union leaders have reached a tentative deal to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 over six years that could avert a campaign to bring the issue to voters, two California newspapers reported on Sunday, citing unnamed sources.

The deal, if passed in the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, would add to a wave of minimum wage increases at the state level in the United States, where the federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour for more than six years.

The agreement, as reported by the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee, would gradually raise the minimum wage in the most populous U.S. state from the current $10 to $15 in 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have one extra year to comply with the proposed law.

The Bee said Brown is part of the agreement, while the Times said the Democratic governor could make a formal announcement on a deal as early as Monday.

A spokesman for Brown was unavailable for comment on Sunday.

Sources told the Times that lawmakers could vote on the proposed agreement by the end of next week by amending an existing wage-hike bill.

To pass in the legislature, any minimum wage hike would have to win the approval of moderate Democrats, who in the past have blocked key legislation backed by the governor and the majority party’s more liberal leaders.

 

Income Inequality

Raising the minimum wage to fight income inequality has cropped up on many Democratic candidates’ agendas ahead of the November presidential, congressional and state elections.

But the idea has drawn fierce opposition from conservatives and some business groups, who have said a higher minimum would harm small businesses and strain the budgets of government agencies forced to pay more to workers.

“Let’s start by calling this irresponsible,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, a fiscally conservative think-tank that has argued against minimum wage hikes.

“When you talk about these really massive jumps it’s no longer an impact at the margin, it’s the sort of thing that could be the difference between a business staying open and closing,” he added.

In 2013, Brown signed into law a measure that gradually increased the minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour in 2016. But he said earlier this year that any future increase has to be done “very carefully” and over time.

The latest proposal would allow a sitting governor to stop the increases in the event of a recession, the Bee reported.

Labor unions’ proposal to raise California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2021 has qualified to be listed on the upcoming November ballot in the state.

Supporters of a minimum wage increase who pushed for the ballot question are optimistic the deal would allow them to withdraw that initiative, the papers reported.

But Steve Trossman, a spokesman for the Service Employees International-United Healthcare Workers West, told the Times the union wanted to see the details of the deal before withdrawing the initiative.

Trossman was not immediately available for comment.

Fourteen states and several cities began 2016 with minimum wage increases. Many are now in the midst of multi-year phase-in plans that will ultimately take them to between $10 and $15 an hour.

 

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Alan Crosby and Mary Milliken)

Photo: Protesters gather outside a Wendy’s fast food restaurant in support of a nation-wide strike and protest to raise the hourly minimum wage of fast food workers to $15 in San Diego, California December 5, 2013.  REUTERS/Mike Blake