Oct. 11: Corporations balk at overtime rules

Oct. 11: Corporations balk at overtime rules

Louisiana corporations are fighting back against new federal rules, set to take effect Dec. 1, that require them to pay overtime to white-collar workers who make less than $47,476 per year.

Louisiana corporations are fighting back against new federal rules, set to take effect Dec. 1, that require them to pay overtime to white-collar workers who make less than $47,476 per year. The Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity is asking House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie to push legislation on Capitol Hill that would “fix” the rule that could affect 4 million American workers by ensuring they get fair compensation for working overtime. As the Baton Rouge Business Report notes, the rule has also sparked opposition from nonprofits.


“All we want is a closer examination to determine how these proposals impact those who operate hospitals, universities, police and fire departments, public health clinics, schools, government offices, small businesses, and charitable organizations,” says Dawn Collins, executive director of the Solidarity Project, a statewide advocacy network. “We’re already facing budget challenges at a time when in Louisiana there is an extreme need for our services.” Under the federal pay rule, the salary threshold under which employers must pay overtime to white-collar workers would double to $47,476 a year, or $913 per week, from $23,660 per year. The threshold also would readjust every year to reflect changes in average wages.


Immigrants barred from marrying in Louisiana

An attempt by the Louisiana Legislature to crack down on the non-existing epidemic of “marriage fraud” is having unintended consequences. As The Washington Post reports, a 2015 bill by Rep. Valarie Hodges of Denham Springs requires all foreign-born people seeking to get married in Louisiana to produce birth certificates. That has spelled trouble for legal immigrants, including U.S. citizens, who have been turned away from the altar.


The law has indeed placed marriage off-limits to immigrants in the country illegally, as intended. But it’s hurt plenty of legal immigrants, too. Louisiana is home to thousands of refugees, predominantly Vietnamese and Laotians who received asylum in the 1970s and 1980s after fleeing war and communism in their homelands. Today these Louisianans often have green cards and even U.S. citizenship, but no access to their original birth documents, if such documents even exist.

Expanding child tax credits
Lost in the cacophony of the presidential campaign is a proposal from Hillary Clinton’s campaign that could make a meaningful difference in the lives of desperately poor families across America. As Dylan Matthews of Vox.com explains, a change in the refundability threshhold of the child tax credit may seem like a minor technical change, but it could carry big benefits for vulnerable kids.

Clinton would change the law so that families start getting the credit with the first dollar they earn. That would effectively increase the tax refunds of the poorest families with children. In addition, Clinton would double the credit for children 4 and under, something that helps both poor and middle-class families with young kids, and she’d make the credit phase in much faster for families with kids in that age range. The plan is not a complete answer to the increase in extreme poverty that’s occurred over the past two decades, but it’s a very good start. And it takes the US closer to the system most other rich countries use of simply giving every family a child allowance of a few thousand dollars per kid every year, no strings attached.


Wrongful conviction

The family of a man who spent nearly 30 years on death row for a crime he did not commit will not receive compensation from the state, after the Louisiana Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court’s decision. The AP’s Janet McConnaughey reports that the family of Glenn Ford, who died of lung cancer in 2015 shortly after his release from Angola, was denied compensation because trial evidence found that he committed lesser offenses in connection with the killing of a Shreveport jeweler.


Judge Joe Bleich wrote in May that the state compensation law specifically excludes compensation for someone who committed “any crime based upon the same set of facts used in his original conviction,” and lets the judge consider “any relevant evidence regardless of whether it was admissible in, or excluded from, the criminal trial.” The law also requires the exonerated person to prove innocence of any related crimes, he wrote. Dorroh found that trial evidence showed that Ford had at least possessed stolen items and been an accessory after the fact to armed robbery, Bleich wrote.

Number of the Day

105,689 – Number of Louisiana households to benefit from the DSNAP (disaster food assistance) extension through October. (Source: The Louisiana Weekly)