Tag Archive for good government

Good Government Working to Protect Our Planet: Ocean 2016 Conference

Last week, the State Department hosted the Ocean 2016 conference

“The ocean covers about 70 percent of our planet, provides half of the oxygen we breathe, and feeds more than a billion people — it is our planet’s life support system, but it’s also in danger. National Geographic produced the following video for the opening of the U.S. Secretary of State’s “Our Ocean” Conference. Learn more about why we need to protect it and how global leaders will help. state.gov/ourocean #OurOcean

President Obama spoke at the conference and later designated 4,913 square miles off the New England coast as a Marine National Monument, the first in the Atlantic Ocean.

From the White House: President Obama just designated the Atlantic’s first-ever marine monument

Today, President Obama designated the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean, protecting fragile deep-sea ecosystems off the coast of New England as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The new national monument — which encompasses pristine underwater mountains and canyons — will provide critical protections for important ecological resources and marine species, including deep-sea coral and endangered whales and sea turtles.

Within the boundary lines of this new monument are four massive, underwater mountains — called “seamounts” — and three gigantic canyons. These canyons, deeper than the Grand Canyon, make the monument ripe for future scientific exploration and discovery.

President Obama’s remarks are below.

Good Government: New Overtime Pay Rules Going Into Effect in December

Good government brought to you by the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama and his Labor Secretary, Tom Perez.

Today, the administration will announce new overtime pay rules that will insure that millions of middle-income Americans get paid for the hours they work.

It is pretty simple, as explained by this short video:

Every week, millions of Americans work more than 40 hours a week but do not receive the overtime pay they have earned. Today, the Department of Labor will be finalizing a rule to fix that by updating overtime protections for workers.

In total, the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who are not currently eligible under federal law, and it is expected to boost wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years.

FACT SHEET: Growing Middle Class Paychecks and Helping Working Families Get Ahead By Expanding Overtime Pay

“We’re making more workers eligible for the overtime that you’ve earned. And it’s one of the single most important steps we can take to help grow middle-class wages.”
– President Barack Obama, La Crosse, WI, July 2, 2015

From the Moose Archives: Good Government: Updating Fair Labor Standards
(La Crosse WI – July 2, 2015 – Speech and Transcript)

Good Government: Preserving and Protecting Our Oceans and Waterways

Yesterday, President Obama announced the designation of two new marine sanctuaries, one in Wisconsin and one in Maryland, as part of his video greeting to the “2015 Our Ocean Conference” in Chile.


(President Obama to the 2015 Our Ocean Conference: Click image to view video)

FACT SHEET:

Today, in a video message to the “Our Ocean” conference participants in Chile, President Obama will announce that the Administration is taking the next steps to create two new marine sanctuaries – one in the tidal waters of Maryland, and one in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan waters. He will also announce new steps to tackle illegal fishing. During the closing of the conference, the State Department will announce additional steps and commitments from the United States and other governments and partners from around the world to protect our oceans.

Across the country, Americans depend on the ocean for food, jobs, and recreation. However, our ocean and marine ecosystems are increasingly threatened. Climate change is causing sea levels and ocean temperatures to rise. Changing temperatures harm coral reefs and force certain species to migrate. In addition, carbon pollution is being absorbed by the oceans, causing them to acidify, which damages coastal shellfish beds and reefs, altering entire marine ecosystems. Currently, the rate of acidification of our oceans is increasing 10 to 100 times faster than any time in the past 55 million years.

This week, Chile is hosting the second “Our Ocean” conference to bring the nations of the world together to address these challenges. The U.S. State Department hosted the first version of the conference in 2014 pledging to promote sustainable fisheries, reduce marine pollution, and stem ocean acidification.

Good Government: Updating Fair Labor Standards – UPDATED with Transcript and Photos

The President will travel to La Crosse Wisconsin this afternoon to officially announce an update to the Fair Labor Standards Act that will go into effect next year.

President Obama: “This week, I’ll head to Wisconsin to discuss my plan to extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers in 2016, covering all salaried workers making up to about $50,400 next year. That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve — since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t.”

From La Crosse, Thursday afternoon:

(TRANSCRIPT ADDED BELOW THE FOLD)

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez:

On June 25, 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act to, in his words, “end starvation wages and intolerable hours”. In addition to establishing the first-ever national minimum wage (a modest 25 cents per hour), the FLSA enshrined the 44-hour work week, later reduced to 40, mandating time and a half overtime pay for anything beyond.

But the overtime regulations haven’t been meaningfully updated in decades. An exemption from overtime eligibility originally meant for highly-compensated, white-collar employees now applies to workers earning as little as $23,660 a year — below the poverty line for a family of four. In 1975, 62 percent of full-time salaried workers were eligible for overtime pay; but today, only 8 percent of full-time salaried workers fall below the salary threshold and are automatically eligible for overtime pay.

Today, 77 years and five days after FDR signed overtime pay into law, President Obama announced the release of a new proposed rule that, once final, would extend overtime protections to roughly 5 million workers. As proposed, it would set the new salary threshold at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers, projected to be about $970 a week (or $50,440 a year) in 2016, more than double its current level. And by automatically updating the salary threshold to keep pace with inflation or wage growth, the proposal would guard against erosion of overtime pay in the future and provide more certainty for businesses and employees.

(Full Department of Labor blog post below)

Good Government: The EPA Protects Our Drinking Water

Clean water rules released on Wednesday will give the EPA more power to protect our drinking water:

The Waters of the United States rule, developed by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, offers protection to two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that, until now, were not clearly designated under the Clean Water Act. The rule clarifies what tributaries and wetlands are part of the overall water system and will decrease confusion and expense, the EPA and Army Corps said Wednesday.

“For the water in the rivers and lakes in our communities that flow to our drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Protecting our water sources is a critical component of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, sea level rise, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures – which is why EPA and the Army have finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect these important waters, so we can strengthen our economy and provide certainty to American businesses.”