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Senate panel forwards bill to pay teens lower wages

News Coverage | February 16, 2015 | Yakima Herald

A bill that would allow employers to pay seasonal teen workers the lower federal minimum wage passed out of a Senate committee last week. Supporters argue that the measure, Senate Bill 5421, would help small businesses stay competitive and offer more motivation to hire teenagers. Opponents of the bill, however, say lowering the wage more than $2 below the state minimum would hurt the youngest workers more than might be expected. EOI's Marilyn Watkins says cutting teen wages would damage students and families. “Teen workers along with everyone else need to receive fair compensation for their labor."

Will WALeg raise minimum wage for all or cut it for teens?

News Coverage | February 16, 2015 | Spokesman Review

The Washington State Legislature is divided. Currently Washington has the highest minimum wage for any state at $9.47 an hour. However, Republican-controlled Senate could cut it, at least for teens in summer jobs or new workers in training. The Democratic-controlled House could raise it for all workers, incrementally to $12 an hour by 2019. The Spokesman Review asked Economic Opportunity Institute's Policy Director, Marilyn Watkins, to weigh in.

Maryland legislature considers bill to defer college payment, spread across years

News Coverage | February 4, 2015 | Diamondback

The current system of paying for college is unsustainable. To address the student debt crisis, the Maryland House of Delegates is considering a bill to study a Pay It Forward program that could dramatically change the way students pay for college. John Burbank, executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, developed the Pay It Forward concept and works closely with states trying to study and test the program.

Inside Outlook: Tuition and Debt [VIDEO]

News Coverage | January 27, 2015 | UWTV

Rising tuition is not unique to the University of Washington. It is being felt by students across the country and has profound implications for both the individual and the economy at large. What is driving these tuition increases and what can be done to slow this trend? What can we do to insure affordable access to higher education for future generations? On this episode of Inside Outlook, we address these questions and more. (Feat. John Burbank, Executive Director, EOI)

Take a Sick Day? Not an Option for 1 Million WA Workers

News Coverage | January 26, 2015 | Public News Service

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A paid day off when a worker or their child is ill isn't an option for about one million people in Washington whose employers don't offer them the ability to accrue hours of sick leave. Today in Olympia, a House committee examines legislation to change that.

Legislators look at bridging gender pay gap

News Coverage | January 23, 2015 |

Rep. Tana Senn, D-Mercer Island. Senn and Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, plan to introduce companion bills to require employers to provide valid reasons — such as differences in education, training or experience — if employees challenge pay disparities between workers of the opposite sex for essentially the same work. The Seattle-based social issues think tank Economic Opportunity Institute crunched the census and survey numbers.

Pity Washington’s unhappy legislators

News Coverage | January 17, 2015 | The Oregonian

Last September, the Washington Supreme Court threatened to hold the Legislature in contempt because it had "not complied with its duty to make ample provision for the education of all children in Washington. As Washington's Legislature opens, John Burbank, the Executive Director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, weighs in.

New year, new laws take effect in Mountain State

News Coverage | January 3, 2015 |

With the new year comes some new laws. What can you expect in West Virginia? Some new laws go into effect immediately, like the minimum wage increase. On New Year's Eve, many of you were raising your glass because on January 1st, the minimum wage in our state went from $7.25 an hour to $8 an hour, a 75 cent increase.

Voter support clear for wage, leave legislation

News Coverage | November 19, 2014 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

The just-concluded elections helped to resolve nothing in our state. The Republican majority in the state Senate and Democratic majority in the state House probably won't agree on much of anything. But perhaps the Legislature can take a few hints from other states and cities around the country.

NOW’s Terry O’Neill: Just don’t call her the ‘lady president’

News Coverage | June 15, 2014 | By Marilyn Watkins | The Seattle Times

And, because women still earn less than men in the workplace and have less access to retirement benefits, Social Security is the last defense against poverty for women in their golden years. That concern is what brought O’Neill to Seattle last week. She joined U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, of Bellevue, and Marilyn Watkins, of the Economic Opportunity Institute for a community forum on the future of Social Security.

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