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Please begin with an informative title:

Damn straight:


A pair of state Senators have introduced a bill which would raise Pennsylvania's minimum wage to $12 an hour.

The proposal -- by senators Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) and Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) -- would also make it illegal for businesses to pay workers who receive tips less than minimum wage. Currently, tip earners can be paid a minimum of $2.83 an hour.

"The tipped minimum wage hasn't changed in 23 years and allows business owners to take advantage of low-wage, disproportionately female workers even demanding they do un-tipped work like dish washing and cleaning bathrooms for $2.83 an hour," Leah said in a statement.

The bill would also index the minimum wage to inflation, which occurs in 11 other states. The senators said the changes would create 1 million new jobs in Pennsylvania.

For what it's worth, Leach is running for Congress and Stack is a candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

Their proposal comes a week after a report found that an American worker would need, on average, to earn $18.91 to afford a two-bedroom apartment. In the Harrisburg-Carlisle metro area, the study found workers need to earn $16.25 an hour -- more than double the minimum wage -- to afford a two-bedroom apartment while spending no more than the recommended 30 percent of their income on rent. - PennLive, 4/1/14

Here's a little more info:


“Adjusting the minimum wage to account for inflation prevents working families from being trapped in poverty and reduces dependence on public assistance,” Stack said. Fair wages for a day’s work is fundamental to achieving the American dream and generating self-determination and independence.”

The bill would index the minimum wage to inflation each year. Currently 11 states index the minimum wage to inflation, the senators noted.

Since most minimum wage earners and restaurant servers are women, advocates say poverty wages exacerbate the gender pay gap.

“In Pennsylvania, nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers and workers in tipped occupations are women, said Wendy Voet, executive director of WOMEN’S WAY. “In order to move the needle on women’s status as a whole, and to support the economic success of our communities, we need to support policies and programs to enhance women’s economic security.”

Current Pennsylvania law allows for a tip credit that permits employers to use tips against all but $2.83 of the current $7.25 minimum wage. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13, and has not changed for more than 20 years.

Seven states with some of the country’s highest minimum wages don’t allow the tip credit, the senators noted. - Fox 43, 4/1/14

Leach has argued that a minimum wage hike is long overdue and has been fighting back against the National Federation of Independent Businesses Executive Director, Kevin Shrivers argument against a minimum wage hike:


The facts, as discerned by neutral organizations not called NFIB, such as the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, are that historically increases in the minimum wage do not cause significant job loss.

But lets pretend for a moment that some job loss will occur. That is still not a convincing argument not to raise the minimum wage.

In fact, paying workers anything could be said to cost jobs. Slavery was a full-employment program. If we could pay people $1 a day, I would probably hire ten people just to hang out and cater to my every whim (make me sandwiches, pet my cat, etc.). But I can't pay people $1 per day, so those jobs are lost.

The truth is we have to draw the line somewhere. And that line should be drawn at a wage that allows someone working full-time to not live in poverty. Merely saying that someone "has a job" and thus that is a good result regardless of the wage or benefit is simply not sufficient.

The point of a job is to lift people out of poverty and allow them to provide for themselves and their families. If a job doesn't pay a sufficient wage to provide even the basics of life, and it has no health care or other benefits, it is not worth having.

It is not enough to say "but it's a job." When a job leaves a worker deep in poverty it is exploitive, and the only one benefiting from the job is the employer, coincidentally the same people Mr. Shivers represents. - Daylin Leach (D. Montgomery County), PennLive, 3/27/14

In other Leach news, Leach has kept up the fight for medical marijuana legalization:


A few hundred people who want the state to change its marijuana laws — for a variety of reasons — took their campaign to the Pennsylvania Capitol on Monday with a two-hour rally.

Speakers at the Keystone Cannabis Reform Rally urged lawmakers to permit use of the drug for medical purposes, to allow for the production of industrial hemp and to decriminalize recreational marijuana.

Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, whose bill to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes is pending before a Senate panel, said disease “transcends party and ideology. Anyone’s child can get sick.”

Leach said there are enough votes to pass the proposal, although Gov. Tom Corbett has signaled his general opposition.

Corbett’s press secretary said Monday that if federal drug regulators decide the use of a marijuana byproduct is safe and effective for patients, the Republican governor would review their conclusions.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states and Washington, D.C., currently allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana programs. - AP, 3/31/14

And Leach has also been pushing for a cleaner government:


A bipartisan effort to bar state lawmakers from accepting cash gifts is unfolding in the state Senate.

The push is a response to a dropped state investigation in which four state legislators allegedly failed to document cash gifts totaling a combined $16,750.

A pair of Republican senators announced Monday that they will introduce legislation forbidding legislators from accepting cash gifts from lobbyists and other individuals seeking to influence the legislative process. They also proposed enacting a new Senate rule immediately banning state senators and their staffers from accepting cash gifts.

State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Upper Merion, and state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, D-8, of Philadelphia, also have pledged to introduce similar legislation.

Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, “strongly supports” the Republican-led effort, according to his spokesman, Erik Arneson.

“Although we haven’t caucused on the specific proposal at this point, he anticipates broad support for the idea in the Senate Republican Caucus,” Arneson said. “He’d like to see the Senate take up both the bill and the Senate Rule soon after they’re introduced.”

Current state law permits lawmakers to accept cash gifts, but requires them to document any gift exceeding $250 on their annual Statement of Financial Interest. Accepting a gift as part of a quid pro quo agreement is illegal.

Lawmakers are unlikely to accept a blatant bribe, Leach said, but gifts can imply an unstated favor.

“What could happen is a lobbyist gives a legislator money knowing what’s important to that lobbyist,” Leach said. “No words need to be said. Nothing is provable, but you still get the same transaction.” - Delaware County Daily Times, 3/29/14

This is one of the most important congressional races taking place this year.  Leach is Pennsylvania's Liberal Lion and it would be awesome to have him in congress.  He recently discussed with PoliticsPA why he's running for Congress:


“There are two reasons,” Leach begins. “Obviously there are some issues in Washington that we don’t deal with in Harrisburg, like foreign policy. I think American foreign policy has been misguided in the last few years and there are things we can be doing that are more beneficial to our interests as well as peace in the rest of the world.”

“Second, you can get really involved in an issue and speak about it, write a great editorial and give a great speech on the House floor and not change a single vote. I got discouraged with that and had a discussion with myself about what I could accomplish. Given that, I eventually realized that it’s not about changing the votes of your colleagues, but changing the minds of the public. If you can do that, politicians will follow suit,” Leach explained. “My talents are well-suited to that and Congress gives you a better platform.”

He went on to give examples of his 20 year career in the General Assembly, seeing public opinion change on the issues of gay marriage – as he introduced the first marriage equality bill in Pennsylvania history and received just one cosponsor; and now the increased support for his end to marijuana prohibition bill. - PoliticsPA, 3/31/14

Leach has also talked about improving the ACA with a single-payer system and for expanding Social Security.  Leach is running in Allyson Schwartz's (D. PA-13) district, which is very blue, but he is running in a crowded primary.  But Leach secured a very big endorsement recently:


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Democratic state Sen. Daylin Leach for Pennsylvania's 13th District congressional race. Leach is taking on the mantle of the most progressive candidate in the field of four Democrats.

Sanders came out in support of Leach in a press release Monday.

“At a time when our country has more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth, and when the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider -- it is imperative that we send candidates like Daylin Leach to the U.S. Congress,” Sanders said in the release.

Leach has pushed for marriage equality and marijuana legalization in his time as a state legislator. Leach also has endorsements from progressive groups MoveOn and Democracy for America. - Huffington Post, 3/31/14

Leach also picked up the endorsement:


Former DEP Secretary and gubernatorial candidate John Hanger weighed in on the primary race for PA-13, endorsing State Senator Daylin Leach.

“I’m proud to endorse Daylin Leach for Congress. I have worked along side him and know him as a true warrior for our shared progressive values,” Hanger said. “We need to send him to Washington to take on the tough fights like raising the minimum wage; eliminating the tipped minimum wage; holding Wall Street accountable; and ending the disastrous prohibition on marijuana that is destroying entire communities across Southeastern Pennsylvania.”

Both Hanger and Leach are known for their strong advocacy work in the legalization of marijuana.

Last week, 
John Hanger announced the launch of his new project, an advocacy organization, the Pennsylvania People’s Campaign.

“When I withdrew as a candidate I stated that I would continue to fight for the issues we raised in the campaign and that resonated with people across the state” said Hanger. “Through the Pennsylvania People’s Campaign, we will be able to support the transformational changes for which Pennsylvanians hunger.” - PoliticsPA, 4/2/14

Bill Clinton is backing Leach's primary opponent, former Rep. Marjorie Margolis (D. PA), because she cast the deciding vote on Clinton's 93 budget.  Leach is going to need the Daily Kos community's help to win this primary.  Please do donate and get involved with his campaign:

And while you're at it, get involved with Mike Stack's (D. PA) Lt. Governor campaign:


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Originally posted to pdc on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 08:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Philly Kos, Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, DKos Pennsylvania, Pushing back at the Grand Bargain, In Support of Labor and Unions, Social Security Defenders, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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