Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Bumpin the Hump Wednesday

Welcome to the Low Wage State

I am a native Arkansan with lots of pride about how far my state has come despite our past embrace of segregation and our current slow boat to china on equality. Nevertheless there are numerous
positive attributes to living in the Natural State, however it is very obvious that earning a living wage is not one them especially among the LGBTQ set.

With Congress returning to work or perhaps "no work" on Monday and President Obama preparing for his State of Union speech, January 28, the White House reports that his 2014 agenda will focus on income inequality among other items such as immigration. In his 2013 speech Obama called for a $9.00 raise and now backs a proposal by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) to raise it to $10.10 per hour. Now that's some equality that could make some difference in the house long before jumpin the broom!

And yes it sounds good on paper but the reality in Arkansas at this time is $6.25. But not a minute to soon, AG Dustin McDaniel has certified a ballot initiative sponsored by Give Arkansas a Raise Now, which submitted the ballot proposal, now has until July 7 to gather 62,507 signatures of registered Arkansas voters in order to qualify the proposed initiated act for the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Organizers include Stephen Copley whom serves as Chairman, Arkansas AFL-CIO President Alan Hughes and Dale Charles, president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP which has announced that the organization will begin to scale up its website in the next 10 days and other activities by early February. COP 24/7 has already spotted a Facebook notice alerting readers to

Under the proposal, the state minimum wage would rise to $7.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015, to $8 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016, and to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2017. This is good and fine, but this sounds like another slow boat to china approach with no $10 landing in site. Arkansas is one of four states with a minimum wage below the federal minimum of $7.25 and according to the living wage calculator ( ) for one adult the wage should fall around $8.53 right now.

The federal wage has to be paid except when the employing business makes less than $500,000 annually, according to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Waiters or others working in a profession where tips are common would still have to make a minimum of $3.62 an hour. Arkansas last raised its minimum wage in 2006, from $5.15 to $6.25 an hour.

The Arkansas Hospitality Association and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce-Associated Industries of Arkansas opposed the higher minimum wage proposal, arguing it would harm small businesses. Wow, I bet none of those folks are working at a minimum wage level.

Executive Director Penelope Poppers has announced a new counseling program to serve LGBT young adults who are currently homeless, at high risk of becoming homeless or those with a history of homelessness will be able to receive free counseling services from volunteer counselor Jean Speegle, LCSW, MSW.

She has been practicing in Little Rock for 33 years and a large number of per clients have been LGBT. Although now semi-retired and she has agreed to assist Lucie's Place and see our homeless LGBT young adults in need of counseling services. According to Poppers, more counselors who have agreed to offer their services, free of charge, to this vulnerable population will be added in the future. Poppers stated,  "we have been working on the specifics of this program for almost a year now and it feels wonderful to add another level of assistance we are able to offer to our clients."

In 2013, the agency assisted 25 young adults in the area, who needed help ranging from cell phones, bus passes, food, toiletries or advice on which shelters/agencies in the area they should attempt to visit. organizers have sites on moving closer to opening our Transitional Living Program (TLP) in late 2014.

The organization will also have two fundraisers scheduled for 2014. On March 18th, Lucie's Place will be hosting a dinner with the Arkansas author Brock Thompson and October 10th, the second annual “Hair Affair”, which is a celebration & competition of large, fabulous local hair will be staged at The Terry House mansion in Little Rock. 

Donations can be forwarded through their secure Paypal site at  COP 24/7 applauds the efforts of this local community based entity and its tenacity to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ youth.

Need Information on the Affordable Care Act? Got Questions, Need Answers! There's direct assistance available in both group and individual sessions. Call 349-7777 to get the facts on how you can get in to healthcare! Do it today!


No comments: