5 social justice stories to read this week

5 social justice stories to read this week

Here at NJ Spark, more than a dozen Rutgers students will be reporting on social injustices in and around the New Brunswick area.

However, these issues happen everywhere. Here’s some recent news highlights:

  • Lawmakers will introduce a bill aimed at tamping down on the wage theft epidemic. Democratic Senators Patty Murray (Wash.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) will unveil the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act, a bill that would beef up existing protections and add some new provisions to make it less appealing for the country’s bosses to stiff workers on wages by refusing to pay at least the minimum wage, denying overtime pay, making people work off the clock, stealing tips, or illegally misclassifying them.
  • While a harsh national spotlight focuses on the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation has identified almost 2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years. The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding EPA standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people. About 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares. The USA TODAY NETWORK investigation also found at least 180 of the water systems failed to notify consumers about the high lead levels as federal rules require.
  • The City Council voted to approve a settlement with the Justice Department to overhaul the city’s police and courts. With the 6-to-0 vote, the Council reversed itself and avoided an expensive legal fight with the federal government. Ferguson must now begin the long, deliberate and costly process of carrying out reforms to a criminal justice system that has been under fire since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in 2014.
  • The Justice Department on Monday called on state judges across the country to root out unconstitutional policies that have locked poor people in a cycle of fines, debt and jail. It was the Obama administration’s latest effort to take its civil rights agenda to the states, which have become a frontier in the fight over the rights of the poor and the disabled, the transgender and the homeless.
  • A new nationwide study published in the Lancet suggests that a combination of just three gun laws could reduce the death rate from firearms by more than 90 percent, effectively reducing our gun mortality problem to levels comparable with the rest of the civilized world.

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