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Texas lawmakers consider legislation to prevent cities from self-governance, Connecticut considers policy options to alleviate an eviction crisis, and Ohio residents await community water systems.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis breaks his silence on Trump's potential indictment and attacks Manhattan prosecutors, President Biden vetoes his first bill to protect socially conscious retirement investing, and the Supreme Court hears a case on Native American water rights.

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The 41st state has opted into Medicaid which could be a lifeline for rural hospitals in North Carolina, homelessness barely rose in the past two years but the work required to hold the numbers increased, and destruction of the "Sagebrush Sea" from Oregon to Wyoming is putting protection efforts for an itty-bitty bunny on the map.

MN Warehouse Workers: Unsafe at Any Speed?

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023   

Consumer demand for delivery companies like Amazon is not going away. But some people in Minnesota want more protections for workers filling orders on tight deadlines. The National Employment Law Project has reported the injury rate for Amazon warehouse workers in Minnesota is nearly two times greater than those working at similar facilities for other industries.

Khali Jama, an Amazon Fulfilment Center employee recently testified before a Minnesota House committee of a demanding environment that gives employees little room to work at a safe pace.

"Most of the injuries come from the speed - if you're not on a certain speed, the manager will come and talk to you. If you're still not on that speed that they want you to be, they'll come and talk to the second time," Jama said. "The third time you get [a] write-up and you're fired through an app."

Jama added English is not the primary language for many workers who may not be aware of their rights. The committee passed a bill setting safety requirements for warehouses, including preventing production quotas that interfere with meal and bathroom breaks. Over the past year, Amazon has acknowledged these concerns but insists most workers express satisfaction with jobs that offer competitive starting pay and health benefits.

Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano, said it's clear Amazon is not doing enough to protect its warehouse employees, but questioned whether legislation is needed.

"It's been over a year now since we've heard this bill," McDonald said. "The same concerns from those who are treated not very respectfully at one particular company when this particular bill could really affect hundreds of companies that are treating their employees like human beings."

He suggested a current law still allows key agencies to crack down on violators. But bill sponsors have said OSHA standards dealing with specific industries have not been updated in 15 years. They added the bill would give the Department of Labor Industry power to investigate violators. Scrutiny would center on warehouses that have an injury rate 30% higher than the industry average.


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