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President Trump asks SCOTUS to block release of his tax returns; use of the death penalty is on the decline across the country; and a push to make nutrition part of the health-care debate.

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Former MA Gov. Deval Patrick is officially running for president, saying he can attract more Independents and moderate Republicans than other candidates.

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Fatter Paychecks for Thousands of Virginians This Week

July 23, 2007


There's a little something extra in the paycheck for thousands of Virginians starting this week and it's a permanent thing. The federal increase in the minimum wage takes effect Tuesday. It's the first minimum wage increase in ten years for Virginians. Jill Hanken with the Virginia Poverty Law Center supports the increase.

"It's going to make a big difference in people's lives who currently live at a very low income level. They'll have a little bit more money to pay for their bills and take care of their kids."

The pay hike means a full-time worker on minimum wage will earn about $12,000 a year. Hanken points out that for average families, that's still below the federal poverty level.

Jay Johnson with the Virginia Organizing Project adds there's still a long way to go to make sure working families can be independent.

"When we start talking about a living wage, as opposed to a minimum wage, even with the increase in the minimum wage we're still talking about anywhere like a $7 to $10 gap."

When the full minimum wage hike takes effect in 2009, at $7.25 an hour, it will mean about $4,000 a year more for a full-time employee. Ann Rasmussen with the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy feels that's the kind of pay raise that can really make a difference.

"That's a significant amount of money that will be meaningful to them, especially for those that are transitioning from welfare to work."

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - VA