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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced a final rule today extending the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime protections to most of the nation’s direct care workers who provide essential home care assistance to elderly people and people with illnesses, injuries, or disabilities. This change, effective January 1, 2015, ensures that nearly two million workers – such as home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants – will have the same basic protections already provided to most U.S. workers. It will help ensure that individuals and families who rely on the assistance of direct care workers have access to consistent and high quality care from a stable and increasingly professional workforce.

To help families, other employers, and workers understand the new requirements, the Department will be hosting five public webinars during the month of October and has created a new, dedicated web portal at dol.gov/whd/homecare with fact sheets, FAQs, interactive web tools, and other materials.

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Public Policy PollingThere’s been a fair amount of buzz about Gov. McCrory’s plummeting poll numbers of late. As Under the Dome noted this morning, Public Policy Polling finds that the approval rate is now all the way down to 35%.

There’s been less reporting, however, about some interesting issue-based results in the new PPP poll. As Kevin Rogers of Action NC tweeted this morning, the poll finds, among other things, strong (better than two-to-one)  support for raising the minimum wage to $10/hr. It also finds overwhelming opposition to the salaries bestowed upon Gov. McCrory’s former campaign staffers (8% “For,” 73% “Against”) and plurality opposition of 39% to 34% to a new casino in Cleveland County.

Read all the results by clicking here.

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Lunch sandwich

TGIF indeed. Well, it’s been another fun week in the North Carolina policy world. And as usual, one of the best end-of-the-week wrap-ups can be found in Friday Follies. Today, Chris Fitzsimon has the latest on the conclusion to Gov. McCrory’s terrible, no good, very bad month and, from the looks of things, what promises to be a lousy start to September as well.

Meanwhile, all the hubbub and protests of the last few weeks over the General Assembly’s disastrous 2013 legislative session appear to be stirring at least the beginnings of a smidgen of regret and remorse. Ann Doss Helms of the Charlotte Observer reports that two GOP state reps from Mecklenburg are making noises about at least softening the impact of the absurd decision to do away with the pay bump that teachers have long received for obtaining a master’s degree. There’s no indication, however, that conservative lawmakers have any interest in reversing their decision as they should.

And speaking of people admitting errors, Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog has a rare sighting to report: a direct and sincere apology from Fox Noise blowhard Bill O’Reilly. Read More

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In addition to the mushrooming movement of fast food workers that is generating protests and strikes around the state today, the good folks at Fair Share will be calling on Congresswoman Renee Ellmers today with a petition calling for immigration reform. This is from the announcement:

“Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform for a fair economy will deliver more than 1,000 petition signatures to U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers Thursday, demanding that the congresswoman call for an up-or-down House vote. The action comes as proponents of immigration reform highlight the issue in North Carolina and across the country as members of Congress prepare to head back to Washington, D.C. in less than two weeks.

‘When we bring 11.5 million aspiring Americans out of the shadows and allow them to join the legal, regulated workforce, Read More

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Well, another Moral Monday is upon us, click here for information about the wheres and whens for today’s events in Charlotte, Burnsville and Manteo.

And speaking of Moral Monday, check out this editorial from Saturday’s Charlotte Observer about some of the cold, hard facts being lifted up by the MM protests.

And speaking of excellent editorial page content from over the weekend, check out this piece that ran in the Fayetteville Observer by former city council member and veteran activist Denny Shaffer, in which he explains the ultimate objectives of the state’s right-wing political movement.

And speaking of the disastrous impact of right-wing policies, check out this post by blogger extraordinaire Steve Benen about the slow motion wreck that is taking place across the nation as a result of the cuts inflicted by the absurd “sequestration” path forced by Congress.

And speaking of disastrous, slow motion cuts, activists will be rallying in Raleigh tomorrow to combat the ongoing demise of the minimum wage and the rights of fast food industry workers. The event will take place at 3:30 pm at Martin Street Baptist Church. RSVP by calling 919-604-8167 or emailing itsaredletterday@gmail.com.

And finally, speaking of people with whom such protests would have resonated, check out this tribute to the late Catholic Bishop Joe Gossman of Raleigh by George Reed of the Council of Churches. Oh, how the North Carolina Catholic community could benefit from someone of Gossman’s courage and progressive views today.