Living-wage bill passes. What’s next?

Well, the D.C. Council called Walmart’s bluff. Yesterday, the council voted 8-5 to finalize the “living wage” bill. Now we wait and see whether Walmart does indeed cancel three of its planned stores – or whether Mayor Gray vetoes the legislation (WaPo, 7/11):

Gray, who has met recently with Wal-Mart representatives, reiterated “serious concerns over the lost jobs and retail opportunities for District residents that the bill will cause,” in a statement released after the council vote.

Ostensibly, this bill is designed to improve opportunities for local workers. But with so many loopholes and exemptions for other companies, it really seems like the council narrowed its focus to create a simple political fight with Walmart. It’s too bad that the conversation isn’t framed more broadly around improving the systemic workforce challenges that are facing many residents.

As a new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows, for example, it is harder in the District than in most other U.S. cities to meet basic family needs (DCFPI, 7/11):

[A] DC resident working at minimum wage only earns $8.25 an hour – about 40% of the necessary basic family budget even with two earners. For families with one wage earner, the challenges are even greater. The typical worker in DC earns enough to cover just 60 percent of the basic family budget relying on one earner.

– Here’s an interesting look about Walmart’s national impact on regional grocery stores – something that has been a concern for some local activists. (Atlantic, 7/11)

– And here’s a rundown of the other legislation that the D.C. Council passed yesterday, including making driver’s licenses available to the estimated 25,000 undocumented workers in the District. (WAMU, 7/11) Will this make them “documented workers?”

NONPROFITS | Late last month, we linked to an article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy about new IRS rules that would fast track advocacy groups for nonprofit status. What does that mean for our region’s nonprofits?

We asked the Nonprofit Roundtable’s Diana Leon-Taylor to shed some light on the new rules. As she explains, things won’t be different for most nonprofits. (Daily, 7/11)

HOUSING | A Prince George’s County legislator is proposing that the county purchase apartment buildings in an effort to ensure that they preserve affordability for low-income residents. But the current owners aren’t too happy about the idea. (Gazette, 7/10)

– Many moons ago, in the dark age before Twitter and YouTube, the District passed a law requiring that city employees who work with children to submit to random drug tests. Since then, DCPS hasn’t been testing its employees, even after a warning from the inspector general last year. (WaPo, 7/11) Lapsus memoriae?

School culture is crucial to charter schools’ success (GGE, 7/10)

Rebekah has the Daily tomorrow. I’ll be spending the day warming up my pipes in case Sir Paul McCartney asks me to join him on stage tomorrow night. I’ve been practicing backup vocals and pyrotechnics on Live and Let Die.

Also, here’s some food for thought. The word “and” has a symbol to replace its letter (&). But what about “the,” the English language’s most common word? Well, there’s a new solution to that problem!