USPS Lowers Stamp Prices for First Time in 100 Years

Apr 11, 2016, 11:35 am EDT

The United States Postal Service (USPS) lowered stamp prices for the first time in 100 years on Sunday.

Here are the new stamp prices for the USPS.

    Letter Stamps — 47 cents for standard-sized envelopes and 68 cents for square, unusual or over-sized envelopes. Postcard Stamps — 34 cents for standard size. International Letters — $1.15 for standard size.

The USPS dropped stamp prices due to the 4.3% surcharge it added in 2015 expiring. The previous prices had normal letter stamps costing 49 cents and international letters costing $1.20. Postcards were 35 cents before the change. Read 

Marijuana News: DEA May Downgrade Pot From Schedule 1 Drug Status

Apr 8, 2016, 1:17 pm EDT

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) may downgrade marijuana from its Schedule 1 status.

The DEA said it will decide during the first half of the year if marijuana will be downgraded from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 or 3. Advocates claim that the drug should be downgraded as it isn’t as dangerous as other drugs listed on Schedule 1, which includes heroin.

If the DEA does decide to downgrade pot from Schedule 1, it could allow for more research into its medical uses. 23 states currently allow it to be used for medical purposes. The change could also have a positive result on the legal marijuana industry, reports Fortune. Read 

Family Leave Law: San Francisco Mandates Paid Parental Leave

Apr 6, 2016, 1:14 pm EDT

San Francisco will be the first U.S. city that requires 100% pay when taking parental leave.

The new law makes it so that parents that have a child or adopt one will receive 100% of their pay during time off for up to six weeks. The state insurance covers 55% of the pay and employers must make up the rest.

San Francisco’s new law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017 for companies with more than 50 employees and July 1, 2017 for companies with more than 20 employees. New York also recently passed a law that grants employees 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth of a child, but it only covers 67% of their wages, reports CNNMoney. Read 

Panama Papers Scandal: 5 Things to Know

Apr 5, 2016, 2:38 pm EDT

A law firm in Central America revealed the Panama Papers, which consist of data from offshore accounts.

Here are five things you need to know about it:

    German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung got the documents from Panamanian legal firm Mossack Fonseca and shared it with more than 100 media groups. The year long investigation includes 11.5 million documents, including several world leaders and celebrities such as President Vladimir Putin to relatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Banks, companies and close associated of Putin moved around about $2 billion “through banks and shadow companies.” A Panamanian shell company may have helped hide millions of dollars. Offshore financial dealings are not illegal but these accounts are sometimes used to hide assets from tax authorities or launder money.

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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FCC Approves Internet Subsidy for Low-Income Americans

Apr 1, 2016, 12:55 pm EDT

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved an internet subsidy for Americans with low income.

The proposal was approved by the FCC 3 to 2. It will expand the mobile phone subsidy called Lifeline, which is used by 12 million U.S. households, to include internet for low-income citizens.

As part of the subsidy, service providers will have until the end of 2019 to offer both phone and internet service to remain part of the Lifeline program. The subsidy for users is $9.25 and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants that to include both services with this change, reports NBC News. Read 

CA, NY Lift Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

Apr 1, 2016, 12:28 pm EDT

California and New York are both lifting minimum wage to $15 an hour.

California’s minimum wage increase was approved by its Legislature on Thursday. The plan will be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday. It will be a gradual increase that will take six years to complete.

The New York Senate voted 61 to 1 in favor of a bill that will increase minimum wage to $15 an hour on Friday. Not all employees will see their wages increase at once as the bill will take several years to go into effect. It will also raise wages at different times for different areas in the state. Read 

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