Yesterday, a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on several charges, including the first-degree murder of Michael Brown. While the Justice Department is still investigating the case, it is unlikely that Wilson would be convicted of wrong doing in Federal court due to a much higher burden of proof. Grand juries almost always choose to indict, which suggests that necessary evidence for a conviction is severely lacking. The events that transpired in Ferguson have prompted the city to require officers to wear body cameras, a policy that could have provided key insight into what actually happened on the day Michael Brown died. Riots and unrest have ensued in Ferguson after the announcement. You can read Wilson’s testimony here.
Economic Growth, Not Minimum Wage Increases
In case you missed it, MHPC’s Patrick Marvin explained why raising the minimum wage in Maine is a bad idea. The real solution to low wages, he says, is real economic growth. “A minimum wage increase is one of the most classic examples of well-meaning policy that fails to solve a problem it purports to address, and in fact makes the problem worse,” writes Patrick. “It is a Band-Aid solution that doesn’t even cover the wound” Read the whole thing here.
In a surprise move, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned yesterday. Hagel was the last Republican member of President Obama’s cabinet. Although Hagel served two years in the position, he seemed unable to fit in with Obama’s inner circle and never fully aligned himself with the president’s foreign policy message. President’s often attempt to shake-up their cabinet after a bad mid-terms, so Hagel may be the first of many such “resignations.”
Food Stamp Frustrations
After the USDA threatened to withhold federal funds from Maine over the state’s photo ID policy, Mary Mayhew, Maine’s Commissioner of Health and Human Services, sent a letter to Maine’s congressional delegation asking for assistance in changing federal welfare laws. Mayhew asked the delegation to consider 15 specific reforms, including a nationwide requirement for photo ID’s on EBT cards. Meanwhile, the Press Herald is claiming that Maine’s photo ID policy might not be as voluntary as state officials have claimed. DHHS will be reminding all their staff that photo ID’s are not required in order to receive benefits.
Don’t Spread Too Much Christmas Cheer
State officials are reminding residents of restrictions on sending wreaths and Christmas trees out of state by mail. See the full list of regulations here, or don’t worry about it until after Thursday. Seriously people, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet!