This week in wins: House passes minimum wage hike for 27 million workers


Baseball fans can register to vote at Baltimore Orioles games, and Oregon has a new law to make cars more environmentally friendly.

Four brave congresswomen endured unsettling racist attacks all week, which dominated headlines across the country.

Despite those headlines, there are still lots of stories — big and small — that are worth celebrating.

Here is some good news for the week.

$15 minimum wage bill garners bipartisan support in the House of Representatives

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to give millions of workers a raise, passing a $15 minimum wage bill. Three Republicans joined the overwhelming majority of Democrats to pass the Raise the Wage Act by a 231-199 margin.

"A pay raise for American workers is long overdue, and it's time we raise wages for the people, as Democrats promised," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said before the vote. "Today we're keeping that promise."

The legislation implements yearly increases in the minimum wage, culminating in a $15 per hour wage in 2025. It is the second major bill passed by the House addressing wage issues.

In March, the House passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would help close the gender wage gap. The fate of both bills now rests with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has consistently vowed to block all progressive legislation.

Oregon governor signs bill to reduce emissions from cars

On Tuesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a zero-emissions vehicle target bill into law.

With the new law, "Oregon is helping lead the nation on how to transition to a cleaner, modern transportation system," Brown said in a statement.

The law will help Oregon move toward a goal "that 90 percent of all new vehicles sold in Oregon and 50 percent of all registered vehicles in Oregon would be ZEVs [zero-emission vehicles] by 2035."

Voter registration now available at Baltimore Orioles baseball games

In addition to buying peanuts and cracker jacks, baseball fans can now register to vote at Baltimore Orioles home games. During Friday night home games starting last week, fans can register to vote at several locations throughout the stadium, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The registration drives are "to encourage fans to be an active part of our democracy," Greg Bader, the team's spokesperson, told the Sun.

In addition to voter registration drives, the Orioles have an exhibit that celebrates the 19th Amendment, which gave some women the right to vote. (All women did not get the right to vote until civil rights legislation passed decades later.) The exhibit is located behind home plate.

Federal court blocks Trump administration attempt to limit access to birth control

The Trump administration's attempt to allow employers with religious or moral objections to obtain exceptions to the Affordable Care Act's birth control provision was handed another defeat, Reuters reported.

On July 12, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia upheld a nationwide injunction preventing the rule from taking effect, agreeing with Democratic attorneys general who said the rule has "serious substantive problems."

The ruling will protect "women's access to contraceptive care throughout the US," Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania's attorney general, wrote on Twitter after the ruling was handed down.

New York governor signs landmark climate law

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law that "sets the nation's most aggressive targets for reducing carbon emissions," Al Jazeera reported Thursday.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates that the state slash greenhouse gas emissions to 85% below 1990 levels by the year 2050. By that year, all the state's electricity will come from carbon-free sources.

"This is the most ambitious, the most well-crafted legislation in the country," Vice President Al Gore said. Gore joined Cuomo for the bill-signing ceremony.

The law will require significant investment by the state, which may be difficult, "but not as difficult as coping with the effects of severe climate change if action is not taken," Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, told Al Jazeera.

New Hampshire schools will now carry free feminine hygiene products

A new New Hampshire law requires all middle and high schools to keep their bathrooms stocked with free feminine hygiene products, a local CBS affiliate reported Wednesday.

"This legislation is about equality and dignity," Gov. Chris Sununu (R) wrote on Twitter after he signed it into law. The new law "will help ensure young women in New Hampshire public schools will have the freedom to learn without disruption — and free of shame, or fear of stigma."

The menstruation products will be available in all women's and gender-neutral bathrooms throughout the state.

"Being an adolescent middle or high-schooler is hard enough without the fear and embarrassment of lacking proper care products during the school-day because you cannot afford them," Democratic Rep. Polly Campion, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said in a statement.

Come back next week for more good news.