Minimum wage rising in state
Washington’s minimum wage will increase 30 cents to $7.93 an hour beginning Jan. 1.
The state Department of Labor and Industries recalculates the state’s minimum wage each year. In 1998, Washington voters approved an initiative that pegged the state’s minimum wage to the cost of living.
Currently, Washington has the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $7.63 an hour. Idaho’s minimum wage matches the federal rate, at $5.15 an hour.
PSE fined for marketing deal
Washington’s largest power utility has agreed to pay a $700,000 fine to settle a complaint over disclosure of private customer information.
Puget Sound Energy, Inc., agreed to pay that amount Thursday in a settlement filed with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.
The penalty resulted from PSE running a program that transferred customer phone calls to an outside marketing company in violation of the state’s privacy laws. That program started in 2001 and ended earlier this year, according to the settlement with the WUTC. PSE customers who called the utility were transferred to another firm where phone reps tried to sell them products and services, such as cable television.
That marketing firm, Georgia-based AllConnect, says on its Web site that it maintains business deals with more than 30 large electric utilities in the United States.
South Bend, Indiana
Purcell donates to Notre Dame
Former Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive Philip Purcell is donating $12.5 million to the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater, to endow a renovated basketball arena.
The 6-foot, 5-inch former executive has been focusing on managing his investments and his charitable contributions since disgruntled investors and employees pressured him to leave Morgan Stanley in June 2005.
As part of his severance package, he received $44 million and a pledge by the firm to donate $250,000 annually to charities of his choice for the rest of his life. Purcell, who is 63, also receives $250,000 annually in lieu of benefits and the services of an administrative assistant throughout his life.
DOJ enforcing ADA compliance
The Bush administration said Thursday it has forced government agencies and businesses into complying with federal disability laws in more than 2,000 cases over the past five years, mostly without imposing penalties.
The vast majority of the complaints – an estimated 1,800 – were resolved amicably through mediation, the Department of Justice said. Additionally, the department’s civil rights division settled 151 cases against state and local governments to bring them into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Just under 300 cases were resolved over the past year. Nearly 50 million people in the United States have a disability, according to the Census Bureau.