German legislation designed to make life safer for sex workers, including making the use of a condom mandatory, has passed its final hurdle. Germany's upper house of Parliament on Friday approved the law, which will come into force on July 1, 2017, said Manuela Schwesig, the minister for women and families. Legislation in 2002 that legalized prostitution gave sex workers social benefits but led to the rapid growth of unregulated brothels, prompting calls for tighter controls. The new legislation provides for stricter regulation of such establishments, and foresees regular confidential conversations with sex workers to help ensure enforcement. Schwesig says many men and women sex workers have been "defenseless against the power of brothel owners" but the new law will "protect them from exploitation and violence."
California's economy, one of the world's largest, has long outperformed the overall U.S. rate of job creation and business growth. But according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the state is losing its edge. Perhaps not surprisingly, the chamber blamed the state's labor regulations. In the 1970s, California spawned more than 3,000 new businesses for every 1 million inhabitants, a rate that was much higher than the nation overall, according to a report released Monday by the chamber, which analyzed Census Bureau data. By 2013, the state was creating far fewer new companies, and barely outpacing the rest of the country.
Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem, left, shakes hands with Alejandra Duarte after the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was signed into law at the Statehouse, Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Boston. Duarte testified before the legislature during April that she was forced to work longer hours with an increased workload after disclosing to her former employer that she was pregnant and wanted a lighter workload, while working at a Worcester laundry.
Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln speaks in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, April 6, 2017, during debate on a measure that would protect Nebraska workers from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Senators who support the bill argue it's a civil rights issue and an economic one. They say Nebraska needs to attract and retain young workers, who generally support diversity, while opponents say the measure threatens the religious freedom of business owners who will be forced to hire LGBT people.