Publix to offer insurance benefits to legally married same-sex couples

31 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Publix Will Extend Coverage To Employees’ Same-Sex Spouses.

Days before same-sex marriage is due to become legal in Florida, Publix Super Markets has told employees that gay and lesbian couples legally married elsewhere will be eligible Thursday for group health and other insurance. “Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, Publix is expanding spouse coverage for its health, dental and vision benefit plans to associates who are married in any state where same-sex marriages are legal, regardless of the associates’ state of residence,” reads an internal memo from the supermarket company’s corporate communications department. “Publix’s benefit plans offer coverage to legal spouses, and until recently, the states in which Publix operates did not recognize same-sex marriages as legal unions.” Until now, Publix did not offer insurance benefits for same-sex couples, legally married or not. “The majority of the total Fortune 500 — 66 percent — offer equivalent medical benefits between spouses and partners,” according to the nation’s leading LGBT-rights lobbying group, Human Rights Campaign, which is based in Washington, D.C.

With 1,095 stores, Public is one of the largest grocery chains in the southeastern United States, and joins a growing list of companies that support gay marriage. As 2014 comes to an end, Sachs Media Group has compiled a list of the Top 10 strangest Florida-based stories of the year, including this one from March: “Florida town passes anti-homeless ordinance prohibiting lying down in parks. Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, an LGBT-rights group, says not having a consistent statewide policy recognizing same-sex partners when it comes to insurance coverage sends a bad message to possible hires. “Not only is it the right thing to do, but from a business perspective, it’s crazy that we live in a state where the protections vary from city-to-city from city-to-county,” said Smith. “It impedes bringing the best and the brightest in our state.” Thirty-five states, plus the District of Columbia, recognize same-sex marriage, including North Carolina, where it became legal in October, and South Carolina, where it became legal in November. For the 13th year in a row, Hillary Clinton has been America’s most-admired woman, says a new Gallup survey, while Barack Obama topped the list this year as most admired man.

Clinton has now held Gallup’s top spot for women in 17 of the last 18, years, a streak interrupted only once, in 2001 by first lady Laura Bush in the wake of the 9/11 attack. This step recognizes that marriage is coming and acknowledges the impossibility of maintaining separate and unequal laws in some parts of our state and nation. National companies including Target,, Delta and Marriott have filed friends-of-the-court briefs calling for an end to Florida’s gay marriage ban. Joining Clinton and Winfrey in Gallup’s top 10: Nobel Prize-winning Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, First Lady Michelle Obama, actor and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, former Alaska Gov.

With the 113th Congress now in the history books, we conducted a final tally of our nation’s legislative productivity — in terms of both total laws passed and of substance. Our calculation finds that the 113th just barely avoided the dubious title of “least productive Congress in modern history.” But that’s only because of an exceptionally active lame duck session. Of those, we categorized 212 as substantive by our deliberately generous criteria (that is, anything besides building renamings, commemorative-coin issuances and other purely ceremonial laws); that was four more than the previous Congress. That business included passing a $1.1 trillion spending billthat avoided another government shutdown, extending several dozen expiring tax breaks, and enacting a massive defense-policy billthat does everything from authorizing U.S. aid to forces fighting the Islamic State to extending the deadline for establishing a memorial to President John Adams.

Lawmakers made sure to award a gold medal to Jack Nicklaus and confer honorary citizenship on Revolutionary War hero Bernardo de Galvez y Madrid before leaving town for the holidays. While it was a small Australian production, its universal acclaim here in the states should be unsurprising to anyone who’s watched our own national horror story unfold over the year, in which a series of monsters tormented us from within and without, and, like the titular demon, were further emboldened by our own imaginations run amuck. If there’s one thing worth being afraid of it’s that a group sworn to protect us seems to do the opposite more often than we’d like, as we saw in Ferguson with the shooting of Michael Brown, and in Staten Island in the strangling homicide of Eric Garner, to name just a fraction. Of course, we don’t really know just how often the cops use excessive force, because they refuse to release those numbers, even though it’s the law, which they are supposed to be enforcing.

But instead of coming together nationally in a disavowal of the abuse of force by and increased militarization of police, something you would think that everyone from good policemen to social progressives to libertarians would be able to agree on (isn’t that what the Second Amendment argument is based on in the first place?), we carve out individualized pockets of fear to stoke, and confirm our respective biases. That’s the only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.” That fear was returned in kind, with numerous polls showing black Americans’ mistrust for police, and even President Obama weighing in: “Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement—guilty of walking while black or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness,” he said this year. In the bizarre aftermath to last week’s terrible assassination-style shooting of two New York City Police officers, Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, the largest police union in the country, angrily shifted the blame for the killings to de Blasio and anti-police violence protestors. “There’s blood on many hands tonight.

Those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protest that tried to tear down what NYPD officers did every day,” he said. “That blood on the hands starts at City Hall in the office of the mayor.” For all of the insidious effects of rape culture throughout the country, many men felt as if they were being unjustly excoriated as rapists-in-waiting. While men’s rights group are almost universally odious and deserving of all the invective sent their way, one point they should be granted is that in our fear we have all become a little quick to act as judge, jury and executioner online. When the Hollywood Foreign Press Association presented a lifetime achievement award to Woody Allen, Ronan Farrow, Allen’s son with the actress Mia Farrow, tweeted that the tribute left out an important detail: the 1992 allegation that Allen had sexually abused Farrow’s daughter Dylan.

The public attempts to adjudicate the allegations against Allen and Cosby served as ugly bookends to a year that was marked by so many other kinds of tragedy. Renewing them, even 20 years later in a radically different cultural moment, did not change the fundamentals of the case for many observers: that Dylan was 7 years old when her mother reported that Dylan said Allen abused her; that a doctor who interviewed Dylan concluded that the allegations were untrue; and that Allen was never charged, though he did lose a legal bid for custody of Dylan.

NBC canceled plans to build a new family comedy around him, wisely if belatedly sensing that the accusations Cosby faced make it difficult to see him as credible parenting expert. But Cosby’s slide from the pinnacle of American public life began only when women began to come forward in staggering numbers, telling strikingly similar stories about his alleged methodology, a toxic combination of professional mentorship, drugs and violence.

And some of the women who say they were Cosby’s victims are prominent in their own right, including models Janice Dickinson and Beverly Johnson: Americans were invested in them in a way they may not have felt connected to Barbara Bowman, who told her story online in The Washington Post. If the Cosby and Allen stories show us the results of our assumptions about sexual assault allegations, Rolling Stone’s now-infamous story about sexual assault at the University of Virginia did a great deal to explain why women face so much skepticism. After the piece became a national sensation, my colleagues here at The Post raised questions about elements of the story, and then did the work reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely did not to try to confirm the details of a story that a woman named Jackie told her about a gang rape she says she experienced during her freshman year at the prestigious school Voters had a way of not always following the script—otherwise known as “conventional wisdom”—set out by those whose columns, microphones, talk shows, and TV appearances give them the prominence to proclaim what quickly is accepted as the way it is.

But it led to dueling CW’s, with Democrats clinging to the belief that voters would remember the shutdown and Republicans believing they would instead be thinking of their unhappiness with Obamacare when they voted. To believe that the impact of the shutdown would be strong more than a year later “you would have to believe that politics is static and that events are not overtaken by subsequent events or fade over time,” said Charlie Cook, editor of The Cook Political Report. “It also assumes that one thing can be isolated and that nothing else matters.” In the days when columnists like Walter Lippmann and James Reston reigned, it was clearer who was setting the CW. Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh contends that David Gergen, who worked for several presidents of both parties, used to set the CW. “Whatever he said, whatever he thought, you could count on that being what everybody else in the power clique thought and believed,” Limbaugh said on his show in October. “He was the arbiter, and may still be for many, of political correctness and conventional wisdom.” Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary in February and its 1.35 billionth user just nine months after that. (Stop here for a minute, because that number is worth considering: 1.35 billion.

Okay, continue. ) But the sheer number of controversies and culture wars that Facebook’s gotten tangled in over the past year would seem to suggest something more than run-of-the-mill contrariness in the face of change. Users practically rioted over an A/B testing experiment that, they feared, “manipulated” their emotions and gave Facebook psychological powers it seemed destined to abuse. But from any kind of personal POV, that seems pretty crazy: It’s essentially Facebook — a largely automated, algorithmic, non-human entity — telling you who to be. Thanks for being a part of it,” the package’s tagline read, while partying clip art figures danced around Meyer’s daughter’s face.) It’s a criticism of Facebook, or at least an epiphany about Facebook, that many have apparently experienced this year: When human relationships and identities are moderated by algorithm, particularly for profit, bad things happen.

There are too many shades and expressions of personal identity, too many internal irrationalities and inconsistencies, too many secrets and whispers and emotional baggage for an algorithm to encode. An interesting thing about those three years: Instagram did not kick off Rihanna during that time. ***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks, a trusted provider of industry-leading communications and networking services to businesses of all sizes, from startups to large, multi-site organizations. Our Enterprise Solutions provides the fiber connectivity, cloud and managed services today’s large organizations demand, while our Business Solutions team works with small- to mid-size companies to ensure they get the right services to fit their needs and their budget.

The journalists who produce these stories, sometimes on their own and sometimes working with others, we call the “things team.” Our things have their own Twitter account, @quartzthings, and a (slightly stale) Tumblr too. Here—in no particular order—are some of our best things from this past year. 1The photographically skilled—and very angry—pilots of Instagram; 2. Can you explain that?” — TMZ reporter Adam Glyn questioning NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on why the NFL had not been able to view video of the Ray Rice incident, at a news conference on Sept. 19. 5″It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.” — Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, in a remark to V.

I mean, … this vice president thing?” — Joe Biden, response to student body vice president at Harvard College, Oct. 2. 11(tie) “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” — Hillary Clinton, Atlantic Online interview, Aug. 10. 12(tie) “Every time I get an opponent — I mean, every time I get a chance — I’m home.” — Kansas Senator Pat Roberts responding to questioning about whether he actually resides in Kansas, KCMO radio interview, July 3. 1. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” — Bridget Kelly, former deputy chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.” — Monica Lewinsky. 12. “I am not on the ballot this fall … but make no mistake. And, basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.” — Health economist Jonathan Gruber. 14. “I’m not running for president.” — Massachusetts Sen. One of Florida’s Top Lobbying Firms, Corcoran & Johnston has demonstrated the ability to navigate government and successfully deliver results for clients, time and again. Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical marijuana, got support from almost 58 percent of voters but fell short of the 60 percent needed for passage. 4.

A judge ruled that the Republican-led Florida Legislature violated a voter-approved law banning gerrymandering when it drew up congressional districts in 2012. 6. From the incomprehensible actions of terrorists who behead their victims on camera to the nearly as inexplicable wrong-way drivers on Tampa Bay roadways.

Florida’s year in news included a 90-year-old man arrested for feeding the homeless and a “Catholic Warrior” damaging a Satanic holiday display in the Capitol. It’s the state where lottery officials promoted the fact that they gave a sexual predator $3 million – until they realized he was a sexual predator, at which point they quickly removed the photo of him holding a big check from their website. Which is different than the tantrum picked up by a Tampa-area McDonald’s security camera: a woman walking behind the counter wearing nothing but a thong overturning equipment, throwing food, and eating ice cream and French fries.

Tom Frieden, the head of the CDC, repeatedly assured Americans they were safe from an Ebola outbreak here, and that U.S. hospitals were able to isolate and handle any cases that should arrive from West Africa. But public confidence was shaken after a Liberian visitor named Thomas Eric Duncan came down with the infectious disease in late September, days after he arrived in Dallas.

How the nurses caught Ebola was unclear, but Frieden later said he should have sent a much larger team to Dallas initially to help hospital workers prevent any spread of the virus. Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Liz Dudek notes that the transition from fee-for-service to managed care took less than the three years the Legislature allotted the agency when it passed the sweeping changes in 2011. “It was just a couple of months, but it was still ahead of time,” Dudek proudly told SaintPetersBlog in a sit-down, year-end interview at her Tallahassee office on December 15. There is the managed medical assistance program, which covers medical care, dental care and behavioral care and the long-term care program, which covers home and community based services and nursing facilities. Just 832,873 people remain in the fee-for-service system, which is when a patient sees the doctor of their choice and isn’t treated in an HMO or “provider service network” environment.

Dudek said there were thousands of staff hours and upfront work — from procuring the contracts to agency outreach efforts, including countless seminars, webinars and presentations across the state. When Florida announced it needed 3,115 nursing home beds in the summer of 2014, investors jumped at the opportunity to offer new services to the Baby Boomer population that’s aging in Florida. New information was sent to the agency on December 24 by a number of investors wanting to add last minute information to their applications in the hopes of impressing state health care regulators. The combination of a strong commitment to clients and practical government and private sector experience is why Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits alike choose Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.*** Consumer sentiment among Floridians continued its steady rise to reach a post-recession high in December of 87.4, the highest level since February 2007, according to a monthly University of Florida survey.

Their faith in the national economy for the next year went up 1.3 points to 87.3, while their expectations for its performance over the next five years rose 1.8 points to 86.8. The state’s employment situation improved again in November with a decline of two-tenths of a percent in unemployment, which now stands at 5.8 percent, matching the U.S. unemployment figure. The economic sector in Florida showing the most growth in new jobs is trade, transportation and utilities — a broad category that includes retail trade. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Charles Francis had already dismissed the first challenge, saying the teacher named as the plaintiff did not have legal standing.

Fedrick Ingram, president of United Teachers of Dade, said the dismissal will only push teachers to work harder for change in Tallahassee when the legislative session starts in March. A strain of medical marijuana for cancer and epilepsy patients remains months away from being available in Florida, state officials said while reviving attempts at crafting new rules for the product. Frustration frequently bubbled over. “It’s disheartening to me that we are starting the process all over again,” said Kim Russell, with People United for Medical Marijuana, based in Orlando. A conservative group sued a county clerk of courts, Orlando’s mayor and a judge in an effort to stop them from helping same-sex couples get married in Florida next week.

The conservative group argued the lifting of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage applies to only Washington County in the Panhandle, where the legal challenge originated. A Dyer spokesperson said in a statement that the mayor doesn’t believe a local judge has the authority to stop a notary public, such as the mayor, from conducting a ministerial act such as a wedding ceremony.

Matthews is running against the former incumbent, Jamie Grant, for the District 64 seat representing northwest Hillsborough County and eastern Pinellas County. Matthews, who has not campaigned publicly or reported any money raised for the race, listed $18,000 in income last year from Cats on Deck, a Tallahassee business.

Grant, who had held the seat since 2010, reported a net worth of nearly $165,000. ***This year the Florida Smart Justice Alliance is hosting their 4th Annual Smart Justice Summit on January 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. Over 300 policymakers are expected including state legislators, judges, sheriffs, police chiefs, state’s attorneys, public defenders, county correctional officers, probation & parole, DCF/DJJ/DOC employees, behavioral healthcare providers, policy experts, and others on panels discussing successful evidence-based practices in the criminal justice arena. Disney announced that it will live-stream the New Year’s Eve fireworks from the Magic Kingdom on the Disney Parks Blog, starting at 11:35 p.m. on Wednesday.

The special show, called Fantasy in the Sky, is extravagant with fireworks released all around the theme park from multiple launch sites, not just the castle area. That is why Netflix created an on-demand countdown hosted by King Julien, the animated lemur from the company’s series “All Hail King Julien.” Families can start streaming it any time they please. The company’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, told CNNMoney’s Brian Stelter in October that more than 70 kids shows have been streamed by some 2 million Netflix subscribers this year. The company tells us it expects to do 2 million rides on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, getting passengers around the world to and from their parties.

Uber is also partnering with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and it pledges to donate $1 of every ride associated with the MADD promotion code MADDNYE. The statistics are bleak: only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them, and those who don’t usually abandon them after just one week.

If your New Year’s resolution is to eat less, but you have no plan in place — or even if you do have a plan and you fail — you will do damage to your sense of self-worth. In a study that looked at the role of expectations in exercise, the psychologist Fiona Jones and her colleagues found that people with more modest expectations were far likelier to complete a twelve-week-long exercise course.

The theory of implementation intentions, a term coined by the psychologist Peter Gollwitzer, maintains that we have a better chance of sticking to a goal if we think about contingencies in advance and devise a direct, automatic response to each of them. (If feel too tired to go to the gym, I’ll have some coffee or eat an apple before heading out.) “It’s harder to break a specific commitment then a nonspecific one,” [psychologist Katherine] Milkman said. Visit to read about their growing team, success stories and case studies.*** 2048 (Available for iOS and Android): Do you like blocks?

HBO Go (Available for basically everything): While HBO’s online-streaming app debuted in 2010, it makes this year’s list not for its past, but for its future. Storehouse & Steller (Available for iOS): Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine are all ways of telling stories with photos and videos—but you already knew that. Connected at the state Capitol and throughout Florida, the CoreMessage team unites issues with advocates, messages with media and innovative solutions with traditional tactics to get results. Follow CoreMessage on Twitter and visit them on the Web at*** Michelle has planned a happy hour this Friday, January 2nd, to celebrate my Name Day (that’s Birthday for you non-Game of Thrones fans).

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