Connecticut's legislature on Wednesday voted to raise the state's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2017, making it the first state in the nation to do so. Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy, who has touted the proposal alongside President Obama, is expected to sign it shortly.
Meanwhile, Obama and congressional Democrats have been stymied in their efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, with Republicans alleging that such a move would undercut businesses and harm the economy. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, for its part, estimated that a wage hike of that magnitude could cost the economy 500,000 jobs. But most economists have determined that raising the minimum wage by a few bucks wouldn't have much impact on the economy. The White House, predictably, agrees with the latter assessment.
Regardless, the hope among Democrats and supporters of a higher minimum wage is that Connecticut's action will spur other states — and possibly recalcitrant Republicans in Washington — to follow suit. Jon Terbush
When we last saw the Hamburglar, he was a husky, red-headed cartoon criminal who liked to wear prison attire. Now? He's an actual man who looks like a cross between Inspector Gadget and a bandit who bought his wardrobe at a Party City fire sale.
— Mashable (@mashable) May 7, 2015
It's been 13 years since the Hamburglar made his last official appearance in a McDonalds ad, and the company thought his return was overdue. "We felt it was time to debut a new look for the Hamburglar after he's been out of the public eye all these years," Joel Yashinsky, vice president of U.S. marketing for McDonalds, told Mashable. "He's had some time to grow up a bit and has been busy raising a family in the suburbs and his look has evolved over time." The Hamburglar is already shilling the new Sirloin Third Pound Burger online, and will soon show up in TV spots. It remains to be seen if McDonalds will clue us in to why he's decided to return to a life of crime. Catherine Garcia
"The 2016 presidential election is already such a big story, get this, TBS is making a made-for-TV movie about it," Conan O'Brien said on his eponymous TBS show. They aren't, of course, but he needed some sort of set-up for his dream cast for the field of 2016 candidates. Conan's biggest laugh was David Spade as Hillary Clinton, but all the real and potential presidential wannabes got the treatment, with a little time travel, gender-bending, and other wistful machinations employed. Some of the casting is dead on — Mike Huckabee, say — and other picks border on mean (poor Bernie Sanders), but most are pretty funny. Watch below. —Peter Weber
A free cup of coffee could lead to a $750,000 payday for a North Carolina police lieutenant suing Starbucks, saying he was severely burned after the lid came off the cup and hot coffee spilled all over him.
Matthew Kohr and his wife, Melanie, are suing the company to cover legal and medical expenses, ABC News reports. Kohr, who had pre-existing Crohn's disease, said the burns caused his condition to flare up and he had to have intestinal surgery. His wife said she suffered emotional distress from losing her "intimate partner," the lawsuit says.
The incident took place in January 2012, and Kohr said he was not expecting to get burned the way he did. "I didn't know it was that hot," he said. Soon after, he had to take time off from work, and when he was on the job, he felt "edginess, nervousness, [and] wasn't comfortable in the car." Originally, Kohr wanted to sue for $10 million, saying it's "hard to put a price on what my wife had to go through, what my kids had to go through. What's a year and a half, two years of your life worth? I thought it was worth $10 million." A Starbucks spokesperson told ABC News that customer safety is "our top priority," and denied any wrongdoing. Catherine Garcia
Exotic animals are on the loose in Tuttle, Oklahoma, after the Tiger Safari refuge was hit by a tornado Wednesday.
Tiger Safari's owners confirmed to KFOR that some of the animals have escaped, but did not say what kind and how many. Tiger Safari houses tigers, kangaroos, spider monkeys, eagle owls, and other exotic and domestic animals. Residents in the area are being told to stay inside, and to call 911 if they spot any of the animals.
Update: The Grady County Sheriff's Office announced late Wednesday that all of the animals have been found. Catherine Garcia
On Wednesday, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum told Fox News that on May 27, he will announce whether he will run again for the Republican presidential nomination.
Santorum said he'll share those plans in his hometown of Butler, Pennsylvania, and is looking for a "facility there to talk about what it was like growing up there and where American needs to go in the future." During the 2012 Iowa caucuses, Santorum barely beat the eventual Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, and told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren he hopes "to win by more than 34 votes and hopefully get a good count" this time around. "It was a great campaign last time, we were clearly the underdog, and we're starting out looking at this race and we'd be in the same position so we're very comfortable there," he said. Catherine Garcia
At least 20 tornadoes were reported Wednesday afternoon and evening in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, with dozens of homes destroyed in Amber and Bridge Creek, Oklahoma.
— MSN (@MSN) May 7, 2015
One person was injured in Burr Oak, Kansas, travelers inside Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport were told to shelter in tunnels, and at least two homes and the Roseland Catholic Church were damaged in Roseland, Nebraska, The Weather Channel reports. Cars are flipped over in the Oklahoma City metro area, and thousands there are without power. Severe thunderstorms are being reported in Texas, and several areas in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma remain under tornado warnings. Catherine Garcia
In a first for a Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton will personally cultivate donors for the top Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA Action.
The goal is for Priorities USA Action to raise as much as $200 million to $300 million this election, The New York Times reports. As a declared candidate, Clinton cannot ask donors for more than $5,000 for the super PAC, but under Federal Election Commission rules, she can attend events and talk to the audience, as long as appeals for large amounts of money take place when she is not in the room. Harold Ickes, a longtime adviser for Clinton, is starting to become more involved with the super PAC, and a Clinton loyalist, Guy Cecil, will help oversee it.
One campaign official, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity, said that Clinton will do what she can to help Priorities. "With some Republican candidates reportedly setting up and outsourcing their entire campaign to super PACs and the Koch brothers pledging $1 billion alone for the 2016 campaign, Democrats have to have the resources to fight back," the official said. "There is too much at stake for our future for Democrats to unilaterally disarm." Catherine Garcia