Immigration reform passes senate

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

 

USA Today: A bill that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to become citizens and allocate billions of dollars for securing the border with Mexico passed the U.S. Senate Thursday.

After years of failed attempts, 14 Republicans joined all Democrats in the Senate to pass the bill on a 68-32 vote. The bill, drafted by a bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of Eight, would represent the biggest change in immigration laws since 1986.

Although Republican leaders in the House of Representatives said they will not the bring the bill up for a vote in that chamber, Thursday's vote represents a historic step forward for President Obama on one of the most important planks of his second-term agenda. Vice President Biden accentuated the milestone by making a rare appearance in the Senate to preside over the vote as senators voted from their desks - a symbolic gesture made during key votes.

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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

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New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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