Jobs bills, GOP war on unions, public service pride…
► At TheOlympian.com — House ‘jobs’ bills on the move (on one leg only)– The Washington jobs-stimulus package moved out of the House Capital Budget Committee early Friday, but not the way chairman Hans Dunshee might have wanted. Votes on three bills in the plan fell along party lines – with Dunshee and other majority Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.
ALSO at The Stand — House jobs bills would ‘jumpstart’ economy
► At Washington State Wire — Budget breakdown coming right up – all eyes on Roadkillers — Prominent moderate Democrats in the Senate have been hinting that they will withhold votes on the budget unless the Legislature makes an effort this year toward bringing state spending into line with tax revenues. But there also are signs that more liberal members of their caucus are fighting back in a way they didn’t last session.
► In the Wenatchee World — House may vote Monday on arena bill — The House may vote Monday afternoon on whether to give Wenatchee the authority to raise its sales tax by 0.2 percent without voter approval to help rescue the Town Toyota Center from default.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Watch this vote. Republicans in the Legislature have criticized the House Democrats’ state budget proposal because, among other things, it gives local government more authority to raise taxes to offset cuts. Many Republicans support the Wenatchee tax increase because their colleagues in that city’s government have asked them for it. Will they support giving Wenatchee this power but not the rest of the state?
► In today’s Seattle Times — Groups consider putting charter-schools initiative on ballot — As prospects for a bill allowing charter schools dims in the Legislature, some are considering again asking the voters about it. Washington voters have rejected them three times, in 1996, 2000 and 2004.
► In the Seattle Times — Top donors criticize Dems over school reform– Some donors even say they’re on the fence when it comes to supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna or Democratic candidate Jay Inslee, given the candidates’ stances on education.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Education reform and unions (letters) — Let’s all come to the table to figure out how to motivate those who are unmotivated to learn, and stop accusing the teacher union of being the problem.
► CHECK OUT the Washington State Labor Council’s Legislative Tracker™ to get status updates on many of the key bills of concern to the WSLC and its affiliated unions.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Wash. manufacturers getting work back that was outsourced to China — The pendulum swing is due to rising costs in China and more efficient operations in the U.S., say business leaders around the region. Getting more such business back from Asia could give a needed boost to Washington state’s economy.
REPUBLICAN WAR ON UNIONS
► At In These Times – GOP contender’s anti-labor fervor reaches new, disturbing heights — Mitt Romney has been aggressively campaigning for a national “right to work” law like the one just passed in Indiana which bans the “union shop,” thereby allowing management to divide workers and eventually erode support for unions. The rhetoric from Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul about unions is often silly, sophomoric and just false.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Romney calls this a crowd. We don’t. — Talk about embarrassing. Mitt Romney in his home state of Michigan held a rally Friday that he must have had some high hopes for. He rented the home of the Detroit Lions, the 65,000-seat Ford Field. Quite a turnout (see right), for what surely included a bit of gold old fashioned Republican union bashing.
► In the LA Times — Romney’s anti union tone could hurt him later (analysis) — As he seeks victory in his native state’s primary, he has made organized labor enemy No. 1, railing against union “stooges” and “bosses.” His comments could haunt efforts by Romney and other Republicans to attract blue-collar workers and economically stressed voters in Michigan and nearby states.
► At Huffington Post — Davis -Bacon Act: Depression-era law becomes unlikely GOP campaign issue — In his attempts to tar former Sen. Rick Santorum as fiscally irresponsible, Romney has been knocking his opponent for a stance he took on an 81-year-old federal statute that many Americans have probably never heard of: the Davis-Bacon Act.
► In today’s NY Times — Many states take wait-and-see approach on insurance exchanges — Many states are waiting for a Supreme Court decision or even the November election results, to see whether central elements of the new law might be overturned or repealed. But that will be too late to start work. By Jan. 1, 2013, the Obama administration will decide whether each state is ready to run its own exchange or whether the federal government should do the job instead.
► At Salon.com — How Occupy helped labor win on the West Coast — Earlier this month longshore workers in Washington state reached a contract with a boss that has spent the past year fighting to keep their union out. If the union — with the help of the Occupy movement — had not defied the law, EGT would have succeeded.
► In The Hill — Lawmakers worry USPS cuts could hurt voting-by-mail — The cash-strapped agency, which announced last week that it could close 223 or more mail processing centers in the coming months, has also said that it was working with state election officials to soften the blow on ballot collection during this presidential election year.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Van Halen’s ‘Tattoo’ shouts out to unions — The legendary rock band has reunited with original lead singer David Lee Roth and their first studio album in 14 years has shot to the top of the charts. The hit record’s first single, “Tattoo,” which features this great union shout out.
► In today’s Washington Post — I work for Uncle Sam, and I’m proud of it (by Jason Ullner) — I am a federal bureaucrat. A professional government employee. And guess what? I’m damn proud of it. It seems that all I hear these days are the once and future leaders of our country tripping over themselves to denigrate the work we do. I’m tired of it, and I’m fed up. I don’t claim to represent anyone other than myself, but I would bet that a fair number of federal employees feel as I do. We are lawyers, doctors, PhD students, economists, writers, electricians, construction workers, security officers and technology specialists. We are not a drain on the national economy; rather, we are a primary reason why the United States remains as great as it is.
So to all our politicians, I implore you: Stop using the government workforce as a political football. Just stop. It demeans you, it demoralizes us, and it is counterproductive to drive away the best and brightest from working for the betterment of this country.
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