GOP+2 attacks, union difference, immigration reform…
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
► At PubliCola– Senate Republicans, now firmly in control, pass controversial workers’ comp bills — Over the angry objections of the Democratic minority who believe the Republicans are cutting workers’ benefits, the committee passed a series of workers’ compensation reform bills this afternoon that would lock in a set amount for worker injury payouts and expand employers’ and workers’ ability to bypass the standard payout system in favor of lump sum settlements.
► At Crosscut — Family leave provokes fight in State Senate — Democrats want to expand families’ ability to take care of a child or sick relative. Republicans want to kill the state’s law.
► In today’s Seattle Times — New bill would give schools letter grade — but not charters — A bill is sponsored by Senate education Chairman Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island) would assign a letter grade — A, B, C, D or F — to each public school based on the performance of its students on standardized test and other measures. Charter schools and alternative schools would be exempted from the grading, unless they opt in.
► And, we warned you it was coming… in today’s Seattle Times — GOP lawmakers propose new rules to allocate Electoral College votes — HB 1091, would divvy up Washington’s electoral votes by results in each of the state’s 10 congressional districts, with the remaining two votes going to the statewide winner. In 2012, that would have given Obama nine electoral votes from Washington while Romney would have taken three.
EDITOR’S NOTE — As the Washington Post reported, this is part of a national campaign among Republicans targeting only the states that Obama and other Democrats have recently won to divide up their electoral votes. It’s a transparent attempt to rig future presidential elections. If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em!
► Which brings us to today’s Washington Post — Lost in their own wilderness (by Eugene Robinson) — Republicans prefer to focus on flawed tactics and ineffectual “messaging” rather than confront the essential problem, which is that voters don’t much care for the policies the GOP espouses.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — What will the grounding of 787s cost Boeing? — Boeing’s cash flow is affected when it can’t deliver completed planes, and there could be other costs, such as reimbursements for airlines that had counted on the planes’ availability and modification of electrical systems on completed planes, should that be necessary. One analyst says those costs could reach as high as $5 billion.
► At The Daily Beast — How Boeing’s Dreamliner was grounded (by Clive Irving) — The tangibles of the 787 crisis are already apparent, paramount among them how to manage quality control of thousands of components outsourced from 135 sites around the world. But I am wondering how much this crisis, more fundamentally, has to do with something as intangible as corporate culture. How much did Boeing’s defining ethos, its distinctively scrappy character, allow it to become the success it became? And, as important, has it lost its touch because, somewhere along the way, Boeing stopped being Boeing?
► At IAM 751′s blog — Union workers earned $10,500 more in 2012 — Union workers on average earn $201 a week more than their non-union counterparts, new BLS data shows. That extra income can make a real difference in the lives of working Americans, said Machinists Union District Lodge 751 President Tom Wroblewski: “When a paycheck is that much bigger, it makes it easier to buy a house or a new car, to save for a child’s education or just take a long vacation. All these basic elements of the American Dream are more within reach when you have a union representing you at work.”
► At RealClearPolitics — Obama to begin immigration reform push in Nevada — President Obama on Tuesday will ask American workers, employers, lawmakers, and interest groups to help enact a new immigration system this year that would grant undocumented immigrants an earned path to U.S. citizenship.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Trumka: Immigration reform effort encouraging, ‘long overdue’ – Says the AFL-CIO President: “A bipartisan Senate group beginning the process to address our failed immigration system is an important and long overdue first step toward addressing our country’s broken immigration system. We are especially encouraged to see that at long last there is bipartisan agreement on our top priority, that immigration reform must include a viable path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants who call America home.”
► In today’s NY Times — Skilled science workers at focus in second Senate proposal on immigration — Four senators will introduce a bill on Tuesday that would greatly increase the number of temporary visas available for immigrants working in the science and technology fields, and would also free up permanent resident visas so more of them could settle in the U.S. Microsoft, Oracle and other tech employers have been calling for such legislation for years.
► In today’s NY Times — Bipartisan plan faces some resistance in GOP — The Republican-controlled House remains a big hurdle. Speaker John A. Boehner on Monday was noncommittal about the emerging proposal.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Immigration reform key for orchards, industry (editorial) — Enactment of legislation that clarifies the path toward legal residency and, finally, citizenship, is important to Washington.
► From AP — Unemployed people pay millions in unnecessary fees under state-run payment-card systems — Jobless Americans are paying millions in unnecessary fees to collect unemployment benefits because of state policies encouraging them to get the money through bank-issued payment cards, according to a new report from a consumer group.
► At NJ.com — N.J. Gov. Christie vetoes minimum wage increase; Democrats vow to put it on ballot — Gov. Chris Christie rejected a bill to raise the minimum wage, virtually ensuring Democrats will ask voters in November whether they favor a $1-an-hour increase.
► From AP — Virginia right-to-work measure dies in 20-20 tie vote — On a party line vote, the Virginia Senate has killed a measure that would write the state’s longstanding right-to-work law into its constitution.
► At Eclectablog.com — Michigan Gov. Snyder admits right-to-work was never about creating jobs
► In today’s Baltimore Sun — If not unions, then what? (by Lane Windham) — This month we learned that the nation’s rate of unionization is at a 93-year low. Only 11.3% of America’s workers belong to a union, including a mere 6.6% of private-sector workers. So, if not unions, then what’s the new plan? What’s the new institutional framework we will use to balance people’s needs with those of corporations? If we’re going to effectively scrap our nation’s method of broad economic redistribution, what will we replace it with? A near 100-year low in unionization rates isn’t just labor’s problem. It’s a problem for anyone who does not want to see U.S. economic inequality shred our nation’s social fabric.
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