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Uncutting wages, Larsen ♥s TPP, State of the ____, R.I.P. Pete…

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

tnt-dev-disabled► In today’s News Tribune — Pay for support staff for the developmentally disabled never rebounded after cuts — Several hundred care workers, developmentally disabled people and parents rallied at the state Capitol on Monday, urging restoration of pay for those who assist the disabled in community residential settings.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Tri-Citians rally in Olympia to restore pay cuts for state care service workers — The Legislature cut the rate it pays to agencies that employ the workers in two rounds — first in 2009 and again in 2011. A few lawmakers said they want to put money back into the budget to make up for the pay cuts.

► At PubliCola — Ousted as chair, Hobbs says moderates have lost control of State Senate — After the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus voted Monday to remove state Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) as sole chair of the financial institutions committee — a position he’s held since last year’s MCC-coup — Hobbs said the MCC had reneged on its pledge to be bipartisan.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Senate Republicans take a hard right turn — Also Monday, a Senate committee pushed GOP legislation written by ALEC to require burdensome new reporting requirements of all public employee unions, and tomorrow will hear a bill that’s part of ALEC’s national campaign to block all minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinances at the local level.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Voting rights passes House to likely doom in the Senate — Democrats in the House of Representatives advanced on Monday a measure that aims to expand minority voting rights, but the bill is likely to die in the Senate.

school-cuts► In today’s Seattle Times — House GOP blasts state Supreme Court over contempt threat — More than half of the House Republican caucus sent a letter to the state Supreme Court earlier this month rebuking the justices for threatening to hold lawmakers in contempt if they don’t put more money into education.

► In today’s News Tribune — Defanging campaign cash watchdog is politics, not policy (by Peter Callaghan) — When there is no apparent public policy reason for a bill that looks a lot like political revenge, it is usually safe to conclude that it is the latter. That’s the case with a bill out of the Majority Coalition Caucus in the state Senate to “depoliticize” the Public Disclosure Commission by turning it over to political leaders of the Legislature.

 


LOCAL

 

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Local methanol project may be the start of something much bigger — Could the Pacific Northwest become the nation’s newest pipeline for methanol production and export? Chinese-backed Northwest Innovation Works has already proposed two mega-methanol plants at the Port of Kalama and Port Westward near Clatskanie, and analysts say export demand is big enough to support three or four times that number.

seattle-15-minwage► In today’s Seattle Times — $1M price tag tied to paying Seattle city workers $15/hr — It would cost the city of Seattle about $1 million annually to give a $15 minimum wage to an estimated 800 city workers who now make less, according to calculations by city officials.

► At PubliCola — Sawant creates ‘solidarity fund’ to give away 2/3rds of council earnings — City council member Kshama Sawant announced today that she’s created a “solidarity fund” to hold the two-thirds of her $117,000 salary she plans to give away “to help build social justice movements.” Sawant said that $15,000 of that will go to the campaign to put a measure on the ballot to increase Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Tunnel-drilling Bertha to start moving again this week — After a nearly eight-week stoppage, Seattle Tunnel Partners intends to resume digging — for two feet — later this week, then give the tunnel-boring machine a checkup.

► From AP — BPA names Elliot Mainzer as leader — The U.S. Energy Department named a new administrator Monday to run the Bonneville Power Administration after a hiring scandal rocked the federal utility that sells and transmits much of the Northwest’s cheap and abundant hydroelectric power.

 


INTERNATIONAL TRADE

 

larsen-rick► In today’s Bellingham Herald — U.S. Rep. Larsen visits Herald, talks minimum wage, immigration, TPP — Larsen said he supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a NAFTA-style trade agreement between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries, including Mexico, Japan, China, Australia, Vietnam and Malaysia. The alternative to signing onto TPP is to “play that hit and miss game” of trading with each country individually. “I prefer we not do that,” Larsen said, “because we make a lot of great things people will buy.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Dear Rep. Larsen, It is disingenuous to imply that trade will slow or cease to happen with any of those countries if the TPP fails to pass. We trade with those countries now, and we’ll continue to trade with them. The truth is that the TPP has very little to do with trade and has more to do with surrendering democracy by granting multinational corporations the power to override any government regulations approved to protect the interests of that nation’s citizens. Learn more about the TPP.

 


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 

obama-state-of-the-union► From BuzzFeed — What the AFL-CIO president wants out of the State of the Union — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wants President Barack Obama to address income inequality, immigrant deportations, and the minimum wage.

EDITOR’S NOTE — I’d be pleased if the president simply mentioned unions in his State of the Union address.

► In today’s NY Times — Obama to raise minimum wage for federal contractors — President Obama plans to sign an executive order requiring that janitors, construction workers and others working for federal contractors be paid at least $10.10 an hour, using his own power to enact a more limited version of a policy that he has yet to push through Congress.

► In today’s NY Times — Backing in GOP for legal status for immigrants — The House Republican leadership’s broad framework for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws will call this week for a path to legal status — but not citizenship — for many of the 11 million adult immigrants who are in the country illegally. For immigrants brought to the United States illegally as young children, the Republicans would offer a path to citizenship.

► In The Hill — Senate Dems put off jobless benefits — Senate Democrats are dropping the issue of extending federal unemployment benefits — at least for now — despite intense lobbying over the recess by outside groups targeting Republicans.

food-assistance► From AP — Farm bill agreement would cut $800 million from food stamps — A House plan to make major cuts to food stamps would be scaled back under a bipartisan agreement on a massive farm bill, a near end to a more than two-year fight that has threatened to hurt rural lawmakers in an election year. The measure preserves food stamp benefits for most Americans who receive them and continues generous subsidies for farmers. The compromise was expected to cut food stamps by about $800 million a year, or around 1%. The House in September passed legislation cutting 5% from the $80 billion-a-year program.

► From AP — Food stamp participation now highest among working-age Americans –In a first, working-age people now make up the majority in U.S. households that rely on food stamps — a switch from a few years ago, when children and the elderly were the main recipients.

► In The Hill — Pentagon calls for relaxed pension cut — Pentagon officials on Tuesday called for the $6 billion cut to military pensions to be changed so that current service members and veterans are not affected.

► At TPM — How GOP plan makes everything they hate about Obamacare worse — A new GOP alternative to Obamacare proposed Monday by three Republican senators could upend the employer insurance universe, through which most Americans receive health coverage, forcing many to either pay more or lose their coverage.

 


NATIONAL

 

ALEC-cuts-your-paycheck► At AFL-CIO Now — Mondays with ALEC: How ALEC cuts your paycheck — In the first of a regular Monday series, StandUpToALEC.org is highlighting the American Legislative Exchange Council and its agenda on wages and income inequality. ALEC pursues an extreme corporate agenda in state legislators, directly attacking the rights of working families. In the recent decades the organization has been operating, they have had a lot of successes in rolling back the rights of Americans on a variety of issues. In the past few years, though, broad efforts have been made to push back against the ALEC agenda and while there have been a lot of victories, more work needs to be done. Raising awareness about the organization is a big part of that, and Mondays with ALEC is an effort toward that goal.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — State Senate Republicans take a hard right turn — New legislation to require burdensome new reporting requirements for all public employee unions in Washington turns out to be cookie-cutter “model legislation” from ALEC.

 


R.I.P.

 

► In today’s NY Times — Pete Seeger, songwriter and champion of folk music, dies at 94 — Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y.  Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama. For Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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