► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Kennewick, Pasco teacher unions concerned with Senate GOP funding plan — On a party-line 25-24 vote, Senate Republicans approved sweeping changes for education funding last week in its answer to the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, but Tri-City teachers unions say it’s the wrong approach. Kennewick teacher Denise Hogg says, “It’s punitive. It’s reckless. I don’t think it’s good for our kids.”
► In today’s News Tribune — Trump job or Senate seat? Sen. Doug Ericksen can’t have it both ways (editorial) — State Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) is clinging to his legislative post, as well as its $46,839 salary, while spending much of his time in Washington, D.C., as a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team. This would be Whatcom County’s problem alone if not for the fragile equilibrium of the Senate. Ericksen’s absence leaves a 24-24 tie between Republicans and Democrats on many days. The majority coalition is then reluctant to push bills out for a vote. Ericksen has become an obstacle and a distraction as the truant chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee… Ericksen should resign his elected position, and Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler should see to it that it happens quickly.
► Meanwhile, in today’s Columbian — Benton staying at EPA as senior White House adviser — Former Washington state Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver will be staying on at the Environmental Protection Agency as the agency’s senior White House adviser.
► From The Hill — Labor unions press Trump to drop Puzder nomination — President Trump should withdraw Andrew Puzder’s nomination to lead the Labor Department, the AFL-CIO said Thursday in a letter obtained by The Hill. The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor organization, raised concerns about Puzder hiring a housekeeper who was an illegal immigrant — an issue that has also generated criticism of the Trump nominee from the right.
► In today’s Washington Post — Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch calls Trump’s attacks on judges ‘demoralizing’ — Neil Gorsuch’s comments to a Democratic senator came as the president continued his days-long crusade against the judicial branch after a Seattle judge halted his controversial executive order barring immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
► In today’s NY Times — Sessions confirmed as partisan rancor racks the Senate — The 52-to-47 vote ended a racially charged battle over Senator Jeff Sessions’s nomination as attorney general. The debate was dominated by the Senate’s formal rebuke of Senator Elizabeth Warren.
► From AFL-CIO — Trumka: Sessions now ‘has the chance to show us wrong’
The AFL-CIO opposed the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General because of the nominee’s long record of working to undermine the rights the Attorney General must uphold. The very process by which he was confirmed—the silencing of Senator Elizabeth Warren for reading a letter from Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor–demonstrated what his nomination was really about. Now that he has been confirmed on a party line vote, Senator Sessions has the chance to show us wrong—to uphold the law and protect the Constitution, to protect all citizens’ right to vote, and to guard the rights and dignity of those whom he has in the past sought to hold down. The stakes for our country could not be higher.
► From The Stranger — Republican Congressman Dave Reichert is hiding from his constituents — The constituents of Washington’s District 8 have a lot to say to their U.S. Representative, Dave Reichert (R-Auburn), but when he returns from Washington for recess the week of February 20th, he isn’t giving them a public forum in which to say it. No town hall. No mini-town hall (we’ll get to that in a second). No speech from a balcony or from a fir tree or from Mt. Si’s hallowed haystack. Instead, and only after serious pressure, he’s agreed to host a Facebook live event on Feb. 23 at 1 p.m.
► From Politico — Republicans fear for their safety as Obamacare protests grow — House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers tapped former Reichert to lead a closed-door meeting concerning proper safety measures representatives should take to “protect themselves and their staffs from protesters storming town halls and offices in opposition to repealing Obamacare.”
► From The Stranger — Jill Stein is a right-wing tool (by Dan Savage) — Nice leader you’ve got there, Green Party. She’s not working to build a viable party, which might actually be helpful. No, no. After spending the last 18 months attacking Hillary Clinton and helping Putin’s preferred candidate, Stein clearly intends to spend the next two years doing everything she can to hurt the Democrat Party’s chances of retaking the Senate in the 2018 and blocking Trump’s agenda. Because Trump’s agenda is Stein’s agenda is Putin’s agenda.
► From KUOW — Seattle port commissioners stand by controversial payouts — Port of Seattle commissioners stood by their decision to pay around 650 employees close to $5 million in bonus pay, even though a routine state audit found the payments violated the Washington state constitution.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.
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