► In Sunday’s Spokesman-Review — Workers’ comp becoming a yellow brick road-block (Jim Camden column) — The budget is not really holding things up. It’s a fight over a proposed change to the state’s workers’ compensation system that has Gregoire’s blessing, and bipartisan support in the Senate, but Democratic leadership’s fierce opposition in the House. … When the House returns Tuesday, there will be eight days left in the session and possibly not enough time to pass a budget and the dozens of bills needed to change state law to make that budget work. Especially with a work schedule set in the Land of Oz.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — House passes ferry surcharge bill, but drops privatization threat — The House passed Friday a significantly revamped ferry management bill that adds a 25-cent surcharge to ferry tickets. The legislation, passed by the House 72-16, brings together two bills that have been bouncing between the House and Senate. The Senate will now take up the changes. The new bill also keeps ferry captains out of management. The old bill had them joining management.
► In today’s Olympian — 16 activists not charged — Sixteen arrested at an SEIU 775-organized protest at the state Capitol last month won’t face disorderly conduct charges, but they must stay off the Capitol Campus for six months, prosecutors say.
SCHOOL BUDGET CUTS:
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — School leaders frustrated by layoff deadline, Legislature’s slow pace — Some legislators and many education leaders have suggested that if the state can’t figure out its budget on time, school districts should also get more time to decide how many pink slips to hand out to teachers. Kitsap Peninsula school boards in the past two weeks rushed to issue layoff notices by what is normally a May 15 deadline set by state law. Districts across the state acted similarly.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Fewer teacher layoffs than feared in Snohomish County — Enough teachers are retiring or leaving for other reasons that school boards can eliminate those positions and avoid large-scale layoffs. Teachers who survive layoffs, however, can expect more students in their classrooms next fall.
► In today’s News Tribune — Layoff notices trickle out in South Sound school districts — The Bethel School District sent layoff notices to 17 teachers, but that’s far fewer than the 45 positions district officials had predicted might be lost.
► At TheNewsTribune.com — Teachers’ union stops short of strike threat — How do teachers feel about the pay cuts being considered in Olympia? A vote today, at a gathering of union activists in the Washington Education Association, can be seen as one measure of how angry they are.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boring to begin Monday on light-rail link to UW — This week, Sound Transit will start drilling a $2 billion, three-mile light-rail tunnel to connect the University of Washington, Capitol Hill and Westlake Center. Boring machines will work around the clock for more than a year. Trucks will carry away dirt, while others will deliver arc-shaped segments to build the tunnel walls. Then rails will be installed, and stations constructed.
► At SeattlePI.com — Seattle business fined by state after worker’s death — The Sodo business where a worker was killed in an industrial accident earlier this year was fined $5,400 by the state for what officials described as three serious violations. Trinidad Ruiz, 63, was killed Jan. 4 after a bale of clothing weighing between 500 to 780 pounds fell on her.
► In today’s Olympian — State’s political boundaries to change — The Washington State Redistricting Commission will hold the first of 17 meetings around the state this week – including a Wednesday evening public forum in Olympia at the Cherberg Building, next door to the Capitol.
► In The Nation — Tens of thousands in Wisconsin declare, ‘This fight is NOT over!’ — Three months after Governor Scott Walker proposed to strip state, county and municipal employees of their collective bargaining rights, the governor’s agenda remains stymied. Legal challenges, moves to recall Republican legislators who have sided with the governor and the fear on the part of legislative leaders of mass protests have prevented implementation. That fear is well-founded.
► In today’s NY Times — Going back on the deal (editorial) — Last year, Republicans refused to renew unemployment benefits unless the high-end Bush-era tax cuts were preserved. After the White House agreed to keep the tax cuts through 2012, they agreed to extend federal jobless benefits through 2011. Now, they want to renege. The House Ways and Means Committee, on a strict Republican vote, recently passed a bill to let states use federal jobless money for other purposes, including tax cuts for business. This is a very bad idea at a time when the national jobless rate is 9 percent, and higher than that in 22 states.
► In today’s Washington Post — U.S. Treasury to tap pensions to help fund government — The Obama administration will begin to tap federal retiree programs to help fund operations after the government loses its ability Monday to borrow more money from the public, adding urgency to efforts in Washington to fashion a compromise over the debt. The measure won’t have an impact on retirees because the Treasury is legally required to reimburse the program.
► In today’s Washington Post — How federal workers’ pensions might be targeted — After years of fighting for and against it, the White House and congressional negotiators are seriously discussing the possibility of forcing at least some federal employees to pay more towards their retirement pension.
► In today’s NY Times — America held hostage (Paul Krugman) — The hostage-takers are back: blackmail worked well last December, so why not try it again? This time House Republicans say they will refuse to raise the debt ceiling — a step that could inflict major economic damage — unless Mr. Obama agrees to large spending cuts, even as they rule out any tax increase whatsoever. And the question becomes what, if anything, will get the president to say no.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. Make this electronic “clip service” your first stop each morning! These links are functional on the date of posting, but sometimes expire.