► In today’s Olympian — Senate OKs $32.2 billion state budget — The Senate voted 34-13 to give final approval to a $32.2 billion budget agreement that emerged from a side-by-side effort by majority Democrat and minority Republican senators. The budget lops nearly $5 billion in projected state spending for public schools, universities and the social-safety net for the poor, and even pay for state workers and schoolteachers.
► At WFSE.org — Legislature adjourns after adopting budget, troubling agency-consolidation bill –Lawmakers passed an improved but not perfect bill creating the new Department of Enterprise Services and Consolidated Technology Services agency. ESSB 5931 passed with collective bargaining intact but sacrificed competitive contracting. It passed the House 54-42 and the Senate concurred 31-13. But thanks to your intense pressure, the bill to end-run WFSE’s court victory against contracting out in the DSHS Children’s Administration, HB 2122, never came to a vote of the House and died.
► In today’s News Tribune — Freshmen force, lose roll call on tax breaks for banks — Rep. Laurie Jinkins got her floor vote. It was 52 in favor, 42 against – a majority, sure, but not the two-thirds supermajority it takes to raise taxes. So a tax break for banks won’t be scaled back.
EDITOR’S NOTE — It may have failed, but it will be nice to be able to inform voters which Representatives sided with big banks over local schools.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Last-minute compromise saves Yakima Valley School — SB 5459 cuts off further admission to the school but will allow its 81 residents to stay for the rest of their lives, if they or their guardians so desire. The bill also allows the state to turn the school’s campus into a smaller community living facility once the number of residents falls to 16.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Last attempt to save Frances Haggan Morgan Center fails — Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) tried to keep the Bremerton facility open longer by adding language to a bill overhauling the state’s services for developmentally disabled people.It failed on an apparently close voice vote, with no roll call taken.
► At SeattlePI.com – Olympia passes liquor privatization bill — The Legislature on Wednesday approved a measure allowing the state to consider private sector bids to take over its liquor distribution system. This comes as Costco launches a new initiative effort to completely privatize the sales and distribution of liquor.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Rockefeller to retire from State Senate — Sen. Phil Rockefeller will leave in June to accept an appointment to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, the Bainbridge Island Democrat announced Wednesday.
► At HeraldNet.com — Gregoire says she’s not thought about re-election — Asked if she might be preparing to tap donors for a re-election campaign since the freeze on fundraising is lifted today, the governor said, “You can believe I have given that zero thought, absolutely zero.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — … nevermind.
SEATTLE PAID SICK LEAVE PROPOSAL:
► In The Stranger — Eating the cost: Should Seattle restaurant owners pay workers who are home sick? — The as-yet-unseen Seattle proposal already has an army of business owners gearing up for a fight. And while that fight brews among the obvious players—large trade organizations, business groups, and labor unions—another fight is dividing people who are usually allies: local restaurant owners. “My employees don’t want paid sick days; they want health insurance and retirement,” says Dave Meinert, co-owner of Capitol Hill’s Big Mario’s and owner of the 5 Point Cafe downtown. Others disagree. “I love you, but you’re wrong,” counters Molly Neitzel, owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, which has one of its shops around the corner from Meinert’s pizza joint. Neitzel offers her 65 employees full health coverage and accrued paid time off.
► In today’s Seattle Times —Paid sick days will mean a healthier Seattle (column by school nurse and deli worker) — For the businesses employing the nearly 200,000 people in the city who don’t have paid sick days, a new law is needed. For 13,000 children in Seattle schools, who have both parents working without paid sick days, a new law is needed. Let’s pass paid sick days for all workers in Seattle. It will be better for our kids, our co-workers, our customers and our community.
► At Politico — Attack on NLRB is attack on oversight (by Reps. Rob Andrews and George Miller) — With millions of Americans still out of work and nearly six months into the new Congress and no jobs bill, Republicans are focusing on a partisan witch hunt against the NLRB. Most recently, Republicans decried the agency’s attempt at law enforcement against Boeing. On Thursday (today), our committee is due to hold a hearing where Boeing most likely will be discussed, and the committee will question whether the NLRB is too protective of U.S. workers’ constitutional and statutory rights. These attacks against the NLRB are turning congressional oversight into a farce.
► In today’s Daily News — Wauna mill employees gear up for contract vote — Union workers at Georgia-Pacific’s Wauna mill will vote within the next week on the company’s newest contract offer. Negotiators for United Steelworkers Local 1097 and Georgia-Pacific met with a federal mediator Wednesday to discuss a new contract for the Clatsop County mill’s 900 members, who have been working under their expired contract for the last 13 months.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — City OKs 3-year labor pact with supervisors, professional employees — The employees represented by Teamsters Local 231 are in a variety of jobs with pay that ranges from about $46,000 per year to about $89,000. Salaries for the group will be frozen in 2011 but will rise 2 percent in 2012 and again in 2013.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Cancer survivor seeks to help ill Hanford workers — A cancer survivor asked a federal advisory board Wednesday to consider the suffering of Hanford workers and their families because of the deceit of a company that performed lab tests in the late ’80s.
► In today’s NY Times — The Republicans’ ChutzPAC (editorial) — A new Republican Super PAC will compound the damage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on corporate donations. Just how low will a candidate go for fat-cat money?
► In today’s Washington Post — Obama to scale back regulations to spur economic growth — The Obama administration announced 30 plans Thursday to scale back or eliminate hundreds of federal regulations and save American companies billions of dollars in unnecessary costs. The proposals, the latest attempt by the administration to burnish its pro-business credentials, will affect workplace safety, environmental protection, endangered species and a number of other areas.
► In WashingtonPost.com — Medicare: The new third rail of American politics? — In the mid-1990s, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich pushed for $270 billion in Medicare savings. He got a government shutdown and contributed to President Clinton’s reelection in 1996. Last year, Democrats passed a health care bill that cut $500 billion from Medicare, and senior citizens issued a strong rebuke in the 2010 election, swinging about 20 points towards Republicans. And now, Republicans have lost a special election in western New York and are worried that they might be putting their 2012 prospects in jeopardy with an ambitious proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
► From AP — NFL sees signs fans are turned off during lockout — Ten weeks into the owners’ lockout of the players, the NFL is seeing the early signs of cracks in fan loyalty.
► In The Onion — Economists gently suggest American manufacturing maybe start with something simple like a ball — A statement from the American Economic Association that was addressed to the nation’s manufacturing sector reads: “Let’s face it, the whole American manufacturing thing hasn’t worked out quite as well as we’d hoped, so we think there’s no shame in just paring down your ambitions slightly and focusing on making a really good ball, no more, no less. How does that sound? Just give it a shot; it couldn’t hurt, right? We think you’d be really good at it.”
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.