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Refinery deal, minimum wage, Romney’s patrons…



► In today’s Bellingham Herald — U.S. refineries reach labor deal; strike averted at Ferndale, elsewhere –U.S. refiners and the USW reached tentative agreement on a new three-year contract late Tuesday, averting a potential strike that would have idled as many as 69 refineries. The proposal includes pay increases of 2.5% in the first year and 3% in the second and third years.




► From AP — Bills targeting state minimum wage die— “Attempts to reduce wages through tip credits, training wages or reduced cost-of-living increases hurt workers and their families and the businesses that they patronize,” said Marilyn Watkins of the Economic Opportunity Institute.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Legislators look at pay for low, high earners — A Senate committee aired out a bill that would prohibit by statute something that currently doesn’t happen anyway: using state tax money to pay the high salaries of UW and WSU coaches.

► In today’s Olympian — State bonds sell well despite ratings-outlook downgrade— It did not get in the way of the state’s record $978 million bond refinancing Tuesday morning. Treasurer Jim McIntire’s office says the sale saves taxpayers $154 million, about $15 million of that in the current biennium.

► From AP — State Senate set to vote on marriage equality — The bill is not expected to come up for a vote until late afternoon or early evening Wednesday.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Bills would give local governments more options to raise money for roads — Local governments would be allowed to collect up to 3 cents a gallon with voter approval under bills circulating in the Legislature to help cash-strapped communities raise money for transportation improvements.

► In today’s Columbian — Bill would see some Oregonians pay sales tax here — A bill that would make Oregonians shopping in SW Washington pay some retail sales tax is being considered by state lawmakers in an attempt to raise about $18 million in state revenue.




► At Politico — Democrat wins decisively in Oregon special election— Oregon Democrat Suzanne Bonamici scored a decisive win Tuesday night over Republican Rob Cornilles in the special election to replace disgraced former Rep. David Wu.

► In today’s NY Times — Rich patrons are major source of Romney’s cash — Close to 60 corporations (Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs) and wealthy individuals (Koch brothers) gave checks of $100,000 or more to a “super PAC” supporting Mitt Romney in the months leading up to the Iowa caucuses, according to documents released on Tuesday, underwriting a $17 million blitz of advertising that has swamped his Republican rivals in the early primary states. (Also see the Times graphic: Who’s funding the Super PACS? where you’ll learn that Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC raised more than Rick Santorum’s.)

► In today’s Washington Post — Romney, citing safety net, says he’s ‘not concerned about very poor’ — “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there,” Romney told CNN.




► In The Hill — Lawmakers close in on FAA funding deal amid pushback from unions — Under the compromise negotiated by House Republicans and Senate Democrats, “Airline and rail workers would suffer significant losses as contracts are jettisoned, collective bargaining rights are cut and legal hurdles will be placed in the way of gaining a voice at work,” say a coalition of unions.

► In today’s Washington Post — Proposed jobs bill would target foreign outsourcing by U.S. companies — Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) will introduce a bill Wednesday requiring large U.S. companies to disclose how many of their jobs are based on U.S. soil and how many are based abroad, an attempt to shed light on the number of American jobs being outsourced. Such data is closely guarded by some of the country’s biggest multinationals, including Pfizer, Apple and IBM.

► In today’s NY Times — Turning the ‘Buffett Rule’ into law (editorial) — Legislation that would require millionaires to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes is a good start toward fairness.




► At TPM — Polls show president’s message on tax fairness popular, but jobs still the key — It’s a powerful general election message — after all, the rich are very few, and everyone else gets to vote too. But the Buffett Rule by itself isn’t going to get President Obama re-elected — polls show it must be tethered to a message about jobs.

► At TPM — Arizona Republicans  launch ‘all-out assault’ on public employees unions — With a sweeping series of bills introduced Monday night in the state Senate, Republicans in Arizona hoped to make Wisconsin’s battle against public unions last year look like a lightweight sparring match.

► In today’s NY Times — U.S. pension agency pressures American Airlines — The federal government signaled Tuesday that it was ready to fight to prevent American Airlines from using bankruptcy to shed its pension plans.




► At AFL-CIO — Tell Labor Department to adopt homecare worker rule — The Obama administration has proposed a new rule to give the nation’s nearly 2 million homecare workers minimum wage, overtime and other protections. But opponents who want to continue to deny them these rights are mounting a campaign to derail the rule. Please help these workers.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. These links are functional at the date of posting, but sometimes expire.

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