The Stand

Financially fragile, job disapproval, young jobless…

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STATE GOVERNMENT

 

► In today’s Seattle Times — 3 big health insurers stockpile $2.4 billion as rates keep rising — Nonprofit health-insurance companies in Washington have amassed $2.4 billion in cash while handing steep rate hikes to customers. State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is again asking lawmakers to give him the power to consider a nonprofit health insurer’s surplus before he agrees to any rate increase.

► In today’s Wenatchee World — Bill would let financially ‘fragile’ Wenatchee tax without a public vote — The Senate Ways and Means Committee passed SSB 5984, which primarily calls for a financial review of local governments and special taxing districts across the state. An emergency clause added to the bill on Monday by Sen. Linda Evans Parlette (R-Wenatchee) would give the city of Wenatchee the authority to raise its sales tax by 0.2% to help pay off the Town Toyota Center’s debt.

EDITOR’S NOTE — It would seem our whole state is in a financially fragile state, no? We’re cutting children off of health care, laying off teachers, furloughing our public employees without pay, and decimating higher education budgets. Can both parties please acknowledge that sometimes our elected officials need the ability — and courage — to raise revenue without a public vote?

► In today’s Olympian — House approves same-sex marriage bill; governor’s signature awaits— Washington is one step closer to legalizing gay marriage, and also to a citizen referendum against it, after the state House voted 55-43 to approve a same-sex marriage proposal Wednesday.

► At TheOlympian.com — What’s alive, what’s dead: Road kill edition — Tuesday’s cutoff — the midnight deadline for bills to pass out of budget committees — left the Road Kill faction sitting pretty. In the Senate, the group and its Republican allies had a list of priorities they were trying to move along, and mostly succeeded.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — New cost of Hanford cleanup projected at $112 billion — That is down $3 billion from last year’s projections primarily because of work accomplished last year using Department of Energy annual budget money and the final year’s spending of Hanford’s federal economic stimulus money.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Aerospace conference honors companies, unions, exec — The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance presented the chairman’s award to Boeing and the Machinists union, recognizing the recently signed labor accord that ensures the jet maker’s 737 MAX will be built in the Puget Sound region.

► In today’s Columbian — Firefighters’ union will give $30,000 to charities — The Vancouver Firefighters Union is donating $30,000 to the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington and to Loaves and Fishes, as a result of changes it made to its health plan.

► In today’s News Tribune — Lakewood police guild treasurer accused of theft made $89K in ’10— If true, the charges are ugly: A police officer cashing in on the deaths of four colleagues and feathering his nest with shiny toys.

 


HECKUVA JOB

 

► In The Hill — Congress’s job approval hits all-time low in new Gallup survey — An unpopular Congress is breaking its own records when it comes to dismal approval ratings. Only 10% of those surveyed by Gallup approve of Congress’s job performance.

► At TPM — Poll: Random people in phone book would do better job than this Congress — Forty-three percent of respondents said a group of random people selected from the phone book would do a better job addressing the nation’s problems than their current representatives. Thirty-eight percent of respondents disagreed and 19% weren’t sure.

EDITOR’S NOTE — What’s a phone book?

 


NATIONAL

 

► At TPM — Utah newest front in Republican war against unions — A Utah bill would ban government employees from collectively bargaining on any issue except for wages and health benefits. The proposal would bar unions from having a say in things like training, equipment and disciplinary procedures. It echoes similar measures that Republicans have advanced in the past year in states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, which have all seen pitched fights over the role of unions.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Berman back with new lies about unions — Richard Berman has launched a $10 million campaign to help push new federal anti-union legislation under the 180-degree-from-the-truth title the Employee Rights Act. Part of that cash helped buy a 30-second spot in selected markets during the Super Bowl that earned three “Pinocchios” from the Washington Post’s Fact Checker on campaigning and advocacy ads for using “nonsense” facts to make its claim.

► In today’s NY Times — A terrible transportation bill (editorial) — House Republicans want to starve mass transit while doing even more for Big Oil. The House bill needs revised. If it passes, the Senate must stop it.

► In today’s NY Times — The white underclass (Nicholas Kristof column) — We need a national conversation about the dimensions of poverty or a chunk of working-class America could be calcified into an underclass.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► In today’s Huffington Post — Employment rate for young adults lowest in 60 years, study says — Just 54% of Americans ages 18 to 24 currently have jobs, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center. That’s the lowest employment rate for this age group since the government began keeping track in 1948. And it’s a sharp drop from the 62% who had jobs in 2007 — suggesting the recession is crippling career prospects for a broad swath of young people who were still in high school or college when the downturn began.

 


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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