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State Senate coup, union posters OK, austerity update…



► In The Olympian — GOP coup moves budget ahead in Senate as three Democrats defect— The blow-up killed a series of bills that needed votes before Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, and Senate budget chairman Ed Murray said it would send lawmakers into special session. The takeover occupied the Senate all evening, with debate stretching late into the night and a 25-24 vote coming early Saturday morning.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Check out the WSLC Legislative Tracker™ to see what is still alive after Friday’s shenanigans.

► At — Senate Republican “Screw you” budget passes in dark of night — The budget cuts higher education, closes PERS 2 to new hires, sets up hundreds of millions of dollars in pension debt down the road, scuttles the job stimulus package and cuts crime prevention funds that will harm public safety.

► In the (Everett) Herald — Budget shenanigans a blow to transparency (by Sen. Nick Harper) — In a matter of hours, a Democratic budget proposal that took months to write and was put through the wringer of public scrutiny was supplanted with a Republican budget proposal that was crafted through handshakes and back slaps — and voted off the floor without so much as a public hearing or public notice. This Republican budget and the parliamentary games and political deals that pushed it to passage with a slim one-vote majority represent democracy at its most hollow.

► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Cities brace for reduced liquor revenues — Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch) who voted with Senate Republicans to pass their budget, said he wasn’t sure how much the new budget affects cities.

EDITOR’S NOTE — That’s right. Even the mutineers who agreed to advance the other party’s budget, did so sight unseen.

► In the Seattle Times — State Republican senators pass own budget proposal — It appears that Senate Democratic leaders’ plan is to wait a few days, let public reaction build and then see if they can bring one of the crossover Democrats back into the fold. The three Democratic senators who voted with Republicans on the budget — Tim Sheldon, Rodney Tom and Jim Kastama — are still caucusing with their party.

► In — 4 moderates take shots at Roadkill allies




► In the (Everett) Herald — More thanks, less blame (editorial) — Public employees, particularly those who work in state government, can be excused for feeling a bit under siege lately. These days, they shoulder too much blame for budgets that are out of whack. Whether it’s over collective bargaining rights, pension benefits or health insurance plans, state employees are unfairly singled out as a problem. The overwhelming majority of them deserve the gratitude of the public they serve. Despite unpaid furloughs that have lightened so many of their paychecks in recent years, and layoffs that — like workers in the private sector — have forced them to do more with less, most continue to work hard and with pride delivering the services we all depend on but so often take for granted.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Capital gains tax a good idea (by Don Barbieri) — This state has played a huge role in my personal and financial success, and I cannot just sit by and watch as Washington — this place where I live, work and play and raised my family — starts to fall apart. Supporting a fair and reasonable tax on high-end capital gains is one way that I can help make Washington a better place, not just for my kids but for all kids, not just for my future but for everyone’s future.

► From AP — House passes transportation budget with fee increases; Senate is next— The Washington state House has passed a transportation budget that would secure more than $50 million over the next year for immediate transportation needs. The bill, HB 6455, passed largely along partisan lines, with most Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.




► In the (Longview) Daily News — ILWU civil rights suit to include two additional county officials— Union dock workers said Thursday they are adding two more Cowlitz County law-enforcement officials to a federal civil rights lawsuit connected to last summer’s labor dispute at the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview.

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Kalama chemical plant expansion continues— Emerald Kalama Chemical officials expect to complete the 6,000-foot expansion of their plant at the Port of Kalama by the end of the summer.




► From AP — Judge says government can require union posters at work — A federal judge ruled Friday that the NLRB can require most private businesses to put up posters telling workers they have a legal right to form a union. The ruling pleased labor groups but disappointed business groups. The posters, to be displayed effective April 30, explain workers’ rights to bargain collectively, distribute union literature and engage in other union activities without fear of reprisal. They also explain that workers have a right not to join a union.

► At TPM — House GOP caught in budget predicament— Will they readopt the same phase-out and privatize policy on Medicare that got them into political trouble last year? Or will they, at least to some extent, scale back their vision? But the bigger question has nothing to do with Medicare. The bigger question is whether House Republicans can pass a budget at all.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Last year, Washington’s entire Republican congressional delegation voted to replace Medicare with this privatized VoucherCare.

► At The Hill — Some Republican governors wary of House GOP’s Medicaid reform proposals — Several Republican governors are raising concerns with a House GOP Medicaid reform proposal that’s expected to be reintroduced shortly.

► At Huffington Post — Limbaugh advertisers flee in droves — As the controversy grew over Rush Limbaugh’s latest incendiary comments — he called law student and birth control advocate Sandra Fluke a “slut” on Wednesday — his show’s advertisers began to flee in droves. The AP reports that seven companies have backed away from the show.




► In today’s NY Times — States of depression (Paul Krugman column) — One significant factor in our continuing economic weakness is the fact that state and local governments in America are doing exactly what both theory and history say they shouldn’t: slashing spending in the face of a depressed economy. These state and local cuts have led to a sharp fall in both government employment and government spending on goods and services, exerting a powerful drag on the economy as a whole.

We could take a big step toward full employment just by using the federal government’s low borrowing costs to help state and local governments rehire the schoolteachers and police officers they laid off, while restarting the road repair and improvement projects they canceled or put on hold.


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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