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School health plan protests, same old hacking from GOP, no-knockout Mitt…



► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Proposal to merge educators’ health care comes under attack— About 250 educators and their supporters rallied at Bellingham High School on Monday to protest a state measure that would pool health-care insurance for kindergarten through 12th-grade employees under the state Health Care Authority. They held signs that read “Hands off our bargaining rights” and “Legislators keep state gov’t small. Don’t start a new health care bureau.”

► In today’s Skagit Valley Herald — School employees rally against insurance bill — A group of educators and their supporters rallied in front of the Skagit County Courthouse in Mount Vernon against a bill they say would undermine their bargaining rights to determine health care coverage.

► In today’s Olympian — Battle over merger of state pension funds unresolved— A political tug-of-war over a potential $1.2 billion surplus in one of the state’s oldest, richest pensions is unsettled. One proposal is to merge that older plan into the newer, less costly LEOFF 2 plan. Backers say the merger offers lawmakers a chance to skip a $75 million pension payment this year. But Kelly Fox, board president of the Plan 2 pension and leader of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters, says, “Both plans are stronger together than they are apart.”

► At Publicola — Bipartisan debt limit bill may cause problems for Zarelli budget — Sen. Zarelli’s controversial Senate GOP budget takes at least $70 million from the capital budget solid waste account and $70-80 million from the capital budget toxic cleanup account, two revenue streams Rep. Dunshee earmarked to bond against for the Infrastructure Jobs package.

► From AP — Gregoire not ready to give up on budget— She said Tuesday that if lawmakers didn’t make significant progress toward a budget deal by the end of the day, it would be “very difficult” to avoid a special legislative session. However, she said she wouldn’t give up on the goal of having a budget passed by midnight Thursday.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Clock ticks on budget deal — Five people — three of them from the Spokane area — protested the budget passed over the weekend with the support of all the Senate’s Republicans and three Democrats. Sitting down in the office of the budget’s author, Sen. Joe Zarelli, they chanted “we shall not be moved.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Sen. Kastama says Senate Democrats can’t get his vote

► In today’s Seattle Times — State GOP’s schools plan is same old hacking (Danny Westneat column) — Rob McKenna and other Republicans in Olympia have been talking up their commitment to spend more on education. So what did the GOP do with its earthquake moment last Friday? They slashed education! Republicans cut $39 million more from the already beleaguered state university system, and their budget spends $88 million less on K-12 schools. Senate Democrats’ budget didn’t cut a dime from education. Republicans say they will “Fund Education First,” but when they had the gavel, “first” changed to “at some later date.”

► In today’s Olympian — GOP staffer says he was fired for not campaigning




► In today’s Seattle Times — Machinists file labor complaint against Esterline’s Hytek unit — The Hytek workforce has about 170 voted to join the IAM last August and since then union officials and management have been negotiating their first contract. The IAM charged the company with bad faith bargaining, coercive actions against employees active in the union, and making unilateral changes in employment conditions.




► In today’s LA Times — Romney fails to deliver knockout blow on Super Tuesday — Despite a good showing on Super Tuesday, he hasn’t put the race away by any means. And he is unlikely to secure a mathematical lock on the nomination until sometime in May, at the earliest. Romney’s challenge is to pull his fractured party together as quickly as possible and bring an end to what has been a very damaging primary season. The harsh tone and extreme language of the GOP race has frightened the independents whose votes will be crucial in the fall.

► In today’s LA T-mes — Gov. Kasich’s union offensive could cost GOP in Ohio — It’s the independent voters in Ohio who will help decide the general election in one of the nation’s most important swing states. But comments by voters hitting the polls indicate that Republicans may already have a handicap in November: the state’s GOP governor, John Kasich.

► In today’s Washington Post — Rep. Dennis Kucinich suffers primary defeat in Ohio — Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), the two-time presidential candidate and icon of the antiwar left, suffered a bruising primary defeat Tuesday as a new Republican-drawn congressional map threatened to end the career of one of the most colorful figures in Congress.

► In The Hill — ‘Joe the Plumber’ wins congressional primary

EDITOR’S NOTE — Oh, the humanity.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — 1 in 5 families struggles with medical debt, survey finds — A survey shows 1 in 5 Americans say their families are having trouble paying their medical bills. Worse, half of those who are struggling say they are unable to pay a single dime toward those debts.

► In today’s Washington Post — Republicans to push bill in effort to add jobs — On Wednesday, the House is to begin debate on six minor measures to help small businesses raise capital and take their companies public, all packaged together under the title the JOBS Act.

► In The Hill — Boehner warns House GOP he may take detour on highway bill — Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned House Republicans Tuesday that he will take up the Senate’s bipartisan $109 billion highway bill if they keep refusing to pass his version.

► At Politico — Rush Limbaugh loses 29 advertisers— In addition, the Canadian rock group Rush has also asked Limbaugh’s show to stop using its music on the air.




► In The Nation — Workers, and the NLRB, under attack (by Josh Eidelson) — Continued right-wing fury at the NLRB is certain, and it will remain white-hot until Republicans return to the White House and ratchet the Board back to the right.  In the meantime, Obama’s new appointees face a choice: be cowed by right-wing hatred, or do something to earn it.


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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