► From AP — Superior Court rejects state supermajority vote— A voter-approved initiative that requires a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to raise taxes or close tax loopholes violates the state constitution, a judge ruled Wednesday. The ruling likely will put the measure before the Washington Supreme Court this fall. The case will focus on whether a supermajority can be implemented through the initiative process or whether an amendment to the Washington Constitution is required.
► In today’s News Tribune — In Tacoma, liquor hoarded amid price worries— Customers at State Liquor Store 105 on Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue have nearly stripped the store bare of spirits. They’re betting that while privatization of liquor sales in Washington will make liquor available at hundreds more locations, it won’t make it any less expensive. That privatization, approved by voters last fall, happens at midnight Thursday.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Oregon county releases inmates amid budget cuts — Dozens of inmates ran whooping from a Grants Pass, Ore., jail into the sunshine Wednesday after a cash-strapped county in Oregon’s timber region was forced to release them amid budget cuts.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is what “smaller government” looks like.
► In today’s Washington Post — Wisconsin reaches for the last resort (E.J. Dionne column) — Walker is being challenged not because he pursued conservative policies but because Wisconsin has become the most glaring example of a new and genuinely alarming approach to politics on the right. It seeks to use incumbency to alter the rules and tilt the legal and electoral playing field decisively toward the interests of those in power.
► In today’s Washington Post — Dem poll: Walker recall battle is a dead heat — A new poll has found that the battle between Scott Walker and challenger Tom Barrett is now deadlocked, at 49% each.
EDITOR’S NOTE — VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED THIS AFTERNOON from 3:30 to 6 p.m. in Seattle for the final day of this week’s Wisconsin GOTV phone banks. Please help call fellow union members in Wisconsin and urge them to vote on June 5. Learn more.
► From AP — Inslee, McKenna differ on education plans — Republican Rob McKenna supports introducing publicly funded, privately run charter schools. Democrat Jay Inslee thinks education overhaul should happen within the state’s existing school system and says he’s concerned about whether charter schools are accountable to taxpayers.
► In today’s Olympian — Group opposing marriage equality law says it has needed signatures — The group trying to challenge the state’s new same-sex marriage law says it has surpassed the 150,000 signatures recommended by the state elections office to put Referendum 74 on the ballot.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In anticipation of it making the fall ballot, union delegates from across the state voted to approve Ref. 74 affirming the Legislature’s passage of the marriage equality law.
► In the NW Labor Press — Labor peace comes, finally, to Vancouver Hilton hotel — The new two-year deal, concluded by Portland-based UNITE HERE Local 9 in mid-May, covers 116 employees, including housekeeping, laundry, banquet, and restaurant workers, though not front desk. The agreement contains five 20-cent raises totaling $1 an hour for non-tipped employees, who previously earned Washington’s $9.04-an-hour minimum wage. It also reduces housekeeper workload to no more than 10 “checkouts” per shift within a daily quota of 15 rooms.
► In today’s Columbian — Letter Carriers collect 1.3M pounds of food — In just one day, the 2012 National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive collected more than 1.3 million pounds of nonperishable food in Oregon and Clark County, the Oregon Food Bank Network announced Wednesday.
► In today’s Columbian — Fire agency receives grant, adds workers — Clark County Fire & Rescue has been awarded a SAFER grant to restore part of its firefighting force. The FEMA grant will cover the cost of the salaries and benefits for three new firefighters for the next two years.
► In The Stranger — Beating back Amazon — Even as speakers stood outside the Seattle Art Museum passionately demanding that Amazon withdraw from ALEC, the ultraconservative Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (responsible for crafting and pushing legislation ranging from Wisconsin’s attack on the rights of workers to Florida’s “stand your ground” law), text messages started trickling out from protesters inside the shareholders’ meeting revealing that CEO Jeff Bezos would do exactly that.
► At Huffington Post — Wal-Mart ends membership in ALEC — ALEC sparked controversy recently because of its involvement in voting laws and in “stand your ground” gun laws, including the one under scrutiny in the Florida killing of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Terry Melvin elected to lead CBTU into the new era — A new era has dawned with the election of Terrence L. Melvin as the new president chosen to lead the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Melvin, who is also the secretary-treasurer of the powerful New York State AFL-CIO, succeeds William (Bill) Lucy, the iconic labor leader who had held the position since he co-founded CBTU in 1972.
► From the Business Journal — American Airlines, unions set for mediated labor talks — The airline will begin court-mediated negotiations this week to hammer out labor contracts with unions representing some employees.
► In today’s NY Times — Obama extends Export-Import Bank — President Obama signs a bill that extends the life of the Export-Import Bank through 2014, ending an unexpectedly fierce political fight over an institution dedicated to financing American exports abroad.
► At Huffington Post — Exxon CEO pay rises 17% to $25.2 million — Rising oil prices helped boost Exxon’s net income by 35 percent to $41 billion in 2011, the company’s best year since 2008.
► In today’s Baltimore Sun — With Romney now official, Fox News gets shamelessly political (by David Zurawik) — Today’s version of the “Fox & Friends” morning show featured an anti-Obama video that resembled propaganda films from 1930’s Europe more than it did responsible TV politics of today. The remarkable thing was the witless crew on the couch that serves as hosts for this show had the audacity to present it as journalism and congratulate the producer who put it together. I am shocked by how blatantly Fox is throwing off any pretense of being a journalistic entity with videos like this. Don’t be fooled by Bret Baier’s Boy Scout smile or all the talk about how some shows are news and some are opinion on the channel. Any news organization that puts up this kind of video is rotten to the core.
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.