Wednesday, May 1, 2013
► At TPM — With immigration reform looming, sense of urgency as thousands take to the streets — Tens of thousands are expected to rally in dozens of cities from New York to Bozeman, Mont., on Wednesday in what has become an annual cry for easing the nation’s immigration laws. The rallies carry a special sense of urgency this year, two weeks after a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would bring many of the estimated 11 million living in the U.S. illegally out of the shadows.
ALSO at The Stand — Join the labor contingent at May Day march — Get the details on when and where to meet for marches in Seattle, Yakima, Wenatchee and Newport.
► In The Hill — Advocates dig in for immigration reform — While advocates of a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally have a lengthy wish list for changes to the 844-page bill, they say the real fight going forward will be to protect the policy victories that are already in the bill from a conservative onslaught in both chambers of Congress.
► From AP — This May Day, low-wage factory workers have a lot to rally for — Tens of thousands of low-paid workers took to the streets on May Day to demand higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions a week after a building collapse in Bangladesh became a grim reminder of the dangers of lax safety regulations in poor countries.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — In overtime, budget should be only goal (by Richard Davis) — Re-introducing wedge issues heightens partisan differences and further complicates a difficult situation. Where there’s a policy consensus, act on it, but keep the list short. In this overtime, the players just need to score once: Pass a sustainable budget.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The “wedge issues” cited by Davis, the business community’s think-tank mouthpiece, are Gov. Inslee’s special-session policy agenda. But the same logic would certainly hold true for the divisive special-session policy agenda of the Republican-controlled State Senate, would it not? Their leaders still insist on pushing cuts in workers’ compensation benefits and repealing the state’s paid family leave act — and Davis has lead the PR charge for both. Clearly, wedges are in the eye of the beholder.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Pace of bills passed by Legislature slowest since 1983 — The past 105-day session was the second least productive in 33 years, in terms of the overall number of bills sent to the governor for signature, according a recent analysis.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Scientists feeling sequester pinch — Health scientists tell Sen. Patty Murray that many have already seen their grants cut, threatening innovation and public health.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Edmonds educator to lead state teachers’ unions — As the newly elected president of the Washington Education Association, Kim Mead inherits an ongoing challenge of keeping educators enthused, mobilized and engaged in constructive conversations with lawmakers who this year are negotiating how to raise and spend an additional $1 billion in elementary and secondary schools.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima County to benefit from budget surplus — Yakima County commissioners on Tuesday said they will distribute more than $1.3 million to county departments later this year and set aside another $250,000 for employee bonuses to be paid in early December. The bonus could amount to $250, depending on how many employees become eligible.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma budget turned out ‘better than expected’ — City officials say the last city budget, which required $32 million in cuts, closed out about $4.5 million better than expected, and its current spending plan so far is $3.7 million ahead of target.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Help save the Postal Service — Do you care about keeping post offices open, ensuring Saturday delivery for years to come and stopping proposals to lay off postal workers? Please sign a petition to support a bill that would end the requirement that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) pre-fund 75 years of retiree health care benefits.
ALSO at The Stand — Congress broke USPS, and now must fix it
► At Huffington Post — CEO-to-worker pay ratio has ballooned 1,000 percent since 1950, report finds — The Bloomberg report’s findings come just one day after the S&P 500 soared to a new record, indicating that perhaps the only ones not reaping the benefits from the companies’ historic profitability are workers.
► In today’s Washington Post — Is U.S. manufacturing making a comeback — or is it just hype? — Caterpillar, GE and Ford are among those that have announced that they’re shifting some manufacturing operations back to the United States. And economists are now debating whether these stories are a blip — or whether they signal the beginning of a major renaissances for American manufacturing.
► In today’s NY Times — Retailers split on contrition after factory’s collapse — The building collapse in Bangladesh that caused more than 400 deaths has produced some jarringly different responses from Western apparel retailers and brands that obtained goods from factories inside the building.
► From Stateline.org — Sequester delays force sudden unemployment cuts — Thousands of jobless Americans could see their unemployment checks shrink by as much as one-quarter because their states have been slow to implement across-the-board federal spending cuts. The people who will feel the pinch have been out of work for six months or longer.
► In today’s NY Times — Koch brothers plan more political involvement for their conservative network — As the Republican Party grapples with implications of its historic losses last fall, a similar reckoning is unfolding among the deep-pocketed conservatives whose “super PACs” and other organizations spent heavily to defeat President Obama and the Democrats in 2012. Nowhere is the self-examination more unrelenting than within the constellation of advocacy groups, foundations and research organizations nurtured by the Kochs.
► In today’s Washington Post — How to ease economic anxiety (by Harold Meyerson) — The expectations of economic security and mobility that were widely shared by Americans in the decades after World War II have vanished, replaced by a pervasive economic anxiety. Anxiety, however, won’t change anything. … One way to move from anxiety to action might be to demand that the Obama administration come up with projections of the effect on domestic wages of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the administration is currently negotiating behind closed doors with nations whose wage rates are lower than ours. If, as all evidence points to, globalization has led to a “lack of wage growth,” just why is our government continuing to promote such agreements? The terms on which we globalize — who benefits, who gets clobbered — aren’t as inexorable as the sunrise. The public might just alert Congress that it expects its representatives to look out for its interests.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.