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‘Nice first step,’ border McDonalds SaysWA, Pentagon cuts furloughs…

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

WSLC-agenda-investing► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Special session takes ‘nice first step’ — A special session of the Legislature began Monday with talk of an agreement that could clear a path for a plan to raise billions of dollars for transportation. The Democratic chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee said there is no deal on how much money to raise, where to spend it or if voters should be given the final say. But Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) said her Republican counterpart in the Senate has agreed this is the year to try to answer those questions and move a package forward.

ALSO today at The Stand — Coalition: Pass transportation package now!

► From AP — Inslee narrows priorities for special session — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has narrowed his list of top priorities for lawmakers to address in a special session, saying Monday that the Legislature must focus on the operating budget, a transportation-funding package and new legislation to crack down on drunken drivers.

► From AP — State Supreme Court reviews $100 million award to state’s home-care workers — Justices on the Washington Supreme Court on Tuesday are considering whether a $100 million verdict against the state should be allowed to stand. The money was awarded to some 22,000 home care workers who were shortchanged by a state rule that was in effect from 2003 to 2007.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Outside study of 3 major DOT projects may hit $475,000 — The price tag could reach $475,000 to have a former state Department of Transportation administrator and another expert study how managers tackle the Highway 520 bridge, Highway 99 tunnel and I-5 Columbia River Crossing.

really-seth-amy► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Three issues at forefront of special session — Sen. Rodney Tom, the Medina Democrat who heads up the predominantly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus in the Senate, wouldn’t say that members of his caucus would budge from their “no-new-taxes” approach to the budget. “We’ve made a lot of compromises already,” Tom said. That included agreeing to expand Medicaid in the state under the federal Affordable Care Act, which some Senate Republicans oppose.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Really!?! Agreeing to Medicaid expansion was a compromise? No one in the Senate GOP+2 complained when they counted on those ACA savings to help balance their budget. We don’t remember a single Republican voting against it on the grounds that they oppose the ACA.

 


AEROSPACE

 

workers-comp► In today’s (Everett) Herald — A next step for aerospace (editorial) — Thursday in Everett, Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled his statewide aerospace strategy. It was a cogent blueprint predicated on workforce training, diversifying the aerospace cluster, and enhancing the industry’s support chain. (One) omission was to sidestep any mention of a workers’ comp system that the private sector believes merits radical reform.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In 2010, the private sector ran an initiative to accomplish their prescribed radical reform — privatization — and it was resoundingly rejected by voters, in every single county in this state. Nonetheless, the 2011 Legislature immediately approved quasi-privatization “reforms” pushed by business lobbying groups. And now, before those last changes have even been fully implemented — and as the system’s finances are finally recovering from the recession-related pummeling they took — business lobbyists are pushing for MORE benefit cuts.

In this context, The Herald is suggesting that the workers’ comp demands of business groups might play a role in where Boeing decides to build the 777X?  Really!?!  I think it’s time for The Herald to look beyond the Washington’s corporate echo chamber of lobbying groups and the think tanks they fund, and get some perspective on the issue.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing names leadership team for 777X — Boeing has appointed its team to lead the new 777X jet program, a further indication that a formal launch of the airplane is no more than months away.

 


LOCAL

 

KPLU-mcdonalds► From KPLU — Why won’t this McDonald’s move 20 feet into lower-wage Idaho? — In 2010, a group of researchers decided to test the conventional wisdom that higher minimum wages cost jobs. Bill Lester of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill was on the team that looked at 16 years worth of restaurant employment data for 316 pairs of border counties. Said Lester: “And when you add up all those comparisons and look at the average of all those differences in employment, the difference is zero.”

I visited a McDonalds in Newport, Wash., that is literally just across the street from Oldtown, Idaho. So, to go from a minimum wage of $9.19 to $7.25 is as easy as crossing the street. The location is so profitable for franchise owner Tim Skubitz that it didn’t occur to him to move, even when he tore down the old McDonald’s in 2011. He built a fancier new one in the same place instead of in the state right across the street with the lower minimum wage. Skibutz says wages are just one piece of a larger puzzle.

► In today’s Columbian — C-Tran prepares special CRC meeting — The C-Tran Board of Directors will meet face-to-face Tuesday with Columbia River Crossing officials as the transit agency approaches a major decision point on its role in the controversial megaproject.

 


NURSING

 

► In today’s Daily News — Six St. John nurses receive excellence awards — St. John Medical Center honored six nurses with nursing excellence awards Friday to commemorate National Nurses week last week.

► Also in today’s Daily News — Needle in bra pricks St. John nurse after arrest; suspect may have Hepatitis C

ALSO at The Stand:
‘Spokane Loves Our Nurses’ ads urge fair Providence contract
Tacoma Loves Our Nurses: Share your stories at new website

 


NATIONAL

 

► In The Hill — Pentagon cuts furloughs to 11 days — The number of furloughs that the majority of the Pentagon’s 800,000 civilians will be required to take in 2013 was cut to 11 from 14, the second time the Defense Department has decided to chop down its civilian furloughs.

EDITOR’S NOTE — That’s good. Now it’s just 11 days too many. Cancel the cuts! Call your member of Congress at 1-888-659-9401.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Federal fire agencies face budget cuts — With a “difficult” fire season looming, across-the-board budget cuts are now hitting federal firefighting agencies. The result: There will be hundreds fewer firefighters deployed to battle wildfires across the nation this year.

► A related story in the Wenatchee World — Central Washington may see early fire season — Spot fires in Western Washington and in Oregon portend an early and potentially extended wildland fire season this year, fire officials are warning.

jimmy-stewart_mr-smith

► In The Hill — Senate Democrats: Nuclear option for filibuster is back on the table — Senate Democrats frustrated with the GOP’s blocking of a string of President Obama’s nominees are seriously weighing a controversial tactic known as the “nuclear option.”  The option — which would involve Democrats changing Senate rules through a majority vote to prevent the GOP from using the 60-vote filibuster to block nominations — was raised during a private meeting Wednesday involving about 25 Democratic senators and a group of labor leaders.

► At Post & Parcel — USPS ‘moving sharply toward breaking even,’ says NALC’s Rolando — Improving operating results announced Friday by the U.S. Postal Service demonstrate the “absurdity” of further degrading the U.S. mail network, says Frederic Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

► At TPM — RNC Hispanic Outreach Director becomes a Democrat — Citing the GOP’s “culture of intolerance,” Pablo Pantoja drew reference to a much-maligned dissertation from the Heritage Foundation’s Jason Richwine that sought to discourage non-whites from immigrating to the United States on the basis that those groups have lower IQs.

 


FUELING THE FIRE

 

► In today’s NY Times — Phone records of journalists seized by U.S. — Federal investigators secretly seized two months of phone records for reporters and editors of The Associated Press in what the news organization said Monday was a “serious interference with A.P.’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”

► In today’s Washington Post — IRS in Washington involved in targeting conservative groups — Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed.

► At Huffington Post — Jon Stewart: Obama administration has given ‘tinfoil behatted’ all the ammunition they need

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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