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Special session Take 2, fighting factions, falling wages, locked factory doors…

Tuesday, June 4, 2013




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State budget resolution still no closer — Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray of Seattle said the Legislature is making no progress — and in some ways losing ground — in trying to reach agreement on the 2013-15 operating budget: “Senate Republicans want to close down government on July 1 and send us over a fiscal cliff.”

two-church-ladies2► From AP — Legislators hit final stretch of special session — With just over a week left in an overtime legislative session, negotiations on the state budget continue, but without a deal in sight and limited activity at the Capitol, one lawmaker on Monday said the possibility of a second overtime session was more and more likely. Meanwhile, the Department of Revenue says it has already received 70 refund requests totaling between $40 million and $50 million from estates that had paid estate taxes prior to the Bracken court ruling. A spokesman said the department started processing checks Monday, and that the first checks could be sent out next week unless a legislative fix occurs before then. The state has said that without a fix, it could cost the state $160 million over the next two years, including refunds, cancelled assessments and future lost revenue.

TODAY  at The Stand — Labor to Legislature: Pass budgets, go home

PLUS — Senate choosing millionaires over students — Are we still pretending that the Republican-controlled Senate, itself created by the most cynical and self-serving of political machinations, is the kind of bipartisanship that “people are crying out for?”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Replace I-5 bridge over Columbia River (editorial) — State lawmakers need to act on the Columbia River Crossing project. Now. Washington state has a pragmatic opportunity to share costs for a basic link in the transportation system that helps power the state economy. Affordable, overdue progress comes down to the Washington Legislature not fumbling away an opportunity.

pierce-transit-cuts► In today’s News Tribune — Legislature should support public transportation through revenue package (by Marilyn Strickland and Rick Talbot) — Pierce Transit’s resources and revenue have steadily declined for six years. At our last board meeting, we took action to cut 84 positions from the agency. This makes a total of 291 positions cut over the past four years. These recent cuts result in nearly $6 million in savings, which is needed to balance our budget. Pierce Transit now faces an additional 28% reduction in annual service hours. Despite impending service cuts, there may be short-term relief if the Legislature decides to enact a transportation revenue package during this special session — a task that Gov. Jay Inslee has strongly encouraged them to complete.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Elway poll: resistance to transportation taxes softens a bit — A new Elway Poll, taken after the Skagit River I-5 bridge collapse, shows raising taxes to make transportation improvements remains unpopular with a majority of Washington voters but that opposition has softened.

► In today’s News Tribune — Senator to replace Carrell could be selected Tuesday — The Pierce County Council’s rules committee fast-tracked the appointment Monday, calling a special meeting of the council for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to interview the three candidates and consider an emergency resolution to choose one.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — McKenna unveils new website — Dubbed Smarter Government Washington, it is a retrofitted version of Republican Rob McKenna’s campaign web page and the centerpiece is a blog for his opinions.

hope-mike► At Slog — Rep. Mike Hope has a iMDB page — It seems that Mike Hope, the retired-cop-turned-personal-trainer-slash-state-representative (R, Everett), has added another notch to his employment belt: aktor.

► In today’s Olympian — Wanna look good lawmakers? Forget the mug, pass a budget (editorial) — Far too many state legislators are wasting time and taxpayer money, having their official photographs touched up to improve their looks. Also, some legislators are using photographs eight or 10 years old, clinging to their younger look like some aging movie star. How silly. How vain. If legislators really want to look good in the eyes of their constituents, they should stop messing with their official photographs, pass a budget and go home, wrinkles and all.




► In the PS Business Journal — Aerospace supplier that hires people with disabilities doubles in size — An unusual number of electeds, starting with Gov. Jay Inslee, plan to show up for the groundbreaking of aerospace supplier Orion Industries Inc.’s new Auburn facility Thursday.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing outsourcing didn’t save costs (letter) — The lesson of the 787 program must be learned, and applied, and soon. The “bet the company” risk of a new airplane program should always be a carefully calculated one, not a desperate attempt to resurrect this now thoroughly discredited business model.




WSNA-logo► In today’s (Ellensburg) Daily Record — Nurses seek hospital CEO’s resignation — Eighty-eight of KVH Hospital’s 107 nurses have signed a petition demanding the hospital immediately remove its CEO from office. The petition was presented to KVH’s board of commissioners during a May 23 meeting, according to a statement released by the Washington State Nurses Association last week. The WSNA represents KVH nurses who have been embroiled in a labor dispute with the hospital for the past 18 months.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Lovick replaces Reardon as Snohomish County Executive — Sheriff John Lovick was sworn in Monday morning to replace Aaron Reardon, who stepped down from the county’s top elected job last week after a series of scandals.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Workers starting to build replacement to Skagit River bridge — Work is on track for the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River to reopen in mid-month, the Transportation Department said Monday.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima County employees get one-time ‘pay adjustment’ — It can’t be called a bonus, but eligible Yakima County employees will get a one-time “pay adjustment” late this year, thanks to projections of increased revenues.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Herrera Beutler announces complications in pregnancy — U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler announced Monday that her unborn child has been diagnosed with a serious, often fatal kidney condition.




boehner-john► In today’s Washington Post — House Republicans have broken into fighting factions — The New Year’s Day vote to avert the “fiscal cliff” marked a breaking point for House Republicans, who had disintegrated into squabbling factions, no longer able to agree on — much less execute — some of the most basic government functions. Ever since, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has cautiously tried to steer his party away from that bitter moment, with varying success.

► In today’s Washington Post — Low-wage workers seek Obama’s help — Low-wage employees of firms that provide services such as food and cleaning in federally controlled buildings want President Obama to take action to provide them living wages.

► In today’s NY Times — Obama to name 3 to top appeals court in challenge to Republicans — President Obama will set a confrontation with Senate Republicans in motion on Tuesday morning by naming a slate of judges to a top appeals court and daring his rivals to block their confirmations.

► In today’s Washington Post — Farm subsidy program may finally meet the reaper — The aid has continued 10 years past its expiration date, and you don’t even have to be a farmer to get it.

► At TPM — Democrats’ 2014 strategy: Own Obamacare — Scarred by years of Republican attacks over Obamacare, with more in store next year, Democrats have settled on an unlikely strategy for the 2014 midterms: Bring it on. Party strategists believe that embracing the polarizing law — especially its more popular elements — is smarter politics than fleeing from it in the House elections.




► From McClatchy — American workers losing ground on wages — Competition from China and other low-wage rivals, coupled with fallout from the 2007-’09 financial crisis, has put American wages under such unprecedented strain that they have shifted into reverse – not merely stagnating, but falling.

► From AP — Factory door was locked when 199 died in China factory fire — A fire breaks out in a Chinese factory, and panicked workers discover one exit after another is locked. That describes not only the poultry plant fire that killed 119 people Monday, but a toy-factory blaze that left 87 workers dead 20 years earlier. The similarities between the two worst factory fires in China’s history suggest that little has changed for industrial workers even as the country has transformed its economy.

afscme-logo► At AFL-CIO Now — Home-care workers file for largest union election in Vermont history — A month after the Vermont legislature approved a bill allowing home care workers to collectively bargain, more than 4,500 home care workers filed an election petition seeking to form a union with AFSCME. Because of the new law, more than 7,000 workers are now eligible to join a union, and many participated in a march to file the petition.


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