Wednesday, August 7, 2013
► In today’s News Tribune — Angel leads Schlicher for Peninsula-area Senate seat — Port Orchard Republican Rep. Jan Angel led Democratic Sen. Nathan Schlicher by 54.7% to 45.3% margin in first-day results in the 26th LD Senate race.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This result is good news for Schlicher, given the huge name-recognition advantage of veteran politician Angel over newcomer Schlicher, an emergency room physician and first-time legislator. Turnout will be higher in the general election and Schlicher has already gained significant ground from earlier polls. When more working people in the district find out about Rep. Jan Angel, Washington state’s co-chair of the notorious anti-labor ALEC corporate bill mill, Schlicher will continue to gain. What is ALEC’s agenda, you ask?
Today at AFL-CIO Now — 8 ways that ALEC is targeting working families — Information about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) working in secret to push state-level policy to more extreme levels is coming to light more and more and America’s working families are starting to stand up to the group’s corporate-driven agenda. ALEC’s agenda: Voter ID Act, “Paycheck Protection” bills, direct union assaults, Public Employees’ Portable Retirement Option Act, Council of Efficient Government, Parent Trigger laws, repealing prevailing wage standards, so-called “Right to Work.”
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Brown has huge lead in State Senate race — Incumbent Sharon Brown led the vote count Tuesday for the 8th Legislative District in the State Senate and appears to be a heavy favorite to win in November. Brown, who was appointed senator earlier this year, lead the three-person race with 59%. Richland City Councilman Phillip Lemley (the WSLC’s endorsed candidate) was in second place with 22%.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima voters pass measure to fund road construction — A measure requiring the city of Yakima to earmark at least $2 million of its general fund annually to repair and rebuild roads passed Tuesday by a huge margin despite little campaigning by proponents.
► In today’s Seattle Times — November showdown looms for Murray, McGinn — Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn survived a hard-fought primary Tuesday and is headed to a November runoff against state Sen. Ed Murray. Murray led the nine-way race with more than 30% of the vote, to McGinn’s 27%.
► From Reuters — Pentagon reduces mandatory furloughs of civilian workers — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday that he was slashing the amount of unpaid leave 650,000 civilian employees were ordered to take this year to six days from 11 in an effort to limit the pain from across-the-board budget cuts. The decision means most civilian defense employees, who saw their pay effectively cut by 20 percent, will complete their furloughs next week.
► In today’s Columbian — Backers of CRC push to revive project — A group of Columbia River Crossing supporters believe they’ve hatched a plan that could revive the controversial Interstate 5 Bridge replacement — with light rail — and without the approval of the Washington Legislature.
► In today’s Oregonian — In Oregon, talks emerge to salvage the once-left-for-dead Columbia River Crossing — The Columbia River Crossing, declared dead a month ago, is quietly rising from the ashes as proponents scramble to salvage the controversial highway, bridge and light-rail complex. Patricia McCaig, head of CRC intergovernmental affairs and government relations, confirmed Tuesday that Oregon planners are trying to resurrect the $3.4 billion project, thought dead after the Washington Legislature failed to contribute Olympia’s $450 million share.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Port of Seattle OKs bond sale for tunnel project — Port commissioners voted Tuesday to make good on the agency’s pledge four years ago to contribute $231 million toward replacing the old Alaskan Way Viaduct, a total $3.1 billion task, including streets and interchanges.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane city budget proposal adds 25 police officers — A new Spokane police officer costs exactly $100,000 per year, and Mayor David Condon thinks he’s found a way to pay for 25 of them without going to the voters.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Sen. Patty Murray offers progress report on matching vets to jobs — Washington Sen. Patty Murray has tackled the issue through the 2011 VOW to Hire Heroes Act. Its goal is to put veterans back to work by providing job skills training and making certification easier.
► From AP — Lawmakers say they’re not delaying school dollars — A group of Democratic lawmakers say they are not trying to push back the deadline for implementing school funding reform.
► In The Hill — Feds release rule to fix ObamaCare glitch for lawmakers, staffers — Under a proposed new rule released on Wednesday, the federal government will be able to contribute to 11,000 lawmakers’ and staffers’ healthcare plans. That would close a loophole in the healthcare law that lawmakers worried could lead to a “brain drain” of talent and skill from Capitol Hill.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Obama administration has the power to make adjustments to alter unintended ObamaCare consequences, without Congressional approval. In their single-minded quest for total repeal, House Republicans vow not to allow any such “fixes.” So… Obama could make good on his pre-ObamaCare promise to organized labor that union members could keep the health plans they bargained for, if they wanted. The president could fix the glitch in ObamaCare’s interpretation of multi-employer Taft-Hartley trusts, which cover many union members, and allow them to have the same tax subsidies as other qualified health-care providers. Fix it, Mr. President!
► From AP — Rising tax revenue eases pressure for budget cuts — Rising tax receipts are shrinking the federal deficit, and that will shape the budget debate when Congress returns from vacation next month. The big question for lawmakers: Should they renew, end or modify the tens of billions of dollars in “sequester” cuts in government spending that took effect earlier this year?
► From Bloomberg — Public pensions up 12%, get most in 2 years as stocks soar — The funds chalked up an annualized three-year median return of 11.4 percent while their assets surpassed a pre-recession peak to reach $2.9 trillion, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. “I’d be happy,” said Bob Waid, a managing director at Wilshire Associates. “We’ve had a pretty good three-year run.”
► From NPR — Pentagon cuts workers’ mandated furloughs from 11 to 6 days — Civilian workers for the Department of Defense will have to take six mandatory unpaid furlough days instead of 11 days, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday.
► In today’s Washington Post — House GOP’s bill feels like abuse to workers (by Joe Davidson) — When the House left town last week for its summer vacation, Republican members left behind a little something so the federal workforce wouldn’t forget them. It’s the Stop Government Abuse Act, but federal workers might be forgiven if they feel abused.
► At Huffington Post — AFL-CIO plans to partner with progressive groups, ‘open up the labor movement’ — Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, insists that recent battles and setbacks have presented the labor movement with a chance to reinvent itself. His prognosis comes a few weeks ahead of the AFL-CIO’s quadrennial convention, the sort of confab that’s ripe for self-analysis and reflection, particularly for a movement that’s been on the ropes. Trumka said the AFL-CIO is moving to build permanent relationships with progressive allies in the immigration, civil rights and environmental movements. The convention itself will offer a reflection of that strategy, Trumka said, including a speech from progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): “It’s an opportunity for us to look at ourselves and say, ‘What we’ve been doing hasn’t been working. Let’s figure out what we need to do to change and make it work’.” It’s the kickoff of a whole new process where we open up the labor movement.”
► MUST-READ in The American Prospect — Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy: a new model for American liberalism? (by Harold Meyerson) — Last November, Long Beach voters went to the polls and, by a margin of 64% to 36%, gave the 2,000 employees at the city’s largest hotels a raise to $13 an hour and five paid sick days. In any American city, such a measure would have been groundbreaking. In Long Beach, it would have been inexplicable but for one all-important particular: The campaign behind the measure was the handiwork of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.
Established in 1993, LAANE is the think tank, policy arm, and, on occasion, political organizer for the Los Angeles labor movement. Over the past 20 years, it has become the nation’s most innovative and effective force for raising the incomes of low-wage private-sector workers. No other think tank has come up with more ways to leverage the powers of municipal government to create higher pay for America’s working class. No other community-organizing group has built more effective labor-environmental-neighborhood alliances. No other lobbyist has a better record of persuading elected officials to enact not just progressive legislation but the kind of progressive legislation that no one has ever before enacted.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.