Tuesday, January 14, 2014
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Democrats move first as Legislature convenes — (The Washington State DREAM Act) passed 71-23 and was sent to the state Senate. The House passed the same bill last year but it never came up for a vote in the Senate because of opposition from conservative Republicans.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — House passes state DREAM Act on Day 1
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — No excuses on the DREAM Act (editorial) — Senate leader Rodney Tom says he supports the DREAM Act, but committee chairs make the call. It’s a wash-thy-hands, devolution of power model akin to the U.S. Senate of the 1950s, when Southern committee chairmen called the shots. Olympia in 2014 can do better. Not delivering on the DREAM Act (or transportation, for that matter) is the antithesis of leadership. Produce. Let the Senate vote.
► In today’s Olympian — Low expectations from a deeply divided Legislature (editorial) — The public’s frustration level increases when it appears likely that a number of measures, such as the Dream Act and the Reproductive Parity Act, would have passed with bipartisan support from moderate Republicans — if only the Senate leadership had allowed an up-or-down floor vote. Legislative deadlock also killed last year’s transportation revenue package and increased funding for K-12 schools that might have drawn less wrath from the Supreme Court.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Lawmakers return, but don’t expect much in short session — Senate GOP leader Mark Schoesler said Republicans plan to bring up some “unfinished business” of their own, including proposals for changes to workers’ compensation laws. “We haven’t changed,” he said.
► In today’s News Tribune — Gov. Inslee delivering ‘state of state’ speech — After his first full year in office, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee gives his “State of the State” address Tuesday at the Capitol in Olympia. (Watch it live at noon on TVW.)
► In today’s Seattle Times — State: Too few minorities, women on tunnel project — Seattle Tunnel Partners violated its contract by creating barriers to minority- and women-owned small businesses, the state Department of Transportation said.
► From AP — Oregon leaders to take up CRC — A year after they authorized $450 million in debt to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge across the Columbia River, Oregon legislators are nearing a decision about whether to do so again, this time without the state of Washington as a partner.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Rep. Larsen loses backing of Machinists over Boeing offer — Boeing Machinists still are steaming over the role some prominent Democrats played in pressing for a contract vote this month on a deal that ended the union’s pension. On Monday, the Washington Machinists Council revoked its endorsement of U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, who is running for re-election this year. The action is largely symbolic at this point since Larsen has no major opposition for his re-election campaign this year. But some labor leaders warn more payback could be in store.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Analyst: Another vote by Boeing Machinists wouldn’t change outcome — Aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton says that members of IAM District Lodge 751 would have accepted the contract even if they had voted on Jan. 6, when most were back from vacation, rather than on Jan. 3, when more senior workers were away.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing is big-plane leader; Airbus is tops in smaller jets — Airbus announced its 2013 year-end orders and delivery figures Monday, showing that last year it delivered fewer airplanes than Boeing but led its rival in jet sales.
► In the SeattlePI.com — Sawant on $15 minimum wage: ‘No phasing in’ — “They’ve already started talking about phasing it (the $15 wage) in over many, many years,” newly elected Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant told the crowd, which numbered 450 people at the start of the rally. “Nooooo!!!!!!” came a chorus of responses. “We don’t want any phasing in,” declared Sawant.
► In today’s Columbian — Albertson’s to close two more Clark County stores — The economy’s downturn over the last few years and the local expansion of discount grocery stores, such as Wal-Mart and others, made it hard for the two closing stores to remain competitive.
► From Reuters — Senate GOP makes new offer on jobless benefits — Prospects of 1.4 million unemployed Americans getting their federal jobless benefits back soon brightened on Monday when U.S. Senate Republican negotiators offered a new plan to extend the emergency relief for three months. According to a senior aides, the Republican offer would pay for the jobless benefits by extending across-the-board spending cuts, known as “sequestration,” for another year — into 2024.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Why? The deficit is already shrinking rapidly. The federal government actually turned a profit for a few weeks in December. Since October, we’ve had about $10 billion of deficit reduction every week — even while paying extended unemployment benefits. And we can’t afford $6.4 billion for families struggling with joblessness when there aren’t enough jobs?! Republicans’ government-cutting dogma is doing real harm and is opposed by most Americans. So again… why?!
ALSO at The Stand — Sign petition to Congress: End the heartless, senseless UI cutoff
► At AFL-CIO Now — Sen. Ayotte pits unemployed workers against poor children — Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has a plan. She says that to pay for extending unemployment insurance (UI), we should cut off the Child Tax Credit for 2 million families (5 million children), most of them Latino. Let’s repeat that because it sounds kind of important. To help the families of the 1.3 million workers who have been out of work for six months or more and lost their UI payments just before Christmas, Ayotte’s solution is to take money away from poor Latino children whose families are taxpayers.
► At TPM — GOP constituents are hurting from expired jobless benefits, too — Hardly a liberal bastion, El Paso County has the largest number of people in Colorado who lost unemployment benefits, and many aren’t happy about it. Plenty of Republicans, too, depend on jobless aid that Republicans in Congress are hesitant to prolong.
► At Politico — $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled — House-Senate negotiators rolled out a $1.1 trillion spending bill Monday night — a giant package that fills in the blanks of the December budget agreement and promises to restore some order to government funding over the next year. Under pressure from Republicans, the measure keeps a tight rein on new funding for Wall Street regulators and effectively freezes appropriations for President Barack Obama’s health care program at the reduced, post-sequester level.
► In the Business Journals — Supreme Court likely to side with business on Obama’s NLRB appointments — Most of the court’s justices Monday questioned whether Obama had the power to make recess appointments to the NLRB in this case. The Senate wasn’t technically in recess when Obama made these appointments — it was in a pro forma session. It wasn’t really doing anything, but Republicans kept the Senate open precisely because it wanted to block the president from using his constitutional power to make recess appointments.
► In the Washington Post — Blue-collar federal workers still seeking pay raise — The wage-grade employees in the federal government don’t get much notice, but this generally quiet group now is making noise. Employees covered by the Federal Wage System continue to labor in the cold of the three-year freeze on basic pay rates that ended with the calendar year for most workers. The 1 percent pay raise provided to their colleagues did not include wage-grade staffers.
► In today’s NY Times — California Rep. George Miller to retire from House –Miller, who was first elected in 1974, is a trusted confidant of Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader, and he is a dedicated supporter of liberal and labor causes.
► In The Nation — How the rise of women could save the labor movement — Even as the traditional labor movement falters, hitting a 97-year low in membership rates, female labor leaders are on the rise and becoming highly visible. Women workers, who were all but shut out from unions in the 1930s, when the movement first gained real power, have been pushing into the top ranks. Mary Kay Henry is president of SEIU, one of the largest unions in the country. Randi Weingarten heads the American Federation of Teachers. At the AFL-CIO, Elizabeth Shuler is the secretary-treasurer and Arlene Holt-Baker recently retired as executive vice president.
These women are bringing new ideas and strategies to labor organizing, many of which are borrowed from the women’s movement—like making the connection between what workers face on the job and what they’re dealing with at home. They don’t only target corporate bosses but bring together a variety of stakeholders within communities to fight for change in the workplace and beyond. And they’re bringing an influx of new members to the movement by reaching out to primarily female workforces that have often been excluded. Most importantly, for a movement accustomed to a steady erosion of power: they’re winning.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.