Judicial activism, offshored Walgreen, truck safety…

Tuesday, July 22, 2014




► This morning from AP — Federal appeals court delivers serious setback to Obama health care law — A federal appeals court delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama’s health care law Tuesday, potentially derailing billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies. In a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a group of small business owners argued that the law authorizes subsidies only for people who buy insurance through markets established by the states — not by the federal government. A divided court agreed, in a 2-1 decision that could mean premium increases for more than half the 8 million Americans who have purchased taxpayer-subsidized coverage under the law. The ruling affects consumers who bought coverage in the 36 states served by the federal insurance marketplace, or exchange.

► In today’s Seattle Times — White House says health subsidies will continue — The Obama administration immediately declared that those policyholders will keep getting financial aid for their premiums as it seeks review of the ruling. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the decision would have “no practical impact” on tax credits as the case works its way through further court appeals.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington health exchange sounds the alarm, questions Deloitte — One message came through loud and clear at today’s meeting of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s Operations Committee: It may not be time to panic about the health exchange’s problem-riddled invoicing and payments system, but it is time to sound the alarm and get all hands on deck.




► In today’s Seattle Times — The warning sign for state DOT in Skagit bridge collapse (editorial) — At a time when passage of a transportation package is critical to relieve congestion and remedy a huge maintenance backlog on the state’s highways, and the DOT’s management has been called into question by a stuck tunneling machine, the last thing the agency needs is another black eye.

► In today’s Olympian — Washington loses bid to avoid sending out failing school letters — Washington state won’t get a pass this summer on telling parents that their kids attend failing schools, the federal government says.




► In the (Longview) Daily News — Temco grain terminal expansion on track for fall completion, officials say — A $50 million expansion of a Port of Kalama grain terminal is running behind schedule, but owners say the project should be completed in time to load crops from the fall harvest.

► In today’s News Tribune — Rep. Denny Heck undergoes surgery to remove gallbladder — First-term Democratic congressman from Olympia moved up his surgery from August due to undisclosed symptoms, aides said.




► From NPR — States that raised minimum wage see faster job growth — New data suggests that raising the minimum wage in some states might have spurred job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen. In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, would cost 500,000 jobs.

ALSO at The Stand — More jobs created in states that have raised minimum wage (July 8, 2014)

► In today’s NY Times — Obama calls for ban on job bias against gays — President Obama, declaring himself on “the right side of history,” called on Congress on Monday to ban job discrimination against gay Americans as he signed an executive order doing so for workers of federal contractors.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Trumka: Working families stand with Obama against workplace discrimination — “It is wrong for any employer to discriminate against or fire a worker based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Discrimination in the workplace has no place in the United States. That’s why it’s difficult to believe that in many parts of the country, it’s legal to fire workers for their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

► In today’s NY Times — Obama’s bold order on bias (editorial) — The president rightly used his executive authority to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against gays, lesbians and transgender people.




► At AFL-CIO Now — Tell T-Mobile to stop exporting American jobs — Employees who has been speaking out against T-Mobile’s job exports and anti-worker practices aimed at employees seeking a voice on the job since 2012 now fear even more jobs will be lost because of a possible T-Mobile-Sprint merger. But you can help by signing a petition demanding T-Mobile improve working conditions and stop shipping America’s jobs overseas.

► From MSN — Walgreen may ditch U.S. for Switzerland — The chain will derive nearly all its sales and most of its profits from its 8,700 U.S. locations. but Walgreen is currently thinking about leaving American shores. The move could help Walgreen lower its U.S. tax bill saving the company hundreds of millions of dollars a year — money that wouldn’t flow into the U.S. Treasury.

► In today’s NY Times — Detroit retirees vote to lower pensions, in support of bankruptcy plan — Coming to terms with what came to be seen as inevitable, this city’s public-sector retirees have voted to lower their expected pension benefits, a crucial step in the city’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of the year.

► In the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram — Mechanics, ground workers from US Airways approve new contract with American — The three-year contract, which covers 11,000 workers represented by the International Association of Machinists, includes furlough protection and raises in each year.




► In today’s News Tribune — Focus on economics, not electronics, to fight trucker fatigue (by Karen Levy) — Economist Michael Belzer has compared trucks to “sweatshops on wheels” because of the low rates of pay, long working hours and unsafe conditions. To be sure, we should implement sensible rules that restrict drivers’ work hours to reasonable standards, and electronic monitoring may be a useful tool for doing so. But electronic monitoring is an incomplete solution to a serious public safety problem. If we want safer highways and fewer accidents, we must also attend to the economic realities that drive truckers to push their limits.


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

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