Wednesday, August 20, 2014
► At TPM — Microsoft ditches ALEC in latest blow to conservative bill mill — Microsoft said on Tuesday that it will end its involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative advocacy group, reportedly because of the group’s lobbying against renewable energy. Microsoft joins Coca-Cola, General Motors, Bank of America, and Proctor & Gamble as some of the major corporations that have severed their relationship with ALEC, according to CNET. Others — like Google, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo, and Yelp — remain involved with the group.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Click here to see a list of former and current Washington legislators that maintain their ALEC membership. And see how ALEC-written bills continue to be introduced by Senate Republicans in our Legislature.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Lawmakers turn up the heat on troubled ferry system — Mechanical problems, errors and personnel issues are prompting lawmakers and others to discuss how to fix the Washington State Ferries system. But as elected officials call for hearings and sackings, the head of WSF says the public ought to focus on what he calls an unparalleled safety and reliability record.
► At CrossCut — A limit on lawmakers’ free lunches — The Washington Legislative Ethics Board has come up a definition for the word “infrequent”: 12 or less. That appears to be the number of free meals a state legislator will be able to accept from lobbyists in a year. In a 5-to-3 vote on Tuesday, the ethics board tentatively set one dozen meals as the proposed limit. A final vote by the board is scheduled for Oct. 21.
► In today’s Olympian — The ‘McCleary’ of state’s transportation system (editorial) — According to the state DOT, there are 1,987 barriers to fish passage in the state highway system. As of 2013, 285 fish passage projects have unblocked 971 miles of potential upstream fish habitat. But a U. S. District Court injunction has mandated that 1,014 more be corrected by 2030. Culvert repair is part of the state’s transportation budget – or would be, if the legislature could muster the political will to actually pass a transportation budget, which it has repeatedly failed to do. And even if and when a transportation budget is passed, there will be intense pressure to put the transportation needs of people ahead of the needs of fish and treaty rights.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Grain exports: Workers were locked out, not on strike (letter) — The Times editorial’s glib pass over of the fact workers were locked out, not on strike, while the ships kept being loaded and moved with state grain inspectors integral to this process would seem to put the state on the side of the shippers and not a neutral in the dispute.
ALSO at The Stand — Sign of the Times: Holding greedy corporations harmless (Aug. 15)
► At HA Seattle — Are you a member of HA Local 1? — The latest fundraising email from Freedom Foundation Boss Tom McCabe (pictured at right) is absolutely blunt that their primary objective is to “defund” organized labor. There’s zero talk about freedom or liberty here. These city “right-to-work” initiatives have nothing to do with workers’ rights, or transparency, or good government. And there’s certainly nothing grassroots about them. This is a purely partisan fight by a corporatist-backed corporate shill seeking to defund the political opposition.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — GOP hopeful Celis wins primary, will take on U.S. Rep. DelBene — Republican Pedro Celis will move on to the November general election after edging out fellow Republican challenger Robert Sutherland by just shy of 1,000 votes in the August primary race for Washington’s 1st Congressional District.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — SC aerospace study shows jump in workers and wages, but WA still far ahead — A South Carolina study concludes that private-sector aerospace employment comprises 17,114 employees working at 466 firms. This is about 13% of the 132,500 workers at 1,300 aerospace companies in Washington, according to the Washington Aerospace Partnership. Boeing employment numbers may be the most realistic. As of the end of July, Boeing employed 8,267 in South Carolina, just 10% of Boeing’s employment in Washington.
► In today’s NY Times — The right to cheat and maim? (editorial) — It would seem noncontroversial to advise federal procurement officials to steer clear of companies with repeated and egregious violations that cheat, sicken, harm, and kill workers. But when President Obama signed an executive order in late July to that effect, the pushback from industry groups was immediate… The contractors who oppose the order seem to have forgotten that they are bidding for taxpayer dollars. They are not entitled to contracts; they must qualify. And when they obtain a contract, they are working for the people, not the other way around.
► In today’s Washington Post — There are zero states where the percentage of people employed has gone up since the recession — From 2007 to 2014, the employment rate among 25- to 54-year-olds has declined in the United States by 3.5%, and no state reported employment gains during that time, according to data released by the Pew Charitable Trust.
► In today’s Oregonian — Fast-food store banned some workers from becoming pregnant, $242,000 suit claims — Fast-food worker Claudia Melesio-Rojas says that Del Taco Gresham restaurant managers told employees that they weren’t allowed to become pregnant. She did indeed become pregnant and was fired after several months passed and she became visibly pregnant, according to a $242,000 lawsuit filed this week.
► At AFL-CIO Now — San Francisco taxi workers vote to unionize — San Francisco taxi drivers last week voted to form the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance (SFTWA) and affiliate with the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA).
► From TIME magazine — The coming race war won’t be about race (by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) — Unless we want the Ferguson atrocity to also be swallowed and become nothing more than an intestinal irritant to history, we have to address the situation not just as another act of systemic racism, but as what else it is: class warfare… The fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts America from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor. And that’s how the status quo wants it.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.