Wednesday, January 21, 2015
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle takes step to hire more workers from distressed areas — The Seattle City Council approved a new “priority hire” ordinance Tuesday that aims to put more people from economically distressed local neighborhoods to work on large city construction projects. Between 2009 and 2013, only 6 percent of workers on 33 city construction projects were Seattle residents and only 25 percent were King County residents, a study found. “To be out of work and see buildings go up around your neighborhood is very tough,” said Ray Hall, 41, a Rainier Beach resident and IBEW Local 46 electrician. Unions will be heavily involved in the implementation of the new ordinance. Not only will each project be subject to a project labor agreement negotiated by unions, unions will dispatch the workers.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle city employees walk out to rally for police reform — More than 100 Seattle city employees walked out of work Tuesday and gathered on the steps of City Hall to demonstrate their support for police reform.
► In today’s News Tribune — Two charged in attack on nurse at Western State Hospital — Two men held at Western State Hospital allegedly attacked two employees, choking one during a struggle.
► In today’s Columbian — State GOP backs Herrera Beutler in censure controversy — The Washington State Republican Party backed U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Camas) on Tuesday and blasted the local Clark County GOP, calling them “discontents” who are “misrepresenting themselves as speaking for the Republican Party.”
► In today’s Oregonian — Blueberry growers settle with DOL for over $70,000 over farmworker pay orders — Two Oregon blueberry farmers who were strong-armed into paying $220,000 rather than risk losing an entire harvest, according to a federal judge, have reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — House panel considers ‘ag-gag’ bill — An “ag-gag” bill to protect farm operations from unapproved video and audio recordings would hurt whistleblowers and interfere with free speech rights, legislators were told on Tuesday. Critics including the Humane Society of the United States and the American Civil Liberties Union said language in the bill is so broad that it could become a crime to cause economic harm or hardship to any business. That would include a strike, work stoppage or boycott. “This is the opposite of public safety,” Teresa Mosqueda of the Washington State Labor Council said. “We must not criminalize those who bring these abuses to light.”
► At Crosscut — Harsh response to measure some see as an ‘ag-gag’ bill
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Lawmakers debate undercover farm video bill
► In the Spokesman-Review — Ag-gag bill not in public’s best interest (editorial)
► In the News Tribune — Don’t criminalize farm-abuse whistleblowing (editorial)
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Little money to fix Tri-City area’s problem bridges — Benton and Franklin counties have three bridges considered structurally deficient. Two are crucial to regional transportation but there’s no money budgeted to fix them. The condition of bridges at Prosser and Pasco and near Umatilla were highlighted this week, when an interstate overpass being prepared for demolition in Cincinnati collapsed, killing a backhoe operator.
► In the Seattle Times — Drones, guns, minimum wage, ag-gag: things Republicans said today — Republican Deputy Leader Sen. Jon Braun said the threat of a minimum-wage proposal going to a public vote could force lawmakers to find a compromise.
► From AP — Tim Eyman files 17 initiatives — The start of the new year is also initiative filing season in Washington. The secretary of state’s office says 37 have been filed so far, led by 17 from initiative activist Tim Eyman. Some of Eyman’s initiatives are called the Taxpayer Protection Act, Tougher on Tolls, Bring Back $30 Car Tabs and Let the Voters Decide on Red Light Cameras.
► In today’s News Tribune — Former Democrat Martin Moore to run as Republican for state House — Martin Moore, a Federal Way City Council member and former aide to the late Democratic Rep. Roger Freeman, has announced he will seek Freeman’s seat in November.
► In today’s Columbian — Health exchange holds enrollment drive — The state-based health insurance exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, is launching a statewide enrollment drive ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline.
► In today’s Columbian — Agency OKs preparation for oil terminal trial — The state agency that reviews major energy projects agreed Tuesday to launch preliminary meetings that will help set the stage for a courtlike trial of a proposal to build the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal at the Port of Vancouver.
STATE OF THE UNION
► In today’s NY Times — Obama defiantly sets an ambitious agenda — The president claimed credit for an improving economy and defiantly told his Republican adversaries in Congress to “turn the page” by supporting an expensive domestic agenda aimed at improving the fortunes of the middle class.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Obama’s SOTU was ‘right message at the right time’
► In today’s NY Times — A bold call to action, even if no action is likely — Watching an emboldened Obama, it would have been easy to forget that he was standing there just two months after the biggest electoral repudiation of his presidency. Indeed, with economic indicators on the rise and his own poll numbers rebounding slightly, he made no reference at all to the midterm elections, offered no concessions about his own leadership and proposed no compromises to accommodate the political reality.
► At Politico — Liberals: Great speech, except on trade — Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio said trade is “No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 in terms of things” that House Democrats “will find objectionable to the speech, along with a long list of things we would like.”
TAKE A STAND — Add your voice to the many thousands of Americans who are calling today to tell Congress “Say No to Fast Track” in a national call-in event. Use the AFL-CIO’s toll-free hotline — 1-855-712-8441 — to get connected to your Representative. Tell your Representative to vote “No” on Fast Track trade promotion authority because Fast Track will allow more of the same failed trade policies that have hurt working families for the last 20 years. Read more.
► In today’s Columbian — Lawmakers vow to avoid gridlock in Congress — In response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night all three of Southwest Washington’s congresswomen pledged to avoid partisan gridlock and work together to improve the nation.
► At Think Progress — Republican response to Obama SOTU dodges nearly every major issue — The short response of Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) included details about her childhood in Iowa and the importance of honoring veterans, but ignored most of the concrete policies Obama announced in his address, including the major topics of immigration, policies for working families, foreign policy, and climate change.
► In The Onion — Biden arrives early to set up State of The Union fog machine
► At Politico — The states of the union… are not all strong — Taking as granted a few basic ideas — that education, health and wealth generally make us better off, while crime, unemployment and death do not — Politico compiled 14 existing rankings of the 50 states using the most recent data available from sources like the Census Bureau, the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And then averaged out each state’s 14 rankings to come up with a master list.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington ranks 9th.
► From AP — Ironworkers leader convicted of overseeing vandalism, violence — Joseph Dougherty of Ironworkers Local 401 in Philadelphia was convicted in a sweeping racketeering case of overseeing violence, vandalism and intimidation to get construction jobs for his members.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.