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Boeing’s breaks, price of politics, stifling cities…

Tuesday, February 24, 2015




WTO-rules► In today’s Seattle Times — WTO to review European claims of illegal tax breaks for Boeing 777X — The World Trade Organization on Monday agreed to set up a panel to examine European Union allegations that Washington state’s $8.7 billion in Boeing tax breaks to land the 777X in Everett are subsidies barred under global trade rules. The EU argues that a 2013 decision by Washington state to extend until the end of 2040 “very significant” tax breaks for Boeing violated a 2012 WTO ruling that the incentives were illegal.

► A related story in today’s Olympian — Retirement crisis for elderly is here (editorial) — Defined benefit pension plans are an endangered species, in spite of the fact that they are the most reliable guarantee of post-retirement income… The specter of growing poverty among the elderly ought to inspire a concerted, national effort to protect all Americans from privation in our old age. We hope our congressional delegation will make this a high priority, because this is a problem our Legislature cannot solve alone.




► From KPLU — Controversial school reforms could complicate funding debate — Washington lawmakers are in contempt of court over school funding. But it’s a couple of non-funding issues that could create a partisan rift. Republicans are back this year with two controversial school reform measures. One would require teacher layoffs to be based on performance, not seniority. The other would make student performance on a statewide standardized test part of a teacher’s annual evaluation.

big-oil-leg-contributions► In today’s Seattle Times — Oil industry not buying Gov. Jay Inslee’s cap-and-trade plan — The association representing the state’s five major oil refineries has worked with other business and agriculture groups to stymie Inslee’s proposal. The fossil-fuel lobby is politically well-positioned to block the plan. The oil and gas sector has sent more than $415,000 in direct donations to Washington legislative candidates since 2012. The top eight recipients are members of the state Senate’s Republican-led majority caucus, where leaders have opposed advancing any version of a cap-and-trade proposal this year.




► In today’s News Tribune — Longshore workers trying to clean up backlog — Weeks of work remain ahead for longshore workers laboring to erase the backlog of accumulated containers at the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.

► In the PSBJ — In wake of dock pact, some ships depart so fast they leave cargo behind

ldn-nyman-cowlitz-clc► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Nyman takes reins of Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council — The experience of attending a massive labor protest at the Michigan state capitol fueled Shawn Nyman’s passion for labor organizing and eventually led her to becoming the first woman elected to be president of the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council in at least 15 years. The post makes her one of the area’s most influential labor leaders. Earlier this month, Nyman of Longview replaced Kyle Mackey, who is stepping down after eight years.

► In the PSBJ — Seattle mayor proposes 4-week paid maternity, paternity leave as model for businesses — Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, along with Councilmember Jean Godden, have proposed four-week paid leave for city employees with new babies. The plan, if approved by the City Council, is something the mayor hopes will become a model for the region’s business community, he said.

► In the Seattle Times — Paid parental leave is good for parents and business (by Ed Murray and Jean Godden) — While ours is the first benefit of its kind for public employers in a major Northwest city, the United States remains the only developed country in the world without paid parental leave. It is time for our country to recognize the importance of this issue and respond with appropriate policies that support our workers and their families.

► From Q13 FOX — Dozens protest deportation at Tacoma detention center — Dozens of demonstrators protested the deportation of a hunger strike leader Monday morning at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Supporters of Cipriano Rios said he was being returned to Mexico after being refused asylum. He has been held for a year-and-a-half.

► In today’s Columbian — Herrera Beutler censure on county GOP agenda — The political drama swirling around a vote to rebuke U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler by members of her own party could reach its climax Saturday.

EDITOR’S NOTE — A better reason to rebuke Rep. Herrera Beutler: her complicity in this…




TSA-screeners► In today’s Washington Post — Republicans split on DHS funding, edging closer to partial agency shutdown — Congressional Republicans remained sharply divided Monday over how to fund the Department of Homeland Security, prompting White House officials to begin preparations for a potential shutdown of the agency this weekend. In the event of a shutdown, the immediate public impact is likely to be minimal. Most security officers would stay on the job, unpaid, during a shutdown while tens of thousands of administrative staffers would be deemed “non­essential” and furloughed until a funding deal was reached.

► In The Hill — Moving toward fixing out broken immigration system (by President Barack Obama) — It’s time to end the era of manufactured crises, put politics aside and focus on doing what’s best for America. So while I will fight any attempt to turn back the progress we’ve made or break up families across our country, I welcome the opportunity to work with anyone who wants to build on the improvements we’ve put in place, and fix our broken immigration system once and for all. Throughout our history, America’s tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants has continually shaped us for the better. If we renew that tradition, and build upon it for future generations, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.

9-11-times-three► At Think Progress — Some 10,000 Americans will die if the Supreme Court chooses to gut ACA — A brief filed on behalf of multiple public health scholars and the American Public Health Association, estimates that “over 9,800 additional Americans” will die if the justices side with the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell.

► At Politico — Poll shows support for Obama’s tax plan — When asked whether they’d favor increasing the capital gains tax on stocks owned by households making more than $500,000 per year, 56 percent of those surveyed said they would, in the latest AP poll. And 68 percent of respondents said wealthy households pay “too little” in federal taxes.

► In The Hill — Feds move to cover same-sex couples under FMLA — The Labor Department updated the FMLA regulatory definition of “spouse” to ensure that eligible employees in a legal same-sex marriage can take family medical leave to care for a spouse regardless of the state in which they reside.

► At AFL-CIO Now — White House moves to close retirement advice loophole — The Obama administration Monday took the first step to close a loophole that can drain away thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars of hard-earned savings from a single retirement account.

► At Think Progress — Murkowski threatens to fire park rangers in continued fight with Obama Administration — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) threatened to cut thousands of park ranger and natural resource management jobs across the country, escalating an ongoing fight over its plans to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.





► From AP — Wisconsin ‘right-to-work’ debate begins with hearing — Opponents of a Republican push to turn Wisconsin into a right-to-work state began to converge on the Capitol on Tuesday for a rally and to testify against the fast-tracked measure. Gov. Scott Walker has said he will sign the bill into law once it clears the Republican-controlled Legislature. Lawmakers made a surprise announcement Friday that they were going to push the bill through in a matter of days, giving union opponents little time to organize against it.

► In the Capital Times — NFL players union opposes Wisconsin right-to-work bill

► At AFL-CIO Now — Wisconsin set to stop ‘right-to-work’ fast track; here’s how you can help — If you are not in Wisconsin but would still like to help out, sign the online petition against right to work in Wisconsin and please make a donation.

► At AFL-CIO Now — TPP: Four potential partners don’t comply with international labor rights — A new AFL-CIO report released today finds that four nations that would be major players under the Trans-Pacific Partnership are out of compliance with international labor standards and, therefore, with the commitments they would undertake under the TPP. The report finds that workers in Mexico, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei face ongoing and systematic abuse and violations of workers’ rights with the complicity or direct involvement of the governments.

► At Huffington Post — Judge: Chris Christie broke his own law by cutting pension contributions — A New Jersey judge on Monday ruled that Governor Chris Christie broke his own law when he decided to cut $1.6 billion of contributions from its public pension system. Christie had proposed the cuts last May to try to plug a $2.7 billion revenue shortfall projected through fiscal 2015.

► In the L.A. Times — Women are leaving the tech industry in droves — Computing jobs will more than double by 2020, to 1.4 million. If women continue to leave the field, an already dire shortage of qualified tech workers will grow worse. Last summer, Google, Facebook, Apple and other big tech companies released figures showing that men outnumbered women 4 to 1 or more in their technical sectors.




corporate-stop-sign► In the NY Times — Govern yourselves, state lawmakers tell cities, but not too much — Pre-empting the power of local governments is becoming a standard part of the legislative playbook in many states where Republicans who control statehouses are looking to block or overturn the actions of leaders, and even voters, in municipalities that are often more liberal. So-called pre-emption laws, passed in states across the country, have banned cities from regulating landlords, building municipal broadband systems and raising the minimum wage. In the last two years, eight Republican-dominated states, most recently Alabama and Oklahoma, have prevented cities from enacting paid sick leave for workers.

Often these efforts are driven by industry, which finds it easier to wield influence in 50 capitols than in thousands of city halls… The strategy was pioneered by tobacco companies 30 years ago to override local smoking bans. It was perfected by the National Rifle Association, which has succeeded in preventing local gun regulations in almost every state. More recently, the restaurant industry is leading the fight to block municipalities from increasing the minimum wage or enacting paid sick leave ordinances in more than a dozen states, including Florida, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

EDITOR’S NOTE — It should be noted that the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council offers several “model bills” on preempting various local standards. Last year, such legislation was introduced in Washington by several Senate Republicans, including then-State ALEC Chair: Sen. Jan Angel (R-Port Orchard).


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