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Debate the TPP, Senate acts, FF fails (again), GOP haters…

Tuesday, March 3, 2015




WA-congress-fast-track► In today’s LA Times — Let’s debate the Trans-Pacific Partnership — history’s largest trade deal — before OKing it (by Robert Reich and Richard Trumka) — A fast-tracked TPP would lock in a rigged set of economic rules, lasting potentially forever, before most Americans — let alone some members of Congress — have had a chance to understand it thoroughly. It would be a grave mistake for Congress to authorize fast-tracking this giant trade deal… Congress should debate whether the Trans-Pacific Partnership promotes the shared values of democracy and prosperity that the United States stands for, as well as sets high standards for countries such as China to follow. Or whether it merely speeds the global race to the bottom. If it’s the latter, Congress should be able to change it, not act as a rubber stamp on agreements negotiated in secret. It can start by not fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

TAKE A STAND!  Please sign the AFL-CIO’s petition opposing Fast Track.




transportation-poison-pill► In today’s Seattle Times — Senate OKs transportation package, boost in gas tax — Over the objections of most of the chamber’s Democrats, the state Senate on Monday passed a $15 billion transportation package, including an 11.7-cent gas tax increase. Many Democrats opposed to the proposal cited environmental concerns, including a provision intended to keep Gov. Jay Inslee from enacting low-carbon fuel standards as a way to cut greenhouse gases.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Not just Inslee, but any governor… for 16 years.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Fix fatal flaws in transportation package (by Sen. Pramila Jayapal)

PLUS — WSLC’s Johnson: Lose poison pills, pass ‘clean’ transportation package

MORE local coverage in today’s News Tribune, Spokesman-Review, from AP and KUOW.

► In today’s News Tribune — 2/3-for-taxes rule ruled unconstitutional in state Senate — Lt. Gov. Brad Owen said Monday he won’t enforce a Senate rule making it harder to pass new taxes — ruling it violates the state Constitution.

► At PubliCola — Democrats win a big one, but lose a big one — Score one for the Democrats who prevented a precedent-setting GOP end run around the February 2013 state Supreme Court ruling against the larger two-thirds requirement to raise taxes… (But) the Democrats also lost big today. It’s not just that a conservative transportation package gets to frame the debate now, but the Republicans also get to frame the bigger debate.

► From KUOW — $12 minimum wage vote likely in House — The Washington House is expected to vote this week on a $12 per hour minimum wage. Speaker of the House Frank Chopp telegraphed that upcoming vote in a recent meeting with Capitol reporters.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In fact, according to the House Democratic Caucus, that vote could happen this afternoon.




freedom-foundation-RTW► In the Wenatchee World — Chelan anti-union petitions struck down in court — A Chelan County judge on Thursday became the latest to reject a set of union-busting public initiatives forwarded to city councils statewide — this time in Chelan. Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan found in favor of the city, which was sued last year over its decision to neither adopt as law two referendums approved by petition, nor place them on the ballot. The initiatives were promoted by the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation… Nearly identical Freedom Foundation-backed petitions circulated last year in Blaine, Sequim and Shelton. Those cities’ councils rejected both bills last summer. In two of those cities, petitioners filed suit, and judges in both cases likewise rejected their claims

ALSO at The Stand — Complaint: Right-wing group hid ‘right-to-work’ political activity (Feb. 19)

PLUS — Right-wing Freedom Foundation swept, but still suing away (Oct. 17, 2014)

► In today’s News Tribune — Canadian lumber company completes purchase of Simpson mills — Vancouver, B.C.’s Interfor Corporation began operating the four mills in Tacoma, Longview, Meldrim, Ga.; and Georgetown, S.C. on Monday. Under Interfor, the Tacoma mill will employ about 125 workers.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Sale of Longview Simpson mill to Interfor Corp. finalized — The deal includes Simpson’s Longview mill, where 96 workers are currently employed. Counting all four plants, about 400 former Simpson workers were rehired by Interfor, or about 90 percent of the Simpson workforce.

► From KUOW — Metro transit looking to hire Bathroom Tsar — King County Metro is looking to hire a Comfort Coordinator. This person will be in charge of making sure bus drivers can go to the bathroom when they need to. It’s part of Metro’s response to a fine from the state last year.




► In today’s Seattle Times — A story from the front line of the Social Security fight (by Gina Owens) — Social Security Disability Insurance is a lifeline that millions of people, including myself, have paid into in order to have financial security if we were to become disabled. I have been on disability due to a car accident that severely damaged my spine and knee… Republicans in Congress have made their intentions to dismantle Social Security, the nation’s most successful and popular anti-poverty program, very clear.

homeland-security-shutdown-ahead► At Huffington Post — Boehner blinks, will allow for clean funding of Department of Homeland Security — The House will finally vote on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security without immigration measures, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told his conference at a meeting on Tuesday. The vote will come after the House narrowly averted a shutdown last Friday when the House GOP rejected a “clean” DHS funding bill passed in the Senate. Now, the House is conceding defeat on getting immigration measures into the DHS bill. The vote could come as soon as Tuesday.

► From the Hill — The terrible, horrible, no good start for the Republicans — The opening weeks of the 114th Congress have been nothing short of a disaster for Republicans, who declared upon taking control of both chambers last fall that the era of governing by crisis and fiscal cliffs was over.




supreme-court-building► At Think Progress — What you need to know about the case that could destroy the ACA — If the justices rule against Obamacare, 34 states will be left scrambling to figure out what to do next; 13 million Americans will lose access to health insurance subsidies; premiums could increase between 122 percent and 774 percent; 8 million more Americans will go uninsured; 71 percent of people will disagree with the ruling.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Four words may imperil ACA — It was Thomas M. Christina, an employment benefits lawyer from Greenville, S.C., who found the vulnerability in the sprawling law.

► In today’s NY Times — Will Supreme Court say ‘no’ to gerrymandering? (editorial) — Americans need to have more direct control over the integrity of the electoral process, which has been weakened by, among other things, increasingly sophisticated methods of carving up districts and destroying political competition. Voters in dozens of states have, in fact, skipped over their legislatures to pass scores of laws or amendments setting out electoral rules, from eligibility requirements to redistricting — all of which might be called into question depending on how the court rules.




► At Think Progress — This city just ensured that workers can get a paid day off if they get sick — Bloomfield, New Jersey became the ninth city in the state and 18th city in the country to pass a paid sick leave law on Monday evening.




union-thugs► From Huffington Post — The GOP’s blind hatred of union members (by Leo W. Gerard) — Republican governors across the country, just like Rauner and Walker, feel entitled to thrash the American labor union, the institution responsible for dramatically reducing income inequality in this country by organizing working people into concerted actions essential to securing better wages, benefits and working conditions. It has never been clear until now why Republicans so hated the idea of hard-working Americans banding together to negotiate to receive a more fair share of profits derived from the sweat of their brows. Walker’s conflating ISIS terrorists with labor protestors while CPAC conference attendees cheered explains it all. Republicans are so blinded by hatred of empowered workers that they’re irrational.


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

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