Friday, March 27, 2015
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — KapStone, union reach tentative deal — KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. and its paper union have reached a tentative contract agreement, union officials said Thursday night. The tentative deal, hammered out after 10 months of often contentious talks that appeared headed toward an impasse, emerged from a bargaining session Thursday afternoon, AWPPW officials said.
► In today’s News Tribune — Teamsters authorize a strike at Northwest Steel and Pipe — After four months of off-and-on negotiations failed to produce a contract agreement, Teamster Union members voted unanimously Tuesday night to authorize a strike at Tacoma’s Northwest Steel and Pipe Co. Union members did not begin picketing hoping that their vote would persuade the company to return to the bargaining table.
ALSO at The Stand — Teamsters at NW Steel and Pipe in Tacoma vote to strike
► In the PSBJ — Tesoro refinery plans $390M expansion as oil train regulations loom — The six-week steelworkers strike has come to an end and now Tesoro Corp. is turning its attention to $390 million in planned upgrades at its Anacortes oil refinery, partly intended to improve its export capabilities.
► In today’s Oregonian — Oregon state officials say Portland sick leave ordinance generating few complaints — The state agency tasked with enforcing Portland’s paid sick leave ordinance has spent more time educating employers about the law than forcing them to pay up, officials say.
► NOT in today’s Bellingham Herald — Bellingham City Council unanimously opposes ‘Fast Track’ — The newspaper of record in that city still hasn’t reported (at least on its website) the fact that their City Council unanimously voted to oppose “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority when Congress considers the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. But they did manage to post another newspaper’s editorial supporting Fast Track. Weird. Well, while you wait, you can find the news here at The Stand.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — House panel urged to raise gas tax, vehicle fees during hearing — A steady stream of business leaders and local government officials urged a House panel to raise the gasoline tax and several other vehicle fees and spend the projected $15 billion on roads, bridges, mass transit and ferries. The mayor of Seattle, a Pullman city councilman, representatives of Chambers of Commerce and port districts, business organizations and union leaders all urged the House Transportation Committee to support the combination of higher taxes and expanded transportation projects.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Tuition-cutting bill hits roadblock — There’s not enough money in the state’s operating budget to backfill the loss of tuition revenue — up to $232 million through 2017. The bill doesn’t provide another way to make money for higher education. “This is not about finding a new source of revenue,” said its sponsor Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia). “This is about making universities whole with the revenue we have.”
► In today’s Olympian — State Auditor told of investigation nearly two years ago, adversary says — An attorney who had sued Troy Kelley says he received a subpoena in 2013 and notified Kelley. Documents indicate the U.S. attorney’s office has been investigating since 2012.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Senator pushes state auditor Troy Kelley to testify — In the unlikely event he wants it, embattled State Auditor Troy Kelley will have his chance to testify next week before the Legislature. He’s been invited by Sen. Mark Miloscia (R-Federal Way), who was among the candidates running against Kelley in the 2012 election for state auditor, to testify before the Senate Accountability and Reform Committee.
► From the Hill — Harry Reid will not seek re-election — Longtime Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Friday that he will not seek reelection next year, triggering a race among his lieutenants to replace him. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are the number two and three Senate Democrats, and are expected to battle to replace Reid. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who serves as the Senate Democratic Conference Secretary, could also seek the post.
► In today’s NY Times — Senate approves budget of GOP wishes in all-night session — The final 52-46 vote came at 3:28 a.m., after the Senate considered hundreds of amendments and voted on dozens — many of them politically freighted, some of them contradictory, but none of them binding. No Democrats voted for the budget. Among Republicans, only Sen. Rand Paul, who is likely to seek the White House, and Sen. Ted Cruz, who has announced his intention to do so, voted no.
► From Reuters — Upset by Warren, U.S. banks debate halting some campaign donations — Big Wall Street banks are so upset with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in protest.
► From The Onion — Congressman know regular lobbyist’s order without even having to be told — Noting that the Valero Energy representative had been coming to his office for more than a decade now, Sen. John Cornyn (R‑TX) typically is already preparing the lobbyist’s usual order of tax breaks and fossil fuel subsidies even as he’s taking off his coat.
► In today’s NY Times — Mornings in Blue America (by Paul Krugman) — The fact that we’re now seeing mornings in blue America — solid job growth both at the national level and in states that have defied the right’s tax-cutting, deregulatory orthodoxy — is a big problem for conservatives. Although they would never admit it, events have proved their most cherished beliefs wrong.
► In today’s NY Times — Payday loan rules proposed by Consumer Protection Agency — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created in the aftermath of the financial crisis, took its most aggressive step yet on behalf of consumers on Thursday, proposing regulations to rein in short-term payday loans that often have interest rates of 400 percent or more.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Meanwhile in Washington, there is a bipartisan effort to relax state rules restricting payday lenders.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Health care horror stories more hairy than scary (by Shawn Vestal) — This has been, more or less, the nature of the anecdotal assault on Obamacare by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and the Republican Party — loose, unverified and often uninformed personal anecdotes of questionable factual provenance. Perhaps the best example is the political ad last year in Michigan, in which a woman with leukemia claimed she’d lost her insurance and couldn’t afford its replacement — when in fact her premiums had been cut in half.
► In the LA Times — IMF agrees: Decline of union power has increased income inequality (by Michael Hiltzik) — The International Monetary Fund’s analysis undermines the accepted wisdom that lower union membership affects chiefly low- and moderate-income workers. The fund’s analysts find instead that the impact of declining unionization is felt across the entire income spectrum. The trend not only reduces the welfare of the lower income worker, they find; it makes the rich richer: “The decline in unionization,” they write, “appears to be a key contributor to the rise of top income shares.”
► The bad news: The Entire Staff of The Stand is taking next week off for a family vacation.
The good news: Today is Sarah Vaughan’s birthday, which means you get to listen to what New York Times jazz critic John S. Wilson said “may well be the finest voice ever applied to jazz.” Enjoy, and we’ll be back on Monday, April 6.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.