Friday, June 26, 2015
► This morning from Huffington Post — Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that it is legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry the people they love. The decision is a historic victory for gay rights activists who have fought for years in the lower courts. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia already recognize marriage equality. The remaining 13 states ban these unions, even as public support has reached record levels nationwide.
► Today in the Seattle Times — Couples from Washington will now see their marriages recognized elsewhere — When they travel in the 13 states that had banned same-sex marriage their marriages will be legally recognized and they will be accorded the same rights as heterosexual couples, such as visitation rights should a spouse land in a hospital.
► MUST-READ in the Seattle Times — Seattle’s building boom is good news for a new generation of workers — For better or worse, Seattle is back in boom phase, fueled by the explosive growth of Amazon.com and other tech-related industries. Mostly lost in arguments over this seam-bursting is one undeniable human upside: Beneath all those hard hats are real, mostly local, people, quietly enjoying unprecedented job security.
“I represent 11,500 construction workers,” says Monty Anderson, head of the Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council, who helps dole out work done by carpenters, cement masons, boilermakers, painters, bricklayers, electrical workers, glaziers, ironworkers, plumbers, roofers, sprinkler fitters, laborers and other craft workers. “All of them are working.” Not just that day. In an industry known for its feast-or-famine uncertainty, the Seattle-area construction calendar is booked as far as the eye can see. “We’re in for a good, solid, absolute full-employment decade,” predicts Lee Newgent, executive director of the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council. “Starting right now.”
► In the PSBJ — New Boeing CEO could thaw icy relations with labor, send next jet to Puget Sound over S.C. — Concern that new CEO Dennis Muilenburg might be less polarizing toward labor has drawn attention from the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper, which ran a story Thursday suggesting the new reign could erode labor-adverse South Carolina’s future with Boeing.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima Regional workers seek to up pressure in contract talks — Unionized support staff (SEIU HealthCare 1199NW) at Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center, who have been negotiating with management since October, have launched an ad campaign to up the pressure for an agreement.
► In today’s News Tribune — Lawmakers scramble to reach deal ahead of shutdown — In order to avoid a third special session — and a potential partial government shutdown next week — lawmakers are trying to reach agreement and pass a two-year state budget before the current session ends Saturday night.
► In today’s News Tribune — Republicans propose 1-month budget as emergency option — Senate Republicans have released a plan that would enable the state to keep running an extra month in case lawmakers are unable to pass a new two-year budget by the end of the current fiscal cycle early next week.
ALSO at The Stand — Senate tea partiers are holding the state hostage
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Impact here could be dire if state government shuts down — When a storage tank near Sunnyside failed in March, spilling more than 1,000 gallons of used motor oil into a creek and polluting the Yakima River, the state Department of Ecology in Yakima promptly dispatched experts to the scene. But if state government shuts down Wednesday, after the end of the fiscal year at midnight Tuesday, due to the ongoing operating and capital budget impasse in the Legislature, no one from the Yakima Ecology office will be available to respond to similar emergencies. All 130 Ecology employees in the Yakima-based central regional office — which is also responsible for six other counties — will have been laid off without pay.
ALSO at The Stand — If lawmakers fail, Shutdown Rally July 1 in Olympia
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Get state budget done — avoid shutdown (editorial)
► In today’s NY Times — House approves trade bill’s expansion of worker aid — The trade adjustment assistance program was approved overwhelmingly, 286 to 138, as part of a broader trade bill.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Every member of Washington’s congressional delegation — except Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-5th) — voted for the TAA bill. Although the Reichert Plan to pay for TAA by cutting $700 million out of Medicare was removed, the Medicare system did not emerge unscathed.
► From Politico — How Barack Obama joined hands with Republicans to conquer his party on trade — The effort consisted of lobbying by the president and his Cabinet members, who zeroed in on a few dozen key Democratic senators and House members, wooing them with lunches, private Oval Office meetings and appearances in their states and districts… In the end, Obama himself sealed the deal. He spent an inordinate amount of time lobbying key Democrats, including Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Patty Murray of Washington. When Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) was threatening to vote against a key procedural motion in May, he placed an emergency call to the Senate cloakroom to allay her concerns on a related issue: the expiration of the Export-Import Bank.
ALSO at The Stand — Murray, Cantwell put Fast Track over the top
► From The Hill — Pelosi on trade: ‘The fight will continue’ — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed Thursday that liberals will carry their trade fight into the ongoing talks over a trans-Pacific deal at the top of President Obama’s legislative wish list.
► MUST-READ from Huffington Post — TPP: Obama sides with the wrong people for the wrong reasons at the wrong time (by Joseph Palermo) — The president had a clear choice: either side with workers, environmentalists, consumers, and progressives — or side with Wall Street, Big Pharma, Walmart, and the Koch Brothers… The fight continues because the TPP still needs to be voted on (most likely in the fall), but it’s a colossally wrongheaded political choice for the Democratic Party. Obama’s support for the TPP blurs the line between Republican and Democrat at a time when the distinctions should be sharpened going into 2016… If the Republicans run the table in 2016 they’ll cement the oligarchy, further stack the Supreme Court with plutocrat-friendly justices, and ram through policies they’ve already articulated in their budget such as slashing social programs, cutting taxes on the rich and corporations, privatizing as much of the government they can get away with (including Social Security), gutting environmental regulations, and guaranteeing the nation does nothing to deal with global warming.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
► In today’s NY Times — The Supreme Court saves ACA, again (editorial) — The decision put an end to a preposterous legal claim and made a powerful defense of the law that has helped millions pay for health insurance.
► In today’s NY Times — Measuring health care subsidies’ success — They appear to have drawn substantial numbers of younger, healthier people into the new insurance markets, stabilizing premiums, even for those who pay the full cost.
► In today’s NY Times — Hooray for Obamacare (by Paul Krugman) — You might wonder why a law that works so well and does so much good is the object of so much political venom. What conservatives have always feared about health reform is the possibility that it might succeed, and in so doing remind voters that sometimes government action can improve ordinary Americans’ lives. That’s why the right went all out to destroy the Clinton health plan in 1993, and tried to do the same to the Affordable Care Act. But Obamacare has survived, it’s here, and it’s working. The great conservative nightmare has come true. And it’s a beautiful thing.
► From The Hill — Republicans plot strategy to repeal ACA — Republicans in Congress are moving toward a plan to use a special budgetary process to repeal the ACA, after the Supreme Court ruled for a second time to uphold the controversial law.
► If singer/guitarist Mick Jones — who turns 60 today — had his time again, he would do it all the same and not change a single thing. That would mean starting out at 21 as a founding member of The Clash — one of the all-time desert-island favorite bands for the Entire Staff of The Stand — before getting kicked out in 1983 for his lack of punctuality. Then joining General Public and quitting before the band could finish its first album. And then forming this band, Big Audio Dynamite. Here is the only No. 1 hit song B.A.D. ever had… in Australia and New Zealand. Enjoy!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.