Tuesday, June 30, 2015
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Two-year state budget passes; shutdown averted — The threat of a government shutdown dissipated Monday as state lawmakers passed a $38.2 billion budget for government operations in the next two years. Senators approved the plan on a 38-10 vote with Democrats casting the dissenting votes. A short time later, the House passed it on a 90-8 margin. It now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee who must sign it by midnight Tuesday to prevent dozens of state agencies from shutting down. He issued a statement late Monday praising the budget and saying he would sign it Tuesday afternoon.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Wednesday’s Shutdown Rally (thankfully) is CANCELLED!
► In today’s News Tribune — Legislature approves budget that cuts tuition, funds state worker raises — The Legislature on Monday evening approved a new two-year spending plan that would cut college tuition, give teachers cost-of-living raises and help satisfy a court order that the state fully fund public schools.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Nearly $700 million for Snohomish County projects in roads package — The public is getting their first look at the detail in a transportation revenue package that depends on increasing the gas tax by 11.9 cents a gallon in the next two years. It spends about $8.8 billion on new projects, $1.4 billion on maintaining existing roads and $602 million for Washington State Ferries, of which a portion will go to build a new 144-car vessel and construct a new terminal in Mukilteo. There’s nearly $1 billion for buses, bike paths, sidewalks and other forms of public transportation.
► In today’s Columbian — Transportation in doubt? — The transportation revenue package passed by the Senate in Olympia on Monday would raise $16.1 billion, and lawmakers plan to spend $50 million of that money on overhauling Clark County’s oldest freeway interchange. But some local Republicans (Reps. Pike and Harris) struck a different tone, foreshadowing that the package may not be a foregone conclusion to pass on what should be the last day of the 2015 Legislature.
► In today’s Wenatchee World — Firestorm destroys 28 homes, ignites commercial area — A fast-moving wildfire burned 28 homes in north Wenatchee Sunday night, sending out embers that started commercial buildings on fire about a mile away along North Wenatchee Avenue, and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people. The fire died down on Monday but firefighters are still worried about flare-ups, said Mike Burnett, chief of Chelan County Fire District 1.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Union continues prepping for KapStone strike — A strike appeared less imminent Monday, after KapStone and AWPPW officials met for the first time in 10 days. Union officials say they will continue prepping for a strike, but will meet with the company again next week.
► In today’s News Tribune — Chamber mounts ‘educational’ effort against 15 Now Tacoma minimum wage proposal — Amid a public debate about Tacoma’s minimum wage, a window of unlimited campaign spending emerges.
ALSO at The Stand — Rally TODAY to raise Tacoma’s minimum wage — Rally Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Theater on the Square, 916 Broadway. After the rally, participants will march to the Tacoma Municipal Building to attend the Tacoma City Council meeting that starts at 5 p.m. to urge the Council to adopt the most progressive ordinance possible to raise the minimum wage for the hard-working people of Tacoma.
► From The Hill — Obama set to expand overtime pay for millions of workers — The long-awaited regulation would make all salaried workers who earn less than $970 per week, roughly $50,440 per year, automatically eligible to earn overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week. The cutoff under existing rules is around $23,660 per year. The move could raise pay for nearly 5 million American workers.
► In the Washington Post — Republicans will hate Obama’s new overtime rule, but they can’t do anything about it — The overtime threshold has been raised only once since 1975, when it covered nearly half of U.S. workers; today it stands at less than $24,000, or lower than the poverty level for a family of four.
► From Politico — Sparse bipartisan crowd watches Obama sign trade bills — Two Republicans, Reps. Dave Reichert of Washington and Pat Tiberi of Ohio, proudly stood behind the president as he signed two bills, one granting him fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and another renewing assistance for displaced workers and funding development programs in Africa.
► A related story inb today’s Oregonian — As Ron Wyden preps for re-election, Oregon Business Association to give him ‘statesman’ award
► From The Hill — Largest federal workers union sues OPM over breach — The American Federation of Government Employees on Monday became the first to sue the Office of Personnel Management in the wake of the massive data breach that has shaken the government. That breach laid bare the security clearance background investigations on upwards of 18 million people.
► In today’s NY Times — State marijuana laws complicate federal job recruitment — Applicants living where marijuana is legal are being warned that federal agencies still will not tolerate its use.
► From the Hill — The clock runs out on Ex-Im — The Export-Import Bank will expire just after midnight Tuesday, and backers of reauthorizing the embattled federal institution have no clear path forward in Congress.
► From AP — Supreme Court takes up dispute over union fees — The Supreme Court will consider limiting the power of government employee unions to collect fees from non-members in a case that labor officials say could threaten membership and further weaken union clout. The justices said Tuesday they will hear an appeal from a group of California teachers who say it violates their First Amendment rights to have to pay any fees if they disagree with a union’s positions and don’t want to join it. The teachers want the court to overturn a 38-year-old legal precedent that said unions can require non-members to pay for bargaining costs as long as the fees don’t go toward political purposes.
“The Supreme Court is revisiting decisions that have made it possible for people to stick together for a voice at work and in their communities — decisions that have stood for more than 35 years,” said the statement from the NEA, AFT, AFSCME, SEIU and the California Teachers Association.
► In today’s NY Times — U.S. Chamber of Commerce works globally to fight antismoking measures — From Ukraine to Uruguay, Moldova to the Philippines, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its foreign affiliates have become the hammer for the tobacco industry, engaging in a worldwide effort to fight antismoking laws of all kinds.
► In the Washington Post — Corporate America beat back its best job trainers, and now it’s paying a price — Although it has historically constructed high-quality educational pipelines to well-paying jobs in cooperation with employers, labor has lost ground over the years. In the absence of union training programs, businesses in vast sectors of the economy are scrambling to meet their workforce needs through other means, like piecemeal job training programs and partnerships with community colleges, with few solutions that have really broad reach.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.