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Inslee signs budget, Pharma ♥’s TPP, GOP field hates unions…

Wednesday, July 1, 2015




inslee-jay-gov► In today’s Olympian — Gov. Inslee signs new state budget to avert government shutdown — State agencies stayed open Wednesday and government officials took steps to make amends with the state Supreme Court — those were two of the main accomplishments of the new two-year operating budget that Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law late Tuesday evening.

► In today’s News Tribune — Deal not yet sealed, but gas-tax increase advances — The Legislature voted in Wednesday’s early hours to approve the largest gas-tax increase in Washington’s history and the first in a decade.

► In today’s News Tribune — Legislature passes funding for construction projects — The capital budget would fund K-3 classrooms, mental-health beds and a state office building and would start the process of building a new prison.

► From AP — Legislature cuts state tuition by 15-20 percent — A decision this week to cut tuition for Washington state’s public universities by 15 to 20 percent over the next two years is a rare move that national experts believe could influence other states as they come out from under the recession.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing loses $1.3B tanker deal to Airbus — The Boeing Co.’s KC-46 Pegasus tanker was shut out again Tuesday, this time by South Korea. That makes the aerial refueling tanker 0-for-6 competing for foreign military contracts.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Why no vote on export tool? (editorial) — It might only be temporary, but Congress’ failure to reauthorize the charter of the federal Export-Import Bank by yesterday’s deadline offers an alarming look at the potential effect of its absence… The bank is opposed chiefly by tea party Republicans.




raise-up-tacoma► In today’s News Tribune — Rally for higher minimum wage draws 150 in Tacoma — The crowd made their thoughts clear: the state’s current $9.47 per hour minimum wage is not enough to pay much more than rent in Tacoma… At the City Council hearing, Mayor Marilyn Strickland told the full auditorium that the council wanted more time to consider the minimum wage task force’s recommendations.

► In today’s Columbian — Corrections contract approved by Clark County council — The county council unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Clark County Corrections Officers Guild that includes retroactive payments to former guild members.




big-pharma-cash► From Politico — Leaked: What’s in Obama’s trade deal — A recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal would give U.S. pharmaceutical firms unprecedented protections against competition from cheaper generic drugs, possibly transcending the patent protections in U.S. law. The draft chapter leaked to Politico will provide ammunition for critics who have warned that TPP’s protections for pharmaceutical companies could dump trillions of dollars of additional health care costs on patients, businesses and governments around the Pacific Rim.




► From Bloomberg — West Coast port labor dispute shows contract negotiations work, Perez says — The labor secretary says he opposes a Senate bill that would give the government more power to intervene in labor disputes that disrupt cargo.

► In today’s Oregonian — Idaho senator tries to stop labor slowdowns after Port of Portland container terminal woes — Portland’s container terminal operator is working with an Idaho senator to stop unions from slowing down work as a negotiation tactic.

trumka-obama► From Politico — Obama and labor reconcile, sort of, on overtime — Last week, President Barack Obama was a traitor to progressive groups and unions for pushing his trade agenda through Congress. This week, he’s their hero for putting forward a regulation to expand overtime, which would give an estimated 5 million Americans a raise.

► In today’s NY Times — Obama overtime rule scratches the surface in helping the middle class — “This rule will raise wages and lead to better lives for millions of working people in the lower middle part of the labor market,” said AFL-CIO Policy Director Damon Silvers. “Of course it’s necessary, but it’s not sufficient. Not by a long shot. Wage stagnation is a problem for 90 percent of workers.”

► In today’s NY Times — A needed update for overtime pay (editorial) — A Labor Department plan would give millions of American workers a toehold in the middle class by raising the limit to qualify for overtime pay.




black-church-fire-SC► In today’s NY Times — Black church in South Carolina is latest to burn in the South — Another predominantly African-American church has burned in the South, the latest in a string of fires that has put congregations on edge. Tuesday night’s fire in Greeleyville, S.C., came as the authorities in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee investigated blazes at other churches, most of them predominantly black. Although the authorities have concluded that some of those fires were arson, officials have not yet described any of the episodes as hate crimes.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — ‘Land of the Free’ still far from ensuring Black Lives Matter (by John Burbank)

► From AP — Milwaukee County bus drivers strike, scrambling commute — The roughly 750 drivers (ATU) walked off the job at 3 a.m. and began picketing at the Milwaukee County Transit System garages after contract negotiations between union leaders and transit officials broke down.




GOP-16-field► From Think Progress — The rise of anti-union rhetoric in 2016 race — This week, the Supreme Court agreed to take a case that could spell doom for public sector unions, with the potential to make the entire country so-called “right-to-work” territory. If that effort fails, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has vowed to make every state a “right-to-work” state if elected president. Out of all the Republican candidates running for president, a growing roster that now tops a dozen, Walker has focused the most on his record fighting unions — a record he says prepares him to confront enemy combatants like ISIS if elected president. But while Walker may be the loudest and proudest union buster in the 2016 race, his fellow candidates are also striving to prove their anti-labor bona fides.


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