The Stand

Senate scuffle, Sakuma strike, ‘Latino spring,’ Classic…

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

AP-andy-hill► In today’s Olympian — Senate scuffle leaves $2 billion hole in day-old $38 billion operating budget — The two-year spending plan hinges on the Legislature delaying I-1351, the measure to lower class sizes that voters approved in November. But in an unexpected development, the state Senate shot down a crucial bill Wednesday morning that would delay the initiative for the next four years. House leaders said the Legislature could potentially return in January 2016 to find a solution to their I-1351 dilemma… Senate Democrats didn’t want to scale back the I-1351 class-size reductions unless they made other changes they thought would help students.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Senate Democrats said they wouldn’t help Republicans delay I-1351 unless a vote was allowed on HB 2214, Rep. Chris Reykdal’s bipartisan school testing reform bill that passed the House, 92-6. It’s not clear why Senate Republican leaders were so adamant about maintaining ineffective testing requirements that they refused to allow a vote on this clearly popular bill. Probably, they just didn’t want to “reward” Democrats for playing their own game.

► In today’s Olympian — Getting a budget deal is a big relief (editorial) — On the budget’s funding of raises for teachers and state employees: Pay is important for retaining good workers. It is critical for the South Sound’s economy where about 20,000 people, or nearly one in five job holders, work for the state government. Credit Democrats for leading on this.

► In today’s Seattle Times — State budget deal includes tax increase for Microsoft — The budget deal agreed to by state lawmakers this week quietly targeted Microsoft for a $57 million tax increase over the next two years, and the Redmond software giant is apparently willing to go along with it.

► In today’s Columbian — New budget keeps sales-tax exemption for Oregonians — Oregonians can continue to shop tax-free in Washington under the budget signed by Gov. Jay Inslee close to 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

► In the PSBJ — State budget ‘deeply disappointing’ for UW, tech officials hoping for new engineering building

highway-construction► In today’s News Tribune — Transportation deal not yet sealed, but gas-tax increase advances — The 11.9 cents-a-gallon increase could pave the way for major highway spending. But approval of borrowing and spending plans tied to the taxes will have to wait… House Transportation Chairwoman Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Is.) said she expected House members to return as soon as their schedules line up, probably sometime next week, and pass the measures that allow the money to be spent.

► From PubliCola — Legislature passes $16 billion (kidney stone) transportation bill — The bill passed the House largely along partisan lines with Republicans voting nay. Two of the house’s greenest Democrats (Dunshee and Fitzgibbon) voted against the package because of a Republican “poison pill” provision that bars Gov. Inslee from enacting low-carbon fuel standards on cars. The House’s other enviro star, Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-Seattle), voted for the package, but only after she passed an amendment that undid another ornery GOP provision to add a $500 million tax on Sound Transit.

 


LOCAL

 

► From the Capitol Hill Blog — As hundreds picket, Swedish pushes forward on major First Hill, Cherry Hill growth — Calls for more nurses and the improved benefits to attract them echoed through Broadway Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of hospital workers, union organizers, and a handful of elected officials staged a picket outside Swedish Hospital’s First Hill campus. The picket came one day after another round of negotiations ended without a contract deal between SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Swedish, one of the largest Central Area employers and owned by Providence Health Services.

svh-sakuma-strike-15Jul01► In the Skagit Valley Herald — Sakuma Bros. farmworkers walk off the job — About 300 workers at Sakuma Bros. walked out Wednesday morning on the first day of blueberry picking over frustration about a new system that broke the workers into groups, starting them at different times. Workers felt as if Sakuma designed the new system to keep workers from communicating as a group. A majority of the workers came to work about 7:30 a.m. and decided to walk out.

ALSO at The Stand — Sakuma workers walk on Day 1 of harvest — UPDATE: The workers are ready to continue the strike today if Sakuma Farms does not meet their demand to keep the workforce together and offer a fair wage as they start the blueberry harvest.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Railroad whistle-blower awarded $1.25 million — Mike Elliott, a 16-year veteran locomotive engineer for BNSF and elected chairman of the Washington State Legislative Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, has been awarded $1.25 million by a federal jury in Tacoma after a six-day trial in which Elliott proved he was targeted and terminated on a pretext in 2011 after reporting dozens of safety violations to federal authorities.

 


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 

► In The Hill — New overtime rules right a wrong (by Eileen Appelbaum) — President George W. Bush revised the rules to drop the requirement that an executive employee must exercise discretion and radically reduced the amount of time an exempt employee had to spend in managerial or executive duties. Under the new definition, it was estimated that employers would move as many as 6 million workers from hourly paid to salaried and deny them pay for hours worked above 40 in a week.

ALSO at The Stand — Support overdue update of overtime pay rules

trump-donald► In today’s Washington Post — As Donald Trump surges in polls, Democrats cheer — The celebrity businessman — and his ego — are proving toxic for Republicans, who are urgently trying to woo the Latino voters he angered with inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The surging Republican presidential candidate is standing by his comments about Mexican immigrants, “They are bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Trump may have unleashed a “Latino spring.” Meanwhile, the rest of the GOP’s Clown Car of Candidates has been mostly silent about Trump’s comments except for Ted Cruz, a Cuban American, who actually endorsed them.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From AP — U.S. adds 223,000 jobs in June; unemployment rate falls to 5.3% — But other details in the report were less encouraging: The percentage of Americans working or looking for work fell to a 38-year low. Average hourly pay was flat. And employers added 60,000 fewer jobs in April and May than the government had previously estimated.

stop-war-on-workers► From Gawker — Choose life for public unions — The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that challenged the ability of unions to require everyone in a workplace to pay dues. Here is what is at stake in this case: the very existence of public unions… We either say we love America’s vast and growing gulf between the rich and the poor, or we acknowledge that we need unions. More unions. Many more unions. If the Supreme Court chops the legs out from under organized labor under the pretense of “free speech” — the same rationale they used to give corporations unlimited financial leeway to influence elections—it will have very real and severe consequences.

► In today’s Washington Post — Supreme Court’s threat to gut unions is giving the labor movement new life — Public sector unions haven’t been sitting passively by as the judicial juggernaut approaches. Rather, they’ve embarked on an broad “internal organizing” effort, reaching workers who may have been paying agency fees for years and never had any contact with a union representative.

► At TPM — The decision threatening the future of for-profit colleges — For 15 years the University of Phoenix conducted an incredible experiment. Fueled by the Internet and a take-all-comers approach, the private for-profit college became a massive national institution, earning hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. But on Monday, executives at Phoenix’s parent company declared the experiment a failure that had to end. The rest of the for-profit college community should be terrified of what that means for them.

► From Gawker — Salon editorial staff asks to unionize — Last month, Gawker Media’s editorial staff voted to unionize. Today, the editorial staff of Salon.com announced that they want to do the same thing.

 


T.G.I.T.

 

► The Entire Staff of The Stand is taking Friday off, so your next update will be on Monday.

For your long-weekend consideration, we present two electro-pop duos, The Knocks and Powers, teaming up to deliver a new-disco Classic. The video is an homage to The Sims life-simulation game series. “In our minds, ‘Classic’ is a song that takes a retro energy and gives it a new life, so this video does the same thing for us visually,” said The Knocks’ B-Roc. Enjoy!

 


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

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