Tuesday, July 14, 2015
► In today’s Seattle Times — Transportation package: a rare moment of compromise in the U.S. (by Rep. Judy Clibborn and Sen. Joe Fain) — There is a dangerous belief that is seeping into our modern political culture: “Compromise” is a dirty word in many circles. To some it means “weakness” or “unprincipled.” To us it means progress and building a better Washington that works for everyone.
► In today’s Washington Post — The misguided and muddled attack on the president’s new overtime rule (by ) — At the end of the day, what we have here is nothing more than the usual critics making the usual critiques. Many of those making arguments against updating the overtime pay rule raise similar objections to moderate increases in the minimum wage. These predictions have consistently been as cataclysmic as the ones for OT, and they’ve consistently been wrong. Obviously, we’ll have to carefully track outcomes, especially given the relatively thin literature on employers’ reactions to these sorts of changes. But our strong expectation is that by valuing workers’ time in ways consistent with a time-honored labor standard, affected workers will be better off.
ALSO at The Stand — Support overdue update of overtime pay rule
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima Basin Integrated Plan could be paid for by public-private partnership — The plan calls for 30 years of investments of from $4 billion to $6 billion in better water management. Federal legislation recently introduced by Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to authorize the integrated plan and provide funding for its first 10-year phase would enable irrigators to help finance the storage from which they would benefit. The bill is raising alarm bells from critics of the plan, including some environmental groups and residents near reservoirs, but it is applauded by local leaders and Obama administration officials.
► In today’s Columbian — PAC supporting Madore backed by two local CEOs — There’s a new PAC in town dedicated to supporting Clark County council chair candidate David Madore, and big names — and big money — are backing it… Ken Fisher, founder and CEO of Fisher Investments, and Clyde Holland, CEO of Holland Partner Group, are also major contributors to Tim Eyman’s I-1366 campaign, which would decrease the state’s sale tax from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent unless the Legislature refers a constitutional amendment to the ballot requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature or voter approval to raise taxes.
► From the Hill — New trade fight brews for Obama, Dems — Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and other critics are calling on Congress and the State Department’s inspector general to investigate any move that promotes Malaysia from the lowest level in the U.S. government’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report. He said promoting Malaysia would be “a cynical maneuver to get around the clear intent of Congress.”
► From Reuters — U.S. House Republicans unveil $8.1 billion short-term transport bill — The $8.1 billion plan to fund highway and rail transit projects through the end of 2015 would be paid for by extending an airport security fee increase and various tax rule changes. Congress faces a July 31 deadline to renew federal transportation spending authority and avoid a major slowdown in road construction projects nationwide.
► From The Hill — House could vote on highway bill this week — A vote in the House on a six-month highway funding bill could happen by the end of the week — a preemptive strike designed to deter the Senate from sending over its own highway bill with a provision to renew the expired Export-Import Bank.
► In today’s — Obama wants more state laws to make retirement saving easier — A handful of states have passed laws that require certain employers to automatically open retirement plans for employees when they are hired instead of waiting for workers to decide to do so on their own, and about 20 more are considering such laws. Obama said he wanted to encourage more of these laws to be passed.
► From Huffington Post — Scott Walker strips Wisconsin workers on ‘living wage’ in new state budget — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the new state budget into law with a last-minute change that strips the words “living wage” from state laws and replaces it with “minimum wage.” The change means minimum-wage Wisconsin workers will earn nearly $6,000 per year less than what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculates is a living wage in the state.
► From Politico — Walker calls minimum wage ‘lame’ — “The left claims they’re for American workers, and they’ve got lame ideas, things like minimum wage,” Walker said.
► From The Onion — Candidate profile: Scott Walker — Greatest Strength: Possesses image and political credentials necessary to appeal to both Koch brothers. Personal Hero: Sixth-grade teacher who inspired him to strip educators of collective bargaining rights and dismantle publicly funded higher education. Greatest Accomplishment: Stood up to people who make living pulling others from burning buildings.
► In the NY Times — Growth in the ‘gig economy’ fuels work force anxiety — As it happens, Uber is not so much a labor-market innovation as the culmination of a generation-long trend. Even before the founding of the company in 2009, the United States economy was rapidly becoming an Uber economy writ large, with tens of millions of Americans involved in some form of freelancing, contracting, temping or outsourcing… Along with other changes, like declining unionization and advancing globalization, the increasingly arm’s-length nature of employment helps explain why incomes have stagnated and why most Americans remain deeply anxious about their economic prospects six years after the Great Recession ended.
► In the NY Times — A new look at apprenticeships as path to middle class — Long regarded by parents, students and many educators as an off ramp from the college track, apprenticeships are getting a fresh look in many quarters. The idea has recently captured the attention of several presidential candidates from both parties, with employer-oriented apprentice programs increasingly seen as a way to appeal to anxious Americans looking for an alternative route to a secure middle-income job.
► Point of Personal Privilege: The Entire Staff of The Stand will be celebrating La Fête Nationale tonight with a special dinner in honor of our eldest child, who turns 20 today. Happy birthday, Jackson!
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.