Wednesday, August 12, 2015
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane City Council toughens penalties for wage law violations — Low-wage workers got a break Monday night, and maybe some overdue overtime pay, when the Spokane City Council stiffened penalties for businesses that violate wage laws. Council members backed the proposal on a 6-1 vote, with only Councilman Mike Fagan dissenting. The new law will make it a misdemeanor for employers to violate wage laws and allow the city to deny or revoke business licenses from workplaces violating minimum wage, overtime and other compensation rules.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Envision Spokane: Mayor doesn’t have authority to block measure from reaching ballot — Envision Spokane is pushing back against Mayor David Condon, who last week sued to keep the group’s Worker Bill of Rights from appearing on the city’s general election ballot in November.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — It seems likely Spokane City Council will keep its liberal majority (by Shawn Vestal)
► In the P.S. Business Journal — $4.8M in federal funding will bring new health center sites to Washington state — Washington state’s cash-strapped community health centers just got a little bit of help. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that seven Washington state community health centers will receive nearly $4.8 million in Affordable Care Act funding to create additional health center sites. The new sites will serve approximately 23,000 new patients across Washington state, according to the HHS.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Pasco School District, teachers union remain far apart in contract negotiations — The Pasco Association of Educators, which represents more than 1,050 teachers, could vote on Pasco’s first teacher strike since 1978 at Wednesday’s membership meeting. The union and school district remain far apart in negotiations after discussions with a state mediator last week.
► In today’s Wall Street Journal — U.S. strains mount after China devalue yuan — “China is electrifying the currency-manipulation issue at the worst possible time for Obama as he seeks to limit controversy before President Xi’s visit to Washington and also to sweep the TPP currency issue under the rug,” said Michael Wessel, a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressionally mandated body that monitors the economic and security relationship between the two countries.
► From Politico — Will TPP go up in smoke over anti-tobacco proposal? — Big Tobacco is pushing back against a strict anti-smoking provision in the massive Trans-Pacific trade deal — and it has enlisted the support of the most powerful Republican in the Senate. The ire of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other tobacco-state lawmakers throws a wrench into the delicate negotiations to close the agreement and secure congressional approval.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
► Today from Slog — What Bernie Sanders said (and didn’t say) after the Black Lives Matter disruption (by Rich Smith) — That the media, which obviously includes me, would now be talking about BLM-Seattle and not the importance of protecting and expanding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, especially in ways that benefit women and people of color, is why that volunteer for Social Security Works-Washington was crying. She was fighting systematic racism and sexism by holding a rally. Johnson and Willaford were fighting systematic racism and sexism by disrupting that rally.
ALSO at The Stand — 4,000-plus hear about the importance of Social Security, Medicare
► From Politico — Hillary Clinton meets with Black Lives Matter protesters — Hillary Clinton met with five Black Lives Matter activists behind closed doors following her campaign event here on Tuesday evening, after the group tried to disrupt the forum but arrived too late to get past security.
► From The Hill — Trump: Sanders ‘weak’ for letting Black Lives Matter shut down rally — “I would never give up my microphone, I thought that was disgusting,” Trump said.
► From The Hill — Poll: Sanders surges ahead of Clinton in NH — A stunning new poll has Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) beating presumptive Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. Sanders has eclipsed Clinton by a 44 to 37 percent margin, according to a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll.
► From AFL-CIO Now — Happy anniversary, ‘Corporations are people, too’ — Four years ago today, then-Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney delivered one of the most iconic and self-destructive campaign one-liners in modern political history: “Corporations are people, too, my friend.” It was a defining moment for the 2012 election, and it may have been the nail in the coffin of the Romney campaign. But Mitt Romney’s accidental honesty has relevance today—while the rhetoric may have changed in the GOP field, their policies sure haven’t.
ALSO at The Stand — WSLC supports I-735 to get big money out of politics
► From The Hill — 16 million fewer uninsured since Affordable Care Act, study finds — The number of people without health insurance has declined by 15.8 million since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion took effect, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
► From AFL-CIO Now — 3.2 million women to receive salary increases under new overtime proposal — Today, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), in coordination with MomsRising, released a new report that reveals working women will be benefit hugely from the newly proposed overtime changes, with 3.2 million women receiving salary increases. Some 36% of working women who were formerly exempt under the outdated overtime laws will be eligible now to receive overtime pay if they work longer than the standard 40-hour workweek.
► From The Hill — CBO: Full sequester relief could add as many as 1.4 million jobs — Reversing sequestration spending caps could create as many as 1.4 million jobs over the next two years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. At the request of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the CBO analyzed the macroeconomic effects of completely eliminating the budget cuts, which are set to return in full force in October.
► In today’s The Hill — Businesses brace for game-changing labor decision — Business leaders in Washington are bracing for a labor ruling they warn would redefine what constitutes an “employer” in the United States, exposing thousands of companies to new liabilities and potentially upending entire industries. The NLRB is widely expected to rule by month’s end that Browning-Ferris Industries, a Houston-based waste-disposal company, is a joint employer of workers provided to the firm by a staffing agency, experts say. As a result, the company would be forced to collectively bargain with those employees and could be held liable for any labor violations committed against them.
► In today’s Washington Post — Republican plan to eliminate IRS union, as it elects new leadership, could threaten federal unions generally — Republicans have an unwelcome gift for the retiring president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) and its newly elected officers. A proposal by Senate Finance Committee Republicans would prohibit unions at the Internal Revenue Service. That would cut the labor organization’s membership in half.
► From Think Progress — This pregnant Netflix employee won’t get unlimited paid maternity leave — Last week, Netflix announced that it would expand its paid family leave policy to give new parents unlimited time off during the first year after the arrival of a new baby. But not all employees will benefit. Only salaried employees in the streaming division will get the new coverage; those who work in the DVD segment won’t be included, nor will those working in corporate customer service. That’s a big disappointment for Jessica, a customer service representative making $13 an hour. She’s currently pregnant and will have a difficult time supporting her other children when her baby arrives. “I will work until I pop,” she told ThinkProgress in an email. “I don’t have a choice.”
► The Entire Staff of The Stand is taking the rest of the week off to join the hordes invading Walla Walla this weekend for the Gentlemen of the Road stopover. On the bill: Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons, Jenny Lewis, and many other great bands and performers. But we are most excited to see this psychedelic rock band for the first time. Acclaimed for their elaborate live shows, the Flaming Lips typically employ costumes, puppets, balloons, giant hands, copious confetti, and frontman Wayne Coyne’s man-sized plastic bubble, in which he traverses the audience. So today we present what was the Official Rock Song of Oklahoma from 2009 to 2011. Read the sordid political history of that all-too-brief designation below. Enjoy! We’ll be back on Monday.
In March 2009 “Do You Realize??” was announced as the official state rock song of Oklahoma, after winning an on-line vote among ten finalists as authorized by the Oklahoma state legislature: out of 21,000 votes cast, nearly 51% were for “Do You Realize??” The Oklahoma Senate approved this choice unanimously. However, on 23 April 2009, a vote in the Oklahoma House of Representatives fell three votes short of the 51 votes necessary to ratify the resolution: one Republican state legislator attacked the band for its use of offensive language, while another said he opposed the song because band member Michael Ivins had worn a red T-shirt with a yellow sickle and hammer during a previous appearance by the band. Democratic Governor Brad Henry subsequently announced that he would issue an executive order in lieu of the resolution rejected by the Oklahoma House… Republican Governor Mary Fallin removed the song’s designation as the Official Rock Song of Oklahoma by not renewing Brad Henry’s executive order upon taking office in 2011.
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