Friday, November 6, 2015
► In today’s Olympian — State lawmakers to propose amending constitution in response to Eyman’s I-1366 — Republican state Sens. Michael Baumgartner and Doug Ericksen said in a news release Thursday that they will introduce a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote to approve tax increases.
► In today’s Olympian — Voters made a mistake with I-1366 (editorial) — Everyone makes mistakes. Voters and legislatures make them, too. That’s why we have courts — to cull the legal apple barrel and toss out bad laws that violate the Constitution. In Tuesday’s election, Washington voters erred in giving approval to Initiative 1366. It’s a bad apple that needs to be thrown out by the state Supreme Court.
► In today’s News Tribune — ‘Immediate jeopardy’ seen at Western State Hospital — A federal inspection of Western State Hospital that wrapped up Thursday found patient-care problems that rise to the level of “immediate jeopardy.” The conclusion by inspectors working on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ratchets up the threat of losing federal funding at the state’s more than 800-bed Lakewood psychiatric hospital.
► In today’s News Tribune — Move legislation to improve mental health services (editorial) — Set aside for a moment the drama currently going on at Western State Hospital, which is plagued by critical staff shortages and in danger of losing as much as $64 million a year in federal funding. Western State is just a small piece of a larger, national failure to provide adequate mental health services.
► MUST-READ in today’s Spokesman-Review — Idaho’s Medicaid gap provokes a deadly debate (by Shawn Vestal) — What does Idaho’s “Medicaid gap” look like? It looks like 78,000 human beings — the population of Coeur d’Alene plus Post Falls plus Rathdrum — all people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to qualify for subsidized insurance, and who have been left hanging by Idaho’s lawmakers, who would rather spend more state and county tax money and deny their constituents health care than buckle to the tyranny of Obamacare. Is there any reason to hope that Jenny Steinke’s death might change their mind?
► From Reuters — Boeing to pay $57 million to settle 401(k) lawsuit — Boeing Co said it had agreed to pay $57 million to settle a lawsuit in which employees accused the company of mismanaging their 401(k) retirement plan. The settlement amount is the second-highest ever in excessive 401(k) fee litigation, according to the law firm representing the employees. The Boeing lawsuit, filed in 2006, contended that the company had breached its fiduciary duties to employees by allowing the record-keeper to charge employees and retirees excessive fees and placing expensive and risky investment options in the plan, which dampened investment returns.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing and Lockheed challenge Northrop win for bomber contract — Boeing and Lockheed Martin formally challenged the Pentagon’s selection of Northrop Grumman to build a heavy bomber valued at as much as $80 billion, calling the process “fundamentally flawed.”
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Dreamliners even more fuel efficient than promised, says Qatar top exec — Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that while Qatar had at one point considered canceling its Dreamliner orders as Boeing struggled with early 787 production woes, he’s now completely satisfied with the jet.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — ‘The fight continues’ at KapStone union rally — The strike may have ended nearly two months ago, but KapStone employees are still working without a contract in an environment they say has become increasingly hostile. About 60 protesters braved chilly weather Thursday evening to remind the public of their protracted contract dispute and the ongoing unfair labor practice charges at the Longview mill.
► In the Wenatchee World — SkillSource office preparing to assist Alcoa workers — The office of Wenatchee SkillSource is readying “rapid response” meetings for soon-to-be displaced employees of Alcoa’s Wenatchee Works smelter to answer questions about unemployment insurance, reemployment and training options.
► From Bloomberg — A 127-year-old U.S. industry collapses under China’s weight — For 127 years, Alcoa has been churning out the lightweight metal used in everything from beverage cans to airplanes, once making it a symbol of U.S. industrial might. Now, with prices languishing near six-year lows, it’s wiping out almost a third of domestic operating capacity. If prices don’t recover, researchers almost all U.S. smelting plants will close by next year.
► From Bloomberg — Chinese steel slapped by 236% U.S. tariff — Imports of some corrosive-resistant steel from China may be taxed as much as 236 percent based on the level of subsidies they receive, according to a preliminary finding by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
► From Reuters — U.S. unions, lawmakers vow scrutiny of Pacific trade pact — “It’s worse than we thought,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. U.S. labor representatives, who had already voiced opposition to the deal, said the agreement contained weak, poorly worded or unenforceable provisions. “There are improvements, but we do not believe those improvements are significant or meaningful for workers,” said Celeste Drake, trade and globalization policy specialist at the AFL-CIO.
ALSO at The Stand — Recess! Tell your Rep. what you think about ‘Cadillac tax,’ TPP
— TPP finally released: Will it help or harm people? (statement by WSLC’s Jeff Johnson and Lynne Dodson)
► From AP — Obama administration kills Keystone XL pipeline — President Barack Obama says he’s rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline because he does not believe it serves the national interest. Obama says the pipeline has played an overinflated role in political discourse.
► In The Guardian — Strong unions strengthen democracies and deliver peace (by Houcine Abassi and Richard Trumka) — Strong unions make strong democracies. It sounds simplistic, but each of us have experienced this fundamental premise in our nations. As labor leaders in the United States and Tunisia respectively, we know full well that when workers come together for a voice on the job, it boosts the economy, eases social unrest and creates the conditions for peace, prosperity and the protection of rights. To be sure, we come from very different countries, each with its own set of economic and political challenges. But we have seen the healing power of unions firsthand.
► In today’s NY Times — U.S. economy added 271,000 jobs in October; unemployment rate at 5% — The combination of the surge in job creation, rising wages and the falling unemployment rate largely puts to rest any lingering fears of a new recession and suggests that the economy is likely to continue to improve as the nation heads into an election year.
► From Politico — Days of desperation — There’s a reason Jeb Bush, John Kasich and other establishment Republicans aren’t gaining traction. Their conservatism no longer makes sense.
► Happy birthday to singer, guitarist and actor Corey Glover of the bands Living Colour and Galactic. The Entire Staff of The Stand were big fans of Living Colour’s groundbreaking blend of metal, funk, jazz and rock. This is our favorite song of theirs, with Glover delivering his usual inspired, passionate vocals. Check this out…
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.