The Stand

Cheating farm workers, The New Yakima, lame-duck TPP…

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

wafla-web-ad► From AP — Farmworker advocates ask for criminal probe in wage survey — “We also request action to protect agricultural workers from economic harm as a consequence of such actions,” said the letter from the Washington State Labor Council, the AFL-CIO, Columbia Legal Services and others.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — More groups calling for investigation into farm worker wage survey — Four farm worker advocacy groups on Tuesday called for a state investigation into whether actions by a farm labor association constituted an illegal effort to lower wages.

► In today’s Olympian — Washington DSHS head Kevin Quigley to step down — The leader of Washington’s largest state agency told staff Tuesday he plans to step down, saying three years in the post is enough. DSHS secretary Kevin Quigley said he would leave as soon as Gov. Jay Inslee can find a replacement.

► In today’s Tri-Citry Herald — Hewitt won’t seek re-election to state Senate — State Sen. Mike Hewitt, who’s represented Walla Walla County and much of the area outside of the Tri-Cities for 15 years, will not seek re-election this fall. The Republican announced his decision to not pursue a fifth term Tuesday, saying in a release, “it’s time to step aside and give someone else a chance to do the same.”

ericksen-doug► In today’s Olympian — Transgender locker room rules prompt outcry at state Capitol — Several Republican lawmakers want to rein in Washington state’s new rules that say businesses and public entities must let transgender people use facilities consistent with the gender they identify with, regardless of whether they’ve undergone sex reassignment surgery. State Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Bellingham) said the rules violate people’s expectation that they will be undressing in locker rooms with only members of the same sex, while creating a “huge burden” on businesses.

 


THE NEW YAKIMA

 

WA-voting-rights-act► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima makes Voting Rights Act a priority, downgrades plaza priority — New members of the Yakima City Council flexed their powers Tuesday afternoon with big changes to the city’s legislative priorities. The council voted 6-1 to “actively pursue” a state Voting Rights Act that proponents say would make it easier to change unfair elections systems without involving the courts. Yakima recently went through an expensive federal voting rights case that led to new district elections in 2015.

► In the Capital Press — Yakima may look at minimum wage hike — The Yakima City Council may move toward increasing the minimum wage this year, and if it does many tree fruit packers will be concerned.

yhr-avina-gutierrez► In today’s Yakima H-R — Avina Gutierrez selected as Yakima’s new mayor — Fellow Yakima City Council members unanimously elected Avina Gutierrez mayor — and chose Holly Cousens as assistant mayor on a 4-3 vote — at the new council’s first business meeting Tuesday night. Gutierrez, 36, was among the first three Latinos ever elected to the council and will be the first Latina to hold the ceremonial role.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Columbian — Hundreds weigh in on Vancouver oil terminalA chorus of hundreds on Tuesday sang familiar but very different refrains on the oil terminal proposed for the Port of Vancouver. It’s an economic bounty. It’s an environmental disaster. We can do this safely. We can’t do this safely.

ALSO at The Stand — State BCTC endorses Vancouver Energy terminal (July 29, 2015)

► In the (Longview) Daily News — Port of Longview fires CEO Kalhagen — Geir-Eilif Kalhagen, who had held the port’s top management position since July 2012, was not fired for cause or for his performance, said Commissioner Bob Baagason. There were “differences in visions of growth” between Kalhagen and the commissioners, he said.

► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Food banks draw nearly a quarter of county residents, Port Angeles director saysOnce food banks in Clallam County began comparing figures last year, they found that nearly one-quarter of those living in the county had used their services in 2014, said the director of the Port Angeles Food Bank.

► In today’s Columbian — Longshoremen donate bikes to Children’s Justice Center for holidaysThe Children’s Justice Center received a donation of 130 bikes and eight scooters from ILWU Local 4 in Vancouver.

 


TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP

 

mcconnell-mitch-stop► From The Hill — GOP in no hurry to move Obama’s TPP — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is brushing off calls from business groups for quick action on President Obama’s sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal. McConnell’s office says his position hasn’t changed and that Obama shouldn’t bother to send the TPP to Congress until after the elections, when it might be possible to hold a vote in a lame-duck session.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Ratify the TPP trade pact (editorial)

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Herald has served up another “Washington is dependent on trade” pat on the head that equates TPP opposition to opposition to trade and ignores the serious, legitimate concerns expressed in their pages and elsewhere. Feel free to send a Letter to the Editor via e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald – Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (They’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Keep it to 250 words or less.

 


NATIONAL

 

romney-this-guy► In today’s Washington Post — U.S. car sales hit record high in 2015 — Drivers in the United States bought more cars last year than ever before, a staggering turnaround for an auto industry fighting for its life half a decade ago, as low gas prices and a strengthening economy marked a banner year on American roads. About 17.5 million cars and trucks were sold last year, automakers said Tuesday, overtaking the 17.3 million sales in 2000 and far outpacing the 10.4 million sales in 2009, when taxpayers paid billions to bail out the bedrock of America’s automotive might.

 


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 

► From Politico — Democrats lash out at Obama over immigration raids — Democrats and immigrant-rights groups have turned against the Obama administration in an uproar over recent deportation raids, likening the president to bombastic GOP front-runner Donald Trump and warning him that the controversial strategy will tarnish his legacy on immigration.

WA-GOP-uninsured► From The Hill — House poised to pass ACA repeal — For the first time, Republicans on Wednesday are expected to send a bill to President Obama’s desk that would repeal most of his signature healthcare law. While the bill faces a certain veto, the vote in the House brings Republicans closer than ever before to dismantling the healthcare legislation that they say has failed the country.

► From The Hill — Study: ObamaCare not shifting workers to part-time jobs — The ACA has not caused employers to shift workers into part-time work, according to a new study in the journal Health Affairs, which examines the claim made by critics of the law that employers will make more people work part-time in order to avoid having to give them health insurance.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Jim McDermott: The liberal icon regularly worked across the aisle (by Danny Westneat) — Jim McDermott, moderate compromiser? Seattle’s combative liberal lion actually worked arm in arm with Republicans more than you think. Whoever replaces him probably won’t be so old school.

 


THE WAR ON UNIONS

 

supreme-court-front► From The American Prospect — Anti-union SCOTUS challenge threatens church-state separation — The Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case not only puts public-sector unions in danger, it risks opening a new chapter in the war over religion in public schools. While the plaintiffs in Friedrichs base their claims on a free speech argument that many find dubious, tucked away in the case lies another, real First Amendment concern: the separation of church and state. The lead plaintiff in the challenge before the High Court is Rebecca Friedrichs, a teacher in California’s Savanna School District; she is joined in the suit by nine additional individuals, and one organization: the Christian Educators Association International (CEAI), which bills itself as an alternative to the “secular” teachers’ unions, and argues openly that the Constitution does not bar teachers from imparting their Christian faith in their classrooms.

 


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

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