Friday, January 29, 2016
► In today’s News Tribune — Lawmakers disagree about deadline for fixing school-funding problems — A school-funding plan that passed the state House earlier this week would commit to fixing remaining funding problems by the end of the Legislature’s 2017 session, which is scheduled to conclude in April that year. But the version of the plan now moving forward in the Senate would commit instead to completing the work “by 2018.”
► From KPLU — Inslee ‘undaunted’ after dust-up over bipartisan school funding plan — Inslee said he remains firm that 2017 is the deadline for the legislature to act to fully fund schools.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Attorney general says Washington cities can hold district-based elections — Pasco Mayor Matt Watkins testified Thursday before a state Senate committee in support of a bill that would let cities hold council elections by district. Six hours later, the state Attorney General’s Office issued an opinion giving Pasco the green light to adopt that electoral process.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Deadline Sunday for health exchange enrollment — As the deadline approaches, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange is reminding people they have until Sunday night to sign up for a qualified health insurance plan or they could face $695 or more in fines.
► In today’s News Tribune — Rep. Hunt leaves Ted Cruz campaign over questions of military record — State Rep. Graham Hunt (R-Orting) has stepped down as the statewide chairman of Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign following accusations that Hunt may have exaggerated his military record. Hunt’s name and photo have also been removed from the website of the House Republicans’ campaign arm despite Hunt being up for re-election this fall.
► In today’s Washington Post — Legislators organize blitz of equal-pay legislation in nearly half the states — A coalition of progressive and women’s empowerment groups are advancing bills on equal pay in nearly half the states at once — from Alaska to Kansas — in a bid to elevate solutions to America’s nagging gender pay disparity at a time when little seems likely to happen in Congress.
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► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing lands $2.5B Navy contract — Boeing has won a $2.5 billion contract for 20 P-8A “Poseidon” aircraft. The company will make 16 of the aircraft for the Navy and four for the Royal Australian Air Force. Eighty percent of the work will be performed in the Puget Sound region, according to the Department of Defense, though Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security division is based in St. Louis. The work is expected to be completed in 2018.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing plans $141M in bonuses for white-collar workers — Bonuses for Boeing’s white-collar workers are down for the second year in a row. The company said Thursday that more than 42,000 Boeing employees in Washington are splitting $140.9 million for their annual bonus. Losses worth more than $1.6 billion from the 747 and KC-46 tanker programs dragged down the amount.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Alcoa lands long-term deal supplying Boeing 737 and 777X programs — The Boeing Co. has a new long-term supply agreement with Alcoa. It is the fourth Boeing contract Alcoa recently has won. In the last 12 months, the company has secured $10 billion in aerospace contracts.
EDITOR’S NOTE — If only there was a tax break they could use to keep their Ferndale and Wenatchee plants open and maintain jobs in Washington. Hmmm.
► In the Wenatchee World — State, Alcoa pitch in more funding for worker retraining — State funding and donations from the Alcoa Foundation have allowed Wenatchee Valley College to expand class scheduling and staff to retrain at least 100 of the Alcoa workers who this month lost their jobs at the now-idled Wenatchee Works smelter.
► From AP — 500 employees to be laid off as Bremerton call center closes — Concentrix call center employees were notified of the layoffs this week. A spokeswoman said the company will leave the customer service facility March 28 due to business changes being made by the center’s corporate client.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Evans Fruit to pay $272K to 20 workers, ending appeals — Evans Fruit will pay $272,000 to workers and former workers, ending their appeals of sexual harassment and retaliation cases that the company had earlier won in a lower court.
► From the Hill — Warren: Obama administration ‘shockingly weak’ on corporate crime — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) opened up a new broadside against the Obama administration Friday, accusing his Justice Department of going easy on corporate America. Warren says that powerful corporate executives have effectively received a free pass from the federal government, despite massive settlements where their companies often admit to criminal wrongdoing.
► From The Atlantic — How many workers will the ‘Cadillac tax’ hit? — While some plans that qualify for the tax may be high-end with extra benefits, not all of them are. Nor is every employee with an expensive plan a corporate executive. Over time, the number of Americans affected by the tax is expected to increase, as is the revenue the government expects to raise from their plans.
► From AFL-CIO Now — Will the 2016 presidential election be decided by voter-suppression laws? (by Dale Ho of the ACLU) — In 2016, 10 states will be putting into place restrictive voting laws that they will be enforcing for the first time in a presidential election. These laws range from new hurdles to registration to cutbacks on early voting to strict voter identification requirements. Collectively, these 10 states are home to more than 80 million people and will wield 129 of the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency.
► In today’s– Trump is killing it with white working-class voters in Rust Belt — Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO union federation, just spent five weeks canvassing in the Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas. Of the entire Democratic and Republican fields, the most popular single candidate was Donald Trump — and it wasn’t even close.
► In today’s NY Times — Plutocrats and Prejudice (by Paul Krugman) — An unspoken agenda is behind the ugliness in American politics… The rise of the American hard right was the rise of a coalition, an alliance between an elite seeking low taxes and deregulation and a base of voters motivated by fears of social change and, above all, by hostility toward you-know-who.
► From The Onion — Dazed Marco Rubio wakes up in Koch compound to find cold metal device installed behind ear — As Rubio sat up slowly on a steel cot, sources said he was startled to hear a soothing voice reverberating inside his aching skull, evidently emanating from the smooth metal disk that he gingerly touched while panic began to well in his chest. “Hello, Marco,” said the oddly familiar voice. “We are very pleased to have you as our guest. We have so much planned for you.”
► In today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer — 7 things you need to know about union membership from Labor Dept. report — The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report Thursday on union membership in the United States in 2015. Here is a look at the report, which comes out annually.
ALSO at The Stand — Union membership up in Washington
► From DNAinfo — Loyola adjunct faculty joins growing list of private schools to unionize — Adjunct professors at Loyola University in Chicago overwhelmingly voted to unionize Wednesday. “Now all faculty will have a say in our working conditions and I’m encouraged [by] the gains at other schools across the country,” said Alyson Paige Warren, a Loyola writing and literature instructor.
► From The Atlantic — Lyft drivers still aren’t employees, but what about Uber drivers? — Under a settlement reached this week, Lyft will give better benefits to people who drive but will continue to consider them independent contractors.
► From Variety — Writers Guild of America West blasts film industry on diversity — WGA West President Howard A. Rodman:
“Late last year, Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his cabinet: 15 men, 15 women. When asked why, his response was brief: ‘Because it’s 2015.’ But in our industry it’s not even 2015 yet. In terms of gender the world is everywhere 50/50 male/female, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the writing credits on films or television. America is 36% minority, but the pool of people of color employed as writers is a small fraction of that. The WGAW understands that we need to change a broken industry, not simply mirror it.”
► So, 31 years ago today, this happened. And we still don’t know what Dan Aykroyd was doing there.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.