Tuesday, February 2, 2016
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Legislators consider bills to standardize sick leave, minimum wage — The Legislature should standardize the state’s minimum wage and sick leave laws to avoid a growing number of workplace standards, business representatives told a Senate panel Monday. But they didn’t agree on the best way to do it. Labor and union officials, meanwhile, criticized a plan to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour over four years and to phase in minimum sick leave in 2018 as “too little, too late.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — An alternate headline for this story: “Legislators consider bills to block cities from raising wages, benefits.” Both bills considered yesterday — SB 6578 sponsored by Rep. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) and SB 6087 sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) — would block cities and ports from enacting wage, benefit and scheduling standards that exceed state minimums. Federal and state government should create a floor, not a ceiling, for communities to promote better standards of living for their residents.
► From the Cascadia Advocate — Washington State Democratic Party takes position opposing CarbonWA’s I-732 — CarbonWA and other I-732 proponents contend that their tax swap is “revenue neutral” (meaning it would not increase or decrease state revenue). Nonpartisan legislative staff and the Department of Revenue don’t agree. According to DOR’s calculations, I-732 would reduce revenue by nearly $1 billion over the next four years. (That’s billion, with a b.)
ALSO at The Stand — WSLC opposes Initiative 732 carbon tax
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Rule on public facilities protects transgendered (editorial) — Lawmakers are acting more out of unfounded fears than simple discomfort, however, in seeking to nullify a rule recently adopted by the state Human Rights Commission that puts into practice the law that the Legislature passed in 2006 prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
ALSO at The Stand — WSLC fights bills discriminating against transgender people
► From AP — Lawmakers say pay raise due for state troopers — Two bills heard Monday seek to halt what a survey of the Washington State Patrol calls an “unsustainable” drop in troopers because many officers are leaving for higher pay at other police departments or retiring.
► In today’s News Tribune — Two more accuse Rep. Graham Hunt (R-Orting) of lying about military service — The latest accusation comes from the chairman of Washington state’s Libertarian Party, who claims Hunt spoke of being shot and stabbed during his time in the military.
► In today’s Columbian — GOP Rep. Lynda Wilson weighing a possible run for Benton’s seat — Longtime Republican state Sen. Don Benton’s announcement that he will step down at the end of his current term creates an opportunity for other Republican candidates.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Ballot glitch delays SPEEA vote on Boeing contract — SPEEA has pushed out the voting on its contract extension by a week following a glitch in the printing of mail-in ballots that were sent out to members.
► In today’s Seattle Times — UW, King County reach agreement on running Harborview Medical Center — According to the Washington Federation of State Employees, the new contract was held up over the University of Washington’s controversial plan to close critical-care and community clinics at the hospital and the treatment of custodians, call-center operators and other employees. Critics said UW had lost sight of one of Harborview’s core missions, which is to serve as the county’s hospital caring for the poor and indigent. The new contract provides clear direction on how Harborview will achieve its mission as a public hospital by serving those who are most vulnerable and those who do not have health insurance, according to a statement.
► From KPLU — Harborview expands its commitment to serving the poor — “The university will seek to maintain… positive employee and labor relations, that they will maintain collaborative working relationships; they’ll support mutual respect. And they’re going to be accountable, because there are going to be metrics to show are they doing it or aren’t they,” said SEIU 1199NW President Diane Sosne.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Union’s appeal could slow down $600M Rainier Square redevelopment — UNITE HERE Local 8 is fighting a second big real estate development in downtown Seattle, and this one pits Seattle Mayor Ed Murray against UW President Ana Mari Cauce. Money for affordable housing is at the heart of the dispute over the redevelopment of Rainier Square, a large project on UW-owned land at Fourth Avenue and Union Street.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — A quiet period heading into Feb. 5 Haggen auction — With less than a week before Haggen is scheduled to auction off its 33 core stores, it has gone quiet in terms of public announcements. The deadline for qualified bidder filings came and went on Friday, Jan. 29 with no court documents filed relating to the bidders nor any comment from the Bellingham-based grocer.
► In today’s NY Times — Ted Cruz wins GOP caucuses in Iowa — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), powered by a surge of support from evangelical Christians, dealt a humbling loss to Donald Trump in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, throwing into question the depth of support for Trump’s unconventional candidacy.
► In today’s NY Times — Clinton, Sanders locked in tight race — Hillary Clinton’s support from women and older voters was matched by the liberal foot soldiers that Senator Bernie Sanders called to revolution.
► From the Hill — Koch brothers network ready to oppose Trump — The donors group could spend money to oppose Trump if he dominates in early-voting states.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Clearly, their man is Marco Rubio.
► From the Hill — Delta: Plan for ‘private’ air traffic control would cause fare hikes — A proposal from House Republicans to separate the nation’s air traffic control system from the FAA would result in higher ticket prices for flights, Delta Airlines said Monday. “Proponents have claimed that privatization would lead to cost savings for consumers. But no evidence has yet been produced to show that privatization would reduce costs,” Delta says in a study.
► In today’s NY Times — Economists sharply split over trade deal effects — It may be a political football for presidential candidates, but the liveliest debate recently about the Trans-Pacific Partnership is among blue-ribbon economists. On Monday, economists from Tufts University unveiled their study concluding that the TPP would cause some job losses and exacerbate income inequality in each of the dozen participating nations, but especially in the largest — the United States.
► From KUOW — Bosses find part-time workers can come with full-time headaches — Some fast-food restaurants looked to get around Obamacare by making more workers part time. Now some owners are rethinking that approach. “A lot of the fast-food franchisees that did this,” says attorney Kaya Bromley, “are now coming back and saying, ‘it was a great idea for reducing the number of people that I have to offer benefits, but now I can’t run my restaurants’.” They tell her it has been a nightmare trying to manage a part-time staff. “Because you’ve got people who are less loyal, you’ve got people who are less skilled — who don’t understand the business,” she says. There’s also more employee turnover.
► In the Chattanooga Times F-P — Unions object to TVA effort to cut pension benefits — The biggest labor unions representing employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority are balking at a plan to revamp and trim pension benefits for agency employees and retirees, claiming the utility’s leaders are punishing workers while getting fat paychecks and retirement benefits themselves.
► In the Int’l Business Times — New York City Uber drivers protest 15% UberX price cuts — Uber drivers are taking action against the company’s 15 percent cut in New York City fares. On Monday, drivers protested outside the company’s Long Island City office against a price reduction feared to hit their paychecks.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.