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An embarrassment, stable in Seattle, voting rights…

Wednesday, February 10, 2016




king-on-peterson► In today’s Columbian — Dysfunction in Olympia (editorial) — A surprise move by Senate Republicans to oust state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson serves as an embarrassing example of dysfunctional government. While senators might find fault with how Peterson has handled her duties, the manner in which they essentially fired her was unprofessional and damaging to the state… The vote was an unseemly and discourteous example of partisan politics. It all adds up to an embarrassment for the state Senate.

► In today’s Seattle Times — A new low point in state governance (editorial) — Republicans’ standing on (transportation) issues was undermined by their brash and hyperpartisan approach, including over-the-top verbal attacks on Peterson on Friday.

► In today’s Olympian — Ex-Rep. Unsoeld offers sound advice (editorial) — Says the former member of Congress:

“Today our nation as a whole, and certainly our political institutions, are polarized to an extent that has nearly paralyzed us from governing ourselves in a way that serves the common good rather than the victory of one group over another … In the long run, how we treat each other is as important as who serves as transportation secretary or who holds the current majority in the Washington State Senate.”

► In today’s Olympian — Peterson’s firing fits with 2016 campaigns (editorial) — If this legislative session wasn’t already the warmup to a season of bare-knuckle campaigns in 2016, it is now. Stay tuned to see who is next.




baumgartner-michael► From KUOW — ‘Seattle quarantine:’ Republicans seek to stop city minimum wage hikes — Republican state senators passed a state preemption bill out of a committee last week, but it faces trouble if it reaches the Democratically-controlled Washington House. Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) described his preemption proposal as a “Seattle quarantine.”

► From KUOW — Lawmakers consider putting a price on carbon — State lawmakers this week began discussing a measure that could make Washington the first state to tax residents and businesses on their carbon emissions.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Nearly $3 million in tax breaks used to recruit AutoZone to Washington — Washington taxpayers will invest nearly $3 million to bring Memphis,-based AutoZone Inc. and its 200-job distribution warehouse to Pasco.

► In today’s News Tribune — Lawmakers seek changes at Western State Hospital — A proposal set to be introduced Wednesday in the Legislature comes as federal inspectors are paying a visit to Western State Hospital this week to check on safety problems they found last year.

costco-ballot► In today’s (Everett) Herald — After privatization, here’s who won and lost the liquor battlePeople are buying more bottles of booze in Washington, and, in many cases, paying more for it four years after voters took the state out of the liquor business.




► In the P.S. Business Journal — Everett Boeing supplier nixes contract offer, negotiations resume — Workers at Cadence Aerospace-Giddens in Everett may have surprised even union organizers by roundly defeating a contract Machinists District Lodge 751 had endorsed. In voting Friday, 94 percent of the company’s 220 employees voted to reject the contract, and 89 percent voted to strike.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing leader paints bright picture of future despite pointed questions about company weaknesses — Director of Marketing Randy Tinseth took a cup-half-full approach to several pointed questions on Tuesday.




chicken-little-l► From KPLU — UW researchers report price data after Seattle’s minimum wage increase — University of Washington researchers are doing a multi-year study to analyze economic impacts of the wage hike. “Overall, we found that prices in Seattle are fairly stable and they haven’t gone up very much, if at all, since the minimum wage went up starting in April of last year,” said Jacob Vigdor, the Daniel J. Evans professor of public policy at UW. “The exception would be in the restaurant sector, where we found price increases on the order of 7 or 8 percent.” But restaurant prices also rose outside of Seattle. Vigdor said his team didn’t collect that much restaurant data outside the city, making it a bit hard to draw conclusions.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Haggen grocery-chain bankruptcy auction postponed again — The auction for the 33 remaining Haggen stores in the Pacific Northwest has been postponed until Feb. 22.

► In today’s News Tribune — Weyerhaeuser campus in Federal Way is sold — Industrial Realty Group purchased the Federal Way campus of Weyerhaeuser, which plans to move its corporate headquarters to Seattle.

► In today’s Oregonian — Portland contractor threatened violence against whistleblowers, labor commissioner says — Oregon’s top labor official says Evan D. Williams threatened to physically harm his employees last fall in response to a state investigation into unfair pay.




► From The Hill — Trump, Sanders post big wins in New Hampshire — Both anti-establishment candidates won handily on Tuesday.

sanders-bernie► From The Hill — Sanders victory over Clinton is overwhelming — His margin could be one of the largest victories in the New Hampshire contest’s history. Just before midnight, Sanders led with 60 percent of the vote compared to Clinton’s 39 percent, a margin substantially larger than most polls had projected.

► From The Hill — Clinton allies panic over message — Allies say her campaign’s problems boil down to a fundamental problem: messaging.

► From Politico — GOP establishment stares into the abyss — Far from winnowing the crowded field of mainstream GOP contenders and allowing it to unify around a standard-bearer, New Hampshire thrust it further into chaos.




► From The Atlantic — Restoring voting rights for felons in Maryland — The Maryland General Assembly restored Tuesday the right to vote for more than 40,000 released felons, overriding a veto by Governor Larry Hogan.

► In today’s — Virginia argues centuries of racism are ‘not relevant’ to current Voter ID law — Attorneys for the state of Virginia are trying to prevent any testimony about the state’s history of racism from being heard in an upcoming trial over Virginia’s strict voter ID law.

HP-BLM-voting-rights► From Huffington Post — The movement for voting rights is a movement for a better future (by Rashad Robinson) — We cannot simply call out the dirty tricks, we must mobilize to confront proponents of voter suppression head-on. To keep rising, we need to convert the mass outrage fueled by voter suppression not just into voter turnout but into mass strategic action that’s outcomes-driven and focused on political accountability and legislative change.




► From Politico — Obama seeks tax hikes on banks, the wealthy to pay for budget — President Barack Obama’s final budget proposal is a clarion call for Democratic progressivism — a $4.1 trillion spending blueprint that would pour billions into clean energy, education and health care, and pay for it by raising taxes on big banks and the wealthy.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Obama proposes Hanford budget cut next year

► In today’s NY Times — Republican budget tantrum (editorial) — It’s a new low when the chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees won’t even hold hearings with the White House budget director.

► From TPM — What congressional Republicans’ snub of Obama’s budget really says — It is his final budget blueprint, his last chance to put his vision for the future in front of voters and Congress, but Republicans will not even pretend to give President Obama’s last budget plan any serious consideration, a brush off that upends decades of decorum on Capitol Hill.

TSA-screeners► From The Hill — Dems push for greater labor protections for TSA workers — Democrats in the House are pushing to give Transportation Security Administration employees labor protections granted to other federal workers. They have introduced legislation that would grant TSA workers, who are already unionized, rights that include “collective bargaining, whistleblower protections, and protections against discrimination based on age or handicap.”  They say the extra safeguards would help the TSA retain workers, who have been represented by AFGE since 2011.

► From Workforce — Congress puts brakes on ‘Cadillac’ — Just as employers were gearing up to address the looming “Cadillac” tax, Congress has pumped the brakes on it. In a rare bipartisan effort in this Congress, the legislators in December deferred the 40 percent excise tax until 2020. And it has many employers taking their collective foot off the gas and breathing a sigh of relief, at least for now.

► From The Hill — Customs bill expected to clear Senate on Thursday — An agreement was reached allowing the customs bill to move forward in exchange for consideration of a measure that would enable states to collect sales taxes from online retailers. The AFL-CIO sent a letter to senators on Tuesday calling on them to oppose the bill over numerous issues including currency, climate and the Internet tax ban.

► In today’s NY Times — Justices block Obama restrictions on coal emissions — The Supreme Court’s willingness to issue a stay while the case proceeds was a hint that the emissions rules to fight climate change could face a skeptical reception.




chicken-processing-L► From Think Progress — Wage theft, sexual assault, and no sick leave: The horrible conditions facing poultry workers — Approximately 300,000 poultry workers make it possible for Americans to consume 1.3 billion chicken wings for big events like the Super Bowl and Thanksgiving. But many of those workers include people of color and immigrants who are often subject to wage discrepancies, discrimination, and poor working conditions, as a recent Northwest Arkansas Workers Justice Center report found.


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