Tuesday, February 16, 2016
► From The Atlantic — What will become of public-sector unions now? (by Charlotte Garden) — With news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing on Saturday, a new question emerged: Assuming Scalia was indeed part of a five-justice majority to hold mandatory union fees unconstitutional, what will become of Friedrichs? At minimum, Abood is nearly certain to remain good law through the 2016 election. That alone is a victory for public unions… (But) cases with the potential to chip away at organized labor will continue to reach the courts in significant numbers no matter what, and they will proliferate if the next justice is a Republican appointee.
► From In These Times — When Scalia died, so did ‘Friedrichs’ — and an even grander scheme to destroy unions (by Moshe Marvit) — Conservatives had a great plan in motion to decimate unions. If Justice Antonin Scalia hadn’t died in his sleep, they almost certainly would have pulled it off.
► In the NY Times — After Antonin Scalia’s death, fierce battle lines emerge — An epic Washington political battle took shape on Sunday after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia as Senate Republicans dug in and said they would refuse to act on any Supreme Court nomination by President Obama. But the White House vowed to select a nominee within weeks.
► In today’s Washington Post — Reid to GOP: For the good of the country, stop your nakedly partisan obstruction
► In the NY Times — Supreme Court nominees in election years are usually confirmed — The Senate has never taken more than 125 days to vote on a successor from the time of nomination; on average, a nominee has been confirmed, rejected or withdrawn within 25 days. When Justice Antonin Scalia died, 342 days remained in President Obama’s term.
► In today’s NY Times — Battle over bench started well before Scalia’s death — Since Republicans took control of the Senate, the confirmation process for President Obama’s nominees to the 12 regional federal courts of appeal has essentially been halted.
► In the NY Times — The Supreme Court after Justice Scalia (editorial) — The question now is whether this Senate will weigh any of these candidates on the merits, or whether as its leaders suggest, it will use every trick in the book to deny Obama his choice… Senators are free to vote yes or no on any nominee. But not to vote at all is an enormous insult and grave disservice to millions of Americans awaiting justice.
► In today’s Washington Post — Senators, do your job, and vote on next Supreme Court nominee (editorial) — Obama should nominate the best qualified person he can find, not one chosen for maximum political advantage. Then senators should insist that they be given the opportunity to do what their states elected them to do: evaluate the nominee fairly, and vote aye or nay.
► From The New Yorker — GOP warns Obama against doing anything for next 340 days
► In the Seattle Times — D.C.-style politics? Republicans ‘smell blood’ in takedown of Inslee appointee — The brawl between Senate Republicans and the Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee over the firing of the state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson has struck some as Washington, D.C.-style, in-your-face politics not normally seen here.
ALSO at The Stand — Senate Republicans shame, harm state with Lynn Peterson’s firing (by Jeff Johnson)
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee to announce I-405 tolling changes, steps to keep I-5 moving — Gov. Jay Inslee plans to speak Tuesday at Shoreline following recent political turbulence on transportation issues, including Republican legislators’ dismissal of Inslee’s transportation secretary, Lynn Peterson.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Amendment on tax supermajorities fails in Senate — A proposed constitutional amendment that would have required the Legislature to approve tax increases with two-thirds majorities failed Friday when the Senate failed to muster the two-thirds majority such a change needs. The Senate voted 26-23 on SJR 8211. It needed at least 33 yes votes to go to the House, where another supermajority vote would have been required to send it to the ballot.
► In the News Tribune — Legislators look east for Western State solutions — Maybe an institution that is the target of multiple lawsuits and less than four years removed from a patient-on-patient strangulation can’t be labeled a model. But by some comparisons, Eastern State Hospital near Spokane has a leg up on its counterpart across the Cascades.
► In the Seattle Times — A job or The Jungle? State must help more ex-prisoners adapt (by Jerry Large) — The state is trying to improve its efforts to prepare prison inmates for release, but it needs the capacity to do much more.
► From KUOW — Three neighboring states go three ways on minimum wage — In Oregon, the state House takes up a three-tiered wage increase that passed the state Senate last week. In Washington state, activists are preparing to hit the streets for a statewide initiative. Meanwhile, Idaho lawmakers are mulling whether to block both a statewide and any possible local increases in the minimum wage.
ALSO at The Stand — Initiative 1433 campaign kicks off on March 5
► In the Tri-City Herald — State minimum wage increase makes sense (letter) — As soon as they heard that Raise Up Washington’s proposed ballot measure would provide paid sick leave and raise the minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020, business owners threatened that they’d be forced to cut jobs. But they warn this every time the minimum wage increases — 26 times in the last 54 years — and Washington still has plenty of restaurants, bars, and caregivers like me. Why does the job-pocalypse never come? When workers like me have more money, we spend it on local businesses, which hire more workers to handle the increased demand.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Employment and wage growth in Washington outpacing other states — Washington state hit a sweet spot of both strong employment and wage growth in the fourth quarter, according a recent report on the private-sector workforce.
► In the News Tribune — Haggen stores, employees face uncertain future — Haggen’s postponement of the auctioning of its more than 30 “core” stores, including two in Thurston County and three in Pierce County, is contributing to worker unease. “Our members have been on this roller-coaster ride for well over a year now,” said Nathe Lawver of UFCW Local 367. “This is an unacceptable uncertainty that they are living through day to day.”
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — County, union reach tentative deal; vote set for March 3 — A tentative contract agreement portends a sunnier forecast for labor relations between the Snohomish County government and members of its largest public-sector union (Washington State Council of County and City Employees).
► In the (Everett) Herald — Boeing, engineers union terms look strong as vote deadline nears — Members of the engineers union at Boeing are reading through the fine print and voting on a six-year contract proposal. Voting ends at 5 p.m. Tomorrow (Feb. 17) for SPEEA’s two biggest bargaining units — 14,169 engineers in the union’s Professional Unit and 6,024 technical workers in the Technical Unit.
► From the AFL-CIO — More than 100 state and local governments considering anti-TPP resolutions — More than 100 state and local governments have introduced or passed resolutions opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition, more than 100 resolutions opposing the TPP were passed at recent precinct caucuses in Iowa.
► In the NY Times — Don’t privatize air traffic control (editorial) — The current system is the safest in the world, and there is no credible evidence that a private one would be better.
ALSO at The Stand — Congress: Fix FAA funding, don’t privatize our airways (by Monika Warner)
► From The Hill — Top Republican: ‘We have failed’ to deliver ObamaCare alternative — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) says its one of Speaker Ryan’s top priorities.
► From Think Progress — Bankrupt coal giant plans $11 million payment to executives for slashing benefits for mine workers — Alpha Natural Resources, a bankrupt coal company, last month unveiled a plan to pay top executives up to $11.9 million in bonuses over six months as an apparent reward for slashing benefits for workers and dodging environmental clean-up obligations during bankruptcy proceedings.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.