Wednesday, February 17, 2016
► TODAY at 5 p.m. is the cutoff for the Washington State Legislature to consider bills in their houses of origin. Check out the action live at TVW.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Washington Senate agrees to task force to seek public school fix — Under a daily fine of $100,000 for failing to meet the state’s constitutional obligations to public schools, a sharply divided Senate approved a plan Tuesday. The plan: Set up a task force so next year’s Legislature can approve a plan. On a 26-23 vote, the Senate passed a bill to establish the Education Funding Task Force that would recommend how local school districts will stop using money from their local property taxes to cover basic education expenses that the Supreme Court says are the state’s responsibility. Those recommendations would go to the 2017 Legislature, which would act on them by the end of that year’s session.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee wants to add lanes to clogged I-405 — Gov. Jay Inslee says he wants to make more room for cars on northbound Interstate 405, where thousands of motorists have found new congestion since toll lanes opened last fall.
► In today’s News Tribune — Olympia business owner appointed to fill Rep. Graham Hunt vacancy — The Pierce County Council and Thurston County Board of Commissioners have appointed Andrew Barkis, 47, to the 2nd Legislative District seat vacated by Rep. Graham Hunt (R-Orting). Hunt resigned earlier this month over questions about his military record. Barkis is majority owner and broker of Hometown Property Management in Olympia.
► From SPEEA — Ballots are due by 5 p.m. TODAY for members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace/IFPTE 2001 who are voting on the Professional and Technical contract offers from The Boeing Co. Ballots must be delivered by the deadline — not postmarked. Get more information at SPEEA.org.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Engineers’ approval of Boeing union pact could lead to long period of peace in state — If SPEEA members approve the contract, as union leaders are recommending, it will bring an unprecedented era of peace between the company and union until 2022. Already the Machinists have committed to their period of peace until 2024, after narrowly approving a 10-year extension in January 2014.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Ex-Im Bank still hobbled, says top exec — Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg was in Seattle to underscore how the bank’s help to big exporters such as Boeing is crimped by political opponents who haven’t allowed the agency to fill its roster of board members.
► In today’s NY Times — Bombardier to cut 7,000 jobs as new airliner struggles to draw buyers — The Canadian transportation company is struggling to find buyers for a new series of planes that for the first time put it in direct competition with the aviation giants Boeing and Airbus.
► From Reuters — Jobs in U.S. aerospace, defense sector seen up 3.2 percent in 2016 — The U.S. aerospace and defense industry is poised to add 39,443 jobs in 2016, an increase of about 3.2 percent and the first job growth in the sector in five years, according to a study by Deloitte. The anticipated growth will be driven by a rebound in the U.S. military market.
► From The Hill — Obama scolds Republicans over Supreme Court stance — “The Constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to be happen now,” the president said. “Historically, this has not been viewed as a question, there is no unwritten law that says it can only be done on off years. I intend to do my job between now and Jan. 20, 2017. I expect them to do their job as well.”
► From 1987 — Reagan on how lame-duck Supreme Court nominations should work — President Ronald Reagan called on all Americans to “join together in a bipartisan effort to fulfill our constitutional obligation of restoring the United States Supreme Court to full strength.” Unlike today’s Republicans, the chair of the Senate judiciary committee, then-Sen. Joe Biden, did not threaten to block the nomination nor urge Reagan to leave the seat vacant for the next president to fill.
► In today’s Seattle Times — U.S. Senate needs to do its job on Supreme Court nomination — When Obama delivers his nominee to the Senate, that chamber should do its job. Governance requires compromise — and an ability to read the Constitution.
► From The Hill — GOP unity cracks in court fight — Freshman GOP Sen. Thom Tillis warned that his party risks being seen as “obstructionist” in a fight over Supreme Court nominations with President Obama.
► From TPM — Quick politicization of Scalia’s death caught progressives totally off guard — Thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, celebrating Scalia’s life and legal accomplishments was immediately eclipsed by talk of who should get the right to appoint his successor.
► From the Hill — Republicans face a no-win situation after loss of Scalia (by Roger Hartley) — Not only did conservatives lose a champion and powerful voice for conservative causes in law, but this loss also provides a no-win political environment for Republicans. The politics in the aftermath of Scalia’s death is nothing short of disaster for the GOP in terms of the presidency and control of the Supreme Court.
► From Gawker — Scalia’s hunting trip was a gift from a ‘friend’ who had business before the Supreme Court last year — Justice Antonin Scalia was taking a free vacation at the exclusive Cibolo Creek Ranch in western Texas when he was found dead inside a guest room Saturday. The trip, the Washington Post reports, was a gift from the ranch’s owner, who just last year obtained a favorable result from the Supreme Court.
► From AFL-CIO Now — Surprise, surprise! They’re lying to you about Voter ID — Supporters of strict voter identification laws argue that they are needed to prevent voter fraud and that they aren’t designed to suppress anyone’s vote. We’ve already known for quite a while that voter fraud is largely a myth. Research from the 2014 election shows that voter ID laws suppress the votes of Democrats at more than twice the rate the laws block Republican voters. Are you shocked? The new study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, found that strict voter ID laws cause an 8.8% reduction in Democratic Party turnout while only reducing Republican turnout by 3.6%.
► From Last Week Tonight — John Oliver takes down Voter ID laws
► In today’s NY Times — Clinton should just say yes to a $15 minimum wage (editorial) — Hillary Clinton should join Bernie Sanders, not fight him, on the issue of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
► From Think Progress — As they drank contaminated water, Flint residents were charged the highest water rates in the nation — A new report confirms what many residents had long suspected: that their water bills, averaging $140 a month, were the highest in the country. The group found that a Flint resident paid $864.32 a year for water in January 2015, about $500 more than what the typical family in the rest of the country paid for water from other public utilities and more than twice the rate paid in the state generally.
ALSO at The Stand — Government run like a business has poisoned our children (by Leo W. Gerard)
► From AFL-CIO Now — Scott Walker wants to make Wisconsin just like Flint — The Wisconsin Legislature is scheduled to vote on legislation that would open the door to the privatization of municipal water systems without democratic input from local citizens. The legislation, the Fast Path to Water Privatization Bill (AB 554), was added to the calendar at the last minute despite the fact that it could affect every Wisconsinite and lead to a repeat of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis in community after community.
UPDATE — The planned vote was scrapped Tuesday in the face of opposition from nearly 20 groups, including the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, and “the only organizations registered in favor of the proposal were a state contractors association and the Pennsylvania water utility corporation that requested the legislation be introduced.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.