Charters sprung, Haggen to Albertsons, TPP loses again…

Wednesday, March 9, 2016




► In today’s News Tribune — Fix for charter schools still alive in Legislature — An attempt to save Washington’s eight charter schools still has a chance in the Legislature, six months after the state’s highest court declared the privately run schools unconstitutional. The state House is expected to vote Wednesday on a measure that would change how charter schools are funded, which supporters say would resolve issues that caused the state Supreme Court to strike down the state’s charter-school law in September.

ALSO at The Stand — Labor opposes surprise charter schools bill

► From The Stranger — Tell Republican Senators to support protections for pregnant workers — State Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-Seattle) has a message for Republicans who claim they’re pro-women and pro-family: “It’s one thing to say you stand with women, but you have to be really willing to take action to do that.” So far, the Republican-controlled state senate is showing little appetite for action. That body has two days left to vote on a bill supported by Farrell and other Democrats providing new protections for pregnant women in the workplace. So far, they’ve failed to take up the bill. If they continue to do nothing, it will die.

TAKE A STAND — Urge your senator to pass Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

► From KPLU — War of words, no smoke signals as secret budget talks continue — The clock is running out on Washington’s 60-day legislative session. House Democrats and Senate Republicans have until Thursday at midnight to approve an update to the state’s two-year budget. But first they need to agree on the details.

► From PubliCola — Last minute tax breaks in Olympia — House Speaker Frank Chopp signed off on a bill, estimated to cost the state $284,000 in its first year, to give a tax break to airplane repair maintenance facilities if they employ at least 100 people at $80,000 a year over the next four years.

► In today’s News Tribune — State Patrol would give troopers 5 percent raise in legislative deal — Several lawmakers said the raises are first step toward bringing State Patrol salaries in line with pay at other law enforcement agencies in the state.

► From The Stranger — State fines Alaska Airlines for failing to keep baggage handlers safe — In response to worker complaints filed last summer, L&I found a total of 16 workplace safety violations — most of them considered serious — for Menzies workers at SeaTac Airport. The state slapped Menzies with $62,000 in fines, and another $7,000 for Alaska Airlines itself.

► From AP — Audit: State paying unemployment to people in jail — Many people in county jails are receiving unemployment benefits they’re ineligible for, according to a state audit.

► In today’s News Tribune — Lt. Gov. Brad Owen announces retirement — In a tear-filled address to the state Senate, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen announced Tuesday that he won’t be seeking re-election, ending four decades of service to the state government. “I will be leaving this office when this term is up in January,” Owen said. “I will leave it for the next lieutenant governor to build upon (what I have done), to make it even better.” The Shelton Democrat began his career in state government in 1976, when he was elected to the House. He served as a representative until 1983, when he was elected to the Senate. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1996, and has been re-elected four times.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Greenwood explosion destroys buildings, injures 9 firefighters — Nine firefighters were hurt when an apparent natural-gas leak sparked an early morning explosion that leveled a building and destroyed several businesses.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Haggen core stores may be sold to Albertsons — The union that represents Haggen employees says that government regulators have given approval to a potential deal where Albertsons would purchase the remaining core Haggen stores, five of which are in Whatcom County. Haggen officials did not have a comment about the union statement. In a written statement, UFCW Local 367 said the FTC has approved a potential acquisition of the core stores and that both Albertsons and Haggen are finalizing the purchase agreement.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Port approves $274,000 severance package with former CEO — Port of Longview commissioners approved a $274,000 settlement agreement with former CEO Geir-Eilif Kalhagen, provided he agrees not to sue the port over his early January ouster.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing 777X wing plant set to open in Everett in two months — Boeing’s new $1 billion 777X wing factory in Everett could open as early as May, just 18 months after the first dirt was turned.




► In today’s LA Times — Bernie Sanders surprises Hillary Clinton in Michigan. Is Ohio next? — If a surprise loss to Sanders in Michigan wasn’t embarrassing enough, Clinton woke up Wednesday to a bigger problem: The Vermont senator now has a victorious strategy to utilize in two important Midwestern industrial states that vote next week. The battle for Ohio and Illinois, both of which vote March 15, can be expected to follow the template of Michigan. Sanders almost certainly will stress that Clinton’s 1990s views on trade, welfare and other issues have grievously harmed Americans, particularly in an area of the country troubled by vanishing manufacturing jobs.

► In today’s NY Times — Trade and jobs key to victory for Bernie Sanders — Sanders pulled off a startling upset in Michigan on Tuesday by traveling to communities far from Detroit and by hammering Hillary Clinton on an issue that resonated in this still-struggling state: her past support for trade deals that workers here believe robbed them of manufacturing jobs.

► From CNN — Exit polls: Dem, GOP voters worry about economy — Democratic and Republican voters in Michigan and Mississippi expressed broad concerns about the economy and believed trade with other countries takes jobs from the U.S., but diverged on most other concerns, according to exit poll results Tuesday night.

► In the Int’l Business Times — Union members gravitating toward Trump amid tough talk on trade — As primaries and caucuses have illustrated thus far, voters across the country are drawn to the GOP front-runner’s populist rhetoric and tough talk on trade — both of which are pillars of many embattled U.S. labor unions. Come November, some Democrats and labor officials worry that Trump could capture a large chunk of the union vote, historically a vital part of the Democratic electoral coalition.

► From Politico — Will blue-collar Dems run to Trump? Fuhgeddaboudit! (by Timothy Noah) — Trump’s string of victories demonstrates only that he’s doing exceptionally well compared to the other Republican candidates with (overwhelmingly white) blue-collar voters in Republican primaries. Democrats and independents seldom vote in Republican primaries; indeed, in most states they’re barred from doing so. The great majority of these voters are registered Republicans who were never going to vote Democratic anyway.




► From Think Progress — Opposition is growing to Obama’s sweeping trade deal — It’s something that all the major presidential candidates — on both sides of the aisle — can agree on: The United States should not ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Even Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State during the bulk of the agreement’s confidential negotiations, doesn’t think the TPP is a good idea anymore. Now, a group of environmental advocates is pressuring Congress to reject ratification of the 12-nation agreement, which they say would allow 9,000 companies operating on U.S. soil to sue the government for imposing environmental regulations.




► In today’s Washington Post — Senate tired of waiting on the House to figure out its budget mess — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the upper chamber plans to soon begin writing spending bills based on a bipartisan budget agreement reached in December that would boost spending this year by $30 billion. House conservatives are pushing their leaders to abandon that deal.

► From The Hill — Report: Obama meeting SCOTUS candidates — President Obama is actively interviewing potential replacements for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, according to a new report. Obama is meeting with five candidates and is seriously considering three of them for the nation’s highest court.

ALSO at The Stand — Senate Republicans: Do your job, so I can do mine (by Sen. Patty Murray)




► From Forbes — Wall Street bonuses more than total earnings of minimum wage workers — The money that bankers made in bonuses last year may have been relative small for them, but large for regular people. The average bonus was nearly triple the country’s median household income. An analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies found that the bonus pools was enough to offer a $15 an hour wage to any of the three following groups in the country:

●  2.6 million restaurant wait staff and bartenders $15 an hour
●  1.6 million home healthcare and personal care aides
●  2.6 million fast food workers

► From Huffington Post — Michigan taxpayers face paying millions in legal fees over Flint crisis — Gov. Rick Snyder (R) requested on Tuesday $1.2 million for legal services, more than double the $500,000 already earmarked.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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