Friday, March 11, 2016
► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee orders special session, vetoes 27 bills to spur action — Gov. Jay Inslee called a special 30-day overtime session, which began Thursday night, and vetoed 27 bills — making good on a threat to reject various pieces of legislation if lawmakers failed to compromise on the big picture. “There is no break and no rest, legislators need to balance the books,” Inslee said.
► From Governor.WA.gov — The list of bills that Inslee vetoed
► In today’s News Tribune — Charter-schools fix clears Legislature, heads to Gov. Jay Inslee — Charter school advocates declared victory Thursday as the Legislature approved a plan to keep the privately run, publicly funded schools open in Washington. SB 6194 cleared the state Senate on Thursday on a 26-23 vote, with a majority of senators agreeing with changes made Wednesday in the state House. The measure now heads to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This bill doesn’t change these private schools’ governance or make them accountable to the public, which is why the Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional. SB 6194 merely pays for them with lottery funds rather than general funds. If the governor signs this bill, it is certain to be challenged in court and again declared unconstitutional, setting up parents and kids for another round of confusion and disappointment. Gov. Inslee should veto it — not as more budget leverage, but because it’s bad policy and false hope for the affected families.
► In today’s News Tribune — Legislature puts Band-Aid on State Patrol (editorial) — WSP pay is so low that the agency has trouble both with recruitment and retention, as many troopers have left for higher-paying jobs with other law enforcement agencies in the state. Legislators struck a deal that, while not a cure for the the WSP’s losses, at least applies a Band-Aid to help staunch the flow from the ranks.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — State Voting Rights Act likely dead again this year — A state Voting Rights Act bill that has passed the Democratic-controlled House two years in a row will again not make it out of the Republican-controlled Senate.
► In today’s (Aberdeen) Daily World — Sen. Jim Hargrove retiring from Senate — Sen. Jim Hargrove (D-Hoquiam), a 24th District legislator for more than 30 years, announced his resignation on the last day of the Legislature’s regular session.
► From Huffington Post — Another statehouse decides to block local minimum wage raises — Following in the footsteps of other states, the GOP-controlled Idaho state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would bar local jurisdictions from raising the minimum wage on their own. The measure was already passed by the GOP-controlled house and will now head to the desk of Republican Gov. Butch Otter.
THE WAR ON UNIONS
► In the Guardian — The door-to-door union killers: Right-wing foundation takes labor fight to the streets (by Steven Greenhouse) — For months, Shawna Murphy, a home-based childcare provider in Seattle, had received a stream of emails, letters and robocalls — some two dozen of them — telling her she had the right to stop paying union dues. Then early one afternoon, while the six children in her charge were napping, a man with a briefcase knocked on her door.
He was one of the many foot soldiers in a highly unusual offensive against public-sector unions in the U.S. Northwest. A conservative group, the Freedom Foundation, has dispatched activists to visit the homes of more than 10,000 childcare and home-care workers in Washington and Oregon to advise them that under a two-year-old supreme court decision, they can opt out of paying union dues… Labor leaders and their progressive allies say the Freedom Foundation’s unorthodox tactics are part of a grand plan to weaken unions and their treasuries, sap their political influence and ultimately flip Washington and Oregon from Democratic to Republican.
► In the Portland Tribune — Charity accused of improper political activities — The Freedom Foundation, which is behind several anti-union lawsuits, is the subject of complaints to the IRS, and Washington and Oregon attorney general’s office.
ALSO at The Stand — New state complaint cites Freedom Foundation politicking
► In today’s Oregonian — Hundreds to lose jobs as Haggen closes more stores in Oregon, Washington — In a layoff notice filed with the state on Wednesday, Haggen announced it will close four stores it had hoped to keep open or sell. A total of 263 people will be laid off as the bankrupt grocer closes stores in Happy Valley and West Linn in Oregon, and Burien and Federal Way in Washington.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Contract talks break down between workers and Kent’s Columbia Distributing — Contract talks have broken down between workers and the Pacific Northwest’s largest distributor of beer, wine and liquor, with the union representing the workers threatening to go on strike. Teamsters Local 174 represents 360 drivers and warehouse workers at Columbia Distributing in Kent. A union leader says both sides are at an impasse because of issues related to worker health care costs and other concessions.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing paint hangar nears completion in S.C., suggests future growth options — The new paint hangar is large enough to paint two 787 Dreamliners simultaneously, a sign that Boeing (NYSE: BA) is keeping its doors open for future growth at the South Carolina site.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle is Berning: We’re tops in the U.S. for per capita Bernie Sanders donations — Itemized donations from Seattleites to Sanders totaled $596,578 through Jan. 31. That pencils out to a rate of $893 per 1,000 city residents, handily beating out No. 2 San Francisco and No. 3 Portland.
► From The Hill — Trump: I use visas that are ‘very bad’ for American workers — Trump admitted that he’s taken advantage of migrant visas for highly skilled foreign workers while arguing that they hurt American workers and should be abolished. “I know the H-1B very well. It’s something that I, frankly, use,” Trump said. “Very, very bad for workers. And second of all, I think it’s very important to say — well, I’m a businessman, and I have to do what I have to do.”
► In today’s Columbian — Some GOP lawmakers from region mum ahead of county convention — “I look forward to supporting whoever is the nominee” (see photo above), says Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas). Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) said he will announce who he supports Saturday. Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) she’s not paying attention to the primary.
► From Gawker — The “Sleeping Giant” that will change American politics (if it ever wakes up) — An excerpt from the new book Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America, by Tamara Draut:
Speculation about how the working class will vote— especially white working-class men—is a favorite topic of the political pundits. The conventional wisdom is that this group is solidly and impenetrably conservative and a predictable base for Republican candidates. But on some key issues about the role of government and the power of big money in our political system, the white working class is actually much more liberal than its college-educated counterparts, revealing key opportunities for progressive candidates to earn their votes.
Let’s be clear. The Sleeping Giant, with its larger share of women and people of color, is shifting the center of gravity in politics. Thanks to largely working-class movements such as the Fight for $15 and Black Lives Matter, candidates of both political parties have been compelled to address economic and racial inequality in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election. There is more working-class solidarity right now in the United States than at any time since the 1970s, and on almost every measure this new working class is much more progressive than its college-educated counterparts.
DO YOUR JOB
► MUST-READ in today’s NY Times — Republican threats and the Supreme Court (editorial) — By refusing to do the job that every previous Senate has done, they look like deranged obstructionists. On the other hand, they know that if they give the president’s nominee a hearing, it will become nearly impossible to portray that person as unqualified… For a while, Republican leaders were saying that delaying the nomination until after a new president takes office would respect the “people’s voice” on this critical appointment. Now some, like Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), are admitting that it would be “a different situation” if a Republican were currently in the White House… This is not what America’s founders had in mind when they gave the president the power to appoint justices, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Certainly senators are free to vote for or against a nominee, but it sets a dangerous and irresponsible precedent to refuse to consider any nominee at all.
► From Huffington Post — Senate Republicans: Do your job (by Sen. Elizabeth Warren) — Republicans’ stance on Supreme Court nominees and their response to the extremists at the top of their party’s ticket are the same issue. And the solution is simple. If Republican Senators want to stand up to extremists running for president, they can start by standing up to extremists in the Senate. They can start by doing their jobs.
ALSO at The Stand — Do your job, so I can do mine (by Sen. Patty Murray)
► This week, the world lost the legendary “Fifth Beatle,” producer George Martin, who died at the age of 90. In “How George Martin changed pop music,” Ben Sisario of The New York Times writes, “The studio itself became an instrument, an essential part of music-making — and Mr. Martin was, in effect, the master of that instrument, on a level nearly equal with the band.”
The Entire Staff of The Stand argued for hours about which George Martin-produced song we should offer to commemorate his passing. In the end, we had to choose this one. This was the blueprint for the epic multi-part rock single and absolutely historic for its studio experimentation, ending with the most famous final chord of all time — clocking in at more than 40 seconds. Here’s how Martin later described his improvised “score” for its two orchestral crescendos:
“What I did there was to write… the lowest possible note for each of the instruments in the orchestra. At the end of the 24 bars, I wrote the highest note… near a chord of E major. Then I put a squiggly line right through the 24 bars, with reference points to tell them roughly what note they should have reached during each bar… Of course, they all looked at me as though I were completely mad.”
A mad genius. This video includes footage of that orchestra — the players were encouraged to wear fake noses and bits of costumes along with formal dress — from the Sgt. Pepper’s recording session. R.I.P. and thank you, Mr. Martin.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.