Tuesday, April 12, 2016
► In today’s NY Times — Debate over prison population turns to the states — Some 87 percent of the country’s inmates are in state prisons, so any moves to cut the country’s prison population would rely on states and counties to lock up substantially fewer people. Some states are taking steps that could lead to this outcome, but not on a scale or at a pace that would end what has been called mass incarceration.
ALSO at The Stand — Mass employment, not mass incarceration (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson) — I joined leaders from the AFL-CIO, international unions, Free America, and R&B sensation John Legend for a tour of the Washington Corrections Center for Women at Purdy…. When he sang “All of Me” and invited the women to sing along, there was not a dry eye in the house. (Watch the video!)
► From KUOW — This Portland barista pays fewer taxes than Seattle baristas — In Oregon, the state tax system puts the burden more on the rich than the poor. Washington state is the opposite: Part-time workers pay up to 24 percent of their earnings in taxes, and people at the high end of the wage scale pay around 5 percent.
► In today’s Wenatchee World — Parlette to leave Senate after 20 legislative years — State Sen. Linda Evans Parlette will not run for a fifth term in the November election. Parlette, 70, made the announcement Monday morning, 20 years to the day from her original 1996 declaration to run for state office. The Wenatchee Republican said she chose not to disclose her decision until the Legislature’s session had ended, in order to focus on bills she was pushing through the chamber.
► In today’s Wenatchee World — Gebbers exec to run for Senate seat — Jon Wyss, 44, a Gebbers Farms governmental liaison, said he’ll run for the state Senate seat left when Linda Evans Parlette finishes her term in January. Wyss has lobbied for more flexibility in the nation’s guest worker program, to allow easier access for migrant fruit laborers.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Campaign finance trial delayed, pro-GMO group sanctioned — A trial over the possible penalties for a multi-million dollar violation of state campaign law was delayed Monday after the judge criticized a national food organization for withholding information.
► In today’s Columbian — Vancouver City Council pursues oil terminal ban at port — The Vancouver City Council directed city staff Monday to draft an ordinance prohibiting bulk crude oil storage and handling facilities and oil refineries due to safety concerns.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Vancouver terminal supporters urged to attend Tuesday’s Port hearing
RAISE UP WASHINGTON
► From Huffington Post — Give small business owners an even break, pass a minimum standard for paid sick leave (by Amanda Ballantyne) — I’ve seen business owners who were once nervous become strong supporters of these policies, willing to talk with other business owners about how earned paid sick leave makes good business sense for small and large companies, their employees, and the communities they serve. A recent poll conducted by LuntzGlobal, commissioned by the Council of State Chambers, tells us more of what we already know. Of the 1,000 business owners and C-level executives representative of the Chamber’s membership, 73% support paid sick leave.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Volunteer to collect signatures for I-1433, which would allow 1 million workers in Washington who currently lack paid sick days to earn it.
► In the Seattle Times — Two Seattle-area machinists explain why Trump’s their man –“Under Clinton, under Bush, under Obama, middle-class union jobs have been going down,” one says. “None have proposed a solution. Trump comes in, ‘I’ll bring those jobs back.’ ” … Three initials keep coming up in conversations with the two machinists: TPP, which stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership. “If TPP is passed it’s going to send more of our jobs to places like Thailand. Thailand uses slave labor. Thailand is part of TPP. You can’t compete.”
► In today’s LA Times — Trump’s clash with Las Vegas union highlights his unpredictability — Trump’s hardball tactics have left more than a few people baffled. Why is Trump picking a fight with organized labor in a union town like Vegas? And why do it now, at the height of the presidential political campaign season — and in a swing state no less, one that he’ll want to win in November if he’s the GOP nominee. It’s a standoff that highlights not only the Republican front-runner’s unpredictability, but also how he might balance the demands of being both businessman and politician.
► In today’s Washington Post — No matter how you measure it, Bernie Sanders isn’t winning the Democratic primary — This far into the primary season, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have clear, unquestionable leads on that critical metric of pledged delegates. Clinton also has a significant lead with committed superdelegates, mostly party functionaries who can change their minds if they want to. The Republican side doesn’t have superdelegates, as such, but it does have a smaller pool of people who can vote for whomever they want.
► In the Washington Post — Obama can appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court if the Senate does nothing (by Gregory Diskant) — It is in full accord with traditional notions of waiver to say that the Senate, having been given a reasonable opportunity to provide advice and consent to the president with respect to the nomination of Garland, and having failed to do so, can fairly be deemed to have waived its right.
► From the Hill — Obama court pick favors labor, business group says — Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, has ruled in favor of federal agencies 77 percent of the time, according to a scorecard produced by the National Federation of Independent Business. This is the first-time in its 73-year history, NFIB has decided to thoroughly analyze the record of a Supreme Court pick.
► From The Hill — Litigants fear short-handed Supreme Court might skip case — Home healthcare companies are worried the eight-member Supreme Court won’t consider a case on whether workers are eligible for overtime pay. Many think the eight justices would split 4-4 on the case, which would leave a lower ruling in place that makes home healthcare workers eligible for overtime pay.
► From Huffington Post — Verizon workers to strike this week if they don’t get a contract — Labor unions representing 40,000 Verizon workers say they will carry out the largest U.S. strike in five years if they can’t reach a deal with the company by Wednesday. The workers are members of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Mostly technicians and customer service reps on the East Coast, their last contract expired in August.
► In today’s NY Times — European Union calls for big companies to disclose more tax data — If the European effort becomes law, it could help to address the types of tax shelters exposed in the Panama Papers. The leaked files exposed how some of the world’s richest or most powerful people may have used offshore bank accounts and shell companies to conceal their wealth or avoid taxes.
► From Think Progress — The workers caring for our grandparents are paid poverty wages — According to a new report from the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, nursing assistants earn just $11.51 at the median — meaning half of the 650,000-strong workforce makes less than that. And things have gotten worse over the years, not better. Adjusted for inflation, nursing assistants’ wages have fallen 7 percent over the last decade.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — New rule will protect retirement investments (editorial) — Workers have increasingly had to take a greater role in providing for their retirement. To encourage workers to set aside more for retirement and to protect the money they’ve earned and invested, consumers need the assurance of rules — not just a pledge — that their advisers are looking out for their best interests.
EQUAL PAY DAY
► From Huffington Post — Closing the gender pay gap (by Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Jan Schakowsky, Mike Quigley, and Luis Gutierrez) — Today we recognize Equal Pay Day, a day that symbolically represents when a woman’s wage finally catches up to what a man was paid in the previous year. Despite often being equally qualified, a man’s pay outpaces a woman’s by 79 cents for every dollar.
► From Huffington Post — A recent win for unions in the courts is also an unexpected victory for women. But there’s a lesson in this for all of us. (by Tracy Sturdivant) — Women make up nearly half of the nation’s union membership. In addition to having higher wages and more benefits than non-union workers, including a higher likelihood of having paid family and medical leave and paid sick days, women in unions also see a smaller wage gap with their male counterparts.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Get more information about forming a union at YOUR workplace here.
► From Huffington Post — Paying women equally would be a boon for ‘everyone else,’ too — A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that greater gender parity in the workforce — in terms of pay, hours worked, and access to full-time jobs — would also benefit the entire country’s economy. The report makes the case for both the government and businesses to take a more proactive role in bringing about gender equality.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.