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Willy-nilly in Oly, CTE pays, kneecapping unions…

Tuesday, January 10, 2017




► In today’s News Tribune — Split on school funding marks start of new legislative session in Olympia — A task force designed to come up with ideas to solve the state’s school-funding crisis failed to put out any recommendations Monday, the first day of a new legislative session in Olympia. State Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) said that lawmakers should proceed thoughtfully, instead of throwing out school-funding ideas “willy-nilly.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — As explained in yesterday’s WSLC Legislative Update, the Legislature has been working on this issue for five years and the task force for several months. In the end, yet another bipartisan task force instructed to produce a bipartisan plan couldn’t. Democrats on the task force did, but Republicans did not, due to internal disagreement. (P.S. Willy-nilly defined: “without direction or planning; haphazardly.”)

► From WA House Democrats — Looking forward on education funding (by Reps. Lytton and Sullivan, and Sens. Billig and Rolfes) — Seven months ago, eight lawmakers representing each legislative caucus were asked to examine nine outstanding questions related to the basic education funding problems that remain and make recommendations to the Legislature on what should be done to solve those problems. The task was clear. The questions were clear. The timeline was clear. The Democrats on this task force answered that call. We did our jobs. The Republicans did not.

► From The Hill — GOP expected to take aim at local tax deductions — Congressional Republicans have put two key preferences important to state and local governments, the deduction for state and local taxes (which tends to benefit areas that lean Democratic) and the tax exemption for municipal bonds, on the chopping block.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Students in career, tech courses more likely to find better-paying jobs — Career and technical classes tend to be hands-on, with instructors who have worked in the field. Some prepare students for college while others provide training for jobs or apprenticeships. Washington high school graduates who do not go to college are more likely to land a living-wage job or apprenticeship if they’ve taken CTE courses, according to a state audit released in December.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Albertsons to close Yakima store — UFCW 1439 President Ron Banka is hoping that most, if not all, of the 62 employees who work at the store at 40th Avenue and Tieton Drive, will get new jobs at other grocery stores in the area before the store closes on Feb. 25… Albertsons also is closing two stores in Spokane and closed a store in Bellingham last year.




► From TPM — 5 GOP senators propose delay on Obamacare repeal to work out replacement — Five Republican senators have introduced a measure that would delay the next steps on repealing the ACA by more than a month. The senators said the delay would buy Congress more time to work out of the the details of a replacement.

► From AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO tells Congress no repeal without replacement of ACA — The letter from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka urges Republican leaders to abandon plans to roll back coverage protections and declares it “reckless to repeal the ACA without providing an immediate replacement.”

► From McClatchy — Don’t repeal Affordable Care Act until you can replace, poll says — A new poll suggests mounting Republican anxiety over yanking Obamacare without a replacement may be justified: nearly two-thirds of voters say the Affordable Care Act should not be repealed without a substitute in place. The poll found that 61 percent of independent voters and 48 percent of Republicans said there should be a “clear alternative” before repeal of the 2010 health care law.




► In today’s NY Times — Big worries about Betsy DeVos (editorial) — As the Senate races forward with confirmation hearings this week, the spottiest disclosures have come from wealthy private-sector nominees with no governing experience and many potential conflicts. In other words, the people most in need of a complete ethics review. Exhibit A is Betsy DeVos, a billionaire and education lobbyist who is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary. DeVos’s finances are a tangle that could take weeks to investigate.

► From Politico — DeVos hearing delayed — The confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s Education secretary pick, has been pushed back by almost a week.

► In today’s Washington Post — Federal workers filled with fear as they face the Trump presidency (by Petula Dvorak) — They have survived decades of government reinvention and private-sector outsourcing. But this threat feels different.

► From Huffington Post — Congress quietly passes new rule allowing House members to hide records from ethics probes — The change by the Republican-controlled House essentially makes a member of Congress the owner and sole controller of any records he or she creates, regardless of whether those documents touch on a public interest, such as use of taxpayer funds or the commission of a crime.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In 2014, the Office of Congressional Ethics produced a stinging report in 2014 that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers had apparently broken House rules and federal law by using taxpayer resources in election campaigns, and it recommended the Ethics Committee delve into the matter further. The committee silently declined.




► From AFL-CIO Now — Kentucky State AFL-CIO responds to Republican assault on working people — “Where do we go from here? Working families in Kentucky will come together to demand prosperity and fairness for our state. We will demand a Kentucky that works for all Kentuckians, not just wealthy CEOs and out-of-state corporations. We will not let these politicians and out-of-state corporations turn back the clock on Kentucky’s hardworking men and women.”

► From The Intercept — In statehouses won by Republicans, the first move is to consolidate power by weakening unions — Republicans stormed to power in state elections across the country in November on a promise to take on the establishment and return government to the average citizen. But in state capitals where they gained control, they moved quickly to do something else entirely: They’ve consolidated their newfound power — and rewarded their corporate donors — by delivering death blows to a longtime enemy: organized labor.


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