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Farm workers march, budget battle, our dishonest president…

Monday, April 3, 2017




► In the Seattle Times — Seattle protest targets Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch — More than 200 people gathered outside the federal courthouse in downtown Seattle on Saturday to protest President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Lynne Dodson of the Washington State Labor Council said the labor movement is opposed to Gorsuch because “he has a track record of ruling to uphold the rights of corporations ahead of the rights of people… We need a Supreme Court justice who’ll defend the rights of working people.”

ALSO at The Stand — The people filibuster against Gorsuch in Seattle

► In today’s Washington Post — Home stretch for Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination could forever alter the Senate — Lawmakers will embark on a final, and perhaps bitter, round of debate this week, and the GOP-controlled Senate will likely confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch — but only if it changes the chamber’s rules to end filibusters for high court selections.

► From The Hill — Senators fear fallout of nuclear option — Senators in both parties are speculating that a blowup over President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court could lead not only to the end of the filibuster for such nominations, but for controversial legislation as well.




► In today’s Yakima H-R — Farm workers march in Sunnyside against Trump policies — More than 150 farm workers and their supporters rallied Sunday to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies, as well as to remind others of the contributions immigrants make to the community and economy. “Each American, including me, are beneficiaries of the work that you do,” Victoria Ruddy, Pacific Northwest coordinator of the United Farm Workers of America, told the crowd assembled at Central Park.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle teachers reject proposal to walk out over funding — Seattle teachers voted against a one-day May 1 walkout proposal as members discussed an alternate plan to protest school funding proposals deemed inadequate.

► In the Kitsap Sun — Ferry galley workers frustrated by lack of benefits — Galley workers remain without health care insurance six months after their new company began providing food services on state ferries.

► From AP — Public hospital district in Kennewick lays off 25 workers — The plan to improve the financial position of Kennewick’s Trios Health also calls for additional workforce cuts and not filling some open posts.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Union cites misconduct claims against sheriff, calls for outside review — The Puget Sound Police Managers Association has notified Sheriff John Urquhart that its members are “deeply troubled” by misconduct allegations against him and want an outside investigator to review the claims.




► From AP — House passes two-year $44.9 billion state budget — The House on Friday passed a $44.9 billion state budget that seeks to spend an additional $1.9 billion on education over the next two years in order to address a court mandate on education funding. The spending plan passed the Democratic-controlled chamber on a party line 50-48 vote. The chamber did not vote on the $3 billion in taxes House Democrats are seeking.

► From WFSE — Good House Democrats’ budget passes, but… — The House passed the good budget plan written by majority House Democrats that funds state employees’ contracts and raises, supports public services and puts families first. But Senate Republicans show no signs of backing off of their bad budget that rejected our contracts and raises, increased health costs, closed programs and institutions and shredded the safety net.

► In today’s News Tribune — How is the Legislature going about fixing school funding? They’re not telling, and they don’t have to. — As lawmakers tackle court-ordered education funding, much of the solution will come together behind closed doors. And legislators have exempted themselves from open-records laws, shielding emails or calendars showing their work.

► In the Seattle Times — Funding K-12: Solutions to help every child (editorial) — (The Republican Senate budget) just moves dollars around instead of actually increasing the money going to Washington public schools…. A limited capital-gains tax is a reasonable, equitable way to share the burden. The internet sales proposal should add another leg to this stool. State revenue is projected to increase with current taxes, but not enough to amply fund education without severely cutting other priorities.

► In today’s Olympian — K-12 budget needs help for struggling students (editorial) — The reality is that new revenues — other than a statewide property tax hike — are needed. Also needed are assurances that local levies are reduced and that funds actually boost achievement. It would help if the state fully paid salaries for basic education-related teaching and did so in a way that recognizes higher housing costs in central Puget Sound and that encourages skilled teachers to take challenging assignments in high-demand subject areas.

► In the Seattle Times — Nurses gain traction in Legislature on bills to address ‘dangerous’ staffing — For years, nurses have gone to Olympia, imploring lawmakers to understand that staffing problems were placing patient care at risk. There are constant staff shortages that force nurses to forgo meals and bathroom breaks in order to properly care for patients. There are the 12-hour nursing shifts that grow longer due to scheduling issues. There are nurse-to-patient ratios that seem to grow more dangerous. Nurses returned to Olympia last week to reiterate those messages to the Legislature yet again. But this time they have more optimism that lawmakers are listening.

► In the Olympian — Should Washington take a billion dollars for health care from the feds? Senate GOP leaders say no — The GOP plan has drawn criticism from Democrats who say the state should take federal money where it can get it.

► From KING 5 — Tim Eyman sued by state over alleged campaign finance violations — State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Friday that his office will file a $2 million dollar civil campaign finance enforcement lawsuit against longtime anti-tax activist Tim Eyman. “Our lawsuit alleges an elaborate web of unlawful financial transactions,” said Ferguson. “Tim Eyman personally profited from these transactions and caused inaccurate and misleading reporting… What he did was intentional; it was elaborate; it was deceptive, and he personally profited from it. You can’t do it. I intend to take this case all the way to court.”




► In the Seattle Times — ‘Job-killing regulations’ mantra and reality (by Jon Talton) — Regulations don’t kill jobs as much as shift them around. That doesn’t mean rules can’t cause pain locally. But an ill-advised rollback of regulations likely wouldn’t create many jobs, though it would increase dangers to health and the planet.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump aides’ disclosures reveal surge in lucrative political work — New disclosures offer a hint of how an explosion in spending has expanded the lucrative array of private political work in Washington, enriching even the anti-establishment activists and operatives who sided with Trump.

► In the NY Times — Pick your favorite ethics offender (editorial) — President Trump and his administration are offering the country a graduate-level course in the selling of the presidency. Much attention has focused on how Mr. Trump is using the White House for personal gain, but many other officials, including members of his family, friends and close aides, also stand to rake it in at the public’s expense.




► In the NY Times — After calling NAFTA ‘worst trade deal,’ Trump appears to soften stance — He appears to have backed off his threat to abandon the deal and is instead proposing keeping major planks in place when he begins renegotiating it later this year.

► In the LA Times — Trump’s plan to change NAFTA falls short of campaign bluster — Far from the sweeping trade overhaul that Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail, his administration is considering a surprisingly modest revamp of the NAFTA, according to a draft letter provided to Congress.

► In today’s NY Times — President’s growing trade gap: A gulf between talk and action — The president said two new executive orders would “set the stage for a great revival of American manufacturing,” but they probably won’t make much difference.

► From Bloomberg — Spokane Boeing supplier among firms sending jobs to Mexico — After Donald Trump’s election, the flow of manufacturers setting up shop south of the border dwindled to a trickle. But now the pace is picking back up. Illinois Tool Works Inc. will close an auto-parts plant in Mazon, Ill., and head to Ciudad Juarez. Triumph Group Inc. is reducing its Spokane workforce that makes fiber-composite parts for Boeing and moving production to Zacatecas and Baja California. TE Connectivity Ltd. is shuttering a pressure-sensor plant in Pennsauken, N.J., in favor of a facility in Hermosillo.

► In today’s  NY Times — Trump is wimping out on trade (by Paul Krugman) — Governing America isn’t like reality TV. A few weeks ago Trump whined, “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” Now, one suspects, he’s saying the same thing about trade policy.




► In the OC Register — The Freedom Foundation wants to fight Democrats by busting a California homecare union — Tax-exempt groups such as the Freedom Foundation, which is expanding into California, are deemed “educational” entities under federal tax rules are playing a prominent role in a decades-long drive to undercut public sector unions, which conservatives view as lynchpins of Democratic political influence. Many such nonprofits, including the Freedom Foundation, have close ties to oil tycoons Charles and David Koch, as well as a network of other wealthy libertarians and Republicans.

► In the Washington Post — Disabled or just desperate? Rural Americans turn to disability as jobs dry up — Between 1996 and 2015, the number of working-age adults receiving disability climbed from 7.7 million to 13 million. The federal government this year will spend an estimated $192 billion on disability payments, more than the combined total for food stamps, welfare, housing subsidies and unemployment assistance. The rise in disability has emerged as yet another indicator of a widening political, cultural and economic chasm between urban and rural America.




► From the LA Times — Our dishonest president (editorial) — What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself. He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation. His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation — these traits were, of course, at the very heart of his scorched-earth outsider campaign; indeed, some of them helped get him elected. But in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, they are nothing short of disastrous.


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