Thursday, April 20, 2017
► In today’s Olympian — Thousands of state workers rally to urge lawmakers to support new labor contracts — Thousands of public employees held rallies throughout the state Wednesday to urge Washington lawmakers to approve new labor contracts for state workers. During the demonstrations, which organizers said took place at 150 workplaces, employees stressed the importance of including money for the labor contracts in the state’s new two-year budget.
► From WFSE — State workers ask lawmakers to ‘do their jobs’ (KGY interview with WFSE’s Tim Welch)
► In The Stranger — Seriously, enough with the tax breaks for special interests (by Sumayyah Waheed and Misha Werschkul) — Our state has an estimated (and mind-boggling) 700 tax breaks and loopholes in its tax code. If the legislature is serious about investing in the priorities that help Washington’s communities thrive — like schools, job training programs, and public health clinics — it needs to follow the lead of the House Democrats whose budget would clean up the tax code by getting rid of unnecessary tax breaks.
► From KNKX — Republicans sling dirt over lawn care at Washington Capitol — It was supposed to be a hearing on a proposal to give the legislature more say over how Washington’s Capitol Campus is managed. But it turned into a dressing down of the agency whose job it is to maintain the Capitol buildings and grounds.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — State Senate budget calls for ‘unprecedented’ economic development cuts (subscription req’d) — “We’ve never seen anything like this,” Department of Commerce spokeswoman Penny Thomas said.
► In today’s Seattle Times — A student’s ZIP code shouldn’t dictate her academic success (by Pat Hunter Elaine Woo) — As former principals who have worked with diverse Washington families, we urge our legislators to insist on funding policies that give each of our students an equitable and high-quality education that prepares them for school and beyond.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — There’s plenty of blame to go around for special session — It’s kind of our fault: Nearly every one of the 147 men and women serving in the Legislature are there by the choice of voters. None ran on a platform of compromise, concession and voting on whatever gets the Legislature out on time.
► In today’s SF Chronicle — Require drugmakers to report when they raise prices (by Ed Hernandez and Tom Steyer) — Time and again, state legislatures have tried to force Big Pharma to reveal the true costs of drugs, only to be blocked by its powerful lobby. California SB 17 simply requires drugmakers to provide written notification to the state and to insurers when they decide to raise prices or introduce a new and very expensive drug. For the first time, drugmakers will have to explain to the public why their drugs cost so much.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Massive mural to celebrate local and state labor history —
ALSO at The Stand — Jackson Street Workers Mural party is April 30
► In today’s Seattle Times — Maritime remains crucial to Washington’s economy — As of 2015, the latest year for which deep-dive data are available, maritime directly employed 69,500 people, many in high-paid jobs. That was 2.2 percent of all jobs in the state. Another 191,100 jobs were indirectly supported by maritime. By comparison, 55,900 worked in the information-software publishing sector in 2015.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Investigation planned after Hanford worker injured — The Department of Energy’s Office of Enforcement plans to investigate an accident that injured a Hanford worker in November.
► In today’s Columbian — Letter carriers food drive seeks volunteers — The 25th annual Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is more than three weeks away, but it’s not too early to commit to volunteering.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Who employs the most workers locally? It’s an interesting mix — St. Joseph hospital, with an estimated 2,126 full-time equivalent workers, tops the list, followed by Lummi Nation (1,780), WWU (1,499) and Bellingham Public Schools (987). The largest private sector company was BP’s Cherry Point refinery (820), followed by Fred Meyer (778), Haggen (751) and Zodiac Aerospace (607).
► From The Hill — Moderate, conservative GOP leaders say they are nearing healthcare deal — Two Republican lawmakers say they are nearing a deal on changes to the ObamaCare replacement bill that could move the measure closer to passage, though doubts remain. Under the deal, states would reportedly have the option to apply for waivers to allow them to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions, called community rating.
► In today’s NY Times — Donald Trump threatens to sabotage Obamacare (editorial) — Trump is threatening to kill a program in the Affordable Care Act. that pays health insurers to offer plans with lower deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses to about seven million lower-income and middle-class people. The president thinks that this will get Democrats to negotiate changes to the 2010 health law. This is cruel and incredibly shortsighted. Without these subsidies, health care would be unaffordable for many Americans, including people who voted for Trump because they were frustrated by high medical costs.
► From The Hill — GOP rep booed at town hall for saying healthcare isn’t a ‘basic right’ — Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) faced boos from a town hall audience while defending his views that healthcare is not a “basic human right.”
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Newhouse cancels town hall session due to wife’s illness
► From Politico — 5 reasons the government might shut down — With just five workdays left until government funding expires, lawmakers return next week to all the same sticking points that have made full-year funding so elusive and now threaten a government shutdown: the border wall, “sanctuary cities,” Pentagon boost, Obamacare subsidies, and coal miners’ benefits.
► In today’s NY Times — Retired miners lament Trump’s silence on imperiled health plan — The president has offered no public comment on the issue, even as he has rolled back regulations on mine operators, an omission that has not escaped the notice of retired miners.
ALSO at The Stand — Time running out for Congress to act on mine workers’ benefits
► From The Hill — Chaffetz decision stuns Washington — Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, shocked Washington on Wednesday by announcing he is leaving Congress after his term ends.
► From The Onion — Cackling Trump reveals to dinner guests they’ve all just eaten single piece of his tax returns — “Now that you’re done dining, let me ask: Did you notice anything, shall we say, interesting about your entrées?” said the president.
► From the AFL-CIO — Unionized scientists march in protest of attacks on science and jobs (by Carly Ebben Eaton) — It is time for scientists and the citizenry who depend on science to embrace our responsibility to advocate for sound policies. Our very lives and livelihood are now dependent on stepping collectively forward into the realm of political advocacy and action. Together we will March for Science on April 22, in opposition to the damage that the current administration seeks to do to research and in solidarity with scientists, researchers, and concerned citizens who remain resolved, undeterred, and organized in the face of these threats.
From The Stand’s Calendar — Saturday, April 22 is the day to celebrate science and march in solidarity with others from across the nation who value science that works towards the common good. Join the March for Science on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cal Anderson Park, 1425 Broadway in Seattle. Get details.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Why tens of thousands could turn out Saturday for Seattle’s March for Science
► In today’s NY Times — O’Reilly out at Fox News as harassment claims pile up — Bill O’Reilly’s ouster brings an abrupt, embarrassing end to his two-decade reign as one of the most popular and influential commentators in television.
► In today’s Washington Post — Bill O’Reilly’s downfall has a good lesson for working women — Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly — whose accusations sped the undoing of two of the most powerful men in media — prove there’s strength in numbers when fighting harassment.
► From The Hill — Report: O’Reilly getting tens of millions in Fox severance
► From Huffington Post — O’Reilly replacement, Tucker Carlson, once said Democrats ‘made up the concept of sexual harassment’
► Exclusive from Reuters — Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election — A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters. They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.