Monday, July 10, 2017
► In the Seattle Times — Gov. Inslee vetoes tax cut for manufacturers passed ‘in the dead of night’ — Drawing angry backlash from Republicans, Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday vetoed a big tax break for Washington manufacturers, saying it was passed in “an unaccountable manner in the dead of night.” Labor unions praised Inslee’s action Friday. In a statement, Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, said the state “is long past the time where we should be handing out tax incentives that fail to hold recipients accountable for creating or maintaining good jobs.”
ALSO at The Stand — Inslee right to veto ‘irresponsible, unaccountable’ tax cuts
EDITOR’S NOTE — As the Times points out, Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane), threatened that unless Inslee’s veto is overridden, Republicans will kill already-stalled talks over the capital budget, which funds construction projects across the state. Baumgartner tweeted: “There will 100% NOT be a Capitol [sic] budget unless House helps override Veto. Deal is a deal.” So, to be clear, if Republicans don’t get a tax cut that contains no requirement that jobs be created, they will kill certain jobs by nixing the capital budget. That’s how these people negotiate. We at The Stand are sic [sic] of the GOP’s hostage politics.
► From Slate — Washington state legislators passed one of the best paid leave plans in the country — After much negotiation, legislators landed on a plan for insurance that will give workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or ailing family member, starting in 2020. It also provides for up to 12 weeks of paid medical leave for a worker’s personal health crisis, but total annual leave will be capped at 16 weeks (18 weeks for new mothers with pregnancy-related medical complications). Workers will be paid 50 percent of their wages above the state’s weekly average wage ($1,082) and 90 percent of their wages below that threshold, with a weekly cap of $1,000. Workers must have worked 820 hours in the previous year — less than half-time — to qualify.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Click here to thank lawmakers for passing this bill.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Paid family and medical leave bill passes
► In the (Longview) Daily News — Changing lives: Workers welcome new paid family leave law — Less than a week after giving birth to her third child, Heather Holmack had to put on her restaurant uniform and return to work. She had been released from the hospital just the day before. Her newborn daughter Zoey, only a few days old, went to daycare with her other two young children. Still in pain from her pregnancy, Holmack struggled with being on her feet eight hours a day managing a crew of workers.
► In the Olympian — Paid family leave law is good step (editorial) — Once again Washington is in the forefront of states with new laws to help workers and families. It comes on the heels of last fall’s voter approval of Initiative 1433, which raised our state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour in January and created a sick pay requirement for certain employers. Together these new labor standards are partly an adjustment to economic realities, but they in turn also require adjustments by employers and the regional economy.
► In the Olympian — Bathroom initiative won’t be on November ballot — Another effort to restrict which bathrooms transgender people can use has failed in Washington. Just Want Privacy, a group campaigning for the bathroom and locker room-related Initiative 1552, announced Friday it didn’t have enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
► In the Seattle Times — In sprawling McCleary fix, lawmakers may resurrect inequities in Washington schools — Education policy advocates celebrated the elimination of formulas that rewarded affluent school districts in Washington state. But reforms to that system may recreate the exact same disparities for high-poverty schools.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — With schools funded, let’s fix tax system next (editorial) — While funding for education has been increased, the budget deal and tax package that were reached do nothing to address the regressive nature of the state’s tax system and may have actually added to the burden for middle-income earners. Republicans rejected proposals from the Democratic governor and lawmakers for a capital gains tax and a carbon tax that could have begun to make the state’s tax system more equitable. The heaviest lifting may be over in satisfying the McCleary case, but the Legislature must next find a better, fairer way to fund K-12 education and the rest of the state’s responsibilities or, as happened with McCleary, the state is likely to again find itself standing before the state Supreme Court.
► In today’s Seattle Times — New national role for Inslee raises profile, but adds pressure — With 36 governorships around up for grabs in 2018, Inslee is charged with helping to turn those fortunes around as he prepares to lead the Democratic Governors Association.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Maybe Washington should change the rules for writing its budget (by Jim Camden)
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Space Needle reaches deal to bring laid-off workers back after renovation — The Space Needle and Unite Here Local 8 union on Thursday reached an agreement concerning 153 workers who will lose their jobs during the Space Needle’s $100 million renovation project.
ALSO at The Stand — UNITE HERE, Space Needle reach deal covering renovation
► From KNKX — Seattle City Council expected to approve local income tax — Seattlites have largely come out in support of the tax. City leaders say the tax will help pay for needed social services and can help alleviate the pressure of more regressive taxes like property and sales taxes.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Phillips 66 appeals $37,800 state fine for acid leak at its refinery near Ferndale — Phillips 66 is appealing its fine for a February acid leak at its refinery west of Ferndale that sent seven workers to the hospital.
► From Business Insider — The GOP healthcare plan just got more brutal poll results — Polls have shown the House bill to be among the most unpopular of any major piece of legislation in the last two decades. Those numbers have not improved in the past few weeks with the introduction of the Senate’s version of the legislation.
ALSO at The Stand — Unions to McMorris Rodgers: Shame on you — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the six-term Republican representing Spokane and surrounding counties in Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, was the only member of Washington’s delegation who voted “yes” on the American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed 217-213 on May 4.
► From The Hill — Crunch time for Senate’s ObamaCare repeal bill — GOP lawmakers left town late last month after punting the issue and will return Monday with few signs of progress toward a deal that can get 50 votes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned that if the current legislation fails they will be forced to negotiate with Democrats.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Negotiate with Democrats?!
► In today’s NY Times — The Senate health care charade (editorial) — Some senators are surely eager to make a deal and will accept whatever Mitch McConnell offers them. But conscientious lawmakers who care about the health care of millions of Americans should know that tinkering around the edges will not make this bill any less dreadful or any more deserving of their vote.
► From The Hill — Study: ObamaCare market ‘stabilizing,’ not collapsing — A new analysis of health insurers’ financial data finds that ObamaCare markets are “stabilizing” and insurers are regaining profitability. The study from the Kaiser Family Foundation contrasts with Republican arguments that ObamaCare markets are in a “death spiral” and “collapsing.”
► In the Seattle Times — Health-care worries loom large as Sen. Maria Cantwell holds town hall — After pressure from constituents, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell held three town-hall in the Seattle area over the past week. She got an earful, particularly about health care.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s son met with Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information on Clinton — President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign. The meeting was also attended by his campaign chairman at the time, Paul Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The meeting points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.
► A related story in the NY Times — At private dinners, Pence quietly courts big donors, corporate executives — Vice President Mike Pence has been courting scores of the country’s most influential donors, corporate executives and conservative political leaders over the past several months in a series of private gatherings and one-on-one conversations. His activities have fueled speculation among Republican insiders that he is laying the foundation for his own political future, independent from Trump.
► From the Hollywood Reporter — SAG-AFTRA, studios reach TV/theatrical deal at sunrise — Hollywood can breathe a sigh of relief: There won’t be an actors strike. A new deal was reached at sunrise Tuesday. It’s valued at a record $256 million. The union’s 2014 deal was valued at $200 million.
► From the National Catholic Reporter — Labor unions are prophetic, innovative, pope says — Pope Francis called the union movement to perform a prophetic role, which it does when “it gives a voice to those who have none, denounces those who would “sell the needy for a pair of sandals.” He added:
“The union too must keep vigil over the walls of the city of work, like a watchman who guards and protects those who are inside the city of labor, but also guarding and protecting those who are outside the walls. The union does not carry out its essential function of social innovation if it watches over only those who are inside, if it protects the rights only of those who already work or who are retired. This must be done, but it is half of your work. Your vocation is also to protect those who do not yet have rights, those excluded from work who are also excluded from rights and democracy.”
► From HuffPost — Republican lawmakers take a raise away from St. Louis workers — Two months ago, Cynthia Sanders got a raise at her janitorial job, from $8.30 to $10 per hour, after St. Louis passed a law raising its minimum wage. The extra money has helped the 51-year-old cover groceries and utilities as she raises three grandchildren. But in just a few weeks, Sanders’ pay rate could drop back down again, thanks to a new law Republicans in the Missouri legislature passed invalidating St. Louis’ minimum wage.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.