Thursday, July 13, 2017
► In today’s Seattle Times — Work on new Burke Museum may halt as state capital budget gets caught up in politics — Last year, legislators made a down payment on a new Burke Museum and promised to fund the rest in 2017. But now the capital budget is tied up in politics, and the half-finished Burke building construction could be shut down… Senate Republicans are holding up the state’s $4 billion capital budget, which includes $24 million to finish the $79 million Burke project. Some Republicans (see photo) also are angry that Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a big tax break for manufacturers in the regular budget, and say they won’t approve a capital budget unless the House helps override that decision.
► From CNBC — Washington is America’s Top State for Business in 2017 — With the nation’s fastest-growing economy and an all-star business roster of household names and up-and-comers, Washington — the Evergreen State — soars above the competition as CNBC’s America’s Top State for Business in 2017. Washington climbs to the top of our rankings this year with 1,621 out of 2,500 points, including top 10 finishes in five of our 10 categories of competitiveness. Washington’s first-place finish culminates a steady ascent since the state first cracked our top 10 in 2014. That year, Gov. Jay Inslee told legislators, “Washington’s outstanding workforce is our state’s greatest asset.” Since then, that workforce has been outdoing itself.
► In today’s News Tribune — State worker lockdown lifted after search for possible Capitol shooter turns up nothing — State workers were evacuated from buildings or locked down in their offices Wednesday after reports of a possible shooter on the east Capitol Campus.
► From The American Prospect — Despite Trump, state progressives advance pro-worker policies — In the the face of the Trump administration’s predictably antagonistic stance on pro-worker policies, coupled with the escalating onslaught against worker power in Republican-controlled states, progressives are racing ahead to enact innovative labor laws to help working people in the places where they can. (Describes Washington’s new paid family leave law, along with Oregon’s “Fair Workweek” law, Hawaii’s home-care assistance program, and verious minimum wage increases.)
► In today’s Seattle Times — Labor council endorses Jessyn Farrell and Bob Hasegawa for Seattle mayor — The Martin Luther King County Labor Council, with 150-plus member organizations representing more than 100,000 workers, endorsed Jessyn Farrell and Bob Hasegawa on Wednesday.
► From AP — Review: Proposed Tesoro project won’t pose major harm — Proposed upgrades at the Tesoro oil refinery in Washington state won’t pose major direct environmental harm, according to a county environmental review released this week.
► From CNN — Health care state of play: The votes aren’t there yet. But there will (probably) be a vote — The timeline: Draft bill to be released today. CBO score released early next week. Mid-next week: Vote on motion to proceed, the first procedural step that would start debate on the bill.
► From Vox — Leaked outline shows Senate bill will allow bare-bones health plans — The Senate Republicans’ revised health care bill will keep Obamacare’s taxes on high-income Americans in place and allow the sales of bare-bones health insurance plans that wouldn’t pass muster under the Affordable Care Act, according to a summary of the bill obtained by Vox. The bill will include a provision based on a proposal by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), which allows health plans to offer skimpy coverage options so long as they have at least one plan that covers a robust set of benefits. The insurance industry opposes the policy, calling it “infeasible” and fearing it would create “greater instability.”
► In today’s NY Times — Writing health bill, Republicans have no votes to spare — With two Republican senators all but locked in against it and President Trump exerting pressure on them to pass it, Senate leaders cannot lose another vote on the bill they plan to unveil Thursday.
► From The Hill — Labor board is set for power shift under Trump — Trump now has the opportunity to shift the balance of power with a new Republican majority on the NLRB that could overturn the rulings opposed business groups. “The decisions and actions of the NLRB have real consequences for working people,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “A fair and functioning NLRB can protect the freedom of working people to negotiate a fair return on our work so we can provide for our families. A partisan, ideologically driven NLRB can further empower corporations and CEOs to take away our freedoms at work.”
► From HuffPost — Mike Pence’s press secretary won’t say if his boss met with Russians — Vice President Mike Pence quickly moved to distance himself from Donald Trump Jr. this week after a series of bombshell reports found the president’s eldest son had met in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer in an effort to obtain damaging intel on presidential rival Hillary Clinton. Pence’s spokesman Marc Lotter sought Wednesday to increase that separation during an interview on Fox News but refused, repeatedly, to say if the vice president had met with any Russians himself during the presidential campaign.
► From KUOW — U.S. refugee admissions pass Trump administration cap of 50,000 — That means many refugees will now be denied entry into the country. Trump established the 50,000-person cap in his initial and revised “travel ban” executive orders. For months, those orders were blocked from implementation. But in June, the Supreme Court announced it would consider the merits of the ban and that in the meantime, portions of the second executive order could go forward — as long as they didn’t block people who had a “bona fide relationship” with the U.S.
► In today’s NY Times — Why millennials should lead the next labor movement (by Daily Show writer Kashana Cauley) — People like me, who have mental museums filled with memories of the stability that came with our parents’ union jobs, could be the perfect leaders of the next labor union renaissance. We millennials, many of whom entered the work force during the last recession, have borne the brunt of the country’s recent decline in employment quality, with lower wages, diminishing benefits and the presence of noncompete clauses that hurt even entry-level employees from finding subsequent jobs. We show higher support for unions than previous generations, and with good reason: Unionized employees typically enjoy better benefits and have made about 27 percent more than their non-unionized counterparts for roughly the last 15 years. The union newsletters my father kept in our bathroom magazine rack may have faded, but their message — about the value of jobs that provide a fair wage, reasonable conditions and the ability to care for a family — is as timely now as it ever was.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.