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Strike closes BTC, Times vs. gift horse, America says let DREAMers stay

Monday, September 25, 2017




► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Strike cancels Bellingham Technical College classes — Classes at Bellingham Technical College are canceled Monday because of a labor dispute with support staff members. An email from BTC administration said faculty members voted to honor a picket line of employees from the school’s striking Bellingham Educational Support Team, which represents classified clerical, technical, instructional and retail support staff. Contract negotiations are at an apparent impasse.

ALSO at The Stand — Bellingham Technical College staff vote to strike Monday

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — EvCC teachers take their contract concerns to the board — Roughly 20 members of the Everett Community College faculty appeared at a Board of Trustees meeting as their union president voiced their frustration over slow-moving contract negotiations. They wore buttons, saying a cost-of-living increase doesn’t amount to a raise and urging support for the college’s counselors.

► In today’s Seattle Times — New Seattle mayor revives plan to offer all workers IRAs — Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess says the city should move ahead with a plan to set up retirement-savings accounts for as many as 200,000 private-sector workers.

► In today’s Seattle Times — I owe a debt of gratitude to UW’s immigrant janitors (by Michiyas Assefa) — I have come to understand that we students are the dividend of a long-positioned investment — the actualization of a dream that was conceived many years ago.




► In the News Tribune — Balance of power in Olympia hinges on one race. That could have big implications for your taxes — Democrats have been complaining for months that the Legislature’s plan to solve Washington’s school-funding crisis relies too much on raising the statewide property tax. Now, a top GOP leader who pushed for that solution seems worried about those tax increases, too, and wants state lawmakers to act quickly to reduce the planned tax hike in 2018. It’s all part of a series of tax-related promises leading up to a November special election that will decide which party — Democrats or Republicans — controls the Legislature in Olympia next year.

ALSO at The Stand — Volunteer to help Manka Dhingra break the gridlock in Olympia

► In the Seattle Times — Meet the district that could change Washington state’s political landscape — By a fluke of fate and a consequence of math, the voters in the 45th Legislative District will likely decide the balance of power in the state Legislature.

► In the News Tribune — Give voters one plan for carbon tax (editorial) — Divide-and-be-conquered should have been the takeaway from the 2016 election. And yet competing carbon-tax initiatives have once again begun to brew for the 2018 ballot. It would be unfortunate if Washington voters are again denied a chance to act on a smartly crafted carbon tax backed by a unified environmental movement… Neither the Alliance nor tribal leaders have finalized any carbon-tax proposal, but we see signs of same song, second verse, as well-meaning activists get tangled in conflicting philosophies and priorities.

ALSO at The Stand — Momentum builds for Alliance’s climate change campaign

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Here’s what to do if you want to vote and aren’t registered — National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday. In Washington, those looking to participate in this year’s General Election have until Oct. 9 to register online or make address changes and other updates. Oct. 30 is the deadline for new voter registrations prior to the General Election. Those registrations must happen in person at a new registrant’s county elections department. Counties will mail out General Election ballots by Oct. 20. The General Election ends Nov. 7.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Reason for rate drop in workers’ comp should be clearer (editorial) — No one will accurately trace the paternity of the workers-comp rate drop. As John F. Kennedy said, success has a thousand fathers.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Times editorial board refuses to take the state Department and Labor & Industries at its word that an impending rate decrease in our workers’ compensation system reflects successful efforts to improve workplace safety and to help injured workers get back on the job quicker. In fact, tellingly, the Times didn’t even report the rate decrease when it was proposed last week. Apparently, they got that press release and decided, “This can’t be true.”

We’re all for being skeptical of what government agencies report. We certainly doubt what we hear from the other Washington these days. But why not talk to a business or labor representative on the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Committee, which oversees the L&I system and, not coincidentally, meets today? If the Times had done so, they might have seen this chart or this chart or others backing up L&I’s report.

Instead of doing that, the Times lazily invites a state corporate lobbying group to speculate what bad news might have caused the good news, while giving that group a platform (once again) to spew the false narrative that the whole system is “one of the most expensive and administratively complex in the nation.” That is, of course, demonstrably untrue (see the chart below.) With this editorial, the Times demonstrates it has bought into that false narrative and can see/hear/speak nothing but evil about L&I.




► From The Hill — GOP changes Graham-Cassidy bill to win over wary senatorsSenate Republicans on Sunday night circulated a revised draft of their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, aiming to win over key holdout senators. According to estimates of the state-by-state impacts obtained by The Hill along with the revised bill, Maine and Arizona would see boosts in funding.

ALSO at The Stand — Republicans try to buy votes to kill ACA

► From HuffPost — A new Trumpcare draft is out and it attacks pre-existing protections more severely — Republicans on Sunday evening circulated a new version of their embattled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now the legislation includes a pair of important changes — an even more aggressive assault on protections for people with pre-existing conditions, as well as some extra money to blunt the impact of funding cuts for a handful of states.

► From The Hill — Poll: Majority disapproves of latest Trumpcare bill — Just 20 percent of respondents in the poll approve of the bill, sponsored by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Even among Republicans, approval ratings for the bill don’t reach 50 percent.

► In the Spokesman-Review (the home newspaper of the only member of Congress from Washington who voted for ACA repeal) — Cassidy-Graham just another hasty mistake (editorial) — If put through the regular rigors of legislating, Cassidy-Graham would die on the merits. It’s only because of political considerations that it still has a pulse. Let it go. Do it the right way. This is too important.




► From The Hill — Poll: 86 percent support Dreamers staying in the country — A majority of Americans in a new survey are in support of letting recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program stay in the country. A Washington Post/ABC News poll finds 86 percent of respondents are in favor of allowing DACA recipients who were eligible for renewable two-year work permits to stay in the country. Sixty-nine percent of Americans “strongly” support the DACA program, according to the poll.

ALSO at The Stand — DREAM nurse speaks out to save DACA

► In today’s Washington Post — White House expands travel ban, restricting visitors from eight countries — The Trump administration announced new restrictions Sunday on visitors from eight countries — an expansion of the preexisting travel ban that has spurred fierce legal debates over security, immigration and discrimination.

► From HuffPost — Rights groups decry new travel restrictions: ‘This is still a Muslim ban’ — President Donald Trump’s third attempt to restrict travel to the United States from a handful of countries is just as xenophobic as the previous ones, refugee advocates and human rights groups lamented.

► From Politico — GOP tax blueprint to propose slashing corporate, individual rates — A Republican tax reform blueprint to be released this week is expected to call for slashing both corporate and individual tax rates. The plan will also propose eliminating a deduction for state and local taxes.

► In today’s Washington Post — New details of GOP tax plan reveal focus on wealthy — White House officials and Republican leaders are preparing a set of broad income and corporate tax cuts while also looking for a way to keep their plan from being a massive windfall for the wealthiest Americans.

► Drip, drip, drip from Politico — Kushner used private email to conduct White House business — The senior adviser set up the account after the election. Other West Wing officials have also used private email accounts for official business.

EDITOR’S NOTE — But… but… you know… Hillary!




► In the Washington Post — Deaths of farmworkers in cow manure ponds put oversight of dairy farms into question — The deaths have rattled Idaho’s dairy industry as well as local immigrant communities that do the bulk of the work producing nearly 15 billion pounds of milk annually on the industrial-sized farms in the state’s southern prairie. As farms have transitioned from family operations into big businesses involving thousands of cows and massive machinery, new safety concerns have emerged.

► In today’s NY Times — Nothing is too strange for cities wooing Amazon to build there — Business leaders in Tucson, Ariz., have tried to mail Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, a 21-foot cactus. The largest conference room in the Tulsa, Okla., mayor’s office has been converted to a war room, with 50 volunteers poring over videos of Bezos. In Philadelphia, hundreds of Wharton Business School students have a new fall semester assignment: pitch the city to Amazon. And the mayor of Ottawa flew to Seattle last week to walk as close to Amazon’s headquarters as is publicly accessible. “It’s like ‘The Amazing Race,’” said Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa. “You’ve got this cast of characters running toward the Holy Grail.”


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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