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Hanford hazards | U.S.-Mexico NAFTA complaint | Trump under oath

Thursday, January 25, 2018




► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford radioactive monitoring not protecting workers — New test results show that monitoring for airborne radioactive contamination has not protected Hanford nuclear reservation workers as the site’s PFP is demolished. Two more bioassays are positive for inhaled contamination.

► From The Stranger — Starbucks expands worker benefits, but baristas are still getting screwed — There’s still a significant gap between the paid family leave given to baristas and higher-ranking employees. While in-store workers will now get six weeks of paid leave when they become parents, salaried Starbucks employees receive between 12 and 18 weeks.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State Senate expands college aid for Dreamers, with or without DACA — Washington is poised to continue offering college aid to so-called Dreamers, even if Congress doesn’t act to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program. The state Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation Wednesday that would allow undocumented immigrants of college age, who were brought to the United States as children and graduated from a Washington high school, to be eligible for some new types of state financial aid.

ALSO at The Stand — Bill protecting Washington state’s Dreamers advances

► In today’s NY Times — Trump says he is open to a path to citizenship for ‘Dreamers’ — President Trump said on Wednesday that he is open to a path to citizenship after 10 to 12 years for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, days after rejecting a bipartisan plan with that as its centerpiece.

► From The Hill — More than 30 senators join push for immigration deal — More than 30 senators — about a third of the entire Senate — met late Wednesday afternoon to discuss the outlines of an immigration deal before a March 5 deadline for hundreds of thousands of immigrants facing deportation.

► From CBS News — Most Americans support DACA, but oppose border wall, poll finds — Nearly nine in 10 Americans (87 percent) favor allowing young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the U.S. — a policy known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This is a view that spans partisan lines.

► In today’s NY Times — A presidential ‘pardon’ for the Dreamers? Maybe. (editorial) — Anyone counting on Trump’s constancy and good faith — and that of Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader who has promised a debate on immigration as part of renewed budget talks — ought to be wary. And be prepared to shell out billions of dollars for a border wall as the price of presidential compassion. In the heat of the struggle over the fate of the Dreamers, the poster-children of the heartless anti-immigration crowd, what has often been obscured is how the broader debate over immigration has ominously moved beyond those who are in America illegally to immigration as a whole. Among hard-core Republican foes of immigration, aided and abetted in the White House by President Trump’s fiercely anti-immigration senior adviser for policy, Stephen Miller, the goal is not only a crackdown on undocumented immigrants within the United States or a Great Wall along the Mexican border, but a sharply reduced number and a more restrictive profile of immigrants in general.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Senate bills target workplace sexual harassment — The bills, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Kent), would require employers to adopt more anti-harassment policies and aid victims reporting sexual harassment. In an interview with The Spokesman-Review, Keiser said it is long past time to take action regarding workplace sexual misconduct.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — House passes car tab fees fix, bill goes to Senate — A Democrat-drafted response to surging Sound Transit car tab fees passed the state House on Wednesday with backing of several Republican lawmakers… Their approach would produce $780 million in savings for vehicle owners through 2028. While some Democrats now are looking for ways to cushion the lost revenue for Sound Transit, the bill requires the agency make it up in savings and cost reductions in its projects.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Q&A: State House speaker on taxes, death penalty, harassment — There are whispers House Speaker Frank Chopp quit when his term ends this year — which makes him laugh. “I clearly am going to run for re-election,” he said. “Absolutely.”

► In today’s News Tribune — Head of Washington’s Fish and Wildlife department resigns — The resignation of Jim Unsworth as director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife comes after a tumultuous year at the agency in which workplace-conduct scandals and controversy over bear and wolf hunting practices drew criticism.

► In today’s Columbian — Capital budget funds to go to Clark College — Two large capital projects for Clark College recently received funding they needed when state lawmakers ended a yearlong political dispute and approved the $4.2 billion capital budget.





► From Bloomberg — AFL-CIO gears up for midterms with new political office — The AFL-CIO selected a former DNC staffer to head its new political campaign division, and she’ll be focusing on the 2018 midterm elections first. The federation, which represents 55 affiliate unions, is making a long-term investment in elections through its Mobilization Hub, Julie Greene, its first chief, said.

► From The Hill — Trump to announce $1.7 trillion infrastructure package at State of the Union — Trump said Wednesday he plans to discuss a $1.7 trillion infrastructure package during next week’s annual State of the Union address. Trump vowed to repair the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems during his presidential campaign, but that effort was put on hold in the first year of his presidency as the GOP pursued health care and tax reform.

EDITOR’S NOTE — But will he propose how to PAY for it? Many in his own party — and their billionaire sponsors — oppose raising revenue to invest in infrastructure. They can spare $1.5 trillion for tax cuts, but for rebuilding America? Not so much. Speaking of which…

► In today’s Columbian — Herrera Beutler on tax bill: ‘Average person’ here will see benefit — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) said she gladly takes ownership of the recently passed tax reform bill.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump says he’s willing to speak under oath to Mueller — President Trump said on Wednesday that he was willing and eager to be interviewed by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, insisting that he has done nothing wrong. “I’m looking forward to it, actually,” Trump said.

► From TPM — Trump’s lawyer says POTUS only meant to say he’s willing to meet Mueller — After Trump said he is willing to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team “under oath,” his attorney quickly clarified that Trump merely meant to say that he’s willing to meet with Mueller.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump’s inability to understand ‘obstruction of justice’ may be his downfall (by Jennifer Rubin) — The normal problem in these cases is proving whether an accused obstructionist had “corrupt” intent. That is, did he interfere with an investigation to protect himself or further his own interests. Here, Trump is shouting his corrupt intent — though he has no idea it’s corrupt — from the rooftops. He’s not at all embarrassed to admit he tried to strong-arm the FBI and shut down Comey. In fact, he believes he was entitled to do these things.




► Exclusive from Reuters — U.S., Mexican unions to file NAFTA complaint over labor bill — U.S. and Mexican unions will formally complain to the U.S. Labor Department on Thursday that Mexico continues to violate NAFTA’s weak labor standards, a move that they hope will persuade U.S. negotiators to push for stronger rules. The AFL-CIO told Reuters that it and Mexico’s UNT were filing the complaint with the U.S. office that oversees the labor accord attached to the North American Free Trade Agreement as U.S., Canadian, and Mexican negotiators met in Montreal to try to modernize the 1994 trade pact.

► From NPR — 15,000 new union members bolster Arkansas labor, national rate remains steady — A greater share of Arkansans opted to join a union in 2017 than the year before with membership rates ticking up from 3.9 to 5.1 percent of the workforce.

ALSO at The Stand — Washington state posts big gains in union membership — An estimated 584,000 Washington state residents belonged to labor unions in 2017, a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, an increase of 45,000 from the previous year and 84,000 since 2015. With its 18.8 percent union membership rate, Washington rises to the 3rd most unionized state in the nation.

► In the Louisville C-J — Lawsuit challenging Kentucky’s new right-to-work law dismissed by judge — The plaintiffs, the Kentucky State AFL-CIO and Teamsters Local 89, said they disagree with Wingate and will promptly appeal the ruling.


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

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