Monday, January 29, 2018
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Ill Hanford workers face a maze of benefit programs. This new center is coming to the rescue — Representatives will help workers made ill by working at Hanford or their survivors understand what help is available from different programs, some of them complex and with services that overlap benefits.
ALSO at The Stand — A stronger safety net for Hanford workers (WSLC Legislative Update)
► In today’s News Tribune — Is revealing a state worker’s birthdate invasive or necessary to a functioning democracy? — A group of Democratic lawmakers is pushing to cut off a long-brewing court battle over public records between state labor unions and their foes by banning the disclosure of the birthdates of state employees. While that lawsuit relates to an effort by the conservative Freedom Foundation to notify certain state workers about how to legally avoid paying union dues, new legislation on the topic has set off a wider battle over balancing privacy with government transparency.
► In the News Tribune — People of both parties agree: Help Dreamers (by Sen. Mark Miloscia) — State and federal lawmakers must help address the uncertainty that Washington state’s 18,000 Dreamers face every day by passing legislation that would give them permanent work authorization.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Higher property-tax bills to hit King County next month — The state’s new schools-funding plan will be responsible for about two-thirds of the county’s 17 percent average increase, according to King County Assessor John Wilson.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State looking at ways to increase voters and turnout — From making it so easy that registration is almost automatic, to “preregistering” 16- and 17-year-olds, to moving around the date of the state and presidential primaries, legislators and Secretary of State Kim Wyman are kicking around lots of ideas that might boost turnout. One of the driving factors is likely last November’s abysmal turnout – 37.1 percent statewide – the lowest for a general election in at least 35 years.
► In the Washington Post — NAFTA talks that were supposed to end last year might continue into 2019 — Talks aimed at reaching a new trade agreement involving the United States, Canada and Mexico are expected to continue for months beyond a March 31 deadline and could even extend into 2019.
► From Reuters — Hung out to dry twice, Tennessee city stumped by Trump’s washer tariffs — Trump’s move threatens to stunt the launch of a new LG Electronics washing machine factory under construction in Clarksville, just four years after the U.S.-China trade fight over solar panels scuttled a nearby $1.2 billion Hemlock Semiconductor polysilicon plant.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Negotiators are also being urged to include a remedy for Trump’s non-nonsensical demands to end Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans.
► In today’s Washington Post — New work rules spur red state holdouts to launch bids to expand Medicaid — If Republicans’ efforts are successful, hundreds of thousands of Americans could become newly eligible for health coverage, while others could be dropped or have their benefits reduced. The effect would be a broadening of the program’s reach but with a decidedly conservative bent.
EDITOR’S NOTE — I guess we know how Koch Industries will be spending its windfall from the GOP’s corporate tax cuts.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Air Force One’s new Boeing refrigerators costs taxpayers $24M — The U.S. Air Force will pay Boeing $23,657,671 to replace two of the five chiller units on the plane currently used by President Donald Trump.
► From The Hill — Florida House passes ‘union-busting’ bill amid labor furor — A controversial measure that could have a broad impact on public-sector unions in Florida passed the state House of Representatives on a mostly party-line vote Thursday. Under the bill, public-sector unions that see their total dues-paying membership fall below half of those eligible would be forced to petition the Public Employee Relations Commission for recertification.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Remember this tomorrow night when Donald Trump is telling us how great things are because the stock market is up. Barely one-third of families in the bottom 50% of earners own stocks. Lower-income Americans don’t have extra money to put into stocks, and a third of workers don’t have access to a 401(k) or another retirement plan.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.