Tuesday, January 30, 2018
► In today’s Columbian — Inslee rejects Vancouver Energy oil terminal — Gov. Jay Inslee described the application as “unprecedented both in its scale and the scope of issues it raised.” He cited the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council’s unanimous recommendation to reject the project, saying that he was persuaded by the panel’s reasoning and agreed with its recommendation. Vancouver Energy did not comment before press time. The project’s supporters have long said that it would bring much-needed jobs to the region and inject billions of dollars into the region. But Inslee said he heard from area business owners that the project would have had a negative effect when trying to attract new industries to the region.
► In today’s Columbian — Inslee got it right (editorial) — The governor was wise to reject the proposal, recognizing that the benefits of such a terminal would be dwarfed by the drawbacks.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Don’t gut Public Records Act in an attempt to protect public employees’ identities (editorial)
EDITOR’S NOTE — This alarmist editorial claims that exempting public employees’ birthdates from disclosure somehow “guts” the Public Records Act. The Times claims there’s no point anyway since identity thieves can already access people’s birthdates online in various ways. So… journalists can’t? The Washington State Court of Appeals has already ruled that state employees have a constitutional right to keep their dates of birth private. Bottom line: it makes no sense to keep public employees at risk of identity theft or retaliation just to make journalists’ jobs easier.
► In today’s NY Times — New Jersey embraces an idea it once rejected: Make utilities pay to emit carbon — Even as the Trump administration dismantles climate policies at the federal level, a growing number of Democratic state governors are considering taxing or pricing carbon dioxide emissions within their own borders to tackle global warming… In Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, has proposed a direct tax on carbon dioxide emissions from all sources in the state.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — KapStone to merge with nation’s second-largest packaging company — Westrock Co., the nation’s second-largest paper packaging company, announced an agreement Monday to acquire KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. for about $3.5 billion. The deal — which includes the Longview paper mill — would create one of the largest providers of paper and packaging products in the country. Mergers in the packaging industry over the last 15 years have often been followed by mill closures, but an official from the union that represents KapStone’s Longview millworkers said it’s “very unlikely” the local mill will close under the deal.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — More radioactive contamination triggers management change at Hanford — The move is intended to rebuild confidence with workers and the public and show the project is being safely managed. The announcement Monday comes after radioactive contamination was again found on a worker’s personnel vehicle. DOE wants other employee cars retested, including a rental car its contractor had to track down.
ALSO at The Stand — A stronger safety net for Hanford workers (WSLC Leg. Update)
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s event in Spokane canceled after community backlash — An effort to bring controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Spokane unraveled Monday amid backlash from veterans and community members.
► Everyday heroes in today’s (Everett) Herald — Everett firefighters rescue toddlers from burning apartment — The girls likely had little air left in the room, officials say.
WHAT GOES AROUND…
► From the Chicago Tribune — U.S. trade panel sides with Bombardier, striking down 300 percent tariffs on Canadian-made jets, dealing blow to Boeing — By a 4-0 vote, the International Trade Commission ruled that Boeing, the Chicago-based aircraft maker, had not been injured by multibillion-dollar Canadian subsidies for Bombardier aircraft. As a result, 300 percent tariffs that Trump’s Commerce Department had suggested to counter those subsidies will not take effect.
► In today’s NY Times — China could target U.S. firms if Trump levies tariffs, group warns — Chinese officials have warned that they will retaliate against American companies if President Trump imposes tariffs on China, an American business group said on Tuesday, with airplanes and agricultural products among the likely targets… The group’s leader noted that Boeing would be “another obvious example” of a company that could be in Beijing’s cross-hairs if the Trump administration imposes trade sanctions against China.
STATE OF THE UNION
► From The Stranger — Washington immigration activist targeted by ICE will attend Trump’s State of the Union — Sen. Maria Cantwell has invited Maru Mora-Villalpando and her 20-year-old daughter, Josefina, to attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.
ALSO at The Stand — Building Trades’ Martinez will join Kilmer at State of the Union
► From HuffPost — With State of the Union guests, Democrats send Trump a message — A handful of Democrats, including civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), have chosen to boycott it over the president’s recent racist comments deriding Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries.” Many of the Democratic senators and representatives who will be in attendance have also chosen guests who will serve as a rebuke to Trump and draw attention to issues such as immigration, hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, and Trump’s attempt to ban transgender members of the military.
► In today’s Washington Post (not The Onion) — Names of campaign donors to be flashed during live stream of Trump’s State of the Union speech — President Trump is seeking to parlay his first State of the Union address on Tuesday into cash for his reelection campaign by offering supporters a chance to see their name flashed on the screen during a broadcast of the speech.
► From Rolling Stone — The official State of the Union drinking game rules! (by Matt Taibbi) — Drink if Trump… 7) Pulls a Kobe special and overcompliments his wife in embarrassingly public fashion in the wake of the Stormy Daniels story.
► From the USA Today — Supreme Court may deal major blow to labor unions — The nation’s powerful public employee unions stand to lose membership, money and political muscle at the hands of the Supreme Court this year. The only question appears to be how much.
ALSO at The Stand — Court tees up right-wing assault on unions
► From TPM — GOP leaders bear-hug Trump’s immigration plan as negotiations sputter — Their first meeting since President Trump unveiled his immigration proposal, which includes billions of dollars to build more walls on the U.S.-Mexico border and deep cuts to several forms of legal immigration, yielded no tangible progress.
► From The Hill — NAFTA talks progress but pace is too slow — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the NAFTA discussions must move at a faster clip if the trading partners want to alleviate uncertainty and seal a deal.
► From HuffPost — House Republicans vote to release classified memo they wrote attacking Russia probe — The episode has more than a touch of Washington theater to it: Republican staffers wrote the memo, and Republican members of Congress, who always had the power to vote to release it, spent weeks calling on themselves to do so.
► MUST-READ in today’s NY Times — Are corporate tax cuts raising pay? Yes, for bosses (editorial) — beware the spin: Regardless of what’s in the tax overhaul, businesses have an incentive to raise wages to retain and attract workers because of the tight job market. It is also very much in the political interest of companies to attribute to the new tax law the changes they make to salaries or investment plans. That’s a surefire way to win favor with Trump, a notorious sucker for flattery. And it is a way to deflect attention from the insidious aspects of the tax law: It will add about $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over 10 years, and many poor and middle-class families will pay more taxes over time… Many economists say that most of those gains will actually flow to shareholders and top executives.
► In today’s NW Indiana Times — Study finds Indiana common construction wage repeal reduced worker pay, didn’t save money on public works projects — When Gov. Mike Pence signed the 2015 repeal of Indiana’s common (prevailing) construction wage statute, the Republican proclaimed that eliminating county minimum pay rates for public works projects would save the state and local governments money without reducing the paychecks of Hoosier workers. Three years later, the first in-depth, non-partisan analysis of the impact of Indiana’s common construction wage repeal suggests that Pence was wrong. The Midwest Economic Policy Institute, in a report provided exclusively to The Times, determined that following common wage repeal Hoosiers working in the construction industry are earning less than they were before, with no meaningful cost savings for Indiana taxpayers.
► From The Economist — When you cannot sue your employer — Imagine wanting to sue your employer, because you have been harassed or discriminated against, only to find that your access to the courts is blocked. It turns out you signed away your right to use the judicial system when you started the job: somewhere, hidden in the documents that came with your employment contract, was a clause obliging you to resolve future disputes through private arbitration, rather than in court. An increasing number of American employees find themselves in this situation.
► In today’s Washington Post — Three business giants join forces to tackle employees’ health-care costs — Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase plan to create a company that would focus on technology that could increase transparency and simplify care.
► From Inequality Media — The Next Big Fight: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — Robert Reich explains why we need to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington state’s unions took out full-page newspaper ads across the state last month to warn about exactly what Reich is talking about: cutting Social Security and Medicare to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.