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Call for transparency | Groundhog Day in D.C. | GOP Congress called out

Tuesday, February 6, 2018




► From WFSE — Business community gangs up on our priority outsourcing transparency bill — The Washington Federation of State Employees’ priority bill to bring transparency and accountability when a state agency wants to contract out state employee work has a bull’s-eye on its back as the business community lined up to try to kill it at a rare House hearing Saturday.

TAKE A STAND — Call the Legislative Message Center at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message for your two House members to bring 2SHB 1851 to a vote of the House Appropriations Committee and then to pass the bill on the floor of the House.

► From KNKX — Carbon tax clears Senate committee — Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), sponsor of the amended version of Gov. Inslee’s proposal, said that while the legislation behind the carbon tax is not perfect, its important lawmakers find ways to move Washington toward a greener energy strategy.

► In the Seattle Times — Lawmakers should push forward on carbon tax plan (editorial) — The past year has made it clear that states cannot rely on the federal government to spearhead our nation’s fight against greenhouse-gas emissions. It is time for Washington state politicians to step up… Environmental groups plan to put a carbon-pricing plan on the ballot this November. The Legislature has a choice: Gamble that voters will approve a plan that carefully balances the state’s economic-development concerns with its climate-change goals, or take action now.

► In the Columbian — Rep. Stonier sponsors ‘Breakfast after the bell,’ to feed more hungry kids — At Martin Luther King Elementary School, the cafeteria is packed with students grubbing on whole-wheat bagels with cream cheese and fruit before rushing off to class. At this high-poverty campus, breakfast doesn’t end when the first bell rings. Principal Janell Ephraim estimates they see between 10 and 14 of the school’s 500 students arrive late every day. The front desk clerk asks those students if they’ve eaten, and if they haven’t, they’re allowed to visit the cafeteria for breakfast before going to class — a short-term time investment with long-term benefits. A bill sponsored by state Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) seeks to make this scenario more common in Washington.




► In today’s Seattle Times — With no progress on contract negotiations, Seattle school-bus driver strike continues — Seattle school-bus drivers will strike Tuesday for the fourth consecutive day as contract negotiations between their union and their employer, First Student, remain at a standstill.

ALSO at The Stand — Picket lines hold strong in school bus strike

► From AP — Boeing announces $900 million in orders at Singapore Airshow — Boeing announced more than $900 million in orders on Tuesday at the Singapore Airshow from companies in the region and beyond.

► A related story in today’s Seattle Times — Everett leads the nation in traffic congestion, report says — Everett’s mix of highway trestles, limited corridors and job growth mean drivers lose more time every year to traffic jams.




► In the Columbian — 4 seek to unseat Herrera Beutler — If FEC reports are like pulse checks for political campaigns, the latest quarterly filings indicate WSU Vancouver professor Carolyn Long is off to a healthy start in her bid to unseat Southwest Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler.




► From The Hill — House GOP scrambles to avoid another government shutdown — With government funding running out Thursday night and bipartisan deals on budget caps and immigration still out of reach, House Republican leaders will meet with their members Monday night to decide how to avoid another federal shutdown. A vote to fund the government could come as soon as Tuesday.

► From The Hill — GOP to play hardball with Dems on funding bill — House Republicans are moving to pair a full year of defense spending with a short-term measure to avoid a government shutdown on Friday, effectively daring Democrats in the Senate to block it.

► From Politico — Congress weighs leaving Dreamers in limbo another year — As lawmakers grasp for a solution for the young undocumented immigrants, one option is a temporary extension — perhaps one year — of their legal protections paired with a little bit of cash for border security.

► From HuffPost — Congress left health care for millions of poor people in the lurch — A federal program called the Community Health Center Fund, which subsidizes federal clinics through direct grants, officially expired in the fall. Congress has since made a pair of short-term appropriations, in order to keep the grant money flowing, but multiple opportunities to approve longer-term funding have come and gone… The stakes here are substantial. If the funding were to stop completely, as many as 9 million low-income people would lose their source of care.




► In the NY Times — Labor Dept. plan could let the boss pocket the tip — The Trump administration is moving to give restaurants and other employers more control over workers’ tips. But critics have denounced the plan as legalizing wage theft and accuse the administration of suppressing evidence that lends credence to the charge.

ALSO at The Stand — Trump’s Labor Dept. wants to let bosses confiscate workers’ tips

► From The Stranger — Bob Ferguson and 16 other AGs: Your boss shouldn’t get to keep your tips — Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and 16 of his counterparts say the Trump administration threatens to hurt workers and mislead customers with a proposed rule about tipping.

► From The Hill — Trade deficit hits highest level since 2008 — The U.S. trade deficit surged to its highest level since 2008 during President Trump’s first year in office despite his vow to lower the gap and crack down on unfair competition.

► In today’s NY Times — Lawyers urge Trump to pass on interview with Mueller — With President Trump’s history of contradictions and false statements, his lawyers are said to be worried that he could open himself up to charges of lying to investigators.

EDITOR’S NOTE — And so, the attorneys representing the President of the United States of America have no confidence he can testify under oath without lying.

► From AP — Democratic memo on Russia probe under White House review — A memo written by Democrats on the House intelligence committee as part of its investigation of Russian election interference was under review Tuesday at the White House, where President Donald Trump will decide whether to allow the public to read it.

► In today’s Washington Post — Trump, GOP discover peril of taking credit for stock market — President Trump and congressional Republicans have spent the past year trying to connect a giddy stock market rally with their economic agenda, but stocks’ precipitous plunge has delivered a sobering reality: What goes up can come back down.

► From HuffPost (not The Onion) — Sean Hannity blames Obama for the stock market drop

► MUST-READ in today’s Washington Post — The cowardice among Republicans is staggering (by conservative columnist Michael Gerson) — The nearly uniform cowardice among elected Republicans is staggering. One is left wishing that Obamacare covered spine transplants. The Republican-led Congress is now an adjunct of the White House. The White House is now an adjunct of Trump’s chaotic will… By his recent actions, House Speaker Paul Ryan has provided political cover for a weakening of the constitutional order. He has been used as a tool while loudly insisting he is not a tool. The way Ryan is headed, history offers two possible verdicts: Either he enabled an autocrat, or he was intimidated by a fool… A generation of Republicans will end up writing memoirs of apology and regret… If there is nothing for which Ryan and other Republican leaders will risk their careers, there is nothing in which they truly believe.

► From TPM (also not The Onion) — Paul Ryan deletes tweet celebrating school secretary’s ‘$1.50 a week’ paycheck increase




► From The Nation — Millennials are keeping unions alive — Are you a young adult confused about your economic future? You’re not alone. The president brags of surging markets and job growth, but you’re getting rejected for every job you apply for, scrambling to pay rent, and stuck in a dead-end retail job. Maybe it’s time to take inspiration from the latest stats about millennials: Workers age 35 and under are the main component of an unprecedented surge in union membership over the past two years.

ALSO at The Stand — Biggest gains in unions are young workers

EDITORS’ NOTE — If you are interested in finding how hoe joining together with your co-workers can help you earn better pay, improved benefits and respect on the job, contact a union organizer today!

► From HuffPost — Activists barnstorm red states to get Medicaid expansion on the ballot — Two guys from the tiny town of Sandpoint, Idaho, are trying to do what their political leaders won’t: Provide health coverage to tens of thousands of low-income Idahoans. Through a political action committee they founded called Reclaim Idaho, Luke Mayville and Garrett Strizich, both 32, are traveling the state collecting signatures to put the question of whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act before the voters. The effort is one of several in conservative-leaning states seeking to duplicate what activists in Maine achieved last November through a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in that state.

► In today’s Seattle Times — If immigrants are pushed out, who will care for the elderly? — One in four of the direct-care workers in the nation’s nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home care agencies are foreign-born, according to census data. Some fear the Trump administration’s immigration policies discourage potential workers.


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

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!