Tuesday, February 13, 2018
SUPPORT YOUR SCHOOLS
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Support your schools and more; get your ballot in (editorial) — A fair number of voters have yet to turn in their ballots in today’s special election for school and other districts. Stated plainly: Please, get your ballots in. Mail them. Leave them at a drop box. But get them in.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — House passes automatic voter registration bill — Some Washington residents would be automatically registered to vote when they get a certain kind of driver’s license under a bill approved Monday by the House. In a party-line 50-48 vote, the House approved a stripped-down version of a bill that would automatically register citizens who aren’t on the voter rolls in Washington if they apply for an enhanced driver’s license. To obtain that license, a person must show proof of citizenship or legal residence in the state.
► From The Stranger — Tech lobby mobilizes against transparency bill in Olympia — That was fast. This morning, The Stranger reported on a bill sponsored by Sen. Guy Palumbo (D-Everett) that aims to strengthen the state’s already-tough law mandating transparency in online political ads. This afternoon, the Internet Association, the lobbying group for tech behemoths like Facebook and Google, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson asking that Palumbo’s bill be blocked from a vote.
► In today’s Columbian — State Senate OKs bill aiding Interstate 5 bridge — There’s still no consensus for replacing the antiquated and frequently choked Interstate 5 Bridge. But the Washington Legislature has advanced a bill that could accelerate the process for replacing the bridge once a consensus is reached.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump wants to overhaul America’s safety net with giant cuts to health care, food stamps and housing — The budget that President Trump proposed Monday takes a hard whack at the poorest Americans, slashing billions of dollars from food stamps, public health insurance and federal housing vouchers, while trying to tilt the programs in more conservative directions.
► In today’s NY Times — Donald Trump’s nasty budget (editorial) — During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump told the “forgotten men and women of our country” that he would champion them. As evidence that he was a different kind of Republican, he promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit poor and middle-class families. On Monday, President Trump proposed a budget that would slash spending on Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, transportation and other essential government services, all while increasing the federal deficit.
► In today’s Washington Post — This is the opposite of responsible government (editorial) — Every dollar Trump adds to the debt amid today’s prosperity makes it that much more difficult for a future government to respond to future recessions, wars or natural disasters.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s infrastructure plan puts burden on state and private money — The president’s $200 billion plan recasts the federal government as a minority stakeholder in the nation’s new infrastructure projects.
► From Slate — Trump infrastructure plan: You pay for it — All in all, it’s a plan much more in line with Republican orthodoxy than the grand rebuilding Trump promised during his campaign. The emphasis on leverage—including tolls, user fees, value capture, and private-sector interest—is likely to tilt the balance of projects toward those that generate the most revenue… It discounts a huge variety of investments in clean water, public schools, mass transit, and other endeavors whose utility is not measured by the bottom line.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Trump budget drains fund counted on by Sound Transit — Sound Transit is once again facing the loss of a billion dollars in federal funds counted on for its extension of light rail service into Lynnwood. President Donald Trump on Monday called for axing a grant program from which the regional transit authority is seeking $1.17 billion for its Lynnwood Link Extension.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Trump’s budget would slash money for Sound Transit, Seattle bus and streetcar lines
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Trump administration proposes smaller Hanford budget — The administration released its request to Congress for fiscal 2019 on Monday, calling for a $230 million cut to Hanford nuclear reservation spending.
► From KNKX — Critics call proposed cuts to Hanford cleanup budget ‘downright dangerous’ — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called the proposed $230 million cut “downright dangerous for everyone who lives near the Columbia River.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — GOP congressman says he’ll fight Trump’s call to cut funds for Hanford nuclear cleanup — Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4th): “Now is not the time to jeopardize worker safety or impede this vital cleanup,” and that he will work with “colleagues on both sides of the aisle” to restore funding.
► In today’s Washington Post — Immigration debate launches in the Senate — and a GOP plan picks up support — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed a sweeping GOP plan that fulfills Trump’s calls to legalize the status of 1.8 million “dreamers,” spends at least $25 billion to build a wall and bolster defenses along the U.S.-Mexico border, and imposes new restrictions on legal immigration.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Where they stand: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Lisa Brown split on the wall, refugees and chain migration — Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said she agreed with many of the actions President Donald Trump has taken on immigration. Her Democratic opponent, Lisa Brown, attacked many of those policies and blamed House Republican leadership, which includes McMorris Rodgers, for the lack of legislation addressing immigration issues.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Rep. Herrera Beutler plans telephone town hall Wednesday — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-3rd) will host a live telephone town hall at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21. District residents can sign up by calling her office in advance at 360-695-6292 or by calling this number during the event: 1-877-229-8493. Use the passcode 116365.
► In the Washington Post — The Trump administration is abandoning McDonald’s workers — and everyone else (by Sharon Block and Benjamin Sachs) — For the past three years, the federal government has painstakingly built a case against the world’s second-largest private employer, McDonald’s, charging the company with illegally harassing and terminating employees who have gone on strike with the “Fight for $15″ campaign. Last month, shortly before the trial was expected to conclude, the general counsel Trump appointed to the NLRB announced that he wanted to halt the trial to settle the case. Settling a case might not sound so bad. But in this instance, “settling” is a euphemism for abandoning at the 11th hour a groundbreaking inquiry into whether a major employer like McDonald’s should be held accountable for violating the rights of its low-paid workers.
► From HuffPost — Parents of Republican Senate hopeful max out donations to Democratic opponent — Just months after Republican Kevin Nicholson announced his bid to run against incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) in 2018, Nicholson’s own parents donated the legal maximum to Baldwin’s primary campaign.
► From The Stranger — The flu is killing 4,000 Americans a week (by Charles Mudede) — In the third week of January, 4,064 people were killed by pneumonia or influenza (they are closely associated during winter). That number is expected to rise as more data is processed. The first response to Time Magazine‘s tweet about the crisis is typical. It’s from a Bellingham woman apparently named “Mary Jobes,” who thinks it’s absurd that people don’t stay at home when they are sick. This is basic common sense. When you get the flu, you remain in bed. Jobes’s scolding would make sense if she lived in Sweden or even Canada, but not in the U.S., where health care is far from universal and a large number of jobs do not offer paid sick days. This makes sickness too expensive for many. And the reason why illness is so costly is because our society is too cheap. To save a few pennies for the rich in the short term, we are willing to place the whole society at risk in the long term.
► From CBS News — Texas teacher dies from flu after deeming antiviral drug too costly — A second grade teacher from Texas has . Thirty-eight-year-old Heather Holland fell about two weeks ago and was prescribed to treat her symptoms. But when she saw the $116 price tag, she decided it was too high a cost.
► From The Hill — U.S. economy faces impending skills gap — Economists, demographers and political leaders are increasingly concerned that the next generation of workers won’t be ready to fill millions of new jobs across the country.
► In the NY Daily News — N.Y. Teamsters form ‘sanctuary union’ to fight ICE agents — Across Long Island and throughout the city, some 120,000 Teamsters are getting prepped to become a “sanctuary union.” In 27 shops, business agents, supervisors and front-line workers are getting schooled on their rights under U.S. law — and when and how to challenge federal immigration agents who show up to search their work sites. The training is complex and technical — hinging on specific types of warrants and the definition of a raid. But in fundamental labor terms, it follows one simple rule: Union solidarity first, immigration status second.
► From Cosmopolitian — 12 flight attendants open up about being harassed by pilots and other coworkers – Female flight attendants often have to deal with sexual harassment from their coworkers. This culture of misconduct is widespread across the industry. We spoke with 12 flight attendants working for a variety of airlines about their experiences with harassment on the job.
► From The Hill — German union’s big win shows U.S. labor the path forward — The German metalworkers’ union, IG Metall, arguably one of the world’s most powerful unions, negotiated a precedent-setting collective-bargaining agreement that privileges working conditions over wages. It won its key demand that workers have the right to reduce their working week from 35 to 28 hours for a period of up to two years in order to care for family members.
► From Axios — The left’s civil war over climate change (by Amy Harder) — Brad Markell, executive director of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Council: “The concern is whether an approach to fighting climate change centered on blocking infrastructure projects like pipelines is so politically divisive that it ultimately slows down progress on climate.”
► In the Washington Post — The effects of 137 minimum wage hikes, in one chart — Last summer, a paper on the effects of Seattle’s minimum-wage increase made national headlines with its conclusion: The change made low-income workers worse off, not better, because it forced employers to cut back on hiring and hours to afford paying higher wages. A little more than six months later, other minimum-wage papers have underscored the limitations of the Seattle study. Chief among those newer papers is a large analysis of the effects of minimum-wage increases that have occurred since 1979. That paper is more in line with conventional economic thinking: On average, minimum-wage increases eliminated jobs paying below the new minimum, but added jobs paying at or above the new minimum. The two changes effectively cancel each other out.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.