Thursday, May 17, 2018
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — What Mukilteo teachers are saying makes sense, but sounds bad (by Jerry Cornfield) — The Mukilteo School District, like most in Washington, will be getting more money from the state to use on teacher salaries. So even though pay is set to rise next school year under the current terms of the contract, it could be higher with the infusion of dollars. Hence, it makes perfect sense for instructors to want to bargain. It sounds bad when they talk of taking actions at work to force the district into conversation. It could be worse if something happens. Those optics could put teachers at risk of losing one of their most important gains in the protracted legal fight on school funding: public support.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Is it the teachers who are “seeking conflict” or the school district? Assistant Superintendent Bruce Hobert refuses to spend the extra money the Legislature gave him specifically to improve teacher salaries, saying lawmakers “did not intend to impair existing contracts.” (?!) As for public support, as NPR reports, just 1 in 4 Americans believe teachers in this country are paid fairly. Nearly two-thirds approve of national teachers’ unions, and three-quarters agree teachers have the right to strike. That last figure includes two-thirds of Republicans, three-quarters of independents and nearly 9 in 10 Democrats. Just sayin’.
► From Bloomberg — Is Burgerville union success a bellwether for fast food? — Three weeks after a landmark vote that created the country’s first union for fast-food workers, a second group of Burgerville employees decided to join an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Firefighting efforts ramp up in Central Washington as season gets longer each year — Adequate training and preparation become more difficult and more essential as fire seasons continue to start earlier and last longer. The department’s efforts to find and train 500 to 550 seasonal firefighters keep getting earlier on the calendar, and Franz said they’ve already seen 119 fires across the state. Craig noted that local wildland fire training now takes place in March, compared with May just 10 years ago.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Initiative 1631 invests in jobs, our clean energy future (by WSLC President Jeff Johnson) — We are facing an existential crisis. We see it as more intense and dramatic forest fires — last summer a fire jumped 1 1/2 miles over the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington. But climate disaster is not only and is not primarily an environmental issue. It is an economic issue that is increasingly causing job, income, and property loss. It is a social issue that is causing people to migrate out of unsafe areas and requiring more and more tax dollars from the local, state and regional levels to pay for mitigation efforts, taking desperately needed money away from health care, education, public safety needs.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Postage paid for now, but let’s make it stick (editorial) — You can skip the stamp for ballots for the Aug. 7 primary and Nov. 6 general elections. The state will pick up the tab for postage in order to remove that barrier — which some had criticized as a poll tax, albeit a small one — for the return of election ballots in Washington state, one of three states that conduct their elections nearly exclusively by mail-in ballots.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — American Railroad Association signs on to federal coal lawsuit against Washington — The stack of legal briefs supporting a federal lawsuit over a proposed coal terminal in Longview continues to grow.
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — All but one incumbent unopposed so far in candidate filings
► From AP — State Supreme Court weighs validity of charter school law — The Washington Supreme Court is set to hear arguments over the state’s charter school law. Teachers unions and other groups have sued over the 2016 law, which was enacted after the justices struck down the old law as unconstitutional. A King County Superior Court judge upheld the new version in a decision that’s on appeal in the case being argued Thursday.
► From USA Today — House GOP struggles to get votes for farm bill amid fights over food stamps — House Republicans are bracing for a food fight on Friday over the farm bill – with GOP lawmakers sharply divided over everything from sugar subsidies to food stamp benefits in a melee that could jeopardize the bill’s chances of passage. The $868 billion House bill would set food and farm policy for the next five years — affecting everything from crop subsidies to rural development to land conservation. But the most contentious element of the GOP-crafted bill would dramatically revamp the food stamp program by restricting eligibility and requiring millions of low-income Americans who receive nutritional assistance to work at least 20 hours a week or enroll in a job training program.
ALSO at The Stand — Tell Congress: NO harmful changes to SNAP — Farm bill’s onerous rules for food assistance would cut off working families.
► In today’s Washington Post — The GOP is quietly crafting work requirement waivers — for white people (by Christine Emba) — In Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky, work-requirement waivers would include exemptions for counties with the highest levels of unemployment, which are overwhelmingly white, rural — and GOP-leaning. But most of these exemptions would do nothing to help people of color who live in high-unemployment urban areas, because they live in places where countywide unemployment numbers are skewed by the inclusion of wealthy suburbs.
► In today’s Washington Post — Even his allies think Trump’s trade plans are overloading the system — President Trump’s breakneck bid to rewrite U.S. trade ties is exasperating his allies in Congress, spooking business leaders and forcing the White House to defend repeated policy shifts ahead of a major bargaining deadline today on NAFTA.
► From KUOW — Senate approves overturning FCC’s net neutrality repeal — The Senate approved a resolution Wednesday to nullify the FCC’s net neutrality rollback, dealing a symbolic blow to the FCC’s new rule that remains on track to take effect next month. The final vote was 52-47.
► From The Stranger — Senate moves to repeal attack on net neutrality, with help from Cantwell and Murray
► From The Hill — GOP split on immigration is a crisis for Ryan’s team — Momentum is building for an insurgent effort by centrist Republicans to force immigration votes on the House floor despite GOP leadership’s attempt to tamp down the rebellion. The unfolding legislative battle is a nightmare for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his lieutenants, because it exposes a fervent intraparty split in the GOP and pits leadership against many of the politically vulnerable members that are key to saving the Republican majority this fall.
► In today’s Washington Post — Republicans are betting it all on aging white Trump voters (by Greg Sargent) — Ryan and his top lieutenants are working overtime to squash an effort by Republicans to force a vote in the House to provide the Dreamers with a path to legalization. Why don’t GOP leaders want this vote? Because it would pass. And this would enrage the Trump base, depressing their midterm turnout.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump administration preparing to hold immigrant children on military bases — The Trump administration is making preparations to hold immigrant children on military bases, according to Defense Department communications, the latest sign the government is moving forward with plans to split up families who cross the border illegally.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump rants, calling some unauthorized immigrants ‘animals’ — The president unspooled a lengthy diatribe before TV cameras, warning that dangerous people were clamoring to breach the United States’ borders and castigating Mexico.
► In today’s Washington Post — Filing shows Trump paid Cohen, who paid Stormy Daniels — Trump’s financial disclosure revealed for the first time that he paid more than $100,000 to his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, as reimbursement for payments to a “third-party.”
► From WRAL — North Caroilina teachers share personal struggles at ‘Rally for Respect’ — As teachers marched in downtown Raleigh to urge lawmakers to increase state funding for education, many from across the state spoke about what they hope to achieve. Bicentennial Mall was packed with teachers from all over the state, braving frequent downpours to hear speakers outside the legislature.
► From AP — AP analysis shows how Bill Gates influences education policy — The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given about $44 million to outside groups over the past two years to help shape state education plans. The spending paid for research aligned with Gates’ interests, led to friendly media coverage and had a role in helping write one state’s new education system framework. Critics call it meddling by a foundation with vast wealth and resources. Long before thousands of fed-up teachers walked off the job in four unprecedented statewide strikes this year over pay and school conditions, education union officials had sounded alarm about Gates’ influence. The American Federation of Teachers in 2014 broke ties with Gates over Common Core after initially supporting the standards.
► From CNBC — The Bezos-Buffett-Dimon joint venture to save health care is struggling to find a CEO — Almost four months ago, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase announced a bold new partnership aimed at bringing down the costs of health care. But ABC, as the group is known, has encountered a surprising challenge filling the CEO spot.
► In today’s NY Times — He walked for his right to vote. Now he’s running for office. — David Sadler, a State Senate candidate in Alabama, wants people with a criminal record — like him and millions of other Americans — to have a voice in American politics… Felon-disenfranchisement laws have had a huge and largely unnoticed impact on American politics, including possibly altering the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. Most were passed in the late 1800s explicitly to keep black people from the ballot box, and today they continue to hurt minorities disproportionately. But lately the tide has been turning, as many states have made it easier for people with criminal records to vote again. In Florida, which disenfranchises more people with criminal records than any other state, voters will decide in November whether to restore voting rights to as many as 1.5 million of their neighbors. And New Jersey lawmakers are considering whether to join Vermont and Maine as the only states to allow people to vote even while in prison.
For Sadler, the only way to regain the right to vote was a pardon from the governor of Pennsylvania. So he did what anyone with limitless energy and a very good pair of shoes would do: He hand-delivered a clemency petition, walking from Orlando to the governor’s office in Harrisburg. Over 32 days in the dead of summer, he walked 1,178 miles, dawn to dusk daily, sleeping on benches and subsisting on whatever food he could afford along the route. He grew a beard and lost 25 pounds. “That walk was like my pilgrimage to manhood,” Sadler said. “I looked like Forrest Gump.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.