Thursday, March 7, 2019
► From the AP — State Senate votes to restrict non-compete contracts — Lawmakers in the Washington Senate have approved a partial block on non-compete contracts for workers in the state, with exceptions for high-paid positions. The bill would void contracts forbidding employees from working with competitors, but it contains an exception for employees making more than $100,000 per year.
ALSO at The Stand — Senate votes to restrict non-competition contracts — These contracts blocking people from finding better jobs in their industry, often signed by workers as a condition of their hiring, have proliferated in recent years and are now required of many middle-class and low-wage workers.
► In the Columbian — House should follow Senate on clean energy (editorial) — The state House of Representatives should follow the lead of the Senate and send a renewable energy bill to the governor. Such action would demonstrate that Washington is preparing for the future instead of clinging to outdated energy sources.
ALSO at The Stand — Job-creating 100% clean energy bill advances
► In today’s Seattle Times — Carbon fee returns in Olympia as lawmakers consider $15 billion transportation package — The 10-year, $15 billion proposal, sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), relies on a carbon fee, six-cent gas tax increase and impact fees on developers as its largest sources of funding. The package also would discourage Washington from adopting a low carbon fuel standard. In other words: lobbyists on all sides are finding things to like and dislike in the plan.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Auditors: Washington jails could release 4,700 inmates, save millions through pretrial services — Auditors found roughly one-third of the state’s jail inmates are candidates for pretrial services such as electronic monitoring, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and texts and phone calls that remind people of court dates. The auditors also found the cost of incarceration significantly outweighs the cost of pretrial services, concluding such reforms could save $6 million to $12 million in taxpayer money each year while maintaining public safety.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Silicon producer REC to keep Moses Lake facility open, citing trade talks — Embattled silicon producer REC Silicon said Tuesday it will keep its Moses Lake polysilicon operation open and running at 25 percent capacity “until further notice.”
► From Safety & Health Magazine — Support grows for bill seeking OSHA standard on preventing workplace violence in health care facilities — The legislation calls for OSHA to issue a standard requiring employers in the health care and social services industries to develop and implement workplace violence prevention plans to protect employees such as nurses, physicians, social workers, emergency responders and other caregivers. Since being introduced in the House on Nov. 16, the bill has picked up an additional 16 co-sponsors for a total of 42.
ALSO at The Stand — Hearing highlights workplace violence faced by caregivers
EDITOR’S NOTE — Washington’s sole co-sponsor: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-7th).
► From NPR — Bill raising federal minimum wage to $15 heads to U.S. House floor — A bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2024 has cleared a legislative hurdle that sets it up for a vote by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.
EDITOR’S NOTE — How will Republicans from Washington state vote? You know the answer. Their constituents have repeatedly voted to raise our state’s minimum wage, which is currently $12/hour and will be $13.50 next year. But the federal minimum wage has been stuck at a paltry $7.25 an hour for a decade. Republicans have argued that Washington’s higher minimum wage puts our state at a competitive disadvantage. If they truly believed that, wouldn’t they support raising it elsewhere so there isn’t such a large discrepancy between states? No. The reason they will all vote against increasing the federal minimum wage is that it’s GOP dogma to keep wages low and profits high.
► In today’s Washington Post — Congress and White House agree on infrastructure, but need a way to pay for it — “Everything is on the table,” Rep. Sam Graves (Mo.), the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, which holds the purse strings for anything his committee might approve. “We are open to whatever you all put forth.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Well, not everything. Like asking America’s wealthiest people and most successful corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.
► In today’s Washington Post — Wilbur Ross broke law, violated Constitution in census decision, judge rules — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in “bad faith,” broke several laws and violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy when he added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
► In today’s Washington Post — ‘Not my fault’: Trump struggles to defend his record amid setbacks on immigration, trade, North Korea
► From The Hill — Howard Schultz recruiting GOP insiders ahead of possible 2020 bid
► From WBUR — 1,700 more GM employees face job loss as Ohio plant production grinds to halt — The last car rolls off the assembly line at the GM plant in Ohio. And with it 1,700 jobs.
— Gabriel Kramer (@GKKramer72) March 7, 2019
► In the Washington Post — It’s time — high time — to take Fox News’s destructive role in America seriously (by Margaret Sullivan) — Let’s talk about the overall problem of Fox News, which started out with bad intentions in 1996 and has swiftly devolved into what often amounts to a propaganda network for a dishonest president and his allies… For mainstream journalists to suggest that there be no consequences or even recognition is willfully blind — and smacks of an unseemly inside-the-Beltway solidarity. What Fox News has become is destructive… The rule at Fox is to stonewall outside inquiries, and to close ranks around its rainmakers. And, of course, to double down on its mission, described aptly by my colleague Greg Sargent: “Fox News is fundamentally in the business of spreading disinformation, as opposed to conservative reportage.” And that disinformation “is plainly about deceiving millions into believing that core functionings of our government — whether law enforcement or congressional oversight — no longer have any legitimacy.”
Everyone ought to see (Fox News) for what it is: Not a normal news organization with inevitable screw-ups, flaws and commercial interests, which sometimes fail to serve the public interest. But a shameless propaganda outfit, which makes billions of dollars a year as it chips away at the core democratic values we ought to hold dear: truth, accountability and the rule of law. Despite the skills of a few journalists who should have long ago left the network in protest, Fox News has become an American plague.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.