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Loosen levy lid ● Doug ♥s Cambodia ● Scapegoating postal unions

Monday, April 8, 2019




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Lawmakers must loosen school levy restrictions (editorial) — Everett School District, if the Legislature doesn’t address the reductions caused by the levy swap, would have to find more than $11 million in cuts for the 2019-20 school year. Edmonds School District would absorb about $17 million to $18 million in cuts… The Legislature in 2017 stepped up to make major investments in “basic education.” Lawmakers now need to allow school districts, working with their communities, to fund education beyond basic needs.

► In the Columbian — Clark County school districts are in the red — Nearly every school district in Clark County is facing significant budget deficits in the 2019-2020 school year. And local schools are not alone. The Seattle Times reported that 253 of the state’s 295 school districts are projecting deficits next year. And one analysis found that 115 districts, including Battle Ground, Hockinson and Green Mountain, will actually receive less money or see only negligible increases under the new funding model.

► In the Stranger — Sen. Mark Mullet says his amendment doesn’t cut teacher pay. He’s wrong. (by Rich Smith) — His amendment to the levy flexibility bill that tells teachers they can only bargain for a 3 percent raise is, contrary to what Mullet says, limiting teachers’ right to collectively bargain. He’s literally limiting the amount of money they can ask for at the bargaining table.

ALSO at The Stand — Senate panel’s amended bill attacks teachers — The Washington Education Association has set up an Action Alert page to contact your legislators and urge them to oppose the amended version of SB 5313.

► In the Seattle Times — Legislators want to recession-proof higher education funding in Washington — The bill, the Workforce Education Investment Act (HB 2158), would raise supplemental education money for a wide range of purposes: a big boost in college financial aid, salary raises for community college faculty who teach high-demand classes, a state-sponsored student loan program for middle-class students and money to overhaul community college course pathways, to name a few.

► From the AP — State Democrats decide to use results of presidential primary instead of caucuses — The state party’s central committee voted 121-40 to start using a hybrid system that uses the state’s vote-by-mail system for a presidential primary to apportion delegates to candidates, and caucuses and conventions to select which delegates will represent the state at the national convention in Milwaukee.

► In today’s Columbian — Time to lay foundation for infrastructure effort (editorial) — Be it roads, dams, airports or bridges big and small, the United States must start repairing its infrastructure. Failing to do so hampers the economy and quality of life while exponentially increasing costs down the road. And that is something both parties should be able to agree on.

► In the Seattle Times — Sen. Ericksen praised the Cambodian government last year. Then it gave him a $500,000 lobbying contract. — A company created by state Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Waterstreet Cafe) has landed a $500,000 lobbying contract from the Cambodian government he praised last year during a controversial visit as an election observer. Ericksen registered as a foreign agent for the kingdom of Cambodia in an April 3 filing with the U.S. Justice Department, along with former state Rep. Jay Rodne (R-Snoqualmie). Ericksen said his arrangement is “100 percent legal… I am just trying to make my way in this world.”… Last year’s Cambodian parliamentary elections were widely criticized as a sham by international observers. Human Rights Watch, in a June 2018 report, labeled Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government “an abusive and authoritarian political regime” over which the “increasingly dictatorial” Sen rules. The White House slammed the elections in a statement last year, saying they were “neither free nor fair and failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people.” Nevertheless, Ericksen publicly praised the elections at the time.

► In the Seattle Times — Tim Eyman loses in court, faces possible lifetime ban on managing political finances — Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon ruled Friday morning that Eyman could potentially be punished with a lifetime ban on managing or directing the finances of a political committee. Afterward, Eyman called the ruling a “gut punch.”




► In today’s Seattle Times — For victims’ loved ones, latest Boeing 737 MAX tragedy leaves anguish, anger, and lots of questions — “Why did our daughter fall out of the sky?” Nadia Milleron asks. “We want to know. We want to know all the facts, all the details. Why did that happen? … Why did it happen twice?”

► In the Seattle Times — Boeing will slow 737 production by one-fifth; no layoffs planned — The two recent fatal crashes and subsequent grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX have prompted the jet maker to sharply and quickly cut production in Renton from the current 52 airplanes per month to 42 per month, signaling that a return to flight isn’t expected soon. Boeing said it does not plan any layoffs due to the rate reduction, which begins in about 10 days.

► Today from Reuters — Boeing’s 737 production cut hits its shares and those of suppliers

► From The Hill — American Airlines cancels 737 Max flights though June 5 — The airline said that continuing to ground its 24 Max jets will result in the cancellation of roughly 90 flights a day. Flights were initially cancelled through April 24.




► In the Spokesman-Review — Collective bargaining transparency, income tax ban sought by pro-business group at Spokane City Council — Spokane voters may soon have the chance to bar the city from ever passing an income tax and require the city’s unions to make their negotiations public. During their Monday meeting, Spokane City Council will hear two initiatives submitted by Better Spokane, a fiscally conservative group. Local union leaders called the initiatives political posturing.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Paid parking coming to Providence medical’s Everett campuses — The hospital is planning a maximum day rate of $4 for patients and visitors. Employees aren’t pleased. “Charging employees for parking at work, when we are already underpaid and overworked, is yet another indication that Providence does not value or respect caregivers,” said Milli Uzoma, a nurse for Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County.




► In the NY Times — Trump administration nearly doubles H-2B guest visa program, which brings many Mexican workers — As President Trump threatened to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border in recent days, his Department of Homeland Security nearly doubled the number of temporary guest worker visas available this summer. DHS and the Labor Department plan to grant an additional 30,000 H-2B visas this summer on top of the 33,000 H-2B visas they had planned to give out, the agencies confirmed.

► In today’s NY Times — Kirstjen Nielsen resigns as Trump’s Homeland Security secretary — She resigned on Sunday after meeting with Trump, ending a tumultuous tenure in charge of the border security agency that had made her the target of the president’s criticism.

► In today’s NY Times — Kirstjen Nielsen enforced cruelty at the border. Her replacement could be worse. (editorial) — She will be remembered for the forced separation of thousands of migrant families.

► In today’s Washington Post — Kevin McAleenan is taking over DHS. Will he be ‘tough’ enough for Trump? — McAleenan must contend with a large wave of illegal crossings at the Mexico border and an impatient boss — and he will have to court Democratic lawmakers with little political incentive to help the White House.

► In the NY Times — U.S. says it could take 2 years to identify up to thousands of separated immigrant families — It may take federal officials two years to identify what could be thousands of immigrant children who were separated from their families at the southern United States border, the government said in court documents filed on Friday.

► From KUOW — 100K Washingtonians could lose food stamps under proposed SNAP changes — Right now, Washington state has the ability to waive work requirements for some people. New rules would change that, requiring many more participants to work at least 20 hours a week to maintain their SNAP benefits. Nearly 100,000 people in Washington state could have their food stamps cut off under a proposed change to the program.

► From Yahoo News — Battle brewing on Capitol Hill over new trade agreement — “The fact that the business community is investing so much money in a campaign to get the new NAFTA ratified quickly and with minimal scrutiny says at least two things. First, that this deal isn’t a radical change from the current NAFTA. Second, they don’t want the deal’s flaws, including rules that favor Big Pharma and Big Data companies over working families, to become well-known,” said AFL-CIO trade specialist Celeste Drake.

ALSO at The Stand — AFL-CIO announces opposition to NAFTA 2.0 in its current form




► From Truthout — Scapegoating unions for the Postal Service’s phony crisis (by Brian Wakamo) — Despite recent cutbacks, the Postal Service is still a vital source of good jobs in every community – and union rights are a key factor. Attacking postal workers’ union rights is merely an ideological distraction from the real cause of the postal service’s financial losses. In 2006, Congress created this crisis by passing the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which requires the USPS to set aside reserves sufficient to cover the cost of its employee post-retirement health benefits 75 years into the future. Without this pre-funding mandate, the Postal Service would’ve made money in every year since 2013. To strengthen the postal service, Congress should repeal this onerous mandate and embrace other solutions, like integrating USPS retirees into Medicare and supporting expansion of revenue-generating services like postal banking.


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