Tuesday, April 9, 2019
► In today’s Columbian — Washington’s school levy bill appears dead after unions object to amendments — At 1 a.m. Wednesday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee adopted an amendment by Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) that would add limits to the extra money teachers receive on top of their base salaries. Mullet’s not optimistic his peers in the Senate will buy in further, though. “I think it’s dead,” Mullet said Monday. “I think the unions came out so aggressively against it.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — That was his plan all along. It’s called a poison-pill amendment. Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Is.), the sponsor of the underlying levy-flexibility bill, opposes Mullet’s amendment and said it does not reflect her “values or the values of the Democratic caucus.”
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Senate panel’s amended bill attacks teachers — If SB 5313 were to go into effect as amended, it would reduce teacher average salaries by more than $5,000 and limit teachers’ ability to negotiate salary increases for increased responsibilities.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Legislators consider ferry fare, vehicle fee bumps to pay for new state ferries — State legislators are considering proposals that would raise fares for Washington State Ferries riders and hike vehicle title and registration fees statewide to begin paying for a wave of new green-and-white car ferries.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Budget for behavioral health promising (editorial) — After a crisis that ranged from the streets to the state’s psychiatric hospital, lawmakers are finally making some headway on a plan that should move the system forward in a compassionate and budget-conscious way.
► In today’s Washington Post — In a broadside against Airbus, U.S. pursues aircraft tariffs — The White House office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that it would pursue tariffs against a broad collection of aircraft and aircraft parts from the European Union. In addition it said it is considering imposing tariffs on products as diverse as swordfish, brandy and brooms from countries in the E.U. The action comes as U.S. aerospace giant Boeing grapples with the fallout from two deadly crashes involving its 737 MAX planes, which have been grounded globally.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s production cut catches suppliers and stock market off guard — Investors reacted harshly Monday to news that Boeing will slash production of the 737 MAX, punishing the company’s share price and sending shock waves up and down the aerospace supply chain. The production cuts won’t mean any layoffs for the 12,000 or so workers at the Renton plant where the 737 MAX is assembled, the company said. But they do add to concerns that Boeing is facing a longer-than-expected delay in getting the grounded MAX aircraft back into the skies — or in meeting its own ambitious production goals.
► In today’s NY Times — Boeing’s 737 MAX: 1960s design, 1990s computing power and paper manuals — The MAX stretched the 737 design, creating a patchwork plane that left pilots without some safety features that could be important in a crisis — ones that have been offered for years on other planes. It is the only modern Boeing jet without an electronic alert system that explains what is malfunctioning and how to resolve it. Instead pilots have to check a manual. The MAX also required makeshift solutions to keep the plane flying like its ancestors, workarounds that may have compromised safety.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Work halted after 42 Hanford workers were contaminated. Now, demolition is to restart — Demolition of the Plutonium Finishing Plant at Hanford could restart Tuesday, more than 15 months after the tear down was halted because of an airborne spread of radioactive contamination. In 2017, 42 workers inhaled or ingested small amounts of radioactive contamination from demolition of the plant. Several workers’ cars were contaminated with radioactive particles, including two that were driven home before the contamination was discovered.
► In today’s Washington Post — In Amazon’s home city, retailer’s rise leaves locals with mixed feelings — Some in Seattle see the online giant as an economic godsend, while others view it as a self-centered behemoth.
► From Crosscut — More immigrants report arrests at WA courthouses, despite outcry — “We have kids, please,” she can be heard saying to the officers in a video of the arrest. “Just let me give him one more hug, please,” she pleaded… All around Washington state, ICE is arresting undocumented immigrants when they show up for hearings or to pay fines. (En español.)
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump removes Secret Service director as purge of DHS leadership widens — Trump continued to dismantle the leadership of the nation’s top domestic security agency Monday, as the White House announced the imminent removal of U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph D. “Tex” Alles, the latest in a series of head-spinning departures from the Department of Homeland Security.
► From Politico — Trump’s DHS purge floors Republicans — Even GOP allies of the president are distressed by the chaos unleashed on federal immigration policy.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump says the U.S. is ‘full.’ Much of the nation has the opposite problem. — To the degree the president is addressing something broader than the recent strains on the asylum-seeking process, the line suggests the nation can’t accommodate higher immigration levels because it is already bursting at the seams. But it runs counter to the consensus among demographers and economists. They see ample evidence of a country that is not remotely “full” — but one where an aging population and declining birthrates among the native-born population are creating underpopulated cities and towns, vacant housing and troubled public finances.
► In today’s NY Times — At Trump’s Florida resort empire, a quiet effort to eliminate an undocumented work force — Alongside the foreign guest workers and the sizable American staff is another category of employees, mostly those who work on the pair of lush golf courses near Mar-a-Lago. They have been picked up by Trump contractors from groups of undocumented laborers at the side of the road or brought onto the payroll with little apparent scrutiny of their Social Security cards and green cards, some of which are fake.
► MUST-READ in today’s NY Times — Trump’s immigration crisis (by Ross Douthat) — Immigration hawks ended up electing a president whose signature immigration policy, more walls to deter border-crossers, has proved largely ineffective in dealing with an immigration crisis created by people surrendering to Border Patrol officers and asking for asylum. Hence the flailing on display this week, with the president purging his entire Homeland Security apparatus, in the hopes of finding somebody with the requisite toughness to succeed where the present staff has failed. Since “toughness” apparently means one of two things — returning to the cruelty of child separation or ordering Border Patrol agents to simply ignore asylum law themselves — it’s doubtful that this purge will produce anything except more unpopularity for Trump’s policies, and more unsuccessful collisions with the courts.
► From Vox — Immigration makes America great (by Matthew Yglesias) — Immigration to the United States has not, historically, been an act of kindness toward strangers. It’s been a strategy for national growth and national greatness… The United States is still a country with a mission and a desire for greatness on the world stage. And America’s openness to people who want to move here and make a better life for themselves is fuel for that greatness. Few of our problems can be solved by curtailing immigration. Many could be solved by welcoming more foreigners to our shores.
► From CNBC — Trump is targeting Obamacare again. Here’s everything you need to know about where the law stands now. — Trump reignited the fight over Obamacare last month when his administration decided to support a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality. Signed into law in 2010, the ACA includes provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions, expand Medicaid in most states and allow children to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26. The law’s individual mandate required almost every American to purchase insurance or face a tax penalty.
► From Politico — Democrats are cozying up to corporate lobbyists despite purity pledges — Some who have sworn off corporate PAC money are deciding whether to take money from other PACs on a case-by-case basis. Freshman Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.), for instance, has a staffer who helps evaluate whether each trade group that wants to contribute to her campaign will be allowed to do so. She decided to accept contributions from trade groups representing apple and wheat growers, which have a substantial presence in her district, but drew the line at the sugar industry.
► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Kilmer presented with national award for business support — Congressman Derek Kilmer received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual Spirit of Enterprise Award April 4, in recognition of his support for pro-economic, pro-growth policies.
ALSO at The Stand — Rep. Derek Kilmer receives ‘Friend of SPEEA’ award
► In the Chicago Tribune — ‘We have to show them that we’re not going to give up.’ Seven months into strike, Cambria hotel workers fight on. — The Cambria hotel was among 26 Chicago hotels where thousands of workers went on strike late last summer as their union negotiated new contracts. Within five weeks contracts had been ratified and strikes ended at all of the hotels except the 216-room Cambria, where picketing continued as summer turned to fall and then winter and now spring.
► In The Atlantic — The death of an adjunct — To be a perennial adjunct professor is to hear the constant tone of higher education’s death knell. The story is well known — the long hours, the heavy workload, the insufficient pay — as academia relies on adjunct professors, non-tenured faculty members, who are often paid pennies on the dollar to do the same work required of their tenured colleagues… Thea Hunter was a promising, brilliant scholar. And then she got trapped in academia’s permanent underclass. Her hopes and setbacks were compounded by an underlying reality that many adjuncts face: a lack of health insurance.
► In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune — Adjunct professors unionize at 3 private colleges in Minnesota — Part-time faculty have formed unions on three local campuses — part of rapid national growth that has almost doubled bargaining units at private nonprofit institutions since 2012. Supporters say the effort springs from frustration with modest pay and job insecurity for a group of faculty whose ranks have swelled.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Want a raise — and respect at work? Get information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!
► In the NY Times Magazine — How Rupert Murdoch’s empire of influence remade the world — His newspapers and television networks had been instrumental in amplifying the nativist revolt that was reshaping governments not just in the United States but also across the planet. His 24-hour news-and-opinion network, the Fox News Channel, had by then fused with President Trump and his base of hard-core supporters, giving Murdoch an unparalleled degree of influence over the world’s most powerful democracy. In Britain, his London-based tabloid, The Sun, had recently led the historic Brexit crusade to drive the country out of the European Union — and, in the chaos that ensued, helped deliver Theresa May to 10 Downing Street. In Australia, where Murdoch’s power is most undiluted, his outlets had led an effort to repeal the country’s carbon tax — a first for any nation — and pushed out a series of prime ministers whose agenda didn’t comport with his own… His death could set off a power struggle that would dwarf anything the (already fractious) Murdoch family had seen while he was alive and very possibly reorder the political landscape across the English-speaking world.
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