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Tragedy in Seattle ● Midnight budget ● I-1000 passes

Monday, April 29, 2019




► In the Seattle Times — ‘A tragic day in Seattle’: Fallen crane kills four in South Lake Union — A tower crane working on a new Google campus fell like a thunderbolt from the roof of a South Lake Union building, smashing into six cars and killing four people. Two ironworkers who were in the crane and two people in separate cars were dead by the time Seattle firefighters got to the site at Fairview Avenue North and Mercer Street around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Four others were injured.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Investigators open probe into four companies involved in dismantling Seattle crane before deadly collapse — The tower crane was being dismantled when it fell. A day later, questions remained unanswered about what role a rising wind may have played and the decision not to restrict cars on heavily trafficked Mercer Street.

► From KOMO — Friends, coworkers mourn Andrew Yoder following crane collapse — One of the ironworkers killed in Saturday’s crane crash has been identified as Andrew Yoder of North Bend, according to Chris McClain with Ironworkers Local 86. Yoder was 31. Social media posts also memorialized the tragic passing of Yoder, characterizing him as a faithful Marine and devout Christian.

► From KIRO 7 — Wife identifies husband as ironworker killed in Seattle crane collapse — Travis Corbet has been identified by his wife as one of the two ironworkers killed in the Seattle crane collapse. His wife said Travis served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and had worked as an ironworker ever since.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Unions at Astria hospitals ratify contracts, but see room for improvement — The WSNA and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW have new contracts for hundreds of employees they represent at Astria Regional and Astria Toppenish. The agreements were ratified earlier this month, after more than a year of tough bargaining that prompted the unions to hold an informational picket outside Astria Regional in the fall.

► In the Columbian — Battle Ground schools to cut 44 positions — Districts blame compounding factors for the cuts: declining enrollment, capped local levy dollars and increasing labor costs. Many of the cuts will be made up through retirement or people leaving for jobs elsewhere. At last count, the district estimates 15 people could lose their jobs.

► In the Peninsula Daily News — Port Angeles School District approves cuts — 21.68 full-time equivalent employees to be eliminated; paraeductor hours to be reduced.

► In the Kitsap Sun — North Kitsap school board authorizes cutting up to 20 teaching positions




► From the NW News Service — Lawmakers pass $52.4B budget, raise taxes, and adjourn — Washington lawmakers adjourned at midnight Sunday after majority Democrats approved an initiative to restore affirmative action and passed a $52.4 billion, two-year state operating budget. The budget relies on an array of tax increases, including on businesses and real estate transactions, but doesn’t impose a new capital gains tax as had been proposed.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — With last-minute deal on school levies, Legislature adjourns — A deal came together with the assistance of House Republicans that cleared the way for passage of the so-called levy lift as well as the budget and a couple other bills before adjournment.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Here are the taxes Washington lawmakers are voting to raise — and cut — Lawmakers Sunday finished approving more than $830 million in new and higher taxes to fund their new 2019-21 operating budget and a separate spending account for higher education programs. The package also includes a tax cut for some Washingtonians.

► From the AP — Affirmative action initiative passes Legislature — Initiative 1000 will allow recruitment goals for minority candidates in state jobs, education, and contracting, significantly loosening existing restrictions on targeted outreach and other forms of affirmative action. The measure passed the Senate on a 26-22 vote Sunday night after the House passed it 56-42. Affirmative action has been illegal in Washington since a 1998 initiative overturned an earlier version of the policy.

EDITOR’S NOTE — I-1000 was endorsed by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

► In the Tri-City Herald — State law now makes it easier for ill Hanford workers to get paid. The feds are fighting it. — Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law an amendment that should allow more ill Hanford workers or their survivors to get state worker compensation claims approved.

► From the AP — Public health care option clears Legislature — Dubbed Cascade Care, the proposal would create a state-contracted insurance option that would be offered by 2021, at what backers say will be a discounted rate.

► In the Seattle Times — New law may make it easier for people to become teachers in Washington state — Responding to concerns that admissions tests help keep teachers of color out of the classroom, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law Wednesday to ease requirements for teacher preparation programs.

► In the Columbian — Majority floor leader, Monica Stonier aims for House speaker position — Stonier, an instructional coach at Pacific Middle School, was drawn into politics, in part, to bring an educator’s perspective to Olympia. She’s risen in her caucus leadership being elected majority floor leader this year.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Rep. Matt Shea was part of violent 2017 chat from the beginning — Portions of a 2017 chat log obtained by The Spokesman-Review contradict state Rep. Matt Shea’s claim that he was not a participant in the conversation when other far-right figures suggested acts of violence against left-wing protestors.

► From the AP — GOP to review Rep. Shea’s comments on surveillance of foes — House Republicans will conduct a review of the actions of Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) who reportedly suggested spying on political enemies.




► In the Seattle Times — FAA could clear Boeing 737 MAX to fly again within weeks — The FAA could clear Boeing’s 737 MAX to fly again by late next month or early June, according to a person familiar with the safety agency’s latest thinking. If the FAA gives the green light that soon — much more quickly than many analysts have predicted —   airlines would still need weeks to get their planes ready and their pilots trained. But the timetable, which assumes no unforeseen developments, means U.S. carriers could have the MAX flying passengers again by early August.

► From CNN — A deeply wounded Boeing faces shareholders ready for a fight — Boeing executives are expected to face shareholders’ tough questions about the 737 Max crisis at the company’s annual meeting in Chicago on Monday.

► From TPM — Boeing didn’t tell anyone when it removed warning system from 737 MAX — Boeing told neither Southwest Airlines, the biggest 737 MAX customer, nor the FAA when it omitted an emergency alert system meant to tell pilots when sensors are malfunctioning in newer models of the plane.




► From Politico — House Democrats eye post-Mueller agenda — The House will return this week with plans to take up legislation on some of the Democratic Party’s core priorities — fighting climate change, expanding Obamacare and lowering drug prices. But House Democrats’ spring agenda also includes some of the trickier issues that have divided the caucus — like minimum wage and immigration — that could present a fresh challenge for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

► From The Hill — Meet the new NAFTA — same as the old NAFTA (by Robert Scott) — The USMCA simply follows the failed model of prior free-trade agreements adopted over the past 25 years, which facilitate corporate offshoring to low-wage countries while undermining democratic power… The locations may change — factories moving onward from Mexico to China, Malaysia or Vietnam, for example. But the results remain the same. It’s time for a genuinely new trade model, and Trump’s team should go back to the drawing board in order to incorporate realistic provisions that can actually save U.S. jobs, not relocate them.

ALSO at The Stand — Tell Congress: No new NAFTA until it’s fixed

► In today’s NY Times — Mnuchin says trade negotiations with China are in ‘the final laps’ — The United States and China have spent more than a year trying to resolve a trade dispute and reach an agreement that would overhaul the economic relationship between the world’s largest economies.

► From Bloomberg Law — High court won’t review whether unions can represent nonmembers — The U.S. Supreme Court announced April 29 it won’t consider whether a Minnesota faculty union can represent a public university professor who isn’t a union member, saving organized labor from another high-stakes legal battle.

► In today’s NY Times — Universal health care might cost you less than you think (by Matt Bruenig) — Unlike workers in many other countries, the vast majority of American employees have private health insurance premiums deducted from their paychecks. If we reimagine these premiums as taxes, we’d realize that Americans pay some of the highest and least progressive labor taxes in the developed world.




► In today’s Washington Post — Populist economic frustration threatens Trump’s strongest reelection issue, Post-ABC poll finds — Trump’s strongest case for reelection remains the country’s healthy economy, but the potency of that issue for him is complicated by a widespread belief that the economy mainly benefits people already in power.

► From the AP — Democratic presidential candidates pledge to bolster unions — Half a dozen Democratic presidential candidates declared unions to be a lifeline for the American middle class and pledged Saturday to strengthen workers’ rights to strike and organize and to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. But while the candidates decried the erosion of wages and union power in the U.S., few speakers at a Las Vegas union forum offered specifics on what policies they’d offer to bolster union ranks and raise pay.

► From Reuters — Biden to kick off presidential bid with speech to union workers — Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will hold his first event as a presidential candidate in Pittsburgh on Monday, speaking before Teamsters union members whose endorsements may be key in the primary race.

► From The Hill — Biden picks up endorsement from firefighters union — The International Association of Fire Fighters is endorsing Joe Biden‘s 2020 Democratic presidential bid after staying on the sidelines of the 2016 race.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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