Wednesday, May 29, 2019
► From Reuters — Boeing 737 MAX may not return to service until August: IATA head — The International Air Transport Association expects it could take until August before the Boeing Co 737 MAX returns to service, the airline group’s head said on Wednesday, adding that the final say on the timing rested with regulators. IATA plans to organize a summit with airlines, regulators and Boeing in 5 to 7 weeks to discuss what is needed for the 737 MAX to return to service… Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Wednesday reiterated the planemaker was focused on safely returning the MAX aircraft to service. He said the company continues to expect to ramp up its long-term production rate to 57 a month after cutting monthly output to 42 planes in response to the groundings.
ALSO at The Stand — Congress hits Boeing on firing union supporters in South Carolina
► From Twitter — Marilyn McKenna, the ex-wife of former Republican gubernatorial candidate and two-term Attorney General Rob McKenna, posted this yesterday…
I started a new job today, and not only did I join the union, I opted-in to make monthly contributions to the political action committee that supports candidates who advance labor causes. The beginning of my atonement for years of being a Republican.
— Marilyn McKenna (@mckennamarilyn) May 28, 2019
EDITOR’S NOTE — When Marilyn’s then-husband was running for governor, he called public employee unions “dangerous” and blamed state employees for budget woes.
► From the Olympian — AG Ferguson doesn’t have to turn over key document in union dues fight, judge says — Attorney General Bob Ferguson has prevailed in a lawsuit filed by a conservative group that accused him and his office of violating the state’s public records law to conceal a “political relationship” with attorneys general from two other West Coast states as well as two nationwide unions that represent home caregivers. Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon recently ruled in favor of Ferguson and the Attorney General’s Office in the lawsuit that the Freedom Foundation filed in February. Dixon agreed with the state’s argument that the records sought by the free-market group are exempt from release under state law.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — 60 teacher positions cut as Central Valley trims budget by $12.45 million — In addition, ustodial staffing will be reduced by 12 positions. Multiple part-time positions will be consolidated to create single full-time positions to reduce School Employees Benefits Board insurance costs. The district cited implementation of the SEBB insurance program, special education underfunding, reduced local levy authority, loss of levy equalization dollars and the implementation of bargained agreements as the reasons for the financial shortfall.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Universities should look at their out-of-classroom spending growth before they start slashing budgets (by Shawn Vestal) — As Eastern Washington University wades into the thicket of budget cutting by 3.5% here and 3.5% there, there’s another percentage that’s worth consideration. One hundred and fifty-five percent. That’s the growth of administrative and professional positions at EWU between 1995 and 2019, a level of expansion that is three times the rate of growth in students during that period and more than 10 times the rate of growth in instructional staff, from full professors to part-time graduate students.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Slow the revolving door for lawmakers-turned-lobbyists (editorial) — State Sen. Guy Palumbo’s (D-Maltby) departure from the Senate to lobby for Amazon could be a problem. The so-called revolving door between public service and companies, lobbyists and advocacy firms — at both a state and national level — presents concerns for transparency in government. It risks the appearance that former officials might provide a benefit to their new employers by way of knowledge gained during their public service. And it provides a potential advantage in access and influence through a former official to that company or lobbying firm.
► In today’s Seattle Times — ‘We were wrong’: Washington PAC supporting independents sees no future for centrist third party — Former state Republican Party Chair Chris Vance and former Democratic Rep. Brian Baird announced Tuesday that they were suspending all operations of Washington Independents after the national group they partnered with, Unite America, chose to focus on electoral reforms rather than supporting independent candidates.
► From The Hill — Trump’s tax law had small effect on economy, wages: Study — Trump’s signature tax law, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, left wages growing less quickly than the overall economy, which itself got only a minimal boost, according to a Congressional Research Service report released Tuesday. “On the whole, the growth effects tend to show a relatively small (if any) first-year effect on the economy,” the report found.
► From Vox — The GOP tax law’s lopsided giveaway to corporations, explained in one sentence — Here is the key sentence from the CRS report: “From 2017 to 2018, the estimated average corporate tax rate fell from 23.4% to 12.1% and individual income taxes as a percentage of personal income fell slightly from 9.6% to 9.2%.”
► A related story in the WSJ — The interstate is crumbling. Try fixing the section used by 200,000 vehicles a day. -Dense cities have grown up around the aging freeways, hemming them in so that expensive engineering feats are needed to do work on them. Yet work is often unavoidable. I-4 through Orlando, for instance, was built in the 1960s to handle 70,000 vehicles a day. Now it is jammed with up to 200,000.
► BREAKING from the NY Times — Mueller, in first comments on Russia inquiry, declines to clear Trump — Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, on Wednesday characterized for the first time his investigation of whether Trump obstructed justice, saying “if we had confidence the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” In what he said would be his only comments on his nearly two-year inquiry, he said that while Justice Department policy prohibits charging a sitting president with a crime, the Constitution provides for another process — a clear reference to the ability of Congress to impeach the president.
► From Politico — GOP impeachment champion gets a hero’s welcome back home — Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is a lonely man in Congress, the sole Republican to back Donald Trump’s removal from office. But back home on Tuesday night, he got the red-carpet treatment in his first face-to-face encounter with voters since his call for impeachment.
► In today’s Washington Post — McConnell says he would help Trump fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2020 — after blocking Obama in 2016 — He said then that “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.” The tactic cost Merrick Garland his spot on the court. But asked whether he’d fill a court spot if a justice should die next year, he replied, “Oh, we’d fill it,” with a wry, tight-lipped smile.
► From the AP — Disaster aid bill again blocked in House by GOP conservative — A second conservative Republican on Tuesday blocked another attempt to pass a long-overdue $19 billion disaster aid bill, delaying again a top priority for some of Trump’s most loyal allies on Capitol Hill.
► From The Hill — Connecticut governor signs bill to gradually raise minimum wage to $15 — The law will raise the minimum wage incrementally, starting with a raise from current standard of $10.10 to $11 an hour in October. The bumps will continue until it eventually reaches the $15 an hour minimum in 2023.
► In today’s NY Times — Why there has been a surge in single mothers who work — A booming economy is one reason, along with state and local family-friendly policies, but also a fraying federal safety net.
► In the American Prospect — The Future of Real Jobs: Round Two (by Steven Greenhouse) — While there will be continued debate about how to measure the number of non-standard workers, what employers are doing is crystal clear. They are employing myriad strategies—contracting out, misclassifying, hiring through apps, employing temps and freelancers, trimming health and retirement benefits—all to minimize labor costs as well as lasting ties to their workers. The major increase in non-standard work has come not in workers’ main jobs, but in workers taking second and third jobs because their principal job pays too little.
Seattle’s city council voted last summer to create a “standards board” to improve pay and conditions for Seattle’s 30,000 domestic workers. That 13-member board will make recommendations on minimum pay, overtime, paid time off, and health benefits for nannies and housekeepers, with the expectation that the city council will enact those proposals. If cities can create such boards to help nannies and housekeepers, there is no reason why they can’t do so for other workers, whether temps, fast-food workers, nail salon employees or Uber drivers.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.