Tuesday, August 13, 2019
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — State looking to fight new immigration rules — Washington officials vowed to fight a new federal rule that would disqualify immigrants who use certain public assistance from obtaining a green card or visa, saying it could affect an estimated 1 million people in the state. Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, both frequent critics of the Trump administration who have challenged other new federal policies, objected to the proposed change when it was announced in April and said they would fight the final version after it was announced Monday. “We’re taking a close look at whether or not this action is legal,” Ferguson said.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump policy favors wealthier immigrants for green cards — The Trump administration will make it harder for legal immigrants who rely on government benefit programs, such as food stamps and subsidized housing, to obtain permanent legal status as part of a far-reaching new policy aimed at altering the flow of legal immigration and reducing the number of poor immigrants. Under the new rule, the financial well-being of immigrants who are in the United States legally on temporary visas will be more heavily scrutinized when they seek a green card. Immigration officials will be given broad leeway to determine whether an immigrant is likely to be a user of public benefits, to deny them a green card, and to order them deported out of the country.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima city officials expect few changes from Keep Washington Working Act — Yakima will review federal funding obligations and may have to make minor adjustments to its law enforcement policies based on a new Washington civil rights law. The Keep Washington Working Act, signed May 21 by Gov. Jay Inslee, emphasizes that the state will not play an active role in helping government officials remove immigrants from the United States. The act prohibits state agencies from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement efforts. State and local agents will not be able to ask anyone about their immigration status unless the inquiry is directly tied to a criminal investigation.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State-led climate goals — like Washington’s — will lead the way (by Jay Inslee Hilary Franz Mike Kreidler) — Our state’s spirit of innovation and world-class workforce have put us at the forefront of the clean-energy economy. Already, our West Coast clean-energy economy is growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy, and the lowest prices in the world for new electricity are from wind and solar, not from coal or gas… Together we are resolved in our collective effort to chart a course for a vibrant and healthy economic and environmental future.
► From Crosscut — Council promises Seattle its own Green New Deal — To a standing ovation, the Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously passed a resolution that adds Seattle to a handful of other cities across the county that have committed themselves to a local Green New Deal.
► In today’s Washington Post — Extreme climate change has arrived in America. Here are the fastest warming places. — New Jersey may seem an unlikely place to measure climate change, but it is one of the fastest-warming states in the nation. Its average temperature has climbed by close to 2 degrees Celsius since 1895 — double the average for the Lower 48 states. Over the past two decades, the 2 degrees Celsius number has emerged as a critical threshold for global warming. In the 2015 Paris accord, international leaders agreed that the world should act urgently to keep the Earth’s average temperature increases “well below” 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 to avoid a host of catastrophic changes. The potential consequences are daunting. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that if Earth heats up by an average of 2 degrees Celsius, virtually all the world’s coral reefs will die; retreating ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could unleash massive sea level rise; and summertime Arctic sea ice, a shield against further warming, would begin to disappear. But global warming does not heat the world evenly.
► From the AP — Washington miners struggle as it faces loss of biggest employer — Times are tough in a rural county in northeast Washington state because one of the region’s biggest employers is shutting down. The Pend Oreille Mine, just north of Metaline Falls, closed on July 31, at a cost of about 200 family-wage jobs in an area of less than 1,000 residents.
► From Common Dreams — ‘Degrading’ and ‘unconstitutional’: Trump reviewing rule that would allow drug testing for unemployment benefits — The Trump White House is reportedly reviewing a Labor Department rule that would give states the power to force people to pass a drug test before they can receive unemployment benefits, ignoring protests that such screenings would amount to demeaning and unconstitutional invasions of privacy.
► BREAKING from the Washington Post — White House delays some new China tariffs until Dec. 15 — The White House on Tuesday said it would delay imposing tariffs on Chinese imports of cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles, and certain types of footwear and clothing until Dec. 15, significantly later than the Sept. 1 deadline Trump had repeatedly threatened.
► In the Washington Post — Seeking forgiveness: The dizzying journey for public servants with student debt — There are many ways public servants can stumble as they make their way along the path to student loan forgiveness but few options when mistakes are made. One option isn’t even publicized by the Education Department. The little-known dispute process is complicated and requires dogged persistence from borrowers, but the payoff could be worth the fight.
► From Fast Company — This California city just voted to give a $30 minimum wage to Uber and Lyft drivers — In Los Angeles County, where the minimum wage is currently $14.25 an hour, studies suggest that Uber and Lyft drivers often make far less. In El Monte, an industrial city east of Los Angeles, the city council just unanimously voted to change that, telling city officials to begin drafting a law that would guarantee drivers a minimum of $30 an hour.
► In today’s NY Times — Protests put Hong Kong on collision course with China’s communist party — As anti-government demonstrations escalate in Hong Kong, each side is staking out increasingly polarized positions, making it difficult to find a path to compromise between the protesters and China’s ruling Communist Party.
► From the AP — Why many employees feel devalued even in booming job market — Ken White’s evolution from employee to contractor is emblematic of a trend in the American workplace: The economy keeps growing. Unemployment is at a half-century low. Yet many people feel their jobs have been devalued by employers that increasingly prioritize shareholders and customers. Economic research, government data and interviews with workers sketch a picture of lagging wages, eroding benefits and demands for employees to do more without more pay. Experts say a confluence of forces are at play: globalization, workplace automation, a decline of labor unions, fiercer price competition and outsourcing.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.