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Heroes burning out | Tax the rich | Ellis family waits… and waits

Thursday, April 22, 2021




► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, April 22 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 390,214 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,297) and 5,422 deaths.

► From the Washington Post — Burned out by the pandemic, 3 in 10 health-care workers consider leaving the profession — According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll, roughly 3 in 10 health-care workers have weighed leaving their profession. More than half are burned out. And about 6 in 10 say stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health. In wrenching interviews, nurses, doctors, technicians — and even administrative staff and dental hygienists who haven’t directly treated covid-19 patients — explained the impulse to quit and the emotional wreckage the pandemic has left in their lives.




► From the Olympian — Washington state House approves capital gains tax bill — The House voted 52-46 to approve a bill to impose a tax on capital gains from the sale and exchange of assets such as stocks and bonds with four days remaining in the 105-day legislative session. It now heads back to the Senate, where lawmakers will decide whether they agree with changes made to the proposal since they passed it by a margin of just one vote last month. would impose a 7 percent tax starting in 2022 on capital gains above $250,000 for individuals and joint filers — that threshold would be adjusted yearly based on inflation. The current version is expected to impact about 8,000 households and bring in about $500-550 million in revenue per year starting in 2023. “This is how we are re-balancing the tax code so the wealthy pay their fair share, and working Washingtonians finally get a break,” Rep. Noel Frame of Seattle said in floor debate. “This capital gains excise tax … is a key tool of progressive tax reform and the funds will go towards our most important investment: Our kids.”

► From the Yakima H-R — Some farmworker housing rules lifted, as debate continues over coronavirus restrictions — A court ruling this week will remove some COVID-19 requirements on farmworker housing, as state agencies work on new rules to be issued in early May. Two ag industry groups sued the state in February after Gov. Jay Inslee rejected their appeal to revise or repeal the rules.


► From the Spokesman-Review — State Supreme Court won’t reconsider ruling decriminalizing simple drug possession — The court has declined to reconsider its ruling that effectively decriminalized possession of small amounts of drugs, leaving the question of the statute’s future up to state legislators working on a short timeline. Washington lawmakers have four days to decide how to act on the Supreme Court decision. Last week, the Senate passed a bill that would make possession of a controlled substance a gross misdemeanor, with treatment as the preferred option for the first two offenses. A gross misdemeanor could mean up to a year in jail or up to a $5,000 fine. That bill passed Wednesday out of a House committee, but it looks slightly different.

► From the Columbian — Longtime Clark County legislator Albert ‘Al’ Bauer dies at 92 — Albert “Al” Bauer, who for 30 years represented Clark County residents in the Washington Legislature, died after suffering a stroke late last week. He was 92.

► From the Seattle Times — Former Washington GOP gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp files to challenge Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse — The former police chief of Republic, Ferry County, lost the 2020 election to Gov. Jay Inslee by more than a half million votes, but, like Trump, he refused to concede while lobbing false and unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.




► From the Ellensburg Daily Record — City of Ellensburg reaches a three-year agreement with IBEW Local 77 — A contentious issue regarding local line workers has finally come to a resolution. The process weighed out through mediation and both sides came to a contractual agreement between the city of Ellensburg and its electrical employees represented by IBEW Local 77. The city council approved a new three-year contract that will include a general wage increase of 3% in 2021, retroactive to Jan. 1, another 3% increase in 2022 and another 3% in 2023. The new agreement also includes a one-time lump sum payment of $2,000 for each bargaining unit member, which will not be included as part of the employees’ regular wage base in the future.

► From the Peninsula Daily News — Hazard pay voted down by split Port Angeles City Council — A split Port Angeles City Council has rejected a COVID-19 hazard pay mandate for grocery store employees in the city. The council’s amended proposal to require $2 per hour hazard pay for front-line grocery store workers at chains with more than 250 employees failed in a 4-3 vote Tuesday night. Voting in favor of the hazard pay ordinance were Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, Brendan Meyer and Deputy Mayor Navarra Carr. Mike French, Charlie McCaughan, LaTrisha Suggs and Mayor Kate Dexter voted no.

► From the Seattle Times — How Seattle might turn a $20 car-tab fee into $100 million, largely to fix bridges — Four Seattle City Council members suggest using car-tab fees to finance a $100 million bond sale next year, devoted primarily to repair or improve aging bridges.




► From Politico — Biden unveils sweeping climate goal — and plans to meet it even if Congress won’t — President Joe Biden pledged Thursday to slash U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases in at least half by 2030 — an ambitious target that will require retooling the world’s largest economy in an effort to put the U.S. at the forefront of the international campaign to slow climate change. It’s a goal the White House insists the U.S. can meet even if Congress rejects Biden’s calls for trillions of dollars in green infrastructure spending.

TODAY at The StandClean manufacturing is a climate priority (by Jessica Koski)

► LIVE from the AP — China, Russia join US vowing emission cuts at climate summit

► From the NY Times — Climate change could cut world economy by $23 trillion in 2050, insurance giant warns — Rising temperatures are likely to reduce global wealth significantly by 2050, as crop yields fall, disease spreads and rising seas consume coastal cities, a major insurance company warned Thursday, highlighting the consequences if the world fails to quickly slow the use of fossil fuels. The effects of climate change can be expected to shave 11 percent to 14 percent off global economic output by 2050 compared with growth levels without climate change, according to a report from Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest providers of insurance to other insurance companies.

► From the Washington Post — Carbon emissions on track to surge as world rebounds from pandemic — Environmentalists had hoped that pandemic-related declines in emissions-fueling activity might signal a shift in consumption that could continue, but sobering new estimates foretell a different outcome.

► From the (Everett) Herald — Climate action offers a better life at lower cost (editorial) — There is no alternative to climate action in which we pay nothing. We are already paying.




► From the News Tribune — George Floyd verdict shows urgency as Manuel Ellis family, Tacoma wait … and wait (editorial) — George Floyd and Manuel Ellis are inextricably tied in the minds of many Tacoma area residents. Though separated by nearly 1,700 miles, the two Black men were joined by their common plea of “I can’t breathe” while dying at the hands of police officers last year… Chauvin was arrested and charged within four days of Floyd’s death, then convicted by a jury less than 11 months later. Meantime, it’s been nearly 14 months since Ellis died around midnight on a dark Tacoma street, and we still don’t even know whether any officers at the scene will face criminal charges.

► From KUOW — Local families of people killed by police react to Chauvin verdict

► From the Spokesman-Review — Spokane police union stymied review of 2020 protests spurred by death of George Floyd — For months, the Spokane Police Guild has blocked a formal review of law enforcement’s response to protests that erupted over George Floyd’s killing and devolved into chaos last year. The city still has not conducted an analysis of the 2020 protests despite calls for one by the city’s independent police watchdog and Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl.

► From the NY Times — Chauvin verdict brings the police relief and some resentment — Police chiefs and unions across the country condemned Mr. Chauvin’s actions and applauded the jury’s verdict, but not always with the same zeal or for the same reasons. Some said they hoped it would restore faith in the criminal justice system. Others said it would help keep the peace. And still others indicated that it would clear the way for “honest discussion” about policing. The feelings of rank-and-file officers were more complicated: a mix of relief, resentment at being vilified alongside Chauvin and unsettling thoughts of themselves in his shoes.

The Stand (April 20) — WSLC applauds conviction of Derek Chauvin — But justice for George Floyd requires dismantling of racist policing system that enabled Chauvin. Also, from the AFL-CIO — Trumka: Chauvin verdict just the beginning.




► From the LA Times — Sen. Joe Manchin pushes a sweeping pro-union labor law one step closer to reality (by Michael Hiltzik) — Sen. Joe Manchin, widely regarded as a crucial swing vote in the narrowly Democratic Senate, moved a sweeping pro-union law one step closer to enactment Monday by declaring that he would become a co-sponsor… The PRO Act “would make most of what Amazon did in its Alabama anti-union campaign illegal,” labor historian Erik Loomis told me. He called it “the most important piece of labor law to support workers since the Fair Labor Standards Act” of 1938, which established the right to a minimum wage and overtime pay. “It’s a necessary step toward building unions back up in this country again.”

► From the Washington Post — Chauvin verdict injects a fresh jolt of momentum into police overhaul efforts — The guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd has injected new momentum into efforts by the White House and Congress to overhaul policing practices, with bipartisan talks picking up speed as President Biden prepares to highlight the topic in his address to a joint session of Congress next week.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that the House-approved PRO Act will get a Senate vote if it gets 50 co-sponsors. It now has 47. The three Democratic senators who have yet to sign on are Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) Regardless of whether your senators have signed on as co-sponsors — Washington’s Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both have — keep calling 866-832-1560 to urge them to sign (or thank them for signing), and tell them to bring the PRO Act to a vote!


Historic labor law reform passes U.S. House of Representatives (March 10)
Six ways the PRO Act restores workers’ bargaining power (March 18)
No, the PRO Act doesn’t threaten freelancers and contractors (March 25)

► From The Hill — Sanders, Jayapal introduce bill to make college tuition-free for many Americans — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) introduced legislation on Wednesday to make college tuition free for many Americans, a policy that would be paid for by a tax on Wall Street. The bill would make community college tuition-free for everyone and four-year public colleges tuition-free and debt-free for students from families making up to $125,000 per year.

► From Politico — Black Democrats urge party to shift its voting rights push — A group of Black Democrats is pressing to elevate a more targeted voting rights bill — named for and championed by the late Rep. John Lewis — that they believe could be a more successful sell on Capitol Hill.

► From Roll Call — Despite Biden’s union support, immigration judges left waiting — The president has yet to offer support to one federal employees’ union that took a particular beating under the Trump administration — the immigration judges’ union.




► From The Hill — 8 in 10 Asian Americans say violence against them is increasing — A Pew Research Center survey found that 81 percent of the Asian American adults surveyed said violence against Asian Americans in the U.S. is increasing.

► From the Washington Post — As the voting-rights fight moves to Texas, defiant Republicans test the resolve of corporations that oppose restrictions — “Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. He called companies that have expressed opposition to proposed voting restrictions in Texas, including Texas-based American Airlines and Dell Technologies, “a nest of liars.”


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

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