Monday, April 26, 2021
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, April 26 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 393,594 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 1,352) and 5,434 deaths.
► From the Seattle Times — Please don’t hesitate to vaccinate — a plea from three physicians (by Nathan Schlicher, Dennis Bradshaw and Judy Chan) — The effectiveness of this new weapon depends on the willingness of patients to seek them out and sign up for vaccination. On behalf of the state’s leading health care provider organizations, we are joining forces to urge our patients to do just that: Don’t hesitate, get vaccinated. Anyone over the age of 16 living in Washington is eligible to receive a vaccine, and they should take advantage of that opportunity as vaccine availability continues to grow. Our entire community has worked too hard and suffered the effects of COVID-19 too long for you to pass up this opportunity to protect yourself and those around you.
The Stand (Jan. 22) — WSLC offers COVID vaccination resource for union members
► From the Seattle Times — Vaccinated against COVID? Great; here’s why you should still wear a mask in public. — People who are fully immunized can socialize with each other, ignoring masks and physical distancing. It’s also OK to relax those precautions when meeting with non-vaccinated, low-risk members of a single household. But, in public, everyone should continue to wear masks, the CDC says. “Masks are one of the best interventions that we have to prevent viral transmission from one person to another,” said Lisa Maragakis, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
► From KING 5 — Washington state reauthorizes J&J COVID-19 vaccine
► From the Seattle Times — As Legislature wraps up, lawmakers pass a new budget, capital gains tax and clean-fuels standard — A full slate of legislation to overhaul policing. A pair of major climate-change bills. A new budget that expands child care, public health programs and a tax credit for low-income Washingtonians. A slew of equity initiatives. A capital gains tax. In any other year, one or of two of those sets of victories could be considered a major success for Washington’s Democratic state lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee. But even before the Washington Legislature on Sunday completed its regular 105-day session, it had become clear that 2021 was no ordinary year.
TODAY at The Stand — As it adjourns, Democratic leaders hail ‘historic’ legislative session — WSLC Legislative Report will outline progress on 2021 Workers’ Recovery Agenda.
► From the (Everett) Herald — Shaped by the pandemic, a partisan legislative session ends — Democrats used their majorities in the House and Senate to muscle through social, economic, environmental and tax policies, some of which had eluded them for years. They pushed through bills to expand child care, reform policing, put a price on carbon, levy a capital gains tax and ensure equity is embedded in state laws.
► From the News Tribune — Legislature adopts 1,100-page budget and adjourns 2021 session — Washington lawmakers on Sunday afternoon gave final approval to a 1,100-page, two-year budget that spends roughly $59 billion, plus billions more in federal stimulus money.
► From the Bellingham Herald — State lawmakers send capital gains tax bill to Gov. Inslee’s desk — The final version includes language about the tax being “necessary” that mirrors the state constitution and is expected to prevent opponents from getting it on ballots via a referendum. Opponents could still try to repeal the tax through the initiative process, but it requires twice as many signatures to place it on the ballot.
► From the Spokesman-Review — North Spokane freeway funded in transportation budget, but lawmakers continue push for new revenue package — Work on the North Spokane Corridor will continue along with numerous other projects already planned statewide thanks to an $11.8 billion transportation budget approved by the Legislature on Saturday. The budget is backed heavily by federal money, allowing the state to move forward with projects despite a decline last year in some revenues usually reserved for transportation. Still, some lawmakers lamented that the budget doesn’t go further in funding new projects.
► From the Yakima H-R — From lawsuit to legislation: How overtime for Washington farm workers happened — A landmark court case against a Lower Yakima Valley dairy has led to significant changes for agricultural workers and employers in Washington state. The lawsuit filed in 2016 by Jose Martinez-Cuevas and Patricia Aguilar against their former employer, DeRuyter Brothers Dairy, sought payment for unpaid rest breaks, meal periods and overtime.
The Stand (April 10) — House passes overtime pay for farm workers
The Stand (April 10) — State Senate approves 40-hour work week for farm workers
► From the Tri-City Herald — Judge halts several WA state COVID rules intended to protect farm workers — Superior Court Judge Blaine Gibson issued an injunction stopping the state from enforcing a series of regulations that are meant to protect farmworkers. The injunction included rules that required twice-daily visits from medical staff to isolated workers; required workers to be within 20 minutes of an emergency room and an hour from a ventilator; and provided open access to people from the community. The ruling left in place restrictions on bunk beds, which continues to be an issue for the two agriculture industry groups that brought the suit.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Congress hasn’t passed major immigration reform in 35 years. Two Northwest Republicans could change that. — The last major overhaul of U.S. immigration law came 35 years ago. Employers, immigrant rights groups and a bipartisan coalition in Congress say an update is long overdue, but reaching the 60 votes required to get most legislation through the evenly divided Senate will take significant support from a Republican Party that’s of two minds on immigration. The fate of immigration reform in the GOP, and in Congress, lies largely with two Republicans from the Inland Northwest, Central Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse and Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo.
► From Roll Call — Census Bureau to release first set of 2020 results Monday — The Census Bureau said it will unveil on Monday afternoon which states will gain and lose congressional seats, as part of the first wave of population results from the troubled 2020 decennial count. The apportionment results, which trigger once-a-decade reshuffling of 435 House seats, comes after a nearly four-month delay in the process due to the coronavirus pandemic, numerous natural disasters and other problems with the count.
► From Roll Call — Lawmakers spar in Supreme Court case on nonprofit donor disclosure — The Census Bureau said it will unveil on Monday afternoon which states will gain and lose congressional seats, as part of the first wave of population results from the troubled 2020 decennial count. The apportionment results, which trigger once-a-decade reshuffling of 435 House seats, will be released following a news conference. Their distribution comes after a nearly four-month delay in the process due to the coronavirus pandemic, numerous natural disasters and other problems with the count.
► From Vox — Polls: A majority of Americans feel good about Biden’s first 100 days — With more than 200 million vaccine doses in arms, Biden’s coronavirus response gets high marks.
► From CNN — The union loss at Amazon is another sign big companies have too much power (by Steven Greenhouse) — Even as calls for an increased minimum wage and improved benefits have grown louder in recent years, many workers still receive paltry pay, struggle to make ends meet and are treated like disposable cogs. If we ever hope to create an economy that assures that every worker has the respect they deserve and a fair share of our nation’s prosperity, we need to make unionization elections fairer, give workers a bigger voice at work and fix our dangerous levels of inequality.
► From the Washington Post — CEOs say they are committed to racially inclusive economic growth, but is it just talk? — Since the racial climate changed 11 months ago with the murder of George Floyd, large corporations have increased their philanthropic donations to racial-justice causes and issued lots of public statements about their resolve to promote change. But a Brookings Institution report in March said there has been less practical progress in key areas such as hiring and procurement.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.