Wednesday, January 10, 2024
► From the Seattle Times — Barón, Mosqueda become King County Council’s first Latino members — Jorge Barón and Teresa Mosqueda were sworn in as the newest members of the Metropolitan King County Council on Tuesday, marking a first in the history of the county, even as the newcomers are unlikely to alter the political tilt of the legislative body. Barón and Mosqueda, who each won elections to open seats in November, are the first Latino members of the County Council. Mosqueda said:
“I see it as a historic moment. This is representative of the growing diversity in the county.”
► From the Seattle Times — NTSB focus on Boeing, Spirit assembly work after Alaska Airlines blowout — The initial NTSB findings focused squarely on the manufacture and installation of the door plug that fell off the 737 MAX 9 aircraft. That leaves supplier Spirit AeroSystems on the hook for installing the door plug and Boeing in Renton for final inspection of the component before sealing it behind insulation and sidewall.
► From the WA State Standard — Washington lawmakers look at providing unemployment benefits to striking workers — Washington may become one of a few states that allow striking workers to qualify for unemployment benefits under certain conditions. Under HB 5777 / SB 5777, workers who walk off the job will qualify for unemployment if employers lock them out of their place of employment. Over 200 people signed in to testify in support of HB 5777 during a Tuesday hearing on the legislation, said Sen. Karen Keiser, lead sponsor of the Senate bill. Rachel Ybarra, a member of Starbucks Workers United, testified:
“We should be able to exercise the right to strike without losing the roof over our heads.”
TAKE A STAND — Please send a message to your Washington state legislators in support of two bills: Unemployment Insurance for Strikers (SB 5777 / HB 1893) and the Employee Free Choice Act (SB 5778 / HB 1940) banning captive-audience meetings.
► From HuffPost — Most states have tax codes that are rigged to benefit the wealthy, report finds — A sweeping new analysis of taxes across the country reveals that in four out of every five states, the top 1% are paying a lower tax rate than their middle-class and low-income neighbors.
Today at The STAND — Progress: Washington has 2nd worst tax code in U.S. — By enacting tax credits for people with low incomes and a tax on the ultra-wealthy, advocates and lawmakers strengthened our tax code. But more needs to be done. Second to last is nothing to brag about.
► From the Olympian — ‘The strongest state in the nation’: Gov. Jay Inslee delivers State of the State address — Inslee expanded on things he believes have improved in the state since taking office, such as how the wages in Washington have grown by 39% since he took office in 2013.
► From the Washington Post — Private equity firms are gnawing away at U.S. health care (by Ashish Jha) — The number of private equity firms has exploded in health care in recent years, spending hundreds of billions of dollars to buy physician practices, hospitals, laboratories and nursing homes. It’s a trend that should have everyone’s attention, from politicians to patients, because it can significantly increase costs, reduce access and even threaten patient safety.
► From NPR — Federal fix for rural hospitals gets few takers so far — The Rural Emergency Hospital program guarantees hospitals extra cash if they provide emergency and outpatient services but end inpatient care. Just 18 of the more than 1,700 eligible rural hospitals nationwide have applied for and won the new designation.
► From The Hill — Biden administration rescinds much of Trump ‘conscience’ rule for health workers — The Trump-era rule boosted the ability of medical workers to refuse to perform abortions or other services that conflicted with their religious or moral beliefs.
► From Roll Call — Short-term stopgap bill appears likely as funding talks drag — Lawmakers in both parties Tuesday acknowledged the necessity of a short-term stopgap spending bill to allow appropriators time to work through final fiscal 2024 funding measures following this weekend’s topline deal.
► From Semafor — Negotiators inch closer to a Child Tax Credit deal — House and Senate tax writers are closing in on an agreement to expand the Child Tax Credit in return for extending and restoring some popular tax cuts for businesses.
► From Politico — ‘It was a mirage’: States face budget woes as huge infusions of federal cash run out — Huge buckets of pandemic funding allowed states to boost spending and cut taxes, but now the windfall has run out.
► From The Messenger — The ‘year of labor’ in 2023 was just the beginning (by AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler) — When people ask me why the labor movement just had its most dynamic and successful year in a generation, I tell them about workers like Alicia Weaver, a guest room attendant at the MGM Grand Detroit — people whose lives changed because they stood together with their co-workers. For all the talk about macro trends and economic factors, the driving force behind the “Year of Labor” was simple: Being in a union makes your life better.
► From the Alabama Political Reporter — AFL-CIO’s MLK conference to be held this weekend in Montgomery — The conference will be held from Friday, Jan. 12 to Sunday, Jan. 14 and each day will focus on different portions of the theme, “Our Voice, Our Ballot, Our Future.”
► From NPR — Red Cross declares an emergency blood shortage, as number of donors hits 20-year low — The Red Cross says that the number of people donating blood has dropped by 40% over the last two decades.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.