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Did Raul Cut-&-Paste Lofgren Bill?

A Republican lawmaker has submitted legislation that would make foreign students who earn advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math at U.S. universities automatically eligible for a green card or permanent residency if they have a job offer. If this bill by U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) sounds familiar, it should. In June, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), introduced legislation seeking the exact same thing. Indeed, Labrador's bill appears to be a cut-and-paste version of what Lofgren is seeking. Lofgren's bill is HR 2161, and Labrador's is HR 3146. “It's kind of a novelty to take something word for word out of another bill, but it is probably not the first time it has happened in Congress,” said Lofgren, in an interview. She called it disconcerting and said she has spoken to Labrador about it/Patrick Thibodeau, ComputerWorld. More here. (Wikipedia photo, of Zoe Lofgren)

Question: Is this simply bad legislative manners? Or something worse?

WSJ Backs Labrador’s Green Jobs Bill

It's crazy to educate the world's brightest and then deport them. Washington has spent years trying to force-feed green jobs, to little good effect. So here's a better idea: Expand the number of green cards, as in the number of immigrant visas for foreign-born graduates of American universities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This could even be bipartisan. President Obama this week praised the latest report from his jobs council that proposed more such visas. And this week Idaho Republican Raúl Labrador, a freshman of tea party provenance, introduced a bill in the House to do the same. The evidence is overwhelming that if we let these young people stay in America, rather than sending them home, they'll end up building new companies and tens of thousands of new jobs/Wall Street Journal editorial. More here.

Question: Do you support Congressman Labrador's green jobs bill, too?

Green jobs in the Evergreen state

OLYMPIA – Washington counted twice as many people working in “green” jobs last year as in 2008.

Although changes in the way jobs were counted are responsible for much of that growth, the state still saw an increase in people building wind turbines, constructing new energy-efficient buildings or retrofitting old ones, and manufacturing or shipping the supplies needed cut energy use or clean up ecologic messes.

Gov. Chris Gregoire hailed the new figures as rare economic good news in the midst of the recession.

Charging stations on the freeway, car insurance by-the-mile, and lots and lots of weatherstripping and insulation: Senate D’s propose energy/jobs plan…

Echoing similar plans in the other Washington, Senate Democrats in Olympia Tuesday detailed their plans to combine “green jobs” with a renewed push for conservation and alternative sources of power.

“We now have a partner in the federal government in a way that we haven’t had a partner in the past,” said Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane. The Obama administration wants to spend $150 billion and create 5 million new jobs over the next decade with clean-energy efforts.

In Olympia, some of the proposals touted Tuesday were low-tech, like boosting efforts to weatherize drafty homes.

Others look further into the future. With some help from tax breaks, for example, Sen. Fred Jarrett said, he envisions electrical charging stations dotting Interstate 5 “from Vancouver to Tijuana.” When the parking lots full of charged cars aren’t driving, he said, they can be tapped as a massive battery to feed electricity back into the power grid at peak times.

Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, wants to reduce driving by encouraging auto insurers to offer some insurance plans linked to miles driven.

Among the skeptics: Todd Myers, who works for a conservative think tank called the Washington Policy Center. Lawmakers are gambling millions of dollar clutching at the latest “eco-fads,” he said, when they should be encouraging the private sector for better fixes.

“They were wrong on electric cars, biofuels and green buildings,” he said. “Now they want to create charging stations. But a few years back they were talking about the hydrogen highway.”
Myers thinks a better solution would be to charge people for their carbon emissions – encouraging them to limit the pollution – and spend the money on tax breaks to encourage innovation.

“These decisions are not best made in Olympia, Myers said. “They’re best made in Redmond, Seattle and the rest of the state.”