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An initiative that would privatize Washington’s workers’ compensation system is one of the key issues that will bring the state’s union members to the polls, labor leaders said at a Spokane rally Wednesday. Al Link, secretary-treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, joined hundreds of workers at the rally at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. Link said the workers’ compensation system is “probably the number one priority” for the labor council.
As federal health care reform marks its sixth month, some of its key provisions begin to take effect as supporters and opponents of the legislation call attention to what the bill does and doesn’t do. Starting today, new plans won’t be able to cap lifetime benefits or refuse to cover pre-existing conditions for children younger than 19. Young adults can be covered on their parents’ plans through age 26.
The nation’s nine-year debate on how to replace Air Force tankers became a talking point in two places Tuesday: the floor of the U.S. Senate and the campaign trail in Washington state. U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington co-sponsored an amendment to next year’s defense authorization bill that could have banned European-based Airbus from getting a $35 billion contract to build the first round of replacements for the aging KC-135s. That could have sealed the deal for Boeing to replace aerial refueling tankers like the ones flown at Fairchild Air Force Base.
Republican challenger Dino Rossi told a room full of small-business owners in Spokane on Monday that he is the candidate they should elect if they want a chance at restoring the American dream. Rossi, trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, took particularly sharp aim at federal spending, saying $30 billion could be saved immediately by halting planned raises for government workers and freezing wages at their current levels. Substantially more could be saved by trimming federal jobs created during the past two years.
Washington voters tend to stick with incumbents, with notable exceptions. They ousted Sen. Warren G. Magnuson in 1980, when he was among the most powerful members of the Senate. They ousted Speaker Tom Foley in 1994, when he was the most powerful member of the House. They replaced three-term Sen. Slade Gorton with Maria Cantwell in 2000.