Competing solutions to staffing crisis in our hospitals: The Seattle Times reports that the unions representing nurses working at Washington's hospitals will push lawmakers in Olympia to revive a bill to establish maximum ratios of nurses to patients this legislative session. Hospital lobbyists don't like the idea. Instead, they want Washington to join 39 other states that operate a shared licensing regime to make it easier to hire nurses from other states.
Download this guide: The Seattle Times published a "printable" version of its guide on how to help someone in a mental health crisis, but who carries around paper these days? There's lots of useful info in there, so download a copy and save it on your phone for the next time you assist a neighbor having a really crappy day.
Students hold sit-ins to push fossil fuel companies off UW campus: KUOW reports that students from the UW chapter of Institutional Climate Action have been conducting sit-ins at the university's career center for several weeks to pressure the administration to ban fossil fuel companies from recruiting their classmates on campus. The students plan to keep up the protest throughout the winter quarter, hoping that UW will join several universities in the UK that have already adopted the policy.
Substation attacks becoming a trend? KUOW reports that Department of Energy data shows more disruptions to the Pacific Northwest's power grid last year due to substation attacks than were previously reported. Investigators have not discovered a consistent motive or connection between the attacks, but none of the power stations have reported any thefts of copper or other valuable materials related to the incidents.
Give the people what they want: Crosscut released the findings of its latest polling on the public's priorities for the State Legislature ahead of the session starting on Monday. The poll found broad support for an assault weapons ban, spending more on K-12 education, and taking action on the housing crisis. Governor Inslee's proposal to issue $4 billion in bonds to fund more affordable housing construction, however, received a narrow majority of support with 52% of respondents backing the measure.
We're still talking about this: The House of Representatives will continue trying to choose a Speaker today, and the Associated Press reports the grandstanding Freedom Caucus seems to be reveling in the chaos. One ultra-conservative Congressman-elect, Chip Roy of Texas, defended the clown show by saying it was "commonplace in the 19th century" for the House to take several ballots to choose a Speaker. Other things that were commonplace in the 19th century that were better left in the past: people caning each other on the House floor, commuting to DC by horse and buggy, and, um, slavery.
Democrats, you're not blameless here: Sure, the GOP is the party currently holding up all sorts of constituent services and making us look like a failed state, but everyone should have seen this coming.
Dems really should have nuked the whole debt ceiling charade when they had control of Congress.— David Roberts (@drvolts) January 6, 2023
(There will be numerous occasions to repeat this sentiment in coming months.)
Will McCarthy cave? At the core of this standoff between wannabe Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the GOP's lunatic fringe is a House rule that would allow any member of Congress to motion to "vacate the chair," which would trigger this ridiculous process all over again. The Associated Press reports that McCarthy may finally give in to demands to reinstate the rule in order to finally win the gavel he covets so dearly.
In the meantime, regular people pay the price: While it rarely makes headlines, much of the work that Congressional offices do is help their constituents navigate the federal bureaucracy. But since no one can be sworn in until the House chooses a Speaker, none of that work can happen.
GOP staffer sent me this to highlight how drawn out speakership race is impacting offices: “The response we got when we tried to contact the IRS on behalf of one of our constituents. Not sure people realize the non-political ramifications this has on our ability to help folks.” pic.twitter.com/zETKeqLzI6— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) January 5, 2023
FTC takes aim at noncompetes: The Federal Trade Commission has issued a proposed rule that would outlaw noncompete agreements, which some economists argue effectively lower wages for the millions of Americans subject to the restrictions in their employment contracts. The FTC estimates that the rule would result in wage increases of $300 billion across the economy.
Rash of shootings targeting local Democratic politicians: In New Mexico, NBC News reports shootings have happened at the homes or workplaces of four local Democratic elected officials. Thankfully, no one has yet been harmed, but the police have not identified a suspect and have not confirmed whether they believe the incidents are linked.
Delta workers call out "culture of fear": In the midst of an ongoing unionization effort, workers at Delta who load and unload planes report the company has cut hours, taken harsher disciplinary action against employees, and reduced break times. The airline reported record revenue in the third quarter of 2022 and expects to double its earnings this year, so it sounds like just maybe they could afford to share a little of the wealth with the people whose sweat generates that profit.
NFL does the right thing, for once: The league has cancelled the game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals that was suspended after Damar Hamlin's collapse on the field.
Week 17 Buffalo-Cincinnati game will not be resumed. Clubs to consider neutral site AFC Championship game.— NFL (@NFL) January 6, 2023
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/NwqUwxlbzo
Let's end AM with a bit of fact-checking: Casey Decker of Verify did the work to debunk a viral anti-vax post trying to seize on Damar Hamlin's collapse to push misinformation about the risks of heart attacks from COVID vaccines. Love that this is an essential part of journalism these days!