Morning Fizz

The Anti-Woman Label

By Morning Fizz June 23, 2011

1. As part of Republican women's big push to assure women that they aren't "anti-woman" (despite those votes to de-fund Planned Parenthood and restrict abortions out of existence), Washington State's freshman Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-1) spoke yesterday on the House floor. Her comments, in part:

I'm here tonight to politely decline the anti-woman label that some who must not have better things to do have pushed our way. Because the women here in this chamber, the Republican women on this side of the aisle, as you have heard, are incredibly diverse. ... We know that we need solutions, and the most important solution that we can find right now has to do with bringing more jobs to folks at home, making sure that we have good, strong American jobs that will support our families. ...[T]hose women who have dreams to start their own business, to plan for retirement, who want to see less of their hard-earned dollars going into the gas tank---those are the women that we're standing up for tonight and the solutions that we're bringing forward are going to help them.

2. Herrera Beutler was also the subject of a press release yesterday from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which accused Herrera Beutler of hypocrisy for voting in favor of a bill (the America Invents Act, a Microsoft-backed bill involving software patents) that increases discretionary spending by $446 million after vowing not to support spending hikes without reducing spending in other areas.

The DCCC's press release might have been more compelling, though, if it wasn't identical, word for word, to another one the group sent out bashing Washington State US Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8). That press release arrived a few moments after the first one, with only the names and genders changed.

3. Yesterday, the city council's housing and human services committee got their first formal look at a proposal to mandate paid sick leave in Seattle. Some new details that emerged about the proposal, which PubliCola has covered extensively in the past:

• Local governments, like King County and the Port of Seattle (but not the city), won't have to provide paid sick leave, and government owned entities (like the stadiums) may not have to do so either;

• The ordinance says employees of smaller businesses (fewer than 250 employees) must be on the job for 180 days before they can take sick leave. However, those 180 days can accrue over the course of a year---so that a seasonal employee, for example, could work three months, take three months off, and then pick up where he left off without having to start accruing time all over again.

• Startup businesses would have two years to get on their feet before they have to start complying with the law.

• Although the proposal allows employees to "carry over" unused sick time from year to year, they can't use more in one year than the limits set in the legislation. A small-business employee who's restricted to five days' sick leave per year, for example, couldn't take six days in one year even if they only used up part of their leave the previous year. Instead, the carryover allows workers to take sick leave at the beginning of a year, before they've started accruing leave again.

• If an employee trades a shift with another worker in lieu of taking paid sick leave, that time counts against their sick days. The reason for that provision, council central staff director Ben Noble said, is so "the employer knows that the employee isn't going to call in every time they have a shift they don't want to work."

• Employers can require employees to bring in a doctor's note if they're out for four days or more; if the employer doesn't provide health care, they'd have to pay for half (small businesses) or all (large businesses) of the cost of the doctor's visit.

• Unions can decide to waive their members' right to paid sick leave in exchange for other benefits. "If your goal is sick time, you could end up with a situation where sick time is not provided," Noble said.

4. Erica will be on KUOW (94.9 FM) this afternoon at 12:40 talking about King County Executive Dow Constantine's proposal to pass a temporary $20 vehicle license fee to help address an annual $60 million shortfall at Metro. Constantine wants the King County Council to pass the fee by a supermajority vote; if they fail to do so, they could also put the fee on a countywide ballot with a simple five-vote majority.
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