1. After two heated floor votes at last night's monthly meeting of the King County Labor Council, the membership rejected the board's recommendation, made late yesterday afternoon, for a dual endorsement of incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn and challenger state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill). Read last night's report here.
It's hard to pick a winner (the KCLC ended up making no endorsement at all, and will revisist the stalemate next month), but Fizz gives the round to McGinn.
Here's why: A dual endorsement would have been more of a victory for Murray because McGinn is painting Murray as the business candidate, and being able to say "endorsed by the King County Labor Council" would have meant more to Murray than to McGinn, who can already boast about the high-profile unions in his corner—the machinists, the Teamsters, and the United Food and Commercial Workers.
It was, in fact, the machinists who ultimately sank the dual endorsement. KCLC rules give bigger unions more weight during voting. After the first floor vote supported the bord's recommendation for a dual endorsement, the machinists called for a formal "per capita" vote to affirm it, and the dual endorsement failed.
Team McGinn shouldn't be too happy, though. The KCLC typically endorses the incumbent Democratic mayor (and, according the Seattle Weekly, McGinn had been positioned to get a sole endorsement). The last time the KCLC didn't endorse the incumbent was in 2001, when they went with challenger Greg Nickels over then-mayor Mayor Paul Schell. Nickels beat Schell in the primary. Additionally, McGinn's bold pro-labor stance against Whole Foods should have endeared him to labor. The fact the he can't say "endorsed by the King County Labor Council" has to hurt.
Again: Ultimate win McGinn, but the fact that he had to beat back a formidable challenge from Murray makes it a bitter victory—and one that comes without the field prowess and money that a sole KCLC endorsement for the incumbent would have added to McGinn's efforts.
2. In a formal opinion yesterday, state attorney general Bob Ferguson said that public hospital districts that provide maternity care to women must also provide a full range of family-planning services, including birth control and abortion. Public hospital districts are partly funded with state dollars; there are about 50 such districts in the state.
"If you are a public hospital that provides maternity services. you must provide substantially equivalent services related to contraception and abortion," Ferguson said at a news conference yesterday.
The opinion came in response to a request from Orcas Island Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-40), who asked Ferguson to rule on whether a public hospital district would be in violation of 1991's Initiative 120, which says every person has a fundamental right to birth control and the choice to have or refuse an abortion. The San Juan County Public Hospital District recently signed a contract with PeaceHealth, a Catholic health care corporation, to build and operate a hospital in Ranker's district. Catholic hospitals do not perform abortions.
"It is clear," Ferguson's opinion says, "that public hospital districts may not administer or fund programs to provide 'maternity care benefits, services, or information to women' without also making provision for the rights" guaranteed by I-120.
Ferguson said yesterday that he expects all public hospital districts to comply with the I-120 mandate. "I do anticipate that hospitals will follow the law as outlined in this opinion, and if that doesn’t happen I’ll cross that bridge when we get to it," he said. But he left open the question of exactly how they might meet that requirement. "We do not define what constitutes 'substantially equivalent services.' That would be up for the legislature or the people or the courts to interpret as they see fit," Ferguson said.
3. In our report earlier this week on the actual donations behind the generic Seattle chamber money that People for Ed Murray, the pro-Murray political committee, lists on its campaign finance reports, we noted (among all the specific businesses) an odd donation from a liberal group, Climate Solutions, the lefty green non-profit.
And indeed, Public Disclosure Commission records showed a July 24 $1,000 contribution from Climate Solutions.
However, the chamber told us yesterday they made an error and listed a personal check from Climate Solutions board member Stepanie Solien as coming from Climate Solutions itself. CASE has filed an amendment with the PDC listing Solien as the donor.
4. The Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee, the bipartisan group of state legislators that evaluates tax exemptions, issued its preliminary biannual report this month. Of the 16 tax breaks they looked at, they only recommended terminating one—a $22.4 million break for health care providers on contracted dental services; the break, they reasoned, was intended to transition the providers into Obamacare.
JLARC recommends leaving $680 million more in breaks on the books. We'll take a closer look at the report later today.