Washington State Poised to Become Leader in Oil Train Safety Ahead of Massive Increase in Traffic

State regulators have focused on the safety standards of the train cars themselves. They also want to give communities more notice of when trains will be passing through. The volume of crude oil-carrying train cars has increased 40-fold since 2009, and 100 trains per week may eventually be rolling down the Columbia gorge if all the proposed crude oil terminals are built.

Bernie Sanders Shut Down, Then Addresses Big Crowd

Speaking Saturday night before an estimated 12,000 people at the University of Washington’s basketball arena, the Vermont senator addressed some of the issues behind the afternoon confrontation. The candidate drew an even bigger crowd Sunday night in Portland, Oregon, speaking at the home of the NBA’s Trail Blazers to an estimated 19,000 people inside, with thousands more listening on loudspeakers outside.

Let’s Have Conversation on State Carbon-Pricing Plan

A well-designed carbon-pricing plan would help shift costs from the public to polluters and create a powerful incentive to reduce greenhouse emissions.Inslee has a wonderful passion for fighting climate change; unfortunately, that passion has translated into an impulse to bypass politics with decrees. In the absence of public support, decrees don’t persuade; they produce backlash. So let’s have the debate.

The Union That Rules News York

How 1199 SEIU, New York’s ultra-powerful hospital and nursing home employees’ union, took over the Empire State. From these early organizing struggles, former Union President Davis left two key tactical legacies. The first was an appreciation for the benefits of ideology and symbolism. Davis’s second tactical bequest was his discovery that the most effective way to win over hospital management was via government bailout.

Job Growth Steady in July, Possibly Easing Path for Fed Action

Although slower than the blockbuster pace of hiring in late 2014, the average monthly payroll gain in the first half of 2015 stood at more than 200,000 and the report from the Labor Department on Friday showed employers to be consistent last month. The unemployment rate held steady, after a decrease to 5.3 percent in June, the lowest level in more than seven years.

State Medicaid Pilot Project Aims at Savings

The state is asking for $3 billion as well as performance incentives to implement the five-year program, which would become permanent if the federal government approves of the changes. Officials from the Health Care Authority and the state Department of Social and Health Services are touring the state to gather feedback on the proposal. The 30-day window for public comment will close Aug. 23.

Gov. Inslee: Methanol Plants Boost ‘Our Clean Energy Future’

The Chinese-backed company plans to build three methanol plants in Kalama, Port of Tacoma and Port Westward in Clatskanie for a total investment of $5.4 billion. Natural gas will be converted to methanol and exported to Asia to make olefin, a component used to produce plastics for many everyday products. Using natural gas is considered a cleaner method than coal, the typical feedstock for olefins in China.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka to Step Down

Richard Onizuka, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, says he’ll step down effective Aug. 31. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange faced serious challenges in getting the website and payment system up and running. There were issues with site crashes, then with invoicing and payments.

The Unfortunate Evolution of the Voting Rights Act

What began as a shield to protect minority voters from racist officials has become a sword to further the electoral prospects of Democrats and Republicans through racial, partisan gerrymandering. Why did this happen? There are many reasons, but three have been instrumental.

Public Health in the Precision-Medicine Era

The Whitehall Studies of the British Civil Service in the United Kingdom revealed that even when health care services were provided as a matter of right and the cost of care was no longer a barrier to treatment, a marked social gradient persisted, as a substantial proportion of the population fared poorly on health indicators. Moreover, the inequity did not manifest simply as a gap between the rich and privileged and the poor and disenfranchised: people at every income level did better than those at the level just below them.