Steve Jackson

News Assignment Editor; Morning Edition Host

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999.  His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR.  “It was a different world on the weekends at night here.  There was a lot of interplay between shows and producers, and live jam sessions on the air.”  Now, Steve is the voice of local weather and news during Morning Edition, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC.  He also makes the morning coffee.  Aside from SPR, Steve is a simple, dirt farmer who enjoys gardening, chickens, music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.  He plays acoustic and electric guitar and is proud to say that his mom listens to him every day.

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As regulators in several states decide on the fate of a proposed acquisition of Spokane-based Avista to Canadian power company Hydro One, opponents are organizing.

The Avista Customer group has concerns that the merger of the two companies may mean higher power rates down the road.

Boise Attorney Norm Semanko is representing that group.

He says both companies say the sale will benefit customers, but they haven’t indicated how costs will be allocated between the two utilities.

 

 

 

Washington State's largest union organization is condemning a US Supreme Court decision as a cave-in to corporate elites that undermines their right to negotiate for fair wages and benefits.

 

 

 

 Wednesday, the US Supreme Court handed down a decision that dealt a blow to unions representing public employees.

The justices said in a 5-4 opinion that state government workers who choose not to join a union cannot be compelled to pay a share of union dues for covering the cost of negotiating contracts.

 

Up until now, some workers could enjoy union benefits without paying official dues, but still had to pay what are called “ agency fees”, to cover the cost of collective bargaining.

 

David Groves is with the Washington State Labor council, the state’s largest union organization., representing 600 labor organizations in the state.

 

 Groves says the result of the ruling will be less clout when it comes to getting workers fair compensation for their labors.

 

 

“For those unions that have a significant number of people that choose not to contribute to the cause, they are going to be weaker, and that will result in weaker contracts when they go to the bargaining table, of the employer sees you as divided, and not representing the whole workforce, that puts you in a much weaker position to bargain for raises , to maintain benefits , or retirement benefits,” said Groves.

 

  

 

 Some conservatives are hailing the ruling. The Washington arm of the Freedom Foundation released a memo saying, “ To the unions, its members’ dues are nothing but an ATM from which they can make unlimited withdrawals to support a radical leftwing agenda that all too often has nothing whatsoever to do with compensation, benefits or any other work-related consideration.”

 

  Audio File Steve Jackson reports. Edit | Remove

  

Saranac Building, downtown Spokane Credit WADOE Edit | Remove

  

Advocates for solar power are holding a special celebration this week in Spokane.

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Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart says Greyhound bus lines is violating the city’s municipal code

 Stuckart says he sent Greyhound corporate officials a letter, saying he has concerns with the company allowing Customs officials to go on board their buses while they are parked at the city’s Intermodal transit Center, to question people about their immigration status.

Stuckart says such actions violate the city code, and targets people of color.

A Canadian mining company has officially asked the Washington Department of Ecology to begin the review process for a proposed silicon smelter in Newport.

Sickert6 English Wikipedia

Washington taxpayers look to be on the hook to pay for removal of hundreds of culverts. Those are structures that allow water to pass beneath roadways.

This week the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court order that says the state has to pay for removing culverts that block fish migration.

 

Washington residents are at risk of their personal information being uncovered by identity thieves.

Between July 2016 and July 2017, the Washington attorney general's office estimates 3 million Washington residents had their information compromised.

The AARP sponsored an event Thursday in Spokane Valley to inform consumers of how to better protect their personal information, like bank accounts.

AARP state director Doug Shadel says senior are often a prime target for identity thieves.

NPR/Stephen Voss

Mara Liasson is an integral part of NPR’s political coverage. She’s a senior political correspondent and sometimes White House correspondent. She also provides analysis for Fox News.

Next Thursday she’ll speak at The Bing in downtown Spokane at an event for Spokane Public Radio. She’ll also be interviewed onstage by my colleague, Steve Jackson. He had a chance this week to talk with her.

U.S. Forest Service

The US Environmental Protection Agency will now allow the state of Idaho to oversee the process of issuing permits for pollution discharges into the state’s waterways.

The change gives authority to Idaho to implement its Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, which was created in the late 1990s. It will be run by the Department of Environmental Quality.

The new policy had been in the works for some time. It shifts control of permitting and enforcement aspects under the federal Clean Water Act to the state starting July 1.

 

A lawsuit has been filed against Pend Oreille County, the Pend Oreille Public Utility District, and a Canadian company over a proposed silicon smelter.

The suit, filed this week, claims that the Pend Oreille Public Utility District illegally bought a parcel of land from the county to sell to the Canadian company, HiTest, along with three other parcels it already owned and had declared surplus.

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