Walkout at Seattle Central part of call for state to provide more funding for community colleges

Students joined faculty and staff at walkouts across the Seattle Colleges system Tuesday including a rally on Broadway outside Seattle Central to support legislation currently being considered in Olympia to more fully fund Washington’s community and technical colleges.

“The walkout is intended to illustrate the crisis faced by the community and technical colleges (CTC) because of the State Legislature’s failure to adequately fund programs, salaries and student support,” organizers from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) local 1789 wrote. “For over a decade, the State has covered only 65% of college expenses, while increases in student tuition, budget cuts, and reserve money have attempted to cover the gap.” Continue reading

Washington set to raise smoking and vaping age to 21

Washington is set to become the ninth state to raise the legal age for buying tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vaping products to 21.

The Washington State Senate approved the legislation by a vote of 33-12 Wednesday to raise the sale age for tobacco and vapor products from 18.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the Washington State Department of Health jointly requested the legislation, according to an announcement from Ferguson’s office. Gov. Jay Inslee has said he will sign the legislation. Continue reading

Seattle responds to Christchurch with sadness, efforts to make Washington safer for Muslim and minority communities

3-year-old Muca Abdi is reported to be the youngest victim in the attack (Image via @KhaledBeydoun)

Local leaders and organizations have responded to the murders of the Christchurch terror attack with sorrow, denouncement of the hate behind the act, and updates about making things safer for Muslim and minority communities in the aftermath of the killings that left dozens dead in New Zealand.

“This cowardly act is additional evidence that hate is on the rise. Now, more than ever, we must work to combat hate and heal together – because an attack on one community is an attack on all our communities,” the AntiDefamation League – Pacific Northwest said in a statement. “In an act of solidarity and allyship, we recommend that you search for your nearest vigil and show your support by showing up.”

CAIR-Washington and the Muslim Association of Puget Sound will hold an interfaith vigil Monday night in Redmond. Continue reading

A Capitol Hill look at Olympia 2019: secure scheduling, vaccine exemptions, crosswalk traffic cams

Rep. Nicole Macri (Image: Rep. Macri)

The 2019 session of the Washington Legislature is in full swing, with lawmakers considering thousands of bills. February 22nd was a key deadline for bills to pass out of their policy committee; any which did not get committee approval are considered dead (except the ones that aren’t, there are still ways to revive them). From there, bills with a financial implication are routed through a fiscal committee (Senate Ways and Means; House Appropriations) before going to the floor of their house of origin. Bills must clear their house of origin by March 13 before moving to be considered by the other house. This year’s session is set to end April 28.

Here is a roundup of bills moving through the Legislature that may be of interest to Capitol Hill with a focus on efforts from our state elected including Sen. Jamie Pedersen and Rep. Nicole Macri.

Anyone interested in discussing these, or any other bills, with Capitol Hill’s legislators can attend a town hall with the District 43 lawmakers at 1:30 PM March 16 at First Seattle Baptist Church:

43rd Legislative District Town Hall

  • Statewide secure scheduling: Rep. Macri is the prime sponsor of legislation that would “ensure that people who work for large fast food, coffee, restaurant, and retail chains in Washington get schedules that are more predictable and balanced.” Macri says, “I’m working closely with business and labor representatives to find the best way forward to support workers and ease impacts on businesses.” The bill would is modeled after Seattle’s law and would help eliminate things like “clopenings” — when a worker works a late-night closing shift and is also directed to work a early-morning opening shift with only a few hours in between. Continue reading

Proposal from Capitol Hill state senator would make Washington first to legalize composting the dead

Concept for a “recomposition” facility (Image: Recompose)

State Sen. Jamie Pedersen is ready to breathe some life into changing Washington’s laws about what happens after we are dead.

Capitol Hill resident Pedersen says he will introduce a bill when the 2019 legislative session starts in Olympia that could make the state the first to legalize composting of human remains. Continue reading

Tiny Broadway taco shop and its Guaymas family of restaurants comes up big as state drops $5.6M tax case

Attorney General Bob Ferguson and investigators from the Washington State Department of Revenue who started their search at a Broadway restaurant have huevos rancheros on their face after allegations of a $5.6 million tax fraud scheme at the Seattle chain of Tacos Guaymas fizzled into a poquito $750 fine.

“It is really a great example of the philosophical Occam’s razor,” Robert Chicoine, lawyer for Tacos Guaymas owner Salvador Sahagun said in a statement to CHS. “If there are two explanations for an occurrence, the one that requires the least speculation is usually the correct explanation.”

Ferguson’s office charged Sahagun earlier this year with six counts of first-degree theft and three counts of possessing and using sales suppression software in what the AG said was a multi-year scheme to pocket more than $5.6 million in sales tax from cash transactions. Continue reading

Seattle City Council endorses I-1631 state carbon tax

(Image: CHS)

Global climate change experts said Monday we have only a matter of years to reverse environmental damage or be doomed to living on a dying planet.

One path to doing our part on the needed correction on global warning is a carbon tax.

Monday afternoon, the Seattle City Council approved a resolution endorsing Washington’s I-1631, an initiative to require the largest polluters in the state to pay $15 — and, eventually, more — for every ton of carbon dioxide their corporations release into the atmosphere:

A RESOLUTION endorsing “Clean Air Clean Energy” Initiative 1631, a statewide initiative to the people that would charge pollution fees on the largest corporate polluters and use the revenue to invest in healthy communities, clean our air and water, promote clean energy, and slow down the impacts of climate change – all under oversight of a public board.

The state estimates the initiative would raise more than $2 billion to combat climate change in its first five years and $1 billion annually starting in 2023. Continue reading

Ruling puts I-940 to change state law hindering prosecution of wrongful police shootings on November ballot

I-940, a measure that will provide more training on de-escalating lethal situations and make it easier to prosecute law enforcement officers accused of unnecessary deadly force by eliminating Washington’s “malice standard” for police shootings, will be on the November ballot without changes, the state’s high court ruled this week.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the initiative should go to voters, ending, for now, an effort to introduce a modified version of the proposal favored by law enforcement advocates.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill Art Walk features a night for Washington reproductive rights at Generations

A work by Mari Shibuya

Capitol Hill’s monthly art walk brings a dose of political action in May. Tonight from 6 to 9 PM at E Mercer’s Generations gallery, NARAL Pro Choice Washington will host an event with artist Mari Shibuya and State Rep. Nicole Macri.

“I’m doing this event with NARAL to promote access to reproductive health care, and I am very glad to support them,” Macri said. “What they’re aiming to do at this event is to make sure we keep and elect legislators both in the House and the Senate in Olympia who will be strong pro choice voices.” Continue reading

Olympia’s approach to Seattle’s homelessness crisis is focus on land and the longterm

In the U District, YouthCare manages University Commons in The Marion West, 20 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless young adults. The future of Broadway and Pine could eventually be home to a similar project.

By Iman Mohamed, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

It has been years since Seattle declared homelessness a state of emergency. A state of emergency should cause a sense of urgency. That was the theme last week at the April Capitol Hill Community Council meeting with Speaker Frank Chopp at 12th Avenue Arts.

Community members on the night suggested many solutions for the city’s crisis. Chopp said that his focus is on creating long-term resources. The main resource for housing developments is from the state, he said, which is why Chopp works on acquiring these lands so the development of housing projects and services can begin.

“The state level focuses on generating funding rather than focusing on temporary solutions like mobile vans,” Chopp said. “The biggest landowner in Seattle is the State of Washington and we are going right after them with these state-level legislations.” Continue reading