43rd District Dems draw big crowd for town hall updates on progress in Olympia

Rep. Chopp, Sen. Pedersen, and Rep. Macri

Constituents of Seattle’s 43rd District packed every pew in Harvard Ave’s First Baptist Church and half the choir-lofts for a town hall meeting on Saturday.

“This is the biggest crowd in our history, let’s say a thousand people,” said Speaker of the House Frank Chopp.

Sen. Jamie Pedersen and Rep. Nicole Macri joined Chopp to discuss the most recent legislative session outcomes in Olympia. Moderator Maxima Patashnik shared questions on carbon tax, education and gun violence protection among the chief concerns from the crowd. Armed with good news and plenty of reasons for the bad, the Democratic lawmakers addressed state gun violence protection measures first. Continue reading

Legislation to end state ban on rent control off the table in Olympia

Capitol Hill’s state Rep. Nicole Macri won’t be able to deliver an end to Washington’s ban on rent control this year. Her legislation to repeal the ban on rent regulation in the state died in committee last week in Olympia.

The 43rd District representative didn’t address the defeat in her most recent update to constituents but she did count down some of the legislation she has sponsored aimed “keep people in their homes” including HB 1570, a bill to make a state real estate transaction fee permanent “to fund crucial housing services like emergency, DV, youth and young adult shelters; eviction prevention, move-in assistance and allows rental vouchers to be used in both for-profit and nonprofit homes.”

As for rent control, in 2015, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution calling for the statute to be changed and arguing municipalities should have the power to pass laws that “increase the supply of rent-restricted units and that protect tenants from sudden and dramatic rent increases, without causing a negative impact on the quality or quantity of housing supply.” Seattle Met’s Hayat Norimine reports that, despite the setback, city officials are optimistic the mood might be shifting in Olympia.

You can hear more from Macri plus her counterparts Rep. Frank Chopp and Sen. Jamie Pedersen at the 2018 43rd District Town Hall:

43rd Legislative District town hall


State budget deal brings more than $200M to power Capitol Hill projects including new Hugo House, County Doctor dental clinic

Coming soon: the Hugo House Writers Center on 11th Ave (Image: Weinstein A+U)

While Washington D.C. struggles to keep the government open, our Washington has sorted things out enough to agree on a new $4.2 billion capital budget including nearly $1 billion for schools, and $205 million in funding for projects in our own 43rd District.

“Our top priority when we returned to Olympia last week was passing the state capital budget, which funds the construction and renovation of our schools, public health facilities and community projects,” 43rd District Sen. and Capitol Hill resident Jamie Pedersen wrote to constituents about the agreement. “The legislature adjourned in July with no enacted capital budget for the first time in living memory, because the Senate Republicans refused to bring it to a vote due to an unrelated dispute involving rural water wells.”

With the water squabble solvedGovernor Jay Inslee’s new budget includes nearly $2 billion for the construction of new school construction across the state. Pedersen also points out $106 million in the budget earmarked for the Housing Trust Fund, “the second-highest such investment in state history.”

The new budget helps push a handful of Capitol Hill area projects forward. Continue reading

De-Escalate Washington turns in I-940 signatures to push action on police use of force

The organizers of De-Escalate Washington supporting I-940 to provide law enforcement officers more training on de-escalating lethal situations while eliminating Washington’s so-called “malice standard” announced they would turn in some 355,000 signatures Thursday with hopes for the initiative to qualify for a place on a statewide ballot:

“Action on this issue is long overdue, and I give my heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of thousands of Washington voters who have sought action by signing petitions for I-940,” said Annalesa Thomas, the mother of Leonard Thomas who was killed by police in 2013. “Their engagement is providing healing and empowerment to the family members of loved ones whose lives were lost due to police violence.” To qualify I-940 for consideration during the 2018 state legislative session, De-Escalate Washington must submit 259,622 valid signatures. De-Escalate Washington intends to submit more than 355,000 signatures. Once the Secretary of State certifies a qualifying number of valid signatures, the initiative will be referred to the Washington Legislature for consideration during its 2018 session. If the legislature does not pass I-940, the measure will go onto the November 2018 general election ballot.

Meeting the December 29th goal for valid signatures will mean either the state legislature must move ahead on changing the laws or the proposals will go to the ballot in 2018.

CHS reported on the final push for signatures here.

I-940 would require and change a number of police practices and standards. It calls for police to have de-escalation, first aid, and mental health training. Officers must also provide first aid at the scene under certain circumstances. I-940 would establish a good faith standard for the use of deadly force and requires an independent investigation when it results in death or injury. Organizers hope to also change Washington’s 1986 law (RCW 9A.16.040) that says police cannot be criminally liable for employing deadly force if they did so without malice and with a good faith belief that such an act is justifiable.

De-Escalate WA says Mayor Jenny Durkan is among local officials who support the initiative. Seattle’s police union does not. Continue reading

As SPD’s report on Lyles fatal shooting released, I-940 makes last push for signatures

(Image: Alliance for Gun Responsibility)

Organizers pushing for Initiative 940 to provide law enforcement officers more training on de-escalating lethal situations while eliminating Washington’s so-called “malice standard” for prosecuting police killings say they want to be doubly sure they have enough signatures to quality for the ballot. Meanwhile, the Seattle Police Department has released documents and the final report from the use of force investigation in the summer fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles.

De-Escalate WA came to Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson for a Sunday afternoon rally as part of a final push for signatures. Organizers say they have been able to collect thousands more signatures than the 260,000 required to make it on the ballot but want to continue to push for somewhere near 350,000 to make sure the initiative has enough valid signees by the December 29th deadline. Meeting the goal means either the state legislature must move ahead on changing the laws or the proposals will go to the ballot in 2018.  Continue reading

Families of those shot by police speak out for I-940

Supporters hope Initiative 940 will change Washington state policy so fatal police shootings happen less often and so there’s more accountability when they occur. Gathering on a few Seattle City Hall steps Friday, a crowd representing 33 different families impacted by police killings gathered in support of I-940 in the hopes of preventing future deaths.

The Puget Sound region witnessed a slew of police killings in the past year: Renee Davis October 21, 2016, Jacqueline Salyers on January 28th, Daniel Covarrubias in April, Tommy Le June 13th, Charleena Lyles June 18th, Giovonn Joseph-McDade June 24th. All of them were people of color. Salyers, Davis and Lyles were all pregnant when killed.

“What else did we think would come with this when the police are investigating themselves,” asked Katrina Johnson, Lyles’ cousin. “They keep killing people and getting away with it.” Continue reading

Plan would turn Seattle Central property at Broadway and Pine into homeless youth facility, housing

(Image: CHS)

Thanks to the watchful eye of Representative Frank Chopp (D-34), a Seattle Central College building at Broadway and Pine will likely turn into a hub of homeless youth services and, hopefully, a new apartment development replacing one of Broadway’s last surface parking lots.

Last winter, the college put out notice that they were seeking development partners for two Broadway properties. Per the law, public agencies are required to publicize it first to other government agencies. That’s when it came across Chopp’s desk.

“We did a tour of the site a while ago and it clearly is an ideal site for it,” Chopp tells CHS. “If you look at where the homeless youth congregates, it’s in Capitol Hill and the U District.” Continue reading

43rd District leaders on health care, homelessness — and what it’s like working with Washington Republicans

By Tim Kukes for CHS

What is it like working with Washington’s Republicans?

“We tried everything we could have. Cajoling, complaining, amending, making procedural motions, protesting and acting out in various ways,” State Senator Jamie Pedersen said Saturday at a town hall meeting with the 43rd District’s leaders.

Pedersen’s story of the state’s education “levy cliff” battle had a happy ending Saturday. Instead of, they lived happily ever, Pedersen’s happy conclusion went like this: “… finally senate Republicans agreed on Wednesday at the very last bill before the cutoff to pass the levy extension.”

Constituents of the state’s 43rd legislative district filled the Seattle First Baptist Church sanctuary, on Harvard Ave on First Hill just above the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Organizers said it may have been the largest 43rd town hall gathering yet as the old church’s pews were filled. Yes, the town hall has officially outgrown the church’s basement. Continue reading

March town halls with Jayapal, 43rd District reps Chopp, Pedersen, and Macri

In some other parts of the country, the elected are shying away from town halls and meeting their constituents in person. The politicians serving Capitol Hill don’t have anything to be ashamed of, apparently. You can visit with a few of them coming up this month.

On Monday, March 6th, 7th District Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, the first Indian-American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, will be at First Hill’s Town Hall to talk about her work in D.C. and take questions. “Town halls are an important way for constituents to connect with their representatives in government and hold them accountable,” Jayapal’s office writes. Take note, GOP. Continue reading

Seattle educators head to Olympia to fight ‘levy cliff,’ $74M district shortfall


(Image: Seattle Education Association)

While thousands will march through the city to mark the important day, many Seattle educators, students, and parents will be on the road to Olympia this MLK Day Monday to make a stand for education spending in the state as Seattle Public Schools faces a $74 million shortfall.

The Seattle Council of Parent, Teacher and Student Associations has put out a call for action:

Unless the Washington State Legislature takes action quickly, this budget shortfall will cause significant damage by necessitating cuts in staff at schools and to needed central services, disrupting the stability of school communities and support of the whole child, and impacting our most vulnerable populations in greater proportion.

Continue reading