Despite Seattle mayor-elect Ed Murray’s hope that a $15 minimum wage would be decided by the Seattle City Council and not by voters, an initiative was filed today with the City of Seattle Clerk’s Office to establish new minimum wage rates. In a twist, the initiative also would also lower the City’s Square Footage Business Tax and Business & Occupation Tax on employers.
This morning Judge Jean Rietschel upheld Initiative 1240, the voters’ charter school law, clearing the way for Washington’s first charter schools to open next fall. Her ruling rejects claims made by Washington Education Association, the state teachers union, and the League of Women Voters, that Initiative 1240 violates the state constitution.
Last month, Kirkland City staff released a report advocating a ban on plastic grocery bags, arguing "single-use plastic bags have proven to be detrimental to our environment and a drain on our non-renewable natural resources." The report argues a ban achieves the greatest balance of business, environmental and public benefits.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, while the rest of us were giving thanks,two Tacoma-area two school superintendents, Patti Banks of University Place and Frank Hewins of the Franklin Pierce School Districts, were complaining that taxpayers were not giving them enough money. Their editorial complains they can't adequately educate the children entrusted to them because Tacoma-area families don't pay enough in taxes, compared to people in Seattle, which they say give school officials
Both Pierce Transit and Community Transit plan to add service hours without raising taxes. Community Transit is adding 2,500 new hours without new taxes, living within their means. However, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) proposal to give Community Transit higher tax authority is still on the table.
Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler is testifying before Congress today in praise of the implementation of the Obamacare law in our state.In his comments, however, he is unlikely to provide much detail about the hurtful disruption the law and his tough-minded regulatory actions are causing Washington families.
Washington state has been very pro-active about implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. Washington is one of only 15 states to establish a state health insurance exchange. The other 35 states plan to use the federal exchange, which has been plagued by glitches and major problems. Medicaid expansion is a huge part of Obamacare and will be administered through the state exchange. The legislature never took a formal vote on the Medicaid expansion.
Last month, voters in Washington state rejected labeling biotechnology crops, known as "genetically modified organisms" or GMOs. The issue, however, isn't going away. Here are three bits of GMO news and information since the labelling initiative was turned down.
Bees and Bt Corn
As a beekeeper, I ran across this one in my winter reading.
After going through multiple special sessions to adopt the state's 2013-15 budget, the last thing lawmakers will want to do is fight about a 2014 supplemental budget. State agencies, however, have already submitted their 2014 supplemental budget wish list requesting a combined increase in spending of $895 million and 806 new FTEs.
Last week, in “Union directive a snag to universal preschool,” The Seattle Times reported that unions are using a City of Seattle daycare program to boost their dues-paying membership. Outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn is requiring day care providers to give SEIU union organizers personal information about employees who work with children, including employee names and addresses.