Now that Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and unincorporated areas of Thurston County have implemented a ban on plastic grocery bags, Thurston County Solid Waste completed a study of what kind of grocery bag residents now use. The results show the ban has likely increased emissions of greenhouse gases and increased water pollution that contributes to "dead zones" in the ocean.
Envision Spokane, a labor and enviro backed group, has filed an initiative to amend the City of Spokane’s charter to include a “Worker Bill of Rights.” If approved by voters in November, the measure would impose a sweeping set of new labor mandates on Spokane employers.
Earlier this week, the State Transportation Commission approved a plan to toll Interstate 405 from Bellevue to Lynnwood. They plan to repurpose both an existing auxiliary lane, currently in operation as a general purpose lane between Bellevue and 124th Street but being extended to SR522, and the HOV lane from Bellevue to Lynnwood and designating both as High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes. The HOT lanes would allow free access to carpools with at least three people in the peak periods and will be tolled based on congestion in the adjacent general purpose lanes.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate this week focused on committee hearings to consider bills sent to them from the opposite chamber, following last week’s legislative cut-off date. Neither chamber held floor votes on legislation.
Members assembled for a joint session on Wednesday to honor people from communities that distinguished themselves during rescue efforts at the Oso landslide disaster one year ago.
The Seattle Times got it wrong this week in an appearance of that self-appointed arbiter of veritas, “Truth Needle,” by food writer Bethany Jean Clement, about our blog on the $15 minimum wage law and restaurant closings in Seattle. Here’s why.
Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate released proposed budgets this week. (Here)(Here)The House version cuts spending by $5.5 trillion and balances the budget in nine years. The Senate proposal cuts $5.1 trillion in spending and balances the budget in ten years. There is currently controversy within the Republican Party based on the amount of defense spending. (Here)
After last week’s flurry of last-minute bill actions ahead of a major deadline, House and Senate lawmakers have settled down to a round of committee hearings on bills sent over by the opposite chamber. There are now 323 house bills before the Senate and 348 senate bills before the House. Lawmakers are also working on measures that were not subject to last Wednesday’s cut-off, because they are bills related to revenue and spending
Research consistently shows that when the government forces employers to pay a higher minimum wage, employers rarely absorb the extra costs. Employers simply cannot pay a worker more than the value of their output. So forcing employers to pay workers an artificially high wage creates perverse incentives to find other ways to cut labor costs. Usually it is in the form of charging higher prices for the goods and services they provide, reducing the size of their work force, reducing employee hours or eliminating non-mandated benefits.
Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson said she plans to ask for a Senate rule to require “fair and balanced” hearings. She specifically cited the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, chaired by Senator Michael Baumgartner, as a primary offender.
When pressed for an example of why such a rule is needed, Senator Nelson said:
When you have a hearing it should be fair and balanced and both sides should be heard, versus having the WPC present on a bill and not have someone from the other side presenting on the same bill.”
A recent article in The News Tribune (Tacoma) featured a headline declaring, “Businesses elsewhere report few problems with sick leave laws.” The crux of the article is that business owners in Tacoma should not panic about that city’s impending paid sick leave law because some business owners in other cities with paid sick leave mandates say the regulat
An increase in transit use does not reduce traffic congestion, according to new information provided by the Puget Sound Regional Council. According to the PSRC report, transit agencies across the Puget Sound region logged an 11% boost in ridership between 2010 and 2014, yet delay on the region’s freeways increased a whopping 52% in the same time period.
Lawmakers have introduced 2,338 bills this session. After Wednesday’s deadline for passing bills out of their house of origin, 323 House Bills and 348 Senate Bills are still eligible for further consideration, not counting budget and transportation matters, which will be taken up later in the 105-day Regular Session that is scheduled to adjourn on April 26th.