1. The Republican dominated state senate, which has yet to pass a transportation package, did introduce a batch of transportation bills late last week that contained peripheral compromises with the Democratic house (which passed its transportation package last year).
Here's a quick recap of the the differences between the house legislation and the initial senate proposal, the Democrats' $10 billion, 10.5-cent gas-tax package and the Republicans' $12 billion, 11.5-cent gas-tax package: The house put about $900 million out of a $10 billion package toward pedestrian, transit, and biking projects (the rest goes to roads), while the senate initially dedicated about 2 percent—$205 million out of a $12 billion package—to ped, transit, and bikes (and the rest to roads); the Republicans want to use construction sales tax money and toxic waste cleanup money to help fund the package (the Democrats don't); the two sides differ on the amount of money that would go to transit; and the Republicans want labor changes, such as paying apprenticeship wages to some workers on state projects (the Democrats don't).
The new GOP version increases the non-roads money to $800 million (they'd actually already moved on this front, increasing it to $667 million last month), lowers the amount from road construction taxes by about $100 million, and takes $15 million less from the toxic cleanup fund.
“The legislation dropped by Senator [Curtis] King [R-14, Yakima] is neither new nor news."—House Transportation Chair Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41, Mercer Island)They also tabled their provision that the tax must go to a public vote and said the labor changes would only apply to new projects.
Fizz asked house transportation chair Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41, Mercer Island) what she thought of the proposal. Was there hope for a grand compromise?
Clibborn told Fizz:
“The legislation dropped by Senator [Curtis] King [R-14, Yakima] is neither new nor news; it is essentially the proposal he released in mid-February, finally put into bill form. Although some of the tweaks show progress, several others move even further away from the house position and away from the progress that was made in discussions last year.”
She added that the changes were not enough to get Senate Democrats to support it. And for Rep. Clibborn that is still the key to being able to reach a deal. She says she needs to see a package that can reach the house.
With 10 days left in the session, Fizz isn't putting money on seeing a breakthrough.
2. Given that Mayor Ed Murray was talking about putting temporary caps the number of rideshare cars in the city while setting up a task force to study the issue for a year, Fizz was definitely wondering if he would veto the council's compromise solution (put together by city council member Sally Clark)—a cap on the number of cars allowed on the road at one time—a squishy limit that frees up the rideshare companies and their drivers to sign up as many cars and drivers as they want.
Deal stands. No veto, Fizz hears.
3. In its appeal of last December's King County Superior Court ruling that the Port of Seattle—not SeaTac—had jurisdiction over airport wages, and so didn't have to increase airport worker wages despite the successful $15 minimum wage ballot measure, Yes for SeaTac, the union-backed group that ran the campaign, filed motions in the case, now in the state Supreme Court, yesterday.
In addition to the official appeals, the group also filed motions for an accelerated review of the case; about 4,700 workers at airport car rental companies, restaurants, and shops haven't gotten the wage boost, while about 1,600 workers at hotels and businesses around the airport have gotten the boost to $15 an hour.
The motions came from airport workers such as Abdirahman Abdullahi:
Right now, even working full-time for Hertz, what I get paid is not enough to live on. My family gets food stamps, rental assistance, and government help for daycare. We don't like being on governmental assistance but we have to be. Otherwise we would not be able to survive.