1. Yolany Padilla, the leading plaintiff in the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project's lawsuit against federal agencies, was reunited with her son on Saturday. Padilla was separated from her 6-year-old son when she arrived at the southern border from Honduras in May. She was released from the detention center in Tacoma on an $8,000 bond and held a press conference last week, when she demanded her son back.
Padilla credited advocates for detainees as the reason she got her child back. Jorge Barón, NWIRP executive director, said there are still over 2,500 kids that have yet to be reunited with their families across the country.
2. Gun owners must lock up their firearms or face fines up to $10,000 under the new law passed by the Seattle City Council. Securing firearms decreases the chance of accidental firearm injuries and deaths to youth by 73 percent, according to a study by Harborview. The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ranks Washington state highly for its gun safety regulations.
3. Seattle's plastic straw ban has created a national conversation.
- Starbucks announced it will stop using plastic straws in all of its stores by 2020. The coffee chain will replace the plastic straws with compostable or paper straws and straw-less lids for their iced drinks.
- Disability rights advocates have publicly criticized the plastic straw ban for not considering the fact that some people with disabilities need straws to drink. The city's ordinance does permit food establishments to provide people with flexible plastic straws who need them due to disabilities. But advocates said most businesses already do not comply with ADA laws, and this will only make people with disabilities have to deal with another metaphorical barrier in their lives.
4. A report shows that only a third of complaints against King County officers in 2016 had a chance of actually resulting in the disciplining of officers. KUOW reported that in 2016, the public lodged almost 700 complaints against King County officers. The King County Sheriff's Office marked two-thirds of the complaints as "not really about misconduct" or "minor misconduct handled by the supervisor."
King County's Office of Law Enforcement Oversight never knew about the complaints from the sheriff's office that weren't investigated. Some of the discarded complaints included allegations of sexual assault and violation of authority.
5. Crosscut reported that the principal of the Seattle World School—a school for newly arrived students—resigned after threatening to call police on students at the school's prom. The incident has raised questions of principal Oksana Britsova's hiring in the first place.
The school's student body is largely made up of immigrants and refugees—and when Britsova threatened to call police, students thought she was going to call immigration. Before Seattle World School, Britsova worked at Center School, where faculty members signed a letter saying she berated them in meetings, was not culturally competent, and treated students of color differently.
6. The state legislature has created a task force to address the rising cost of child care. State representative Kristine Reeves sponsored the bill to create the task force. KNKX reported that Reeves, who has two children, paid $35,000 in child care last year.
While low-income families can qualify for subsidized child care, many middle-class families have to pay it all themselves. The task force will focus on developing policies and recommendations to incentivize employer-supported child care.
7. Electric bills will increase next year for Seattle residents due to conservation and cost overrun. Seattle council members voted to approve a plan that will increase rates by an average of 4.5 percent every year for the next six years. Customers can expect to see a 5.8 percent increase in 2019. Because of conservation efforts, each kilowatt-hour sold has even more to recoup the cost. Projects like the new substation on Denny Way, which was supposed to cost $89 million, ended up costing $210 million also contributing to the need to increase prices.
8. Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith want to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Jayapal and representative Mark Pocan, from Wisconsin, plan to introduce a bill to eliminate the agency in the next few weeks.
The Seattle Times reported that Smith called Jayapal's office expressing interest in working on the bill. ICE was created in 2003 after 9/11, while president Donald Trump and others have argued that getting rid of the agency would only increase crime and drugs. Jayapal cites the private contractors, deaths, and inhumane treatment as reasons to get rid of it.
9. Trump announced the nominations of three Seattle attorneys to judiciary positions. The Seattle Times reported that Eric D. Miller was nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Tessa M. Gorman, an assistant U.S. attorney, and Kathleen M. O'Sullivan, a partner at Perkins Coie, were nominated to serve as district judges. The nominees will need to be confirmed by the Senate.
10. Seven fast-food chains will no longer bar employees from transferring to another franchise location, Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson announced Thursday. The practice, known as a "no-poach agreement," essentially locks workers into lower wages because they can't transfer to a different location that pays better. Ferguson said the practice violates the state's antitrust law, and some economists say it can contribute to wages stagnating despite rising living costs.