Today's winner: Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell. 

Public safety committee chair Bruce Harrell deserves a round of applause for proposing a smart piece of legislation that would reform city law to bar companies, except in limited circumstances, from requiring convicted felons to disclose their criminal status.

The proposal, aimed partly at giving minorities who are overrepresented in the state's prison system a chance at gainful employment after their release (African Americans make up just 3.6 percent of the state population, for example, but comprise 19 percent of the state's prison population), would bar employers in the city from refusing to hire someone because of his or her criminal conviction record, except when that record is directly related to the job they're applying for. For example, a day care center could refuse to hire a convicted child molester, but a company that hires menial laborers couldn't.

"If a person was applying for a job digging ditches and they were convicted of a low-level marijuana offense, we would determine that that was no tdirectly related to the job," Harrell says.

Employers would, however, still be allowed to ask applicants about their criminal status, but only after a "conditional" job offer.

Harrell says the proposal is part of his commitment to race and social justice. "The felony could have been 20 years ago," he says. "This affords a person the ability to explain why they did what they did."

Harrell believes current law on felony convictions is analogous to another existing state law that allows employers to use an applicant's credit score as a reason not to hire them.

Overall, Harrell says, 409,000 people in King County have criminal convictions on their records.

Today's second (tentative) winner: The state economy. 

Although the state economy remains relatively anemic, it did grow at a higher rate than anticipated in the second quarter of this year, the state's revenue forecast council announced today---1.7 percent, as opposed to the 1.5 percent growth rate state budget forecasters originally projected.

Additionally, housing sales, job growth, and housing construction have all outpaced projections. However: If the US Congress doesn't find a way to avoid the "fiscal cliff" (that is, if it can't figure out how to balance the federal budget by making spending cuts and tax increases), the whole financial picture changes, and the state, along with the whole US, will face another recession.

Today's third winner: God, who squeaked through and made it into the Democratic Party platform.
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