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On Other Blogs Today: Metro, Lyft, and Fishy Business

Our daily roundup.

By Erica C. Barnett June 26, 2013


1. In honor of today's historic gay-marriage victory at the Supreme Court, here's a great summary of today's decisions, and a multimedia guide to the DOMA and Prop. 8 cases, from the New Yorker.

2. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that King County Metro is closing in on a new ridership record as the economy improves and demand increases. So far this year, Metro provided nearly 400,000 rides each weekday, including an average weekday ridership of 408,000 in May.

That's the highest ridership Metro has seen since 2008, before the recession hit. Eastside ridership, the PSBJ reports, is particularly strong, with double-digit ridership increases on some Eastside routes.

The sad irony, of course, is that if the state legislature fails to pass a transportation package that includes a local revenue option, Metro will have to cut as much as 17 percent of its service—canceling as many as 65 routes and cutting 86 others.

3. A little comic relief as we wait—and wait—for legislators to come up with a budget deal: KOMO reports that budget negotiations have been "sidetracked" in recent days by debate over whether to pay for a study of how much fish Washington state residents consume, and the resulting impact on water quality. 

In the senate budget proposal, KOMO reports, "senators proposed a wide-ranging study that would explore things like the seasonality of fish consumption, the different species of fin fish and shellfish being consumed, geographic differences in fish consumption and how the fish is cooked."

Gov. Jay Inslee opposes the study.

4. As the Seattle City Council debates how to deal with ride-sharing services such as Lyft (the pink-mustache people) and UberX—which are, according to the city, technically illegal because they operate too much like for-hire cars that are (unlike Lyft and UberX) subject to city regulation—the two services are ignoring a cease-and-desist oder from the city of Los Angeles, where they are also against the law.

The LA Times reports that Lyft and UberX both say they have agreements with the state of California that allow them to operate statewide—including in L.A. As in Seattle, the ridesharing services have prompted protests by taxi and for-hire drivers, who call them unfair, unregulated competition. 

5. In case you missed it: The Texas Tribune reports that yesterday's epic, Obama-tweeted filibuster by Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth)—who was attempting to kill radical anti-abortion legislation that would close 37 of the state's 42 abortion clinics and does not include any exception for rape or incest—ended in chaos, with Republicans attempting all manner of shady parliamentary procedures and even attempting to back-date their vote for the measure to make it legal, but in the end, thanks to the help of enthusiastic supporters in the senate gallery, Davis won. 

Kind of. Today, Texas' fundamentalist Republican Governor, Rick Perry, called the legislature back into a second special session to pass the bill, accusing Davis—whose filibuster has many precedents in Texas history—of promoting "the breakdown of decorum and decency" by speaking out against some of the harshest proposed restrictions on abortion in the nation. 

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