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City of Seattle

Seattle on Wednesday sued president Donald Trump, U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions and secretary of homeland security John Kelly after the administration's threats to withhold federal dollars from "sanctuary cities." Council member Lorena Gonzalez also announced the city's plans to dedicate $1 million in legal aid to immigrants for civil cases, citing that immigrants were 10.5 times more likely to stay in the country with representation. 

Meanwhile, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers continued to conduct operations in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. During a three-day span—March 25-27—ICE detained 84 undocumented immigrants, 19 of whom were in King County. Of those 19, 14 had criminal records, said ICE spokesperson Rose Richeson. Five were from Seattle, four of whom had criminal records, she said.

Look ahead for Seattle City Council's decisions on the South Lake Union rezoning and opposing contracts with financial institutions that support the Keystone XL pipeline.

State Politics

The state's attorney general Bob Ferguson Friday filed a lawsuit against Tim Eyman, alleging that the conservative activist profited from his campaign initiatives, The Seattle Times reported. 

The legislature is still grappling with the McCleary decision, a court mandate for the state to fully fund K-12 education rather than make local school districts rely on local levies for the funding gap. Both the GOP Senate leadership and Democratic House have released their budgets.

The House Democrats' plan, released Monday, involves enacting a new capital gains tax and raising the state's business-and-occupation tax rates. 

The GOP plan involves a levy swap—increasing the state's share of property taxes and lowering local school levies. That raises property taxes for "property-rich" districts, like Seattle, while decreasing them for "property-poor" districts, like Aberdeen. Because of this, many state legislators and officials have said the McCleary decision pits not Democrats versus Republicans but urban versus rural lawmakers.

Seattle's response to votes in Congress

The U.S. Senate passed legislation Thursday that would allow states to block Title X Family Planning grants that support health care providers with abortion services. Vice president Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote. 

Mayor Ed Murray's statement: "Vice president Mike Pence's vengeful vote ... shows that this administration is in full, ideological attack mode against working families and women. It is more bullying from this administration. It is more misogyny. It is disgraceful."

Another narrow vote in the U.S. Senate on Thursday quashed the city's hope to establish an automatic retirement savings account for Seattle employees. Senators repealed regulation established by the Obama administration that exempt city-run retirement savings plans from pension protection laws—making it easier to provide the plans to employees in the private sector.

Council member Tim Burgess in his statement said an estimated 200,000 workers don't have access to a retirement savings plan: "This loss of opportunity is a direct hit against workers. It's very unfortunate that Senate Republicans repealed this wonderful opportunity. It would have been great for business, great for workers, and great for our economy." 

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