News Roundup

Top Stories of the Week: Murray, DACA, and a Lawsuit in the Legislature

Your weekly dose of top political stories.

By Araz Hachadourian September 15, 2017

1. Ed Murray announced his resignation as mayor Tuesday following accusations of sexual assault from a fifth man (Murray’s cousin), bringing attention to the culture surrounding sexual assault. Former council president Bruce Harrell was sworn in as acting mayor the following day, making him Seattle’s first Asian American mayor—if only for a few days.

Harrell is announcing at 4:30pm today whether he’ll remain in the executive office until the new mayor takes over November 28, when election results are certified. If Harrell chooses to stay, he will have to give up his seat on the city council. If he declines, the council will vote on another council member to take office on Monday.

2. One week after President Donald Trump announced the repeal of DACA, Congress proposed four different approaches to protecting DREAMers. The most conservative option, the Bridge Act, would protect undocumented immigrants brought across the border as a minor for three years before requiring renewal. Five of Washington’s Democratic representatives are co-sponsoring the American Hope Act (including Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith), which offers pathways to residency and gives more power to states.

3. A group of Northwest news organizations along with the Associated Press is suing the state Legislature over a revision lawmakers claim allows them to withhold information from public disclosure like the people they meet, calendars, and text messages. The contention stems from the lawmakers' interpretation of a 1995 revision on what a public record is.

4. Mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon participated in the first major debate since August’s primary election. The two discussed housing, foreign investors, Seattle’s homeless encampments, as well as Ed Murray’s resignation.

5. A student brandishing two firearms killed one and injured three of his fellow classmates at a high school near Spokane on Wednesday. Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement that “all Washingtonians are thinking of the victims and their families, and are grateful for the service of school staff and first responders working to keep our students safe.”

6. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All bill was released Wednesday with the support of 16 Democratic senators, but Washington’s Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell aren’t among them. While excited to see the legislation introduced, Murray is instead leading a series of hearings with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) that concluded Thursday, with the goal of reaching a bipartisan solution.

7. The state is considering allowing gender non-binary individuals the option of changing their birth certificates to reflect their non-binary identity. Oregon has similar legislation and California is also in the process of allowing a third option. The next step would be creating a draft rule and allowing public comment before the secretary of Public Health makes a final decision, The News Tribune reported.

8. Last week Amazon’s announcement of its intent to build a second headquarters left city officials scrambling to find out how it’s going to affect Seattle. City Council member Kshama Sawant issued a statement comparing the tech giant to Boeing and said Amazon "has similarly been using its monopoly power to gobble up swathes of prime Seattle real estate, and extract plum deals from the city’s Democratic establishment." The Stranger's not the only one to have made a case against Amazon this week; according to a Reuters editorial, Seattle offers several warnings about what kind of cascading effect the company can have on a metropolitan area. 

9. The King County Council voted unanimously on Monday to order the sheriff’s office to review and implement new policies on crisis training for deputies. The measure is a response to the shooting of Renee Davis in October of 2016 and comes one week after a deputy shot and killed a high-school senior, 20-year-old Vietnamese American Tommy Le who was carrying a pen.

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