News Roundup

Top Stories: Mayor’s Budget, GOP Tax Bill, Sanctuary Status

Your weekly dose of top political stories.

By Araz Hachadourian November 17, 2017


Jeff sessions hearing swearing in ipfn9y

Jeff Sessions gets sworn in as the new U.S. attorney general in January 2017.

1. The head tax proposal failed to get a majority vote on the council to make it in the 2018 budget. At Tuesday’s budget committee meeting, the proposed employee hours tax on the city's largest businesses was struck down in a 5-4 vote. All council members said they would support the tax in the future.

 2. Seattle City Council voted to cut $1 million of the Mayor’s office budget after failing to pass an employee hours tax, posing a challenge for mayor-elect Jenny Durkan who has three weeks for her transition. Interim mayor Tim Burgess criticized the cut and the council for not making similar rollbacks to the legislative department.

3. The 11-year incumbent in the race for Port of Seattle commissioner lost in a tight race against a former import-business, Ryan Calkins. The Seattle Times reported Calkins beat the longest sitting commissioner, John Creighton, despite Creighton raising nearly double the funds. Creighton had a narrow lead on election night, but late votes pushed the race to Calkins who ran on a more progressive platform.

4The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the GOP tax bill this week. All four of Washington’s Republican senators voted in favor. The bill would cut tax rates for corporations and raise taxes for many Washington residents. The U.S. Senate still has to pass its own version, and Washington senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray have said they will fight the bill.

5. The city council approved an agreement with the Seattle Police Management Association (SPMA), which represents about 70 higher office level officers. Council member Lorena Gonzalez—who sponsored the measure—at the council meeting stressed the new contract adopts the bulk of police accountability legislation but allows officers to appeal disciplinary decisions through an arbitrator instead of the Public Safety Civil Service Commission. 

6. The Seattle Police Department’s Force Review Board found the shooting of Charleena Lyles was within department policy, The Seattle Times reported. Lyles, who was killed last June after calling police to report a burglary, was a pregnant mother of four with a history of mental illness. Lyles’s family attorney issued a statement Wednesday night in response to the decision and said, “We cannot accept that Charleena Lyles’s killing was unavoidable. If her killing was within policy and training, we need changes in policy and training.”

7. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal got the chance to interrogate U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions over allegations of obstruction of justice regarding a plan to fire former FBI director James Comey. Over the course of his testimony Tuesday, Jayapal prodded Sessions on whether he would accept a defense of "lack of recall" as a prosecutor. 

8. The Seattle City Council voted to tax short-term rental housing like Airbnb, but put off the bill on regulations. The council hopes the tax will disincentivize property owners from renting short-term rather than providing long term housing. The new tax will go into effect in 2019 to the effect of $8 per night for a rented room and $14 for an entire unit.

9. The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to King County and Seattle urging review of their immigrant protection policies and sanctuary city status. Reported first by Crosscutthe letter threatened a loss of grants if Seattle and King County failed to comply with immigration officials. (Law enforcement in the region currently receive nearly $675,000 in federal grant money.) Nearly 30 other jurisdictions across the country received similar letters. Mayor Tim Burgess and King County Council chair Joe McDermott accused the administration of bullying in response.

10. A University of Washington student is being detained and facing deportation. Bangally Fatty, a college student from the Gambia, came to the U.S. 15 years ago as a labor trafficking victim. The Stranger reported since Fatty was picked up by officials in September, the director of UW's immigration law clinic has successfully petitioned for a temporary stay on his deportation.

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