News Roundup

Top Stories: A Deal on Short-Term Rentals, Inslee's Address, and ICE Agents at 7-Eleven

Your weekly dose of top political stories.

By Araz Hachadourian January 12, 2018

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1. Governor Jay Inslee gave his State of the State address Tuesday and spoke at length about carbon taxes. Inslee’s proposal would raise $1.6 billion in its first two years, a major portion of which will go to education and, in future years, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

2. ICE agents showed up to 98 7-Elevens across the country—two in Seattle—to serve audit notificationsThe Washington Post reported the action was intended to send a strong message "to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce" and resulted in 21 arrests nationwide.

3. The 2018 legislative session kicked off this week. With Democrats now in control of the state House and Senate, bills banning the death penalty, regulating firearms, and a capital gains tax are all on the table, the Seattle Weekly reported.

4. King County executive Dow Constantine has paused all ongoing inquests into fatal police shootings. The halt follows Constantine's decision to convene a committee that would examine the inquest process, which advocates and families of victims have said is biased toward law enforcement.

5. A U.S. district judge ruled the Seattle Police Department is in full compliance with court-ordered reforms after years of efforts to correct its unconstitutional policing. Wednesday’s ruling marks the end of phase one and will be followed by a two-year review period to prove that the changes made are locked in place. 

6. Seattle’s 400 school bus drivers are expected to strike after rejecting the latest offer from bus contractor First Student. The Seattle Times reported drivers want more affordable health insurance and better retirement plans. First Student responded to the possible strike in a full-page Seattle Times ad by saying it believed its offer is “fair and equitable to both parties,” The Stranger reported. Seattle schools are advising parents to prepare other forms of transportation.

7. Washington’s Department of Licensing has been handing over residents’ information to ICE officials leading to arrests and deportations. Governor Jay Inslee's office asked the DOL, which allows undocumented immigrants to receive driver's licenses, to stop cooperating with ICE by the governor’s office this week, The Seattle Times reported.

8. Washington legislators introduced a bill to keep financial aid available to “Dreamers” even if the program is repealed. The Stranger reported that representatives in the House and Senate introduced parallel bills to ensure Dreamers and students on certain other visas remain eligible for in-state tuition and Washington’s “College Bound” program.

9. Inslee has requested Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke remove Washington from a list of sites recently opened to offshore drilling. Inslee’s request follows last week’s announcement that the Pacific coastline along with portions of the Gulf and Florida’s coast would be opened to oil and gas companies. Florida was removed from the list after a request from their governor but similar exemptions have not yet been made for democratic states.

10. Then-council member Tim Burgess cut a deal with someone threatening to delay the city's new short-term rentals regulation with a lawsuit. The Seattle Times reported that rather than spend time facing a legal complaint, Burgess carved out an exemption made just for Eric Friedland—the owner of 39 micro-apartments originally created for short-term rentals.

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