Top 10

Top 10 Stories: Trump’s Tariffs, Right to Camp, Property Tax Cut

Your weekly dose of top political stories.

By Araz Hachadourian March 9, 2018

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 1. President Donald Trump ordered steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum Thursday. Trump claimed foreign competitors had “ravaged” American steel and aluminum industries and said Canada and Mexico would be exempt from the tariffs. Washington state's GOP congressional delegates—including Dave Reichert—urged Trump to reconsider; the state's economy heavily relies on steel and aluminum imports. 

2. State legislators changed the state’s deadly force law, making it easier to hold police liable for wrongful shootings. In the last day of the legislative session, both sides reached a compromise to drop the requirement of proof of “malice” to prosecute someone for deadly force. Lawmakers also made amendments to parts of the initiative on defining "good faith," requiring de-escalation training, and providing first aid. 

3. Lawmakers also approved a nearly $400 million one-time tax cut for property owners. The cut would take effect in 2019, and is intended to ease the effects of last year’s tax hike that raised taxes 16 percent in King County.

4. Legislators also approved a bill that would make it illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants who receive income through social security or Section 8 vouchers. Similar legislation has been in place in Seattle since 2016.

5. Other bills didn’t get as much attention on the last day of the legislative session: The death penalty failed, and so did a bill that would have eliminated the statute of limitations on child rape. Senator Jamie Pedersen said lawmakers simply ran out of time to pass the legislation that would have allowed prosecuting child rapists no matter how much time passed since the crime. It had widespread support.

The death penalty bill passed in the Senate but not the House. The Seattle Times reported senator Reuven Carlyle said of the bill, “The fact that the Republican Florida state Senate was able to go farther than the Democratic Washington state Senate is disappointing.”

6. A record number of homeless people died in King County last year. The Seattle Times reported 169 individuals identified as homeless died in 2017, 32 more than 2016 and breaking the record set in 2006. One third of the deaths were drug- and alcohol-related and were disproportionately higher in black and Native American populations.

7. The National Rifle Association spends more money on state elections in Washington than anywhere else. The Seattle Times reported the NRA spent over $200,000 on House and Senate races between 2012 and 2016.  Texas was a distant second having received $95,750 from the NRA in the same time period.

8. Amazon doesn't want Seattle to enact a tougher law on pay equity. Representative Tana Senn, who sponsored a bill to update the state's equal pay law, told The Stranger lobbyists for Amazon had been fighting to include "preemption" language that would bar Seattle from, say, going further than state law to close the gender and racial pay gap. 

They were ultimately unsuccessful; lawmakers approved the bill Thursday, without barring cities from enacting their own local laws.

9. A King County judge ruled a homeless man’s truck is his home—and the city of Seattle plans on appealing the decision. The judge decided the towing and $600 fee resulting from impoundment of the truck violated Washington’s Homestead Act and the Eight Amendment’s prohibition of excessive fines—a decision which could possibly lead to a right-to-camp law, The Seattle Times reported.

10. The Seattle Mariners signed outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to a one-year deal. The team decided to bring back the 44 year old to close out his career as they did with Ken Griffey Jr. in 2009.

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