Last Week in Politics

Top 10 Stories: Deadly Force, Transit Demand, and a Court Appeal

Your weekly dose of top political stories.

By Grace Madigan April 30, 2018

Public transit buses greenwood seattle city hegxxl

1. A Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled that state legislators violated the state Constitution when they passed a deadly force initiative. The judge ordered the initiative to go on the November ballot. Since then The Stranger reported that one of the police groups, Washington State Fraternal Order of Police, said it would fight the initiative come November if the decision isn't successfully appealed.

2. City Council member Mike O'Brien proposed a bill that would create a mandated pre-tax account for riding public transportationCrosscut reported. Commute Seattle estimates that someone making $50,000 a year and paying $99 a month for unlimited bus and light-rail rides could save $388 a year in taxes. O'Brien wants the bill to be signed into law by June.

3.  Allegations of harassment have surfaced against former mayor Ed Murray's communications director at his past job. Benton Strong previously worked at the Center for American Progress, where two women filed complaints against him, BuzzFeed reported. Strong left the mayor's office amid Murray's resignation and was hired for a temporary position in the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment. He resigned from that position after BuzzFeed contacted him and the city about the story.

4. The Seattle Times reports a gap between the demand and supply for public transportation services. The Seattle Department of Transportation requested another 100,000 hours of service but could only buy 15,000 of those hours because King County Metro doesn't have the space and the drivers for it. 

5. KNKX reported the state of Washington will close a major in-home care provider that serves adults who are developmentally disabled in King, Spokane, and Yakima counties. SL Start & Associates received a decertification letter from the Department of Social Health Services on April 4 citing a "history of serious...noncompliance with the law and regulations." The Washington Developmental Disabilities Administration gave SL Start two weeks to transition more than 200 clients. 

6. An initiative to address the state's regressive tax code by 2020 is in the works. The potential initiative would not explicitly require an income tax or any other specific solution but would require lawmakers to figure out how to balance taxes better. Drafts have been filed with Secretary of State Kim Wyman, The Seattle Times reported.

7. Seattle will soon appoint its first inspector general of policeKUOW reported that the city chose Lisa Judge for the new position responsible for auditing investigations of police misconduct. Judge previously served as a legal advisor to the police department in Tucson. 

8. The Seattle Housing Authority is less forgiving of its low-income tenants falling behind on rent than you might think. The Stranger's Heidi Groover followed hundreds of public housing tenants' evictions in the past five years and found that SHA initiated eviction cases for renters who owed small amounts, one as low as $49—resulting in a ripple effect of more costs, and more barriers finding housing.

9. East African business owners in Tukwila marched in response to the city's proposal to build a police station and courthouse. The proposal would displace two dozen small businesses mostly owned by East African refugees. KUOW the city originally offered the business owners one year and $5,000 to move, which they declined. 

10. Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes on Thursday appealed a court ruling over the city's first-come, first-serve law for renters and sought an immediate review from the state Supreme CourtThe law went into effect last year, and required landlords to accept the first qualified tenant in an effort to prevent discrimination. A group of landlords successfully sued in March arguing the law violated their right to free speech. 

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