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Voting Rights NOW | Motel 6’s ICE machine | Pleading the 25th

Thursday, January 4, 2018




► In today’s Seattle Times — Pass Washington Voting Rights Act now (editorial) — Civil-rights groups should not have to file lawsuits to ensure elected city governments reflect the diversity of their neighborhoods. Yet that remains the reality in many places throughout Washington state, due to a state law that bars most cities and towns from electing council members by geographic district… Lawmakers can finally solve this problem by enacting the Washington Voting Rights Act, a bill that has languished for years in a politically divided Legislature. The consequences of the status quo are proven and real. For years, the requirement that all council positions be elected citywide in general elections put Latino candidates at a disadvantage in city council races in Yakima and Pasco, even though Latino residents made up about one-third of the voting-age citizens in each city.

ALSO at The Stand — ‘Important progress can be made’ in 2018 — The Washington State Labor Council has announced its 2018 legislative agenda, which includes passage of the Washington Voting Rights Act.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Infrastructure improvements help lure new business to Spokane Valley — Planned infrastructure improvements – including the possible addition of an overpass at the BNSF railroad tracks at Barker Road – and the announcement of two companies building manufacturing facilities could add hundreds of jobs and potential for new businesses.

EDITOR’S NOTE — And THAT’S how you grow jobs in Washington state: invest in public infrastructure. The Legislature should make passage of the state’s capital construction budget, delayed by partisan political obstruction (that voters have now removed), among its first items of business when they convene on Monday.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Poll: Schools and taxes top Washington voter concerns for 2018 Legislature — The survey by independent Seattle pollster Stuart Elway found that, for the fourth straight year, education was the top concern listed by voters, with 32 percent ranking it as the “most important” issue for state lawmakers to deal with. That was down from 45 percent last year – perhaps a recognition that lawmakers have pumped billions of additional dollars into public schools in recent years.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Millennium parent company files suit against Inslee, Ecology — Millennium Bulk Terminals’ parent company, Lighthouse Resources, Inc., filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday, claiming the governor’s administration is impeding interstate and foreign commerce by blocking the construction of a $680 million coal dock on the Columbia River.

► From Crosscut — How the 2020 census could alter state politics — The 2020 census will also have a dramatic impact on the composition of the Washington State Legislature and Washington’s congressional delegation. Population growth in Washington state has not been evenly distributed. The booming Puget Sound region has seen the bulk of the state’s growth while many rural areas have remained stagnant.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington turns in another strong performance in small business (by Jon Talton) —  Curse you, blue-state hellhole! With all those taxes and regulations and … sputter … Seattle — killing entrepreneurship. Oh, wait. A new report from Paychex, which surveys 350,000 small firms nationally, finds that Washington ranked second behind Tennessee in small-business employment strength in December. Seattle ranked No. 1 among metros.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Eyman isn’t letting a bad 2017 slow him down in the new year — It’s been a pretty lousy 12 months for Mukilteo’s purveyor of initiatives as he saw his causes foiled and his future ability to influence the state’s political class jeopardized.




► From AP — Washington sues Motel 6 for giving guest information to federal immigration authorities — Washington’s attorney general sued Motel 6 on Wednesday, alleging the national budget chain disclosed the private information of thousands of its guests to U.S. immigration authorities in violation of the state consumer protection law. Attorney General Bob Ferguson said motel employees divulged the names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers and room numbers of at least 9,150 guests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents without a warrant. At least six people were detained on or near motel property during a two-year period. Motel 6 was aware that the agents used the guest registry information to single out guests based on their national origin in violation of Washington state’s anti-discrimination law, the state’s lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court alleged.

MORE coverage in today’s Bellingham Herald, Columbian, (Everett) Herald, KUOW, NY Times, The Stranger and Washington Post.

► From KNKX — Tacoma considers limits on immigrant detention center — City officials are considering limits on any future expansion of the Northwest Detention Center, the region’s only detention center for immigrants facing deportation. The detention center is run by a private company under contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

► In the Columbia Basin Herald — Takata lays off employees — The Moses Lake community is buzzing with rumors following reports that Takata has laid off a number of employees at its Randolph Road plant. Estimates are ranging between 60 and 65 employees. About 350 people work at the facility.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Investigation underway after contaminants found in Spokane Fire Department air compressors — The discovery, which occurred in mid-November after firefighters noticed a foul smell coming from air canisters during a breathing test, prompted fire department leaders to shut down all three of the department’s air compressors.

► From Bloomberg — Boeing reportedly seeking control of Embraer, with defense safeguards — The U.S. plane maker is arguing that it can operate defense businesses without compromising military plans. The Brazilian government, which originally objected to the deal, is now suggesting it has some flexibility on the control issue.




► From The Hill — Confusion over Trump’s border wall delays spending talks — Senate negotiators say a lack of clarity from President Trump about his plans for a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is holding up talks to avoid a government shutdown. Trump has demanded tougher immigration controls and more border-security measures in return for relief for DACA program recipients in the 2018 spending bill. But Republicans and Democrats working on a possible immigration deal said Wednesday they’re still waiting to receive Trump’s specific demands for tighter border security to hash out a deal. Government funding runs out on Jan. 19.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — AFGE, members of Congress: No more pay cuts for federal workers

► From AP — U.S. to end policy that let legal pot flourish, sources say — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding the Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, including Washington state. Sessions will instead let federal prosecutors where pot is legal decide how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana law, sources say.

► From Reuters — Trump push to scale back welfare programs has Republicans on edge — Emboldened by his victory in the passage of the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in decades, President Donald Trump now wants to rein in social welfare programs, including food stamps and housing subsidies, even though some Republicans are wary of tackling the volatile issue in a congressional election year.

► From The Hill — Trump offers new rule going after ACA — Workers would be allowed to band together to buy health insurance under a proposed rule released Thursday by the Department of Labor. Such plans would not be subject to Affordable Care Act coverage rules, so insurers could sell cheaper plans by denying coverage for pre-existing conditions or what the ACA considers “essential health benefits.”

► In today’s NY Times — Trump dissolves his panel investigating 2016 election fraud — President Trump signed an executive order to disband the commission, ending its inquiry into his false claims of voter fraud.

► From Politico — Washington’s growing obsession: The 25th Amendment — Lawmakers concerned about President Donald Trump’s mental state summoned Yale University psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee to Capitol Hill last month for two days of briefings about his recent behavior. Her professional warning: “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.” The conversation about Trump’s fitness to serve is ongoing — and gaining steam after Trump’s tweet this week taunting the leader of North Korea with my-nuclear-button-is-bigger-than-yours bravado. The tweet resuscitated the conversation about the president’s mental state and the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of the president from office if the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet deem him physically or mentally “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

► From The Hill — Trump trying to stop publication of explosive book about his presidency: report — Trump’s attorneys have sent a cease-and-desist letter to the book’s publisher, demanding that it not publish the book, and apologize to the president. In one excerpt, former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon described the 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” He also said there was “zero” chance that the president was not aware of the meeting.




► In the LA Times — Trump says the Postal Service is ‘dumber and poorer,’ but he and Congress deserve the blame (by Michael Hiltzik) — Mail delivery falls squarely into the category of services whose marginal costs should be covered by government, which means all of us. The cost of mailing a letter has remained amazingly stable, adjusted for inflation, for nearly 100 years. In 1919, it was two cents for the first ounce, following a one-penny reduction instituted during World War I. That two cents would have the buying power of 50 cents today — which is what a first-class letter will cost starting Jan. 21. That’s the marvel of U.S. postal delivery: In the 229 years since the Constitution placed its responsibility in the hands of Congress, it remains a public service binding this disparate country into one. Trump in his tweet said the Postal Service “should be charging MUCH MORE” to Amazon. Who exactly does he think would be paying that price?


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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