A Judge Will Rule This Week on the Last Tim Eyman Initiative: You remember Initiative 1366, right? That's the one barely passed this past November that would cut state sales taxes if the state legislature doesn't put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to require a 2/3 majority to raise taxes. After a hearing yesterday, the judge is expected to rule tomorrow, Joel Connelly reports.
What's the Case About, Exactly? "The legal challenge to I-1366 is twofold," Connelly explains. "Opponents argue that amendments to the state constitution cannot be proposed by initiative, and that Eyman’s measure works to do just that. They have also argued that ballot initiatives must be limited to a single subject. I-1366 directs the Legislature to put an amendment on the ballot. It also slashes the sales tax if they don’t."
Seattle Public Schools' Before- and After-School Programs May Be Displaced to Expand Classroom Space: "Even with five new and expanded schools scheduled to open next fall, the district estimates it will need 65 more classrooms than it has right now. It is considering reclaiming 19 now dedicated to child care," reports Paige Cornwall at the Seattle Times.
A Shooting at a University in Northwest Pakistan Killed About 20 People: Reports about the number of dead vary, but most are around 20. Reuters reports: "Armed militants stormed a university in volatile northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens a little more than a year after the massacre of 134 students at a school in the area, officials said. A senior Pakistani Taliban commander claimed responsibility for the assault in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, but an official spokesman later denied involvement, calling the attack 'un-Islamic.'"
Republicans Vote to Approve Subpoenas for Records About Prisoner Release: In a vote split along party lines, a state senate committee approved issuing subpoenas that demand the governor's office and the Department of Corrections provide documents related to the accidental early release of about 3,200 Washington inmates, KING 5 reports. Senate GOP leader Mark Schoesler said, "The governor should be investigating, but so should the legislature."
Teenager Tells Lawmakers Just How Dumb Their Anti-Carbon Cap Bill Is: The 17-year-old, Madeline Goodwin, was the only woman and only person born after 1990 who spoke at a hearing about the bill yesterday, Sydney reports. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Doug Ericksen, the bill's sponsor "went so far as to suggest that people would end up killing themselves or committing domestic violence if a carbon cap went into effect—allegedly because of increased joblessness."
Harney County Residents Tell Ammon Bundy to GTFO: At a community meeting last night, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty told Bundy, "It is time for you to go home," The Oregonian reports. "A chant then grew in the gymnasium: 'Go, go, go, go, go.'"
Yesterday Was a Big Day for Homelessness News: Are you caught up?
The City Council Grilled Staff From the Mayor's Administration About Homeless Encampment Sweeps: City staffers provided details about how many encampment sweeps they've conducted since the mayor declared a state of emergency on homelessness in November. Along with more than 100 "cleanups" of camps with two or fewer tents, they've swept 38 larger camps. Of the people kicked out of those spots, only about 40 percent accepted shelter services.
The Mayor Announced that Ballard and Delridge Will Get "Safe Lots" for People Living in Their Vehicles: Basically, these will function similarly to the city-sanctioned homeless encampments, which means people who stay there have to follow some rules (like a ban on drug use) and get access to social service providers and sanitation services. More details here.
The Reaction from Neighborhoods Is Mixed: Cindy Pierce, one of the neighbors who organized a recent contentious neighborhood meeting in Magnolia about RV camping and crime, applauded the move but said it wasn't enough. Pierce told the Seattle Times: “I hope that the people who are truly homeless and living in RVs get the resources they need. But this won’t take care of the criminals and drug users living in RVs and committing property crimes. They need to leave our neighborhoods.”
Indicted State Auditor Troy Kelley's Trial Starts in March: It could take six weeks.
ICYMI: That story about the seafloor moving, meaning the big earthquake is coming? Bogus, scientists tell Sandi Doughton.