This is why we need remote testimony
Happening in Olympia
Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib is requesting $20,000 per year of added security for himself after receiving angry online comments. “Given that the Lieutenant Governor is blind and can’t necessarily quickly react to a visible threat, and because the Lieutenant Governor often receives negative and hateful social media posts, it is sometimes both a disability accommodation and a necessary precaution for the LG to have security at public events,” the budget request said. (NW News Network)
The Yakima Herald-Republic’s editorial board is calling on lawmakers to make remote testimony more prevalent this coming session. While the Senate has slowly embraced video conferencing technology, the House has not. We agree with the paper– there’s no good reason the Legislature should not allow remote testimony. As explained by Jason Mercier with the Washington Policy Center, in-person and remote testimonies would follow the same procedures. “Just like those in Olympia, signing up would not be a guarantee to testify, but you’d at least be in the queue and not have to take all day off work or school to travel over mountain pass in the winter for one minute of testimony.” (Yakima Herald-Republic)
The Seattle City Council passed Mayor Jenny Durkan’s $5.9 billion annual budget, with Councilmember Kshama Sawant the lone opposing vote. Sawant said the budget caters to big business and doesn’t spend enough. Durkan has said the plan will boost allocations for transit and transportation by $130 million next year. (Seattle Times)
Sound Transit will be getting even more money, with $1.2 billion coming from federal coffers thanks to a deal with the Trump Administration. The $1.2 billion in federal money will go toward an 8.5 mile light rail segment between Seattle’s Northgate neighborhood and Lynnwood. Senator Maria Cantwell said that “Christmas came early to Puget Sound” with the $1.2 billion agreement. (My Northwest)
The Spokane City Council voted to suspend a law that banned people from sitting or sleeping on sidewalks downtown. The law, known as sit-lie, bars people from sleeping on sidewalks downtown between 6 a.m. and midnight, but only applies when shelters have available space. Mayor David Condon said suspending the law sends a conflicting message to law enforcement. (The Spokesman-Review)
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