In response to the increase in vaping illnesses, Governor Inslee says he might just do something
Happening in Olympia
As a result of the diagnoses of a vaping related illness in Washington state (and hundreds of others across the country), Governor Inslee tweeted his vague action plan. Inslee has asked the Washington State Department of Health to “move ahead” and “look into” “options” that might include a “ban on flavors.” (Twitter)
Reverberations continue from the bombshell before the State Supreme Court that Sound Transit has not been using the tax formula it previously claimed it had been using. Lawyers for the agency had stated it had been following the 1996 vehicle depreciation schedule because of legislative requirements. Yet it became known the agency has been using the slightly different 1999 schedule. Both schedules result in higher taxes and more revenue for the agency than if a 2006 schedule had been used. Plaintiffs say the tax is unconstitutional because citizens cannot determine their taxes. (The Olympian)
Senator Steve O’Ban (R-University Place) sent a letter to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson asking why his office fails to defend the state constitution from those who want to impose an income tax. This is especially curious considering Ferguson’s willingness to support Sound Transit in its legal proceedings. O’Ban writes, “I can only conclude that when… you choose to use the power and resources of your office, you defend laws which increase the tax burden on Washington taxpayers, and refuse to defend laws which would protect taxpayers from new taxes. (O’Ban Letter)
Seattle City Light has agreed to pay $450,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by an employee who spoke out against sexual harassment within her office. City Light also agreed to take down a blog post which outlined its initial findings from an internal investigation which stated there was a lack of evidence of “blatant sexism” in the division. (Seattle Times)
Lime bikes continue to have problems in Seattle. Beside nearly 1/5 of the bikes parked illegally (on sidewalks and driveways) and some batteries catching fire, many of the bikes are currently unavailable due to dead batteries. (MyNorthwest)
Spokane School District is facing a $31 million budget deficit primarily due to a 13.3% pay raise teachers received in 2018. As a result, there has been a loss of nearly 100 teaching positions and class sizes are considerably larger. (Spokesman Review)
Three cases of lung illnesses in Spokane County are being tested to see if they are related to vaping and six people have reportedly died across the country from vaping related illnesses. Spokane Regional Health District board member Dr. Bob Lutz stated, “It’s unfortunate that this type of severity is making us much more aware that vaping is not safe.” (KHQ)
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