Hawaii Sues Trump It’s not enough that Hawaii gets all the sun. They have to go and steal our thunder, as well. The Attorney General of the Pacific island state this morning filed suit against the Trump administration for its revised travel ban. Seattleites were likely hoping that Washington’s own Attorney General Bob Ferguson, whose office led the successful legal challenge to the first iteration of the ban, would again take the lead. But take heart, proud Washingtonian; according to The Guardian, the suit “seemed in many ways similar to Washington’s successful lawsuit.” So, they’re essentially copying us, which is cool. We’re okay with that. As Ferguson stated on Monday, his office is reviewing the presidents’ new executive order and will be announcing its decision on whether to sue today at 11 a.m. The Hawaii case has been scheduled for a hearing on March 15, hours before the order is to be implemented.
Reichert Votes to Kill Obamacare Mandate In the wee hours in Washington D.C., Rep. Dave Reichert, of Washington’s eighth congressional district, joined his fellow Republicans in the House Ways and Means Committee and voted to pass the Republican’s replacement for the Affordable Care Act out of committee, a first major step in passing the legislation. The Ways and Means review, which took 18 hours and involved a number of failed amendments from Democratic members, was primarily concerned with the individual and employer mandates in the current health care law, which Republicans universally despise. Figuring out the rest of the controversial bill won’t be so simple. But Republicans are racing to get it approved before their April recess, apparently hoping to avoid more Town Halls with voters concerned that they will be among the millions that are likely to lose coverage under the new plan. Not that Reichert will have a Town Hall anyway.
Legislature Avoids Cliff by Moving It Lawmakers in the state Senate yesterday extended school districts’ taxing authority another year, with passage in the House almost assured. This is likely to bring a great amount of relief to many school districts, including Seattle’s, that would be subject to massive budget shortfalls if the so-called levy-cliff were held in place. As The News Tribune reports, “Without a change in law, the state’s 295 school districts stand to lose between $350 million and $500 million in the 2017-18 school year.” The real problem, though, was not the levy cliff—which would make it illegal for school districts to fund basic services with local property tax levies as of January 2018. The problem is the legislature, which has failed to meet the requirements of the State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and actually fully fund state schools. The levy cliff was meant to be a stick to get the legislature to act. But why act when it’s easier to just break the stick?
Also in Olympia … Over at The Everett Daily Herald, Jerry Cornfield has the details on two bill that passed last week, bringing Olympia into the 21st century by updating the process of fulfilling public records requests … Investigate West looks at two dead House bills and one miraculously alive Senate bill that would address lead in Washington state’s drinking water … and over at The Seattle Globalist, John Stang looks at a bill that would provide additional health coverage for certain Pacific Islanders living in Washington state, who were potentially impacted by U.S. nuclear weapons testing.
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