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Government

A group of elected officials sent a letter to Port of Seattle commissioners this week urging the port to allow the $15 minimum wage law to take effect within Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The letter, which was signed by more than 50 political leaders in the region, called on port commissioners to allow the voter-approved Proposition 1 wage measure to take effect at the airport through an interlocal agreement with the city.

“Political leaders including our governor, the mayor of Seattle, and others understand keenly that voters want results,” the letter said. “The Port’s current position stands in sharp contrast to the tide of public discourse.” read more »

 

OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business (AWB) joined with Edelman as it releases the results in Washington state of the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, a key measure of global perspectives on trust in business and government. Significantly, this year’s barometer identified the largest gap ever recorded between trust in business and government, underscoring the importance of transparency and cooperation by both sectors, particularly as recovery continues from the economic unrest of the last few years.

Among findings of the global annual study are that trust in both business and government in the United States declined — to 58 percent and 37 percent, respectively — reaching the widest gap (21 points) recorded since the study began in 2001. The study also found that small — and medium-sized businesses are more trusted than big business. read more »

 
Commentary

With policy cutoff behind us, the list of living and walking dead bills (nothing is really dead till sine die) is being compiled. Among the proposals that didn’t even receive a hearing, however, is a bill based on WPC’s recommendation for the Legislature to truly provide Washingtonians the opportunity to participate in the legislative debate while also ensuring lawmakers live by the same open government rules the rest of the state’s public officials operate under.

As noted by Peter Callaghan of The Tacoma News Tribune:

“Lots of stuff gets introduced in the Washington Legislature that is never heard from again. read more »

 

Prospective hemp growers are celebrating this week’s passage of the Farm Bill in the U.S. Senate, as the legislation could be the first step toward creating a multi-billion dollar hemp industry.

Tucked into the $956.4 billion Farm Bill is an amendment proposed by representatives Jared Polis, Thomas Massie and Earl Blumenauer that allows universities and state agricultural departments to grow and research the industrial properties of the plant without fear of reprisal from the federal government.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

The only states that are allowed to grow and research under the rule are the 10 states that currently have laws legalizing hemp farming: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. read more »

 
Commentary

The Seattle Times headline said it all: “Obama running out of reasons to reject Keystone XL.”

For five years, the Keystone XL pipeline has been mired in studies, red tape and delay. Now, the State Department has released its final report, concluding that the pipeline would have little or no environmental impact.

The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the U.S. border, carrying 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Western Canada to Nebraska, where it would connect with an existing pipeline to refineries in Texas. The report concluded that, with or without the pipeline, Canada will continue to develop and market its tar sands oil.

The non-significance finding removed the president’s last excuse for not making a decision. read more »

 
Technology

A Target executive warned Congress that credit card breaches, such as the one that affected up to 110 million of its customers, are going to become very common and there may be little retailers can do to shield shoppers for now.

“The unfortunate reality is that we suffered a breach, and all businesses — and their customers — are facing increasingly sophisticated threats from cyber criminals,” Target chief financial officer John J. Mulligan told lawmakers at a hearing. “In fact, recent news reports have indicated that several other companies have been subjected to similar attacks.”

A Neiman Marcus executive chimed in at the hearing, saying its anti-virus software was virtually useless. It didn’t detect when its credit card systems were being hacked. As a result, the company did not learn of the intrusion until the beginning of January, even though the attacks occurred between July and October, said senior vice president Michael Kingston. read more »

 

While Washington’s health exchange has struggled with ongoing technical problems, nearly 700,000 people have successfully navigated the system to enroll in commercial health plans or Medicaid.

That number isn’t widely reported, because nearly 260,000 of those people were just re-enrolling in Medicaid.

While those numbers of re-enrollments don’t count toward “new” enrollees under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they are a testament to the volume of enrollments the Healthplanfinder site has been able to handle successfully. read more »

 

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) has invited high school students from Washington’s 6th Congressional District to participate in the first Congressional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academic Competition. This new “House STEM App Challenge” is a nationwide competition designed to engage students’ creativity and encourage their participation in STEM education fields.

Students will compete within their congressional district by creating and exhibiting a software application or “app” for mobile, tablet or computer devices on a platform of their choice. Students have until April 30 to submit their apps. For additional details on how to participate, see below or visit http://kilmer.house.gov/house-app-contestread more »

 

State Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor) will host the Key Peninsula Education Forum on Feb. 12 from 5-7 p.m. at Key Peninsula Middle School in Lakebay at 5510 Key Peninsula Highway.

The 26th Legislative District representative is chair of the House Higher Education Committee. Seaquist will be joined at the forum by Peninsula School District Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto and district teachers and school employees, and the Communities in Schools Peninsula group.

All residents of the Key Peninsula community are invited to participate: parents, students, educators, mentors and other stakeholders. read more »

 
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