This week, the three certainties of life: legislative bills, taxes, and fights about Covid vaccinations
Bill Radke reviews the week's news with South Seattle Emerald founder and publisher, and Seattle Times columnist, Marcus Green, Washington State Wire founder and publisher DJ Wilson, and Tacoma News Tribune reporter Chase Hutchinson.
Governor Inslee has for weeks been refusing to move teachers and school staff ahead in the line for Covid vaccinations. But this week the White House said do it, and Governor Inslee says he had no choice. So, teachers are now eligible to receive the vaccine. But will that get students back to in-person classes? Or is there more to the debate between school districts and teachers unions?
Plus, on Wednesday people living in Seattle's Denny Park were cleared out by the city's Parks department, with assistance from Seattle Police. It was one of the first tent encampment sweeps since the dissolution of the Navigation team last year, and one of the few to occur during the pandemic. City officials said the removal was due to crime and health hazards. Since November, there have been more than 60 calls to 911 or Health One related to Denny Park. Was this sweep any different from previous ones by the city? How much can city officials really do about encampments or homelessness outreach when they’re also dealing with a pandemic?
Also, this week marks one year since Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police officers. Ellis’ death has been a catalyst for police reform in the state, and was one of the cases that state Representative Jesse Johnson cited as he sponsored a ban on police chokeholds and neck restraints. There are a number of police reform bills moving through the state legislature right now. How likely are they to pass, and how big an impact would they have on policing in Washington?
Those aren't the only thing trying to get through the legislature - Washington is also once again considering a capital gains tax. This is far from the first time state lawmakers have considered such a tax, but this year the proposal seems to be gaining speed. Could this be the year it actually passes?
Finally, there's one other bill our panelists have been keep an eye on this legislative session. Senate bill 5151 would open up the kinds of assistance kinship caregivers can receive from the state. But what exactly is a kinship caregiver, and why do they need help?