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The Daily Troll: Death penalty blocked. Council gets after minimum wage. Will state big-foot Seattle on ridesharing?

Plans for Bertha's vacay are being discussed. Northwest universities lead on Peace Corps volunteering.

No death penalty

Gov. Jay Inslee suspended the death penalty on Wednesay, saying he won't allow any executions during his term. In a statement, he said, "I’m not convinced equal justice is being served. The use of the death penalty in this state is unequally applied, sometimes dependent on the budget of the county where the crime occurred.” The governor said he expects sharp divisions, adding that he had supported the death penalty in the past. The suspension lasts only while he is in office, although he said he hopes the action contributes to a larger discussion of capital punishment. Here's video from Seattle Top Story and TVW. Crosscut's John Stang will report on the governor's decision shortly. — J.C.

Kshama Sawant will not lead new City Council minimum wage committee

The Seattle City Council has formed a committee to review any new minimum wage legislation proposed by Mayor Ed Murray. Councilmember Sally Clark will chair the Select Committee on Minimum Wage and Income Inequality. New Socialist Alternative Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who has made a $15 minimum wage her signature issue, will serve on the committee, along with the seven other councilmembers. The first committee meeting is scheduled for March 5. The current minimum wage in Washington state and Seattle is $9.32 per hour. — B.L.

Olympia hopping on ridesharing

Two Democratic representatives, Gael Tarleton of Seattle and Kirkland's Cyrus Habib, want the state to develop its own framework for regulating new-era ridesharing networks like Lyft and Uber. GeekWire reports that their bill calls for a state study, but it appears to be focused on consumer safety rather than preserving market share for taxi companies. Depending on how any eventual state regulations were written, they could pre-empt action by Seattle or other cities. But Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark said in a meeting this week that the potential for state decisions won't prevent the council's finishing of regulations that it has been writing for months. — J.C.

Bertha hibernating

In light of the Tuesday report that drilling of the waterfront tunnel could be on hold for months, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Seattle Tunnel Partners are holding a press conference. Big lingering questions: Will they have to dig a hole to get at the damaged main bearing? Is the bearing toast ... or just the seal? And, not for them to answer: Is former Mayor Mike McGinn (the tunnel's biggest critic) enjoying himself even more than he would have if he were still in charge of City Hall? Crosscut's Bill Lucia and Matt Fikse-Verkerk are at the press conference. — J.C. 

Peace Corps volunteer scorecard

Alums of Northwest colleges pretty much led the nation in volunteering to serve in the Peace Corps last year. Western Washington University sent more grads (65) of its four-year programs than any other medium-size university, and Gonzaga's 22 volunteers led among smaller schools, according to AP. Plus, the University of Washington tied for second among large colleges' undergrad alums, and second in grad school alums. If you dig a little deeper, Northwest schools keep coming up high in doing good for others: the University of Oregon is tied for eighth among large schools; the University of Idaho is tied for ninth in the medium category; and, among small schools, Pacific Lutheran University is tied for third, Seattle University is tied for sixth and the University of Puget Sound is tied for 14th. 

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Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.

Bill Lucia writes about Seattle City Hall and politics for Crosscut. He can be reached at bill.lucia@crosscut.com and you can follow him on Twitter @bill_lucia.

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Comments:

Posted Tue, Feb 11, 3:56 p.m. Inappropriate

.. my ex district rep, doing it right.

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