Wage plan coming next
4:15 p.m. Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement this afternoon that he'll announce a plan Thursday for raising Seattle's minimum wage. That statement seemed to indicate that a committee the mayor assigned to come up with a blueprint for raising the pay floor might not reach a consensus. Referring to tomorrow's announcement, Murray said: "Standing with me, I hope, will be members of my income inequality advisory committee. And it is my hope that it will be all the members of my advisory committee." In recent weeks, members of the committee have been sharply divided over a number of issues, including whether to count compensation like tips toward workers' hourly pay and how the higher pay rate should be applied to small businesses.
Last week, a group called "Vote 15," filed a city charter amendment with the City Clerk that would raise the wage to $15. The group said they were holding off on collecting signatures to get the measure on next November's ballot until they learned more about the committee's proposal. Any plan Murray proposes would next be sent to the City Council. "We may reach an agreement by tomorrow, we may not," the mayor said. "But in either case, we will get to a good, thoughtful, meaningful solution that reflects the input and concerns of all who will be affected." — B.L.
Russell Wilson divorce
3:15 p.m. 2014 has been a good/bad kind of year so far for Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Good: Destroyed Denver in Super Bowl. Bad: He and wife Ashton are getting divorced. That was the word today from the Wilson camp. The last word, apparently: "Moving forward," said Wilson in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, "I will have no further comment on this personal matter.” — M.B.
Landslide no-building measure
The Snohomish County Council is taking up an urgent, arguably overdue subject: limiting development in areas known to be prone to mudslides. A measure introduced today would impose a six-month moratorium on building along seaside bluffs and mountains thought to be at risk. The Herald reports that the main housing construction group, the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, agrees with the need for quick action. The areas that would be affected have about 30,000 residents now. — J.C.
McGinn is having his say
4:50 p.m. During an exit interview, former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn told reporters he’d like to spend his new free time being a radio talk show host. KIRO Radio Weekends took him up on his offer and last weekend, he went on the air, talking about the $15 minimum wage, marijuana legalization and Google Glass. Over the four years that he was Seattle media’s main focus, he gained an appreciation for the field, he said. "There were so many times in which the media was our ally and I really did gain a tremendous appreciation for them," he told KIRO. — S.R.
Healthcare signups: Up
Just over 1 million residents have signed up for health care under the state's new health exchange, officials said today. More than 285,000 are newly eligible adults now covered by Medicaid under changes created by the Affordable Care Act. Most of the more than 160,000 people who signed up for private health care received monthly tax credits averaging $276. Enrollments by young people, 34 and under, also picked up significantly, especially in March, the final month for the Washington Healthplan Finder's first enrollment period. In a statement, Gov. Jay Inslee praised the efforts of volunteers and Healthplan Finder's staff in helping people enroll under the ACA provisions. The complete enrollment report is here. — J.C.
Scary birth defect high in Eastern Washington
4:55 p.m. Mothers in South-Central Washington are four times more likely to have a baby born with anencephaly than those in the rest of the country. This rare defect, in which a large part of the fetus’ brain or skull missing, is fatal. While Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties only had 7 reported cases last year, that’s still more than the expected one to two per year, the Yakima Herald reports. The Health Department has been investigating: looking at records, family history, food consumption and pesticides. So far, they haven’t found any commonalities. Although, folic acid — found in leafy greens, beans and citrus fruit — is one factor that reduces neural tube defects in pregnant women and access to fresh produce is low in Yakima County. — S.R.
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