Central American kids may soon call JBLM home
3:26 p.m. Six hundred children from Central America, who crossed the Mexican border unaccompanied, may be about to be housed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, according to a KIRO 7 report. The decision is expected to be made public as early as today. Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson and many community members fear that housing the children will place an unfair burden on state government , or spread communicable diseases. (The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the the children will pose no public-health risk). Local social and religious groups, on the other hand, have stepped forward with offers to help the children.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has already placed unaccompanied children from South America on three military bases in Texas, California and Oklahoma. If JBLM is picked, it could be the final base selected to house children, according to The Seattle Times. — E.W.
Drones, the future protector of Idaho potatoes?
2:54 p.m. Idaho’s agricultural drones apparently will make today’s farming equipment look like horse-drawn ploughs. The state has become an aerial oasis for research involving agricultural drones, which can alert growers of crop diseases, inadequate moisture content and a host of other problems, according to an Idaho Statesman report. Northwest Nazarene University, the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and Boise State University are some of the main players in the research, powered up by big state and federal grants. The Idaho Department of Commerce plans to open an office devoted to organizing drone research for commercial partners in the coming year, fertile soil for making Idaho a drone manufacturing destination. (The Statesman has a short video report here.) — E.W.
Tax breaks: Thinking about ending 1
2:48 p.m. State tax-exemption review staffers have recommended closing one tax break in the 2015 legislative session, mainly because no one is using it. In Olympia, the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee -- a bipartisan commission of state senators and representatives -- heard its staff make the recommendations on 24 tax breaks in the aerospace and food processing industries Wednesday. The staff recommended ending a break on sales taxes for materials used in aerospace prototypes; no company is using the break currently. Still, JLARC member Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, protested, "Why terminate something just because no one is using it right now?”.
The staff also recommended that the Legislature clarify what it wants with 20 of those tax breaks, such as providing numerical goals to measure success and setting intended expiration dates. It also recommended three tax breaks be continued.
Since 2007 the JLARC has recommended continuing 127 tax breaks, seeking clarification on 61 others, allowing nine to naturally expire and to terminate seven. The Legislature has not actually terminated any of those seven. – J.S.
Parks measure gets 2 nods
2:44 p.m. With ballots for the Aug. 5 primary going to the Post Office today, the supporters of Seattle’s Proposition 1, which would create a new metropolitan parks district, are riding a bit of momentum. The Municipal League of King County recommended a yes vote on the plan yesterday. "[E]stablishing a sustainable funding source for parks is preferable to the existing method of using periodic levies that have emphasized capital projects over basic maintenance,” they wrote. It was a nicely balanced statement, noting that the Muni League would prefer the city council and mayor kept more funding within the general fund, but concluding that the parks are critically important to residents. The Stranger also just came out with its editorial recommendation in favor of Prop 1. Balanced? Well, not so much. — J.C.
Pot initiative star eyeing Sawant's seat
1:57 p.m. Alison Holcomb, the ACLU attorney who wrote the marijuana legalization initiative, told The Seattle Weekly this morning that she is thinking seriously about a run for Seattle City Council next year. If she runs, it would likely be for the new district council seat representing Capitol Hill, Madison Park and parts of the Central District. Holcomb would be a formidable candidate, The Weekly's Ellis Conklin notes, but Sawant and her Socialist supporters would likely wage a formidable campaign. Assuming, of course, that Sawant doesn't think she's ready for bigger things by then. — J.C.
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