Racial disparities, poverty the focus of state budget and policy summit

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Panelist Sheila Capestany, King County strategic advisor for children and youth [Photo by Kelsey Hamlin]

At a $70-per-ticket summit on December 7, attendees discussed Washington state’s budget and how to change it to benefit marginalized people and close wealth gaps.

“When progressives get together we usually agree with one another and vent about Trump and whatever,” said Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a featured speaker at the Washington State Budget & Policy Center’s (WSBPC) Budget Matters Policy Summit. “A lot of times we talk about survival and we don’t take the next step to talk about prosperity. As long as we only focus on survival and we only focus on justice, the gap between the haves and the have-nots is going to get bigger.”

Via International Examiner

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NAACP Advocates for Ethnic Studies in Seattle Public Schools

by Kelsey Hamlin

It’s been well documented that Seattle has a problem when it comes to racial gaps in learning, discipline, and opportunities for all of its school children. Some of these systemic issues can be traced all the way back to redlining, Seattle’s historic practice of effectively restricting designated residential areas to certain races.

via NAACP Advocates for Ethnic Studies in Seattle Public Schools — South Seattle Emerald

Conversation on homelessness focuses on Legislature


Dimitri Groce (left), member organizer for WA Low Income Housing Alliance, explains … (Photo by Cathy You)

Approximately 15 people gathered in the University Congregational Church on Wednesday morning to discuss homelessness and mobilization for homeless services and affordable housing.

A very tall man wearing sweats, a black UW sweatshirt, and a beanie sat in the back. He goes by Bryan, and didn’t want to be identified in this article given his current situation.

Bryan just recently became homeless, and is still dealing with the life-altering shock of what that means in his mind. Right now he’s living in the recently moved Tent City 3, which now sits on the UW Seattle campus in parking lot W35. The area can host up to 99 people.

“I’m three weeks in,” Bryan said of being homeless. “It just happened. We had plans, and it fell through last minute.”

He recounted a housing situation that left him and his girlfriend living in a box truck they had bought for moving.

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As session wanes, action urged to toughen DUI statutes

Washington has some of the most lax laws when it comes to DUI offenses, get-tough proponents say. It isn’t until the fifth charge in a 10-year period that a repeat offender can face a felony conviction.
OLYMPIA — With the legislative session scheduled to end Thursday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers Monday pushed for the passage of three bills that would strengthen DUI penalties.

Bill would allow permanent protection orders for sexual assault victims

Advocates for sexual-assault victims note that repeated petitions for civil protection orders force them to relive the trauma. Legislation in Olympia would give judges the option of making the orders permanent.
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OLYMPIA — Victims of sexual assault could apply for permanent restraining orders instead of repeatedly returning to the courthouse to ask a judge for help, under legislation that is gaining wide approval in the Legislature.
Currently, sexual-assault protection orders have expiration dates of up to two years. They are the only protection orders that come with a time limit, unlike protection orders for domestic-violence victims, for instance.

Cursive is a dying art, and a state lawmaker gets nowhere with attempt to revive it

A Washington state senator’s attempt to make it mandatory in public schools didn’t even get a committee vote. Educators say their time is at a premium — and that typing is a much more practical skill.
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OLYMPIA — Upon hearing from a teacher that her son’s handwriting needed some work, Suzi Allan, of Bonney Lake, sought help. She asked when his class would be learning cursive. But like many schools, Victor Falls Elementary doesn’t teach it.
No doubt about it, cursive is dying. Around the country, school districts have been backing out, citing, increasing demands on teachers’ time, a need to focus on the Common Core and other state standards, and the fact that we’re in the digital age.