Category Archives: The Other Washington

All Things Washington State

Washington State News Info and Political Action

THE Plastic Bag Ban STORY …it’s 2018 and the fight continues


SeattleWAthumbpix

first posted – Nov.2011

What’s the Problem?

Washingtonians use more than 2 billion  single-use plastic bags  each year, and Seattle alone uses approximately 292  million plastic  bags annually and only 13% are recycled.  Too many plastic  bags end up  in Puget Sound where they do not biodegrade.  Plastic bags break down  into smaller and  smaller pieces that remain hazardous as they are  consumed by filter-feeders,  shellfish, fish, turtles, marine mammals,  and birds. PCB levels in Chinook  salmon from Puget Sound are 3- to  5-times higher than any other West Coast  populations.

In 2010, a  beached gray whale was  found to have 20 plastic bags in its stomach!

Data source: Keeping Plastics Out of Puget Sound,  Environment Washington Report, November 2011

How would the plastic bag ban work?

by Mike O’brien

It’s simple – retailers are prohibited from offering plastic   carryout bags to customers.  Paper bags  may still be provided to  customers for a minimum of five cents – stores keep  the nickel to help  cover the cost of providing bags.  Everyone is encouraged to use  reusable bags.

What bags?

  • Banned Bags Include: plasticbags provided at checkout of all  retail stores (bags less than 2.25 ml thick and made from non‐renewable  sources).
  • Exclusions: bags used by shoppers in a store to package bulk  foods, meat, flowers, bakery goods or prescriptions; newspaper, door  hanger bags and dry cleaning bags.

What stores?

  • Where the policy applies: all retail stores including but not  limited to grocery stores, corner and convenience stores, pharmacies,  department stores, farmers markets, restaurants and catering trucks.
  • Where it’s not applicable: for take‐out food where there is a public health risk if a bag is not provided.

What about paper?

  • Retailers may provide paper bags made of at least 40% recycled  paper for a minimum 5 cent pass through cost that retailers keep to  offset the cost of providing bags.
  • Low income customers who qualify for food assistance programs shall be provided paper bags at no charge.

Joining cities on the West Coast and around the world

Seattle would join cities along the West Coast, hundreds of cities  across the country and twenty nations worldwide that have already taken  action to reduce the use of single use plastic bags.

  • San Francisco, CA – Banned plastic bags in 2007.
  • Los Angeles County – Banned Plastic bags November 2010; includes a 10 cent fee on paper bags.
  • Portland, OR – Banned plastic bags in summer 2011.
  • Edmonds, WA – Banned Plastic Bags in 2009; law was implemented in August 2010.
  • Bellingham, WA – Banned plastic bags in 2011, in the model outlined in this document;  legislation to be implement in summer 2012.
  • Washington DC – Implemented a 5 cent fee on paper and plastic bags in 2009; reduced  disposable bag use by 80% citywide in first year.

Background -Seattle

Approximately 292 million disposable  bags are used in the City  of Seattle annually.   In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance that  would have placed a 20 cent fee on disposable plastic and  paper bags  at grocery, drug and convenience stores in an effort to reduce  waste.   The ordinance passed the Council  in a 6-1 vote and then opposing  parties collected enough signatures to refer  the ordinance to the  ballot, where it was over-turned by the voters (53%-47%)  in the  November 2009 primary election.   The American Chemistry Council spent  over $1.4 million opposing the law during the ballot measure campaign.

As the ban on plastic bags is implemented and or enforced most checkers are asking if you would like to buy a cotton bag because there were no flimsy plastic available. Now, after finally getting those flimsy bags out some stores, others such as the Dollar store and Safeway came up with or possibly the plastic industry came up with a heavy-duty plastic supposedly reusable bag. I was at a Safeway and needed another bag. I honestly did not want to spend $5 and while I was looking around, I spotted a heavy-duty plastic Safeway logo on the bag with pretty colours.  I don’t don’t about you but this was a disappointing find on so many environmental official statewide ban levels though i admit it can be reused, it is quite large and was only .25 but they tear easily. I bought one to see how it would hold up and it lasted about 2hours

… so, the next question for king county is if they actually have folks checking in on stores selling heavy-duty reusable plastic bags

What plastic bags?   ugh

.beaseedforchangestickersGREEN

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2018 ~the New Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Requirements ~ more updates


Paid Sick Leave& Changes to the state minimum wage …

first posted 12/2017

The initiative I1433 sets future minimum wage rates

The initiative contains important language regarding tips and service charges

The initiative states that an employer must pay to its employees:

  • All tips and gratuities; and
  • All service charges as defined under RCW 49.46.160 (app.leg.wa.gov), except those that are itemized as not being payable to the employee or employees servicing the customer.
  • Tips and service charges paid to an employee may not offset the state minimum wage requirement.

Paid sick leave requirements

Starting January 1, 2018, employers in Washington will be required to provide their employees with paid sick leave.

Accrual

  • Paid sick leave must accrue at a minimum rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. This includes part-time and seasonal workers.
  • Paid sick leave must be paid to employees at their normal hourly compensation.
  • Employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick leave beginning on the 90th calendar day after the start of their employment.
  • Unused paid sick leave of 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year.
  • Employers are allowed to provide employees with more generous carry over and accrual policies.

Usage

  • Employees may use paid sick leave:
    • To care for themselves or a family member.
    • When the employees’ workplace or their child’s school or place of care has been closed by a public official for any health-related reason.
    • For absences that qualify for leave under the state’s Domestic Violence Leave Act.
  • Employers may allow employees to use paid sick leave for additional purposes.

we’re asking L&I to eliminate misleading minimum wage surcharges


We are Working Washington

Misleading minimum wage surcharges could soon be a thing of the past. Working Washington has sent an official request to the State Department of Labor & Industries calling on the agency to establish rules that would effectively eliminate misleading surcharges which pose as taxes or claim to go towards wages.

ADD YOUR NAME TO OUR LETTER TO L&I

min wage service charge
Despite what it says on these receipts, there is no such thing as the “Seattle Fair Wage Act” or a “WA Min Wage Fee.”

Paying the minimum wage is a basic cost of doing business, not an extra add-on to be counted separately. If there’s no line item for the rent and no napkin-laundering charge called out, then there’s no good reason to tack on an extra few percent and attribute it to the minimum wage — unless you’re trying to send a political message about opposition to raising the wage, that is.

For more than a year, we’ve collected examples of misleading minimum surcharges from across the state. We’ve asked businesses to eliminate these charges. We’ve published a list. We’ve gone to the press. And more.

We’ve had success turning back many of these charges — but others are still out there. (For example, the two pictured above.)

So now we’re taking the next step. We sent a letter to L&I asking them to use their authority under the law to clarify that:

  • Service charges can never pose as taxes or government-mandated fees.
  • Any surcharges that include the word “wage” or similar language are forbidden, because they will invariably be interpreted as intended to count towards employees’ wages, and that would be illegal under state law.
  • Workers must be made whole for service charges which inappropriately were counted towards wage obligations, as this is effectively wage theft.

Taken together, these three rules would effectively eliminate misleading minimum wage surcharges. That’s why we’re asking you to add your name in support.

After you add your name, we’ll deliver your signatures to L&I — and we’ll let you know how they respond.

Thanks. Let’s do this!

Sage, Working Washington

P.S. You can read our complete letter to L&I here.

Mount St. Helens : National Geographic … in memory of May 18


 … 36 years later

Mount St. Helens, Before the Blast … after

Photograph courtesy U.S. Forest Service

Reports are that Mount st. Helen has awakened with ongoing volcanic activity, and possibly spiking

Plumes of smoke rise from the Mount St. Helens crater two years after the blast.

Mount St. Helens looks serene in a photograph taken from the shores of Spirit Lake in Washington State in 1973—a few years before the volcano’s infamous 1980 eruption.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the blast, which killed 57 people and leveled hundreds of square miles of pristine old-growth forest.

“The eruption really caused drastic changes in the forest ecosystem,” said Mark Swanson, a forest ecologist at Washington State University.

Before the eruption, the dense forest cover meant there was little light and low wind speeds in the area. But afterward, Swanson said, “you had a very open system … with a layer of volcanic ash over most of it, varying in depth from hundreds of meters to just a few inches.”

—Ker Than

MORE MOUNT ST. HELENS COVERAGE   Mount St. Helens Still Highly Dangerous, 30 Years Later   Mount St. Helens Pictures: 30 Years Later   Mount St. Helens Interactive: Rebirth of the Blast Zone   “Mountain With a Death Wish” (1981 National Geographic Magazine Article)   Pictures: America’s Ten Most Dangerous Volcanoes   Mount St. Helens May Erupt for Decades, Scientists Suggest (2007)

Published May 18, 2010

Inslee signs executive order to protect Orcas and Chinook salmon


 Both species are iconic to Washington and a vital part of tourism, maritime industries

The bison of Montana, the alligators of Florida, the wild horses of Colorado — every state has a signature species it takes pride in.

Washington is lucky enough to have two iconic animals: orcas and salmon, whose destinies are both intertwined and in peril.

In Puget Sound, the population of Southern Resident killer whales has declined from 98 in 1995 to 76 today. The diets of southern resident orcas consist largely of Chinook salmon, but the Chinook are listed on federal and state endangered species lists. If the Chinook population continues to decline, the southern resident orca population will follow.

Recognizing the dire need to protect both these species, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order today outlining a strategy for southern resident orca and Chinook recovery.

The order instructs state agencies to outline immediate steps and long-term solutions to recover these species. The order also assembles a task force to bring together state agencies, tribal leaders, local governments, federal partners and other stakeholders to make recommendations at the state, regional and federal levels.

Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page. and the official Executive Order 18-02 is below

“The destiny of salmon and orca and we humans are intertwined,” the governor said at a news conference at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center in Seattle. “As the orca go, so go we.”

“This is a wake-up call,” Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman said, adding, “It’s going to take some pain. We’re going to have to make some sacrifices.”  also stated  below

Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman reiterated the urgency of protecting the southern residents.

“The orca whales are vital to our culture and spirituality as we are the first people on Puget Sound,” Forsman said. “They act as sentinels, observing our behavior and its impacts on the health of our waters. They bless us with their presence and depend on us to keep our sacred pact with the Creator to care for this beautiful land.”

“The orca dilemma is giving us a unique opportunity,” Solien said. “Our goal is to recover the orca, recover the salmon (and) improve the quality of life for everyone.”

Media Contact

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office
360.902.4136

March 14, 2018

comments & resources

govenor.wa.gov  japantimes.co.jp  medium.com