Industry association asks for full 9th Circuit review of ruling on hotel workers healthcare mandate

Back in March, a three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the city in a legal challenge to the its ordinance mandating that hotels provide healthcare benefits to their employees. As expected, the plaintiffs in the case, the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), have asked the full Ninth Circuit to hear the case en banc.

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State Supreme Court decides who counts as “news media,” and it’s not this site.

Last week the Washington State Supreme Court handed down a decision in a case where it was asked to decide whether a guy with a YouTube channel counts as “news media” for the purposes of certain state laws. It said “no,” but in the process made a broad ruling that has serious consequences for small news sites such as SCC Insight. The Seattle times posted an editorial on the ruling this morning, in which it called this site “helpful.”  That may or may not be true, but in either case the editorial muddies the waters somewhat on the issues and …

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Gonzalez scolds Durkan over public records requests, but needs to get her own house in order (UPDATED)

For the past several days there have been ongoing revelations regarding mishandling of public records in the city’s executive branch, and particularly in the Mayor’s Office. In brief: for several months from late 2019 through mid-summer 2020, text messages from the city-issued phones of Mayor Durkan, SFD Chief Scoggins, and SPD Chief Best were not archived, and the problem wasn’t discovered until last summer. Once it was discovered and efforts to retrieve the lost texts failed, the Mayor’s Office tried to recreate them by contacting the people that the Mayor had texted. The Mayor’s Office then — allegedly at the …

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Council patching up payroll tax ordinance to try to avoid court defeat

Tomorrow afternoon the City Council will likely give its final approval to a modification to the “Jump Start” payroll tax ordinance it passed last summer. If you read the memo written by Council staff, you will see a feel-good story about the city making this change as a result of feedback from companies. But that’s not what’s really going on with this change: in truth, it’s an attempt to fix a potentially fatal flaw in the ordinance before a King County Superior Court judge hears a challenge to it next month.

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