Other than THAT, how did voting go this year?

November 9, 2016

Gregr

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Look, although the election has come to a close, it's going to take awhile for everyone to assess what is actually happening on a national scale. A lot of people are scared. A lot of people are happy. All of these people live in the same country and we are certainly in store for some interesting conversations with our peers and neighbors.

That being said, let's move away from national politics for a second, which tend to dominate the conversation (albeit for good reason), and let's take a look at how the voting went in our own back yard, because some stuff, some important stuff happened.

Light Rail (Proposition 1)
APPROVED (54.8% approval)

The Light Rail is getting all new digs (and keeping the old ones, too). Now that it has passed, over the next 25 years, Sound Transit will add 62 new miles of light rail connecting Everett, Tacoma, Ballard and West Seattle, and across to the East to get you to Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and Issaquah.  

Hotel Workers (Initiative 124)
APPROVED ( 77.3% approval)

The initiative to provide extra protection to hotel workers was approved with overwhelming support. The new law will require hotels to provide some hotel employees with panic buttons, keep tabs on problematic guests, set more realistic workloads and help thousands gain health care, among other things.

District 7 Congressional Seat
Pramila Jayapal defeats Bradley Piñero-Walkinshaw

This is pretty big from a congressional standpoint. With her win, Pramila Jayapal is now the first Indian-American woman elected to Congress. EVER. She fills the spot that was left by retiring U.S. Representative Jim McDermott. She plans to push for a nationwide $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Speaking of minimum wage...

State Minimum Wage (Initiative 1433 )
APPROVED (59.5% Approval)

Washington voters voted to raise the state minimum wage and to make employers offer paid sick leave! Under the new law, the state minimum will get bumped up to $13.50 by 2020. Starting January 1, 2017, the state's minimum will be $11 per hour (up from the planned $9.53). Paid sick leave begins in 2018.

Senator, Governor & Lt. Governor

Current State Senator Patty Murray and Governor Jay Inslee get to keep their spots, but Inslee has a new Lieutenant in Cyrus Habib, who is now the countries highest-ranking Iranian-American elected official. Habib is a cancer survivor and lost his eyesight as a child due to the disease.

Other votes...

Washington voters APPROVED an initiative that will allow court-ordered temporary bands on access to firearms and an initiative that exempts people from gaining info about in-home caregivers and clients, and voters REJECTED a statewide carbon tax. 

Also, Advisory Votes are non-binding, but they give the legislature an idea of how we want them to act on tax increases/decreases they did throughout the year. Washington voters told congress to "repeal" a tax break for people buying clean energy cars. 


Like I said, a lot of stuff got voted on. While our new president was determined and it's going to cause quite a bit of division, it's important to remember that your voice matters. Your influence in your community can be greater than you currently imagine. If you are unhappy with the system, it's time to work to change it, if you aren't already.

 

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