It’s only been 150 years since the signing of the Treaty of Point Elliott, yet the federal government still hasn’t recognized the Duwamish Tribe as its own distinct nation.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Seattle) introduced legislation to correct that, pointing out in a statement he released that the Duwamish were originally promised recognition in the 1855 treaty and again six years ago at the end of the Clinton administration.
When President Bush took office, however, he killed the tribe’s recognition. Appeals by the Duwamish since then have gone nowhere.
The tribe “has been treated unfairly, even rudely in this matter,” McDermott said in a statement. “Federal recognition of the Duwamish Tribe is appropriate and would right a wrong.”
Wal-Mart to pay?
A bill that would have made the state’s largest employers — namely, Wal-Mart stores — kick in 9 percent of their payroll to health benefits didn’t get far in last year’s legislature. But with a new year comes a new bill.
Last week, Rep. Steve Conway (D-Tacoma) introduced a new “Wal-Mart bill” that takes a new route: making Wal-Mart and employers of 1,000 or more workers reimburse the state for the cost of health care services used by their employees through the Basic Health Plan or Medicaid.
Conway says the Washington Taxpayer Health Care Fairness Act (HB 2094 and its Senate companion, SB 5977, sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle) would affect about 200 companies in the state and allow exceptions for the ones that employ the disabled or people just getting off welfare.
Beyond that, “It’s shameful the state should be subsidizing large corporations for their health care benefits,” Conway says. “Many of these employers are taking advantage of those state health care plans for the purpose of reducing their labor costs so they can make more profit.”
Plans for a NASCAR speedway in their county are getting a boost from non-local representatives.
House Bill 2062, introduced Feb. 7 by 14 Democrats and eight Republicans, would establish a public raceway authority to oversee the construction of a $368 million, 83,000-person outdoor arena in a part of the state with at least 400,000 inhabitants. Kitsap citizens have reason to expect lawmakers mean to put it on their side of the Sound; Bremerton’s mayor has indicated his willingness to annex land for the track. Speedway boosters want $145 million in tax money for the project.
Linda Webb, acting chair of CHECK, points out that all but one of the Kitsap Peninsula’s state representatives are publicly opposing the track.
“If Snohomish or King County legislators like Hans Dunshee or Geoff Simpson want a NASCAR track,” she says, “they should put it in Snohomish or King County, not here.”
For copy of actual issue, go to https://www.realchangenews.org/2007/02/14/feb-14-2007-entire-issue