NEWS GLEAMS | Respect for Marriage Act Passes U.S. Senate; Seattle City Council Passes Biennial Budget

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨Gleaming This Week✨

U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill to Protect Same-Sex and Interracial Marriage

On Tuesday, with a bipartisan final vote of 61-36, the U.S. Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act to protect same-sex and interracial marriage. The House will need final approval for President Joe Biden to then sign it into law. The House is expected to approve it, considering it initially passed the bill in July 2022.

The Respect for Marriage Act does not mandate that all states must legalize same-sex marriage but does require individual states to recognize legal marriage conducted in other states. The legislation follows after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, in which the court’s majority opinion led to worries around the decision potentially having repercussions around legal protections and marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Seattle City Council Passes 2023–2024 Biennial Budget

On Tuesday, the Seattle City Council passed the final 2023–2024 Biennial Budget for the city in a 6-3 vote. It was supported by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold (District 1), Tammy J. Morales (District 2), Debora Juarez (District 5), Dan Strauss (District 6), Andrew J. Lewis (District 7), Teresa Mosqueda (Citywide; chair of the Select Budget Committee). Councilmembers Sara Nelson (Citywide), Kshama Sawant (District 3), and Alex Pedersen (District 4) voted no. Sawant has criticized the budget’s “austerity” measures; Pedersen and Nelson believe it falls short on public safety and homelessness.

As reported earlier in the Emerald, “The council’s budget amendments allocate funding for projects focused on affordable housing, homelessness, equitable development, economic reliance, the Green New Deal, as well as transportation and safe streets. The new budget also carves out money for programs related to health, youth, education, arts, and culture, including $4 million for mental health services in schools in response to the demand for more mental health providers in schools by students impacted by gun violence.”

The budget does not include funding for gunshot detection systems such as Shotspotter, which were previously proposed in Mayor Bruce Harrell’s budget.

According to reporting by the Emerald, “Research measuring the effectiveness of ShotSpotter technology indicates that it has a less than 1% success rate … A study conducted by the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law indicates that alerts rarely result in officers documenting instances of gun violence. The report used data from the City of Chicago and analyzed ShotSpotter alerts from July 1, 2019, to April 14, 2021. From their findings, researchers deduced that 89% of alerts resulted in no reports of gun-related crime, and 86% led to no report of any crime at all.”

The budget will now go to Mayor Bruce Harrell for approval. Once transmitted to his office, he will have 10 days to either add his signature or veto the budget; otherwise, it will go into effect.

See a detailed summary of City Council-added budget investments, along with an interactive guide to the nearly 200 budget amendments proposed by the council.

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