STA Central City Line
The Spokane Transit Authority is moving forward with plans to build the voter-approved, 6-mile Central City Line from Browne’s Addition to the Spokane Community Colleges, though Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate the grant program that local officials had hoped would fund $54 million of the $72 million cost. The STA board voted earlier this month to apply for the federal grant in hopes that Congress ignores the recommendation. The line would have several new stations and operate on battery-powered buses.
Trump’s decision to cut the number of refugees allowed into the country this year from 110,000 to 50,000 has affected how many refugees will come to Spokane. The higher number, which was set last year by President Barack Obama, was up from 85,000 in 2016 and 70,000 the three years before that. World Relief Spokane had expected to help resettle 700 refugees from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. The group now expects to resettle about 400. Last year, the agency resettled 597 people.
The status of two national monuments in Washington are under review after Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to reconsider national monuments created since 1996. Hanford Reach National Monument along the Columbia River north of Richland, which was created by presidential order in 2000, falls into that category. So does San Juan Islands National Monument, which was created in 2013.
Trump’s selection for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, takes a hard line against marijuana legalization. Comments he made earlier this year led to fears among marijuana legalization backers that he may rollback the Obama administration’s decision to back off prosecution of some federal marijuana crimes. Those fears declined this week after Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper met with Sessions and said he didn’t think a major change in policy was eminent, according to the Denver Post. But the governor also said Obama’s policies remain under review.
Fairchild Air Force Base
Trump has proposed a $52 billion budget increase in defense spending, a potential boost to Fairchild Air Force Base. But his proposal doesn’t have enough details to say how much might end up benefiting operations at Fairchild or other military installations in the state. Still, Trump has made increasing military spending a priority.
Trump has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood. One proposal, which was included in plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, would have barred Medicaid funding to to the group. Medicaid funding already can’t be used for abortions, so that money is used by the organization for other procedures, including cancer screenings and disease testing. Medicaid funding currently makes up about 60 percent of the budget for Planned Parenthood’s four locations in the Congressional district that includes Spokane, according to the organization
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