In the Media

Monday, June 29, 2020 - 12:18pm
The Bellingham Herald

Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary John Wiseman announced Saturday, June 27, that the Washington Department of Health “is putting a pause” on counties moving into Phase 4 under the “Safe Start” plan.

Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:25pm
Seattle Times

With families out of work this spring because of the coronavirus, and with college courses reduced to prerecorded lectures and Zoom discussions, many experts predicted that enrollment would decline precipitously this fall.

So far, projections at the state’s two research universities, University of Washington and Washington State University, are holding up well.

It’s a different story, though, at Central Washington and Eastern Washington universities, which expect enrollment to fall by 10% or more. 

Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:22pm
The Spokesman-Review

Citing a grim revenue forecast in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eastern Washington University’s board of trustees on Thursday unanimously approved an operating budget for fiscal 2021 that’s estimated to be $22.5 million, or nearly 8%, smaller than the budget for the current fiscal year.

The trustees approved only an “aggregate” budget that accounts for projected drops in state funding and an ongoing enrollment decline, and it remains to be seen how cuts will be distributed across departments.

Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:16pm
The Bellingham Herald

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a plan Wednesday to allow for college campuses to reopen in the fall.

Depending on the spread of the virus, the governor’s proclamation said universities, colleges, technical schools and apprenticeship programs will be able to resume in-person classes starting Aug. 1 as long as they follow certain requirements.

Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:13pm
The Bellingham Herald

Whatcom County’s Health Department is overwhelmed by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and is falling behind in contact tracing of infected people amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

Further, local medical clinics and the Health Department aren’t testing people quickly enough to let their patients know if they have COVID-19 in time to take precautions against infecting others.

Monday, June 22, 2020 - 1:42pm
The Bellingham Herald

Fully reopening the U.S.-Canadian border is going to take time, and it will be even longer before cross-border shopping and visits recover.

That’s one of the assessments made by a group of panelists during a Western Washington University presentation held via Zoom on Friday, June 19. Three experts talked about the future of the border in the presentation, which was moderated by Laurie Trautman, director at Western’s Border Policy Research Institute.

Friday, June 19, 2020 - 1:26pm
The Bellingham Herald

Unemployment and jobless data will probably continue to bounce around quite a bit, said Hart Hodges, co-director at the Center for Economic and Business Research at Western Washington University. It will be volatile because the economic collapse was swift and various rescue programs will impact the data in different ways.

For example, some companies have kept their paying workers with the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Many of the businesses involved in that program had eight-week loans. With those loans expiring, some companies are still unable to rehire all their workers due to capacity restrictions in early reopening phases, leading to layoffs. The timing of the loans, how fast a business can reopen and how many employees are needed are some of the factors creating labor force volatility, Hodges said in an email.

Smaller manufacturing businesses are also trying to manage a lot of uncertainty, Hodges said, noting several companies have told him that demand has not been steady.

Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 1:13pm
The Bellingham Herald

The COVID-19 pandemic has blown an $8.8 billion hole in Washington state’s budget through mid-2023, potentially triggering new taxes and spending cuts if the economy remains in a deep recession.

The state on Wednesday said revenue could decline by $4.5 billion through the end of June 2021 in the $53 billion operating budget and by $4.3 billion in the two-year budget that lawmakers will adopt next year.

Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 9:20am
Associated Press

 The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants, his second stunning election-season rebuke from the court in a week after Monday’s ruling that it’s illegal to fire people because they’re gay or transgender.

For now, the young immigrants retain their protection from deportation and their authorization to work in the United States.

The 5-4 outcome, in which Chief Justice John Roberts and the four liberal justices were in the majority, seems certain to elevate the issue in Trump’s campaign, given the anti-immigrant rhetoric of his first presidential run in 2016 and immigration restrictions his administration has imposed since then.

Monday, June 15, 2020 - 2:19pm
Associated Press

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment, a resounding victory for LGBT rights from a conservative court.

The court decided by a 6-3 vote that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title VII that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against LGBT workers.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the court. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”