5 Reasons Why My Fellow Washington State Voters MUST Vote Yes For 1631

5 Reasons Why My Fellow Washington State Voters MUST Vote Yes For 1631

In just about two weeks, it'll be time to make sure we get our ballots turned in. And if you live in Washington state, this is why you need to vote for 1631.

Keleri
Keleri
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College is a really interesting time. It's the first taste of adulthood before we're thrown into the real world, and there are lots of things that we college students get to learn during this transition period. One of the more weighty parts of adulting happens to be coming up very soon: voting.

I know not everyone is registered to vote this year, but if you are, it isn't something that should be taken lightly. With our state laws especially, it's very important that you vote, because your voice matters. I'm writing this, fellow Washingtonians, to implore you to vote for 1631.

The first time I heard about 1631 was in a commercial while I was watching a show on Hulu, and it was against the measure. Then, not even five minutes later, I saw another commercial, this time in support of the measure. With all the information being tossed around right now about it, it can be pretty hard to distinguish what the measure is actually about and what it will do. I did some research, and read the measure for myself. This is what I learned.

1. 1631 is NOT a tax

For some reason, everyone seems to think that 1631 is a tax. When really it's actually just a fee. The difference lies in how the funds received can be used. The revenue from taxes can be used for any governmental function that is determined to have a public purpose by lawmakers. In other words, the money can pretty much be used for whatever the government wants as long as it seems like there's a public purpose behind it.

Fees, on the other hand, are a lot more specific. The money gained from fees can only very specifically be used for providing services, benefits, or to reduce the effects of said fee. NOT for general government purposes.

2. 1631 isn't directed at consumers

Another thing that people seem to be very afraid of is the idea of paying more money into the government, and that's not what the point of this measure is at all. What the measure does is create a fee for the state's large emitters of pollution. The fee will start out with $15 per metric ton of carbon content (in 2020) and will increase by $2 each year until our state's greenhouse gas reduction goal (to be completed by 2035) is met and it seems to be on the path to meeting the state's 2050 goal.

At this point, the fee will no longer increase, except to be adjusted with inflation. So the measure isn't even technically directed at the consumers. Is there a risk that companies will try to offset the cost of the fee by raising prices? Yes, that is definitely a risk. But if they take the steps to instead reduce their greenhouse gas output, the fee that the large emitters have to pay will be less. So overall it would benefit them more to just go along with the changes and decrease their pollution.

3. The exemptions are not what you think

One of the biggest points of controversy with 1631 is that people think it excuses the state's biggest polluters. While it is true that there are exemptions for the fee, these exemptions are very specific. The first exemption excuses coal closure facilities that are legally bound to comply with greenhouse gas emission performance standards by December 31, 2025.

This includes every coal closure facility that emitted more than one million tons in any calendar year prior to 2008. There are five oil refineries in Washington state, and three of those fall underneath the top 10 emitters in the state. Due to a law passed in 2011, all five of these oil refineries are required to either maintain an energy efficiency that is above-average when compared to the rest of the state or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

Washington's biggest emitter is the TransAlta Power Plant in Centralia. In 2014 they produced seven point four million metric tons of greenhouse gases, almost triple that of the state's second highest polluter. A lot of people are outraged because 1631 completely exempts this power plant, but the reason why it's exempt is because it's already set to close down its coal plant by 2025.

In 2011, the TransAlta Energy Transition Bill was signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire, and it requires the TransAlta plant to cease half of its coal-burning by 2020 and the other half by 2025. They're already trying to develop the transition from coal burning to other energy resources such as wind and solar, which is why this plant is exempt. The other exemptions are less controversial and are mainly designed to avoid unnecessary fees.

4. There is a set plan to hand the money

While the measure doesn't have exact plans for how the funds from this fee will be spent, it is specific on how it will be distributed and managed. In the writing of the measure, it specifically states that 70% of the money must be put in the Clean Air and Clean Energy Fund, 25% must be put into the Clean Water and Healthy Forests fund. The remaining 5% must be put into the Healthy Communities Fund.

Moreover, these funds are run by committee and the public board that will be created by the measure, headed by the chair of the board, who has to have knowledge about and a demonstrated commitment to reducing pollution and moving towards a cleaner energy society. The committees will also include tribal members and representatives of the lower-income communities that might be affected by the measure so that they are able to receive help if they should need it.

Obviously, I haven't covered everything in the bill, but if I haven't convinced you to vote for it, I can at least hope you'll do more research on it so that you can make the most educated decision before you submit your ballot. Happy voting!

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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7 Confirmed Candidates For The 2020 Presidential Election We Need To Watch

The 2020 presidential elections are nearing.

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Recently, it seems like the country is getting more and more polarized, and with that, many politicians are coming forward to throw their name in the bucket for potentially taking the current president's title. Below is a list of a few notable candidates that may or may not be taking Trump's crown, and that we should definitely follow in this extremely interesting political climate.

1. President Donald Trump (R)

So far, Trump is the only Republican who has come forward. He quickly confirmed that he was running for re-election back in June 2017. Democrats will definitely work on nominating someone who has a chance against Trump.

2. Senator Kamala Harris (D)

Senator Kamala Harris announced her running on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She declared her principal goal to be raising incomes for working people. In addition, she's an advocate for Medicare for All, claims that she will push for reform of the cash bail system, and has championed the legalization of marijuana on a federal level as a way to dismantle the "failed war on drugs."

3. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her candidacy on CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on January 15. Her main platforms consist of a populist economic agenda, fighting for victims of sexual assault, women's rights, and gender equality.

4. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D)

Representative Tulsi Gabbard announced her bid to become America's first female president on January 24. She made history when she became the first Hindu elected to Congress. Gabbard is likely to run as an economic and social progressive, similar to Sanders. Once known as a progressive star though, she has started to alienate her early supporters over her conservative stances on Islam and foreign wars.

5. Senator Cory Booker (D)

Senator Cory Booker announced he was running for president through a video tweet on February 1. He believes in promoting diversity, and has said "We have such a great field of leaders, I think you'll rarely see a Democratic ticket anymore without gender diversity, race diversity…I'm not going to box myself in, but should I come to it, you know I'll be looking to women first."

6. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D)

Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her candidacy at a Massachusetts rally on February 9. She believes that she can help rebuild the middle class and give opportunities to working families in tougher situations. In addition, she is fighting for more transparency in the White House (after Trump has refused to release any of his tax returns) and hopes to reign in corporate power (which is giving Wall Street a scare).

7. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D)

Senator Amy Klobuchar announced she was running for president at a rally in Minnesota on February 10. Some of her recent priorities include lowering the cost of prescription drugs, protecting online privacy, and addressing sexual harassment. Although she may not be as popular as the other current Democratic candidates, her policies are more moderate and she believes in bipartisanship, and that may be what the Democrats need in order to win against the Republicans.

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