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Delays across George Washington Bridge as NYPD monitors bridges for protests

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Delays across George Washington Bridge as NYPD monitors bridges for protests


NEW YORK (WABC) — There are major delays on the George Washington Bridge on Wednesday morning as police are monitoring what is expected to be a heavy protest day.

Port Authority has one lane closed in both directions, leading to delays up to an hour inbound.

This is breaking news. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Washington

ACLU sues Washington to stop “Parents Bill of Rights” from becoming law

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ACLU sues Washington to stop “Parents Bill of Rights” from becoming law


A group of legal advocacy organizations filed a lawsuit against the state of Washington Thursday to prevent a hotly debated voter initiative from taking effect next month.

The organizations claim that the measure, Initiative 2081, conflicts with youth privacy laws and could “result in harm to LGBTQ+ students, youth of color, and students from other marginalized backgrounds,” according to a press release. A court hearing on the lawsuit could happen next week.

I-2081 was one of three Republican-backed voter initiatives that the Legislature approved in March. It’s known as the so-called “Parents Bill of Rights” and outlines more than a dozen rights for parents to oversee their kids’ education and school medical records.

At the time, Democratic lawmakers who decided to vote for the measure said they support parents being involved in their children’s schooling but were concerned about the possibility that the measure didn’t mesh well with existing education policy. A legislative staff analysis showed much of the langauge in I-2081 is duplicative, or in some cases less precise, than state and federal regulations around parental access to school materials and student records — and some lawmakers interpreted this to mean than the measure wouldn’t drastically change current practices.

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Several legislators have vowed to keep a close watch on the implementation of I-2081, and said they’d be quick to make changes to the law if it caused harm to young people, particularly LGBTQ youth, or confusion among school administrators.

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties of Washington, Qlaw, and Legal Voice jointly filed a lawsuit on behalf of 10 plaintiffs to prevent the measure from taking effect on June 6.

The lawsuit alleges that the measure violates the state constitution.

“Our state constitution requires that new laws properly identify how they impact existing laws, and 2081 fails to do that,” said Adrien Leavitt, ACLU staff attorney. “The way that the initiative was written is confusing, and it’s vague and it’s misleading — and it doesn’t explain what important rights that it actually impacts for the youth that attend our state’s public schools.”

The plaintiffs in the case include several nonprofits, like Lavender Rights Project, Sexual Violence Law Center and MomsRising. Two individuals, as well as South Whidbey School District, are also named as plaintiffs in the case.

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“Black and Indigenous students rely upon sexual health resources, information, and care within public schools and school-based clinics, and to erode confidentiality in those spaces will acutely impact those students,” Leavitt added.

The lawsuit is the latest development in an ongoing saga of recent voter initiative action in Washington.

A group called Let’s Go Washington started working in 2023 to qualify a handful of voter initiatives for consideration in this year’s legislative session, including I-2081.

Let’s Go Washington founder Brian Heywood said in a statement that the ACLU’s lawsuit is antidemocratic.

“The ACLU has made their disdain for the democratic process abundantly clear,” Heywood said. “We expect [Attorney General] Bob Ferguson to uphold his duty within the law to protect the will of the people and shut down this frivolous attempt by the ACLU to deprive parents of their civil liberties.”

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Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) chairs the Washington State Republican party and filed the paperwork for I-2081. He called the lawsuit an attack on rights for families.

“ACLU Washington is damaging its credibility by aligning with several radical left organizations to file an eccentric lawsuit,” he wrote in a text message.

Once I-2081 received enough support from registered voters to be considered in Olympia, Republicans were eager to hold hearings and pass the measure into law. Democrats, who have majority control in the Legislature, expressed concerns about the initiative, but enough of them voted with Republicans to approve it.

Legislative leaders said in March their decision to approve I-2081 and two other voter initiatives was multifaceted. One major point of consideration: Enacting these initiatives in the Legislature – as opposed to letting voters decide on them – preserved lawmakers’ ability to make prompt adjustments to those measures once they became law.

Three additional initiatives are going to the ballot in November. If voters pass any of these initiatives, changing them would require a two-thirds majority in the Legislature for the first two years the voter-approved policies are in effect — a relatively high bar to meet. Legislature-approved initiatives, meanwhile, can be adjusted just like any other part of state law.

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1880 church lends character to new D.C. condos

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1880 church lends character to new D.C. condos


When residents of the Madison condos in the Kingman Park neighborhood of Northeast Washington collect their mail they can gaze up into the interior of a church spire that rises more than 20 feet above a stained-glass window in the mailroom. The nine-unit condominium building, which began sales in March, preserved the facade of the 1880 church while replacing the rest with new construction.



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Childcare in Washington DC gets more expensive

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Childcare in Washington DC gets more expensive


WASHINGTON — Washington is one of the most expensive cities in the nation to live. And needing childcare in the city only ups the price. A newly implemented city regulation is making the situation even more unsustainable for families.

This regulation was first drafted in 2016. Its goal is to protect the “health, safety and welfare” of Washington’s children. It also wants to promote an environment of “high-quality” education, according to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Essentially, the new regulation would require much of Washington’s childcare staff to have a college degree. 

Click here to read more about the requirements the regulation imposes on each staff type.

The regulation has not gone without objections. According to the Institute for Justice, a libertarian non-profit public interest law firm,  it could force a lot of Washington’s good childcare staff off the job. The Institute cites issues such as the cost of getting a college degree as well as the time needed as barriers.

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However, the OSSE states that some childcare staff can apply for a waiver to continue working.

This will depend on how long they’ve been working in childcare and their level of education.

Justin Zuckerman a producer at Reason Magazine, recently joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to give some insight on Washington’s new regulation on childcare.

A portion of the transcript, edited for brevity, is below.

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ZUCKERMAN: A lot of these daycare teachers are working moms or they’re elderly and retired. They just don’t have time to go back to college. So, it’s created a lot of frustration for directors, for the teachers, for parents. And, a lot of people are also leaving the city now because of it.

MATHESON: Obviously, everyone wants quality daycare. Everyone wants kids to be safe in daycare. But is this law equating a college degree with better quality services and care for the kids? Is that actually the correlation and the connection or is that just a piece of regulation?

Does a degree mean better childcare?

ZUCKERMAN:  The science behind this says, for the most part, that daycare teachers who have bachelor’s degrees, those children tend to do better. But the science doesn’t actually say that it’s because of the bachelor’s degree.

Something like that is such a high standard that those kinds of daycares would cost a lot of money. It’s typically wealthier families who would put their kids in those programs.

Children from wealthy families tend to do better at school. The scientific paper that this new law is based off of even admits that they don’t have conclusive empirical evidence that having a college degree actually leads to better outcomes for kids or makes you a better teacher.

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In the position of assistant teacher, you’re only required to have an associate’s degree in any field. So, you don’t even have to take a single class in early childhood education. You just need to have an associate’s degree in anything and you’re technically qualified.

What about other degrees?

MATHESON: And without it, you’re not, right? Even if it’s in underwater basket weaving, as long as you have that you’re in, if you don’t you’re out. I thought one of the other things that was really interesting in your piece, Justin, was a comment from one of the preschool directors saying that it’s not just taking the education, it’s experience. And so describe how this particular regulation in the city could impact the experience portion of getting to better daycare.

ZUCKERMAN: A lot of these daycare workers are women. And a lot of them have been working in this field for decades. They have experience that they say you simply can’t replicate or gain with a college degree.

It just comes with working in the fields for so long. If they do have a degree, you need a degree in early childhood education to be a lead teacher. If you have a degree in anything else, you’re still not technically qualified.

 People who have been working for more than 10 years, can apply for a waiver. But, like that director who you spoke of, she has 11 teachers who applied for waivers with the superintendent’s office. They’ve been waiting for months and they have not heard back. It’s very difficult for these workers. They have no idea what their status is.

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(The entire podcast can be heard above or by visiting the KSL NewsRadio podcast page.)

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 to 3 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook. 

Devin Oldroyd is a digital content producer for KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on X. 

Related local coverage: Unaffordable childcare plagues Utah families

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