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AP - Oregon-Northwest

Here is the latest Washington news from The Associated Press at 9:40 p.m. PDT

SEATTLE (AP) — Police on Wednesday forcibly cleared out Seattle’s “occupied” protest zone after about two weeks in a situation that had attracted the complaints of local business owners and the ire of President Donald Trump during a number of Twitter posts. The order by Mayor Jenny Durkan followed two recent fatal shootings in the area. More than three dozen people were arrested during the early morning ouster, charged with failure to disperse, obstruction, assault and unlawful weapon possession. Durkan said later Wednesday she didn’t think most should be prosecuted on the misdemeanor charges. The zone was set up following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle City Council has taken a key step toward adopting a new tax on big businesses. The Seattle Times reports the council voted in a budget committee meeting Wednesday to advance a proposal expected to raise more than $200 million per year. Just two years ago, the council — under pressure from corporations such as Amazon and the prospect of a voter referendum — repealed a $47 million-per-year big business tax adopted weeks before. Lead sponsor and council member Teresa Mosqueda says the new tax would would target companies with many highly paid employees, whereas the 2018 “head tax” would have applied to all employees at large companies.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A judge has ruled that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee overstepped his authority with a series of one-sentence vetoes in last year’s transportation budget. The decision was handed down by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy late last week. The ruling invalidates the vetoes of provisions of the budget relating to grant funding for transit services that said fuel type could not be a factor in the grant selection process. The ruling was a win for the Democratic-led Legislature that filed suit against the Democratic governor last year.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — About 600 traps to catch invasive Asian giant hornets are being placed in Northwestern Washington’s Whatcom County by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, more than doubling the number already set out by citizens. The Capital Press reports the state traps are being placed around Blaine, Custer and Bellingham, the only places in the U.S. that the giant hornet has been found. The traps are being put on the edge of forested areas. Asian giant hornets are brutal to pollinators, known to decapitate honey bees and are the subject of wide fascination. Five Asian giant hornets have been found in Whatcom County since last winter. 

The Associated Press