This Week in Seattle: Paid family leave passes, bike shares hit the streets, income tax gets one step closer, and more

This Week in Seattle is your weekly dispatch of need-to-know news from the Emerald City. (BigStock Image)

Washington state passes one of the nation’s most generous paid leave programs

Washington state employees can now take up 18 weeks of paid leave to care for new children or sick loved ones. (Shutterstock Photo).

On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that gives Washington state employees up to 18 weeks of paid leave to care for new children or sick family members. The program also offers up to 12 weeks of paid medical leave for workers, though the total annual paid leave is capped at 16 weeks. Workers earning more than the state’s weekly average wage, $1,092, will be paid 50 percent of their wages while on leave. Those earning less than that threshold will receive 90 percent of their wages, with a weekly cap of $1,000. The program goes into effect in 2020. [Slate]

Seattle launches private bike share pilot

LimeBikes roll through Seattle’s Gas Works Park. (LimeBike Photo)

Friday was the official start of a pilot program designed to bring bike sharing to Seattle streets. The program launched thanks to newly-minted regulations that govern how private companies can operate bike shares in the city. Two companies — Spin and LimeBike — are launching this month. Both services are dockless (think Car2Go for bikes) and cost $1 for 30 minutes of ride time. The pilot program is meant to be an avenue toward permanent bike-sharing in Seattle but gives city officials six months to work out the regulatory kinks. [GeekWire]

City-wide income tax gets one step closer

Councilmember Lisa Herbold is pushing for a Seattle income tax. (Seattle City Council Photo)

This week, a Seattle City Council committee unanimously approved a plan to levy an income tax on the city’s wealthiest employees. Committee approval was a crucial step toward implementing the tax; it heads for a full council vote on Monday. If approved, there’s still a long road ahead for the tax, which would collect 2.25 percent of income from people earning $250,000 or more annually. Washington state’s constitution forbids local jurisdictions from collecting an income tax so it will almost certainly be challenged in court. [GeekWire]

Endorsements and underdogs in Seattle’s mayoral race

Council Member O’Brian is voting for Nikkita Oliver. (Photo via Facebook / Nikkita Oliver)

We’ve seen a long string of endorsements in Seattle’s crowded mayoral race this week. Council Member Mike O’Brien is casting his vote for lawyer and activist Nikkita Oliver. The Seattle Times is backing former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, while The Seattle Transit Blog is throwing its support behind former Washington state Rep. Jesse Farrell. The Urbanist is supporting urban planner Cary Moon. Meanwhile, Seattle Weekly has rounded up statements from the 14 long-shot candidates on why they’re running against the odds. [The Stranger, Seattle Transit Blog, The Seattle Times ]

Gov. Inslee vetos tax cut for manufacturing businesses

Jay Inslee
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. (Photo via Office of the Governor)

Gov. Inslee axed a portion of the Washington state budget deal that would have given “the business community a massive tax cut, while hiking property taxes on middle-class families to fully fund public schools,” according to a letter from the Democratic lawmakers who worked with Republicans to craft the last-minute budget deal. State Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) countered, saying ”what is good for Boeing should be good for the little guy as well.” [The Stranger, The Seattle Times]

Can’t get into SAM’s ‘Infinity Mirrors’ exhibit? Cheer yourself up with this artful sundae

The SAM Sundae. (Molly Moons Photo)

Local ice cream icon Molly Moons is selling a special sundae in honor of the exhibit that’s taking the Seattle Art Museum (and your Instagram feed) by storm. “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” is a blockbuster new exhibition that’s been sold out for weeks. The more accessible Molly Moons treat has vanilla ice cream, fudge, candied red adzuki beans, beetroot whipped cream, black sesame seeds, and cherry. [Seattle Met]