Friday Roundup: Online political ads, hope for humanities grads, inclusionary zoning, and a possible Seattle “head tax”

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Governing Magazine: Facebook’s brewing legal battle with cities and states

In early December last year, a reporter for The Stranger walked into the Seattle offices of Facebook, printouts of the city code in hand, to ask for detailed information about online ad purchases for the city’s 2017 elections.

Two months later, the city is on the brink of fining Facebook for failing to turn over the requested information. It’s the first attempt by any state or locality to enforce its political advertising disclosure laws on a social media company. Facebook is facing a $5,000 penalty per ad.

According to experts in campaign finance and advertising disclosure, this is likely just the beginning of states and cities’ attempts to crack down on the secrecy surrounding political ads on the internet.

Seattle Times: Report busts myth of unemployable humanities grads

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences wants you to know that studying the humanities is not a career-killing dead end. In “The State of the Humanities 2018,” released last week, the national academy makes the case that humanities majors are doing just fine when it comes to pay, job satisfaction and career advancement.

And the report comes on the heels of a new Microsoft e-book on artificial intelligence, which discusses an important role that the social sciences and humanities will have in the development and management of artificial intelligence.

These are jobs that often require a trade certificate or a two-year degree.

The News Tribune: Half of Pierce County workers could be replaced by robots, analysis shows

Roughly half of workers in Pierce County have jobs a University of Oxford study rated as having a high probability of becoming automated in the future, including positions in retail, food prep, truck driving, and the labor industry…

Many of these workers may be unable to relocate or retrain for a new, higher-qualifying job should their current position become obsolete, according to Jacob Vigdor, a professor with the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington.

Seattle Times: Seattle panel closing in on plan to fund homeless aid with a business “head tax”

A Seattle task force will start wrapping up its work Thursday, setting the stage for the City Council to pass a new tax on high-grossing businesses like Amazon….

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which represents 2,200 companies, including heavy hitters like Amazon, declined an invitation because its members saw no point in serving on a panel wedded to an idea they oppose, said Markham McIntyre, chief of staff.

Though the council resolution that created the task force leaves room for the panel to explore other “progressive” revenue tools, it says the recommendations should include an evaluation of a head tax capable of raising $25 million to $75 million a year.

New Geography: Inclusionary zoning flops in Portland

As the price of housing continues to rise in many cities, one popular progressive policy idea to address it is inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning requires that a certain percentage of units in a building be priced at below market, targeted at people who earn some fraction of the area median income. Often this set aside is required in exchange for density bonuses or other things the developer might want.

Portland passed one of these, and according to a report in the Portland Mercury, construction fell off a cliff…

Stateline: Trump’s historic Medicaid shift goes beyond work requirements

The administration signaled late last year that it welcomes state-based ideas to retool Medicaid and “help individuals live up to their highest potential.” At least 10 states have requested waivers that would allow them to impose work requirements and other obligations.

For example: They would require more recipients to contribute small monthly premiums. They would insist on monthly paperwork. They would impose lifetime limits on coverage. And they would kick recipients off Medicaid for a period of time — 30 days, or perhaps six months — for failing to follow the rules.