Law

Liquor Law
4:30 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Stores With High Shoplifting Rate Could Lose Liquor License Under New State Law

Steve Helber AP Photo

Grocery store owners who are losing liquor to shoplifters could pay a hefty price. Under a new law that takes effect June 13, the state can take away the store's license to sell liquor.

The crack down is aimed at keeping liquor out of the hands of underage drinkers.

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Legal Marijuana
11:39 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Does Legalized Marijuana Put Washington Drivers At Risk Out Of State?

AP Photo

Some drivers from Washington and Colorado say they're being targeted by police when they cross into Idaho.

They claim it’s because their license plate shows they live two states that have legal marijuana, but that’s a hard thing to prove.

At least two Washington drivers say they were pulled over in Idaho on suspicion of using marijuana. In both cases, pot was not found and they were let go.

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Marijuana License
2:17 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Wash. State Pot Store Lottery Announced; Grow Licenses Lagging

File image
Brennan Linsley AP Photo

The timeline for when Washington’s first marijuana retail stores will open has slipped from June to early July, the state Liquor Control Board announced Wednesday.

The next step in the process is a lottery to see who wins a license to open a pot store. The results of that lottery should be known by early May.

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Juvenile Justice
4:50 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Washington To Seal Juvenile Court Records

.v1ctor Casale Flickr

If you were charged with shoplifting or another minor criminal offense as a teenager, you shouldn’t have to pay for it for the rest of your life.

That’s the reasoning behind a bill being signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. The law will seal the court records for most juvenile offenders.

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Drunk Driving
6:17 am
Tue March 25, 2014

On Anniversary Of DUI Crash In Seattle, Memorial Walk Held To Honor Victims

Dan and Karina Schulte are seen with their son, Elias, on March 24, 2013—one day before the accident.
Schulte Family

It was one year ago that repeat drunk driver Mark Mullan crashed into a family crossing a street in north Seattle, killing Judy and Dennis Schulte and critically injuring  their daughter-in-law, Karina, and newborn grandson, Elias.

The tragedy prompted the Washington Legislature to pass tougher drunk driving laws. 

On the anniversary of the crash on Wednesday, a crowd gathered for a walk and rally in memory of Judy and Dennis Schulte. 

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Cigarette Tax
8:00 am
Sun March 23, 2014

Study: Cigarette Tax Evasion Sky-High In Washington, Idaho Big Supplier

Tax Foundation/Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Nearly half of the cigarettes smoked in Washington went untaxed by the state, according to a new study by two think tanks.

The study compared actual legal sales in a state against the level you would expect to see based on its smoking rate. From that, researchers came up with a smuggling estimate. The study pegs low-tax Idaho as a major source of smuggled cigarettes.

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Drunk Driving
8:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Washington's New 24/7 Sobriety Program Runs Into Snags

Commander Jim Rich of the Centralia Police Department displays the breath test machine used for the 24/7 Sobriety pilot program.
Austin Jenkins

It’s been nearly a year since a repeat drunk driver caused a horrific accident in north Seattle. A new mother, her 10-day-old baby and her in-laws were run down as they crossed the street. The grandparents were killed, and the mother and her baby were critically injured.

That tragedy and other high-profile drunk driving crashes prompted Washington lawmakers to authorize a pilot program to test repeat drunk drivers twice-a-day to see if they have been drinking.

But the 24/7 Sobriety program has run into legal and financial snags.

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Legal Marijuana
12:54 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

ACLU Report Shows Sharp Drop In Pot Charges In Wash. State After Legalization

ACLU

You might assume that after voters passed Initiative 502, making adult possession of marijuana legal, the number of prosecutions for pot would drop. Now, there’s proof to back up that assumption.

The American Civil Liberties Union analyzed court data from around the state, looking specifically at filings for low-level marijuana offenses. The numbers show a huge decrease.

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Law
11:11 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Lawsuits: 'Ag-Gag' Laws Violate Free Speech

The group Mercy for Animals released video in 2012 of workers at Bettencourt Dairy in Idaho abusing cows. The incident led Idaho lawmakers to outlaw surreptitious video at farms.
Mercy For Animals

 

A lawsuit led by the ACLU is challenging Idaho's brand new so-called “ag-gag” law aimed at stopping undercover animal rights activists from making videos of abuse at farms and slaughter houses.

And Idaho's law isn't the first to be challenged on free speech grounds.

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Legal Marijuana
10:14 am
Fri March 14, 2014

FBI Balks At Background Checks For Wash. Pot License Applicants

FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2013 file photo, a man wears an American flag as he walks past a vendor selling tie-dyed products at the first day of Hempfest in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

The FBI is refusing to run nationwide background checks on people applying to run legal marijuana businesses in Washington state, even though it has conducted similar checks in Colorado — a discrepancy that illustrates the quandary the Justice Department faces as it allows the states to experiment with regulating a drug that's long been illegal under federal law.

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Class-Action Suit
5:44 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

MultiCare Settles Suit With Nurses, Agrees To Shell Out Back Pay For Overtime

A major south Sound hospital chain has agreed to give back pay to nearly 800 nurses.

The deal settles a class-action lawsuit filed by nurses against MultiCare Health System, the nonprofit entity that runs Tacoma General Hospital, Auburn Medical Center and others.

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Police & Privacy
6:05 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Seattle Police To Buy Facial Recognition Software — Should Citizens Be Worried?

zeraien Flickr

Following a decision by the Seattle City Council this week, the Seattle Police Department will soon use facial recognition software. 

The ACLU of Washington doesn't think the move will encroach on citizens' rights, but privacy advocates, including Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, aren’t fond of the new policy.

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Immigration
4:02 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Judge: Some Immigrants Can't Be Held Without Bond

A federal judge in Seattle says certain immigrants can't be held in detention without bond hearings.

Tuesday's ruling stems from a complaint filed by immigrant advocates on behalf of three men who were held for months at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma without a chance of a bond hearing, in which a judge determines whether immigrants present a flight risk or a danger to the community.

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Probation And Parole
5:01 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Washington's 'Swift And Certain' Parole Reforms Getting Results And Attention

FILE - This photo shows the correctional facility in Shelton, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

President Barack Obama wants to expand a program pioneered in Washington to reform probation and parole. The new state law dramatically changed its approach to ex-offenders, and even the experts who back the new approach have been surprised at the promising results.

In the past, ex-offenders on probation or parole could often rack up a bunch of violation before they’d be punished. And by then the sanctions could be harsh: many months in jail.

The idea behind the new approach, called "swift and certain," is that a minor violation triggers an immediate but moderate punishment, such as a couple of days in jail for failing a drug test.

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Marijuana Legalization
5:01 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Washington's 'Pot Czar' Says Legal Marijuana Could Be Too Cheap

File image
Brennan Linsley AP Photo

Washington and Colorado are embracing their role as “laboratories of democracy” when it comes to drug policy, but as Washington’s marijuana consultant points out, “Dr. Frankenstein had a laboratory, too.”

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