Politics

Lobbyists & Legislators
3:37 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Ethics Board To Consider Crackdown On Lobbyist-Paid Meals

Richard Hodgin of Seattle testified in favor of stricter free meal rules for Washington state lawmakers.
Austin Jenkins

By next January, Washington state lawmakers should have clearer guidance on when it’s OK to accept free meals from lobbyists. The state’s Legislative Ethics Board decided Tuesday to clarify the rules governing gifts in the form of food and beverage. The board’s action follows our investigation last year into lobbyist-paid meals.

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Politics
2:45 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Wash. Senate Majority Leader Tom Announces He Won’t Run For Re-Election

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, looks over a document on the first day of the 2014 session of the Washington state Legislature, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

One of the most influential and controversial members of the Washington state Legislature made a bombshell announcement Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, announced he is dropping his bid for re-election. Tom is one of two Democrats who joined with Republicans last year to help them take control of the state Senate.

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Voter Registration
5:00 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Ahead Of Special Elections, In-Person Registration For New Voters Ends Today

Special elections are set for April 22. You have until today to register in-person to vote.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Time is running out for new voters who want to register in time for special elections on April 22. In-person registration will be accepted until the end of the day today. 

Among the biggest contests is a King County question about raising vehicle registration fees to fund bus service. If the measure doesn't pass, King County Metro will face cuts.

County officials expect about 38 percent of voters will return their ballots. 

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Suicide Prevention
5:00 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Grieving Widow Helps Spearhead First-Of-Its-Kind State Law On Suicide Prevention

Jennifer Stuber, 8-year-old Jake and 4-year-old Zoe take comfort in the rainbow reflections on the walls of their home because, Jennifer says, they show “Daddy’s spirit.”
University of Washington

Depression is one of the biggest risk factors for suicide, and people who seek help for it tend to go to their regular doctor. But, as one Seattle family discovered, doctors aren’t always prepared to deal with a patient who has thoughts of suicide. A new law in Washington state, the first of its kind nationwide, seeks to change that.  

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Metro Funding
11:50 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Metro Transit Asking Voters To Pass Prop. 1, Prevent Bus Service Cuts

King County Metro Transit's Facebook Page

King County voters have less than two weeks to decide whether they want to pay a higher sales tax and car tab fee to prevent major cuts to King County Metro Transit bus service.

Proposition 1 would raise the sales tax by .1 percent and boost car tabs by $60. These increases would stay in place for the next 10 years.

If the measure fails, Metro says it will have to get rid of 16 percent of its bus routes and cut thousands of hours of service. 

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Park Funding
4:14 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Seattle City Council Mulls Creating Park District To Fund Repairs

Matt Kowalczyk Flickr

The city of Seattle says its parks need major repairs and it doesn’t have the money to pay for them.

On Monday night, the Seattle City Council will hear from the public on the idea of creating a special park district that could levy its own taxes.

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Transportation
12:32 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

After Deaths Nationwide, Washington Regulators Target Party Buses

Party bus owner William Prigmore says his industry helps keep drunk drivers off the road.
Austin Jenkins

These days, an old-fashioned stretch limo can look a bit stodgy. The new rage is party buses.

The buses carry more people, and you can even stand up, dance and drink as you cruise down the road. But these parties on wheels can come at a price. Nationwide, there have been 21 deaths on these buses, including one here in the Northwest.

Now regulators in Washington state are getting ready to crack down on the industry.

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Immigration
5:00 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Activists Fasting In Solidarity With Immigrants At Tacoma Detention Center

Activists are standing in solidarity with immigrants who’ve been staging a hunger strike at the detention center in Tacoma by holding their own hunger strike this week.

The protesters, who are mostly women, are calling the demonstration the Women’s Fast For Families. They want to remind the public that lawmakers have yet to act on any comprehensive immigration legislation.

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Politics
3:09 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Wash. Senate Panel OKs $30 Per Diem Pay Hike

File image
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington state senators are giving themselves a pay raise. Senators will get $120 a day in per diem when they are in session – up from the current rate of $90 a day. 

The Senate facilities and operations committee approved the increase  Tuesday in a split vote. 

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
1:34 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Inslee: Feds Did Not Provide 'Comprehensive' Hanford Cleanup Plan

File image
AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee says the U.S. Department of Energy is failing to provide him a “comprehensive” Hanford cleanup plan.

The Democrats’ comments follow a face-to-face meeting Monday with the secretary of energy who made a special trip to meet with the governor.

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Politics
5:00 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Washington Among States Working To Negate Federal Food Stamp Cutbacks

In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, a sign announcing the acceptance of electronic Benefit Transfer cards is seen at a farmers market in Roseville, Calif.
Rich Pedroncelli AP Photo

Washington state policymakers are pondering whether to make an end run around looming cutbacks in the federally-funded food stamp program.

This would mimic what Oregon and three eastern states just decided to do.

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International Treaty
4:06 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Canada, U.S. Disagree Over Value of Columbia River Treaty Benefits

Mica Dam was completed north of Revelstoke, B.C., in 1973 to store spring and summer runoff on the Columbia River. It also generates power for BC Hydro.
DAR56 Wikimedia Commons

British Columbia has staked out a negotiating position on a cross-border water treaty that puts it at odds with public utilities and ratepayers in the U.S. Northwest. At issue is whether and how to renew the 50-year-old Columbia River Treaty.

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Legislative Session
9:31 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Washington Legislature Adjourns Without Action On Medical Marijuana, Gas Tax

Legislative staff and others line up outside of the House chamber in advance of the Legislature adjourning its 60-day session, on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Olympia, Wash.
Rachel La Corte AP Photo

The Washington Legislature adjourned its 60-day session just before midnight Thursday night.

In the final hours, lawmakers passed a bipartisan update to the state’s two-year budget. They also sent the governor a bill to give military veterans in-state tuition to attend college, and reauthorized a fee that pays for homeless housing.

But it’s what lawmakers did not do this Legislative session that may stand out most for voters.

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Budget Negotiations
12:31 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Budget Deal Struck In Washington Legislature

Austin Jenkins

Washington public schools will get an additional nearly $60 million, but teachers will not get a cost of living raise this year. That’s the upshot of a budget deal that’s being announced at the Capitol in Olympia.

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Defense Fund
5:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Facing Ethics Charge, Washington Lt. Gov Wants Legal Defense Fund

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen bangs the gavel as he conducts business in the Senate chamber on the first day of the 2014 session of the Washington state Legislature, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

In the 1990s, an embattled President Bill Clinton created a legal defense fund. Now Washington Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen wants all state elected officials to have that option.

The Democrat, the state’s four-term lieutenant governor, is motivated by his own ethics troubles. 

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