Politics

Government Spending
10:53 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Washington lawmakers rack up hefty cellphone bills

During last year's legislative session that focused on budget troubles, Washington state Sen. Jerome Delvin racked up a cellphone bill that would make most users recoil: $309.21 in one month alone.

It wasn't out of the norm for Delvin, who submitted his costs for taxpayers to cover.

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Politics
1:41 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Senate Confirms John Kerry As Next Secretary Of State

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has been confirmed by the senate to become the next secretary of state.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 1:58 pm

The United States Senate voted today to confirm Sen. John Kerry as the next secretary of state.

Just five days ago, Kerry, a democratic senator from Massachusetts, testified before the committee he chaired. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reported at the time, the hearing was a love fest.

Kerry is decorated Vietnam war veteran and the son of a diplomat. He has served in the Senate since 1985.

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Government Spending
9:47 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Washington tax dollars go to dry cleaning, artwork

A few days after Washington lawmakers approved a budget deal to lower state spending last year, small-government Rep. Gary Alexander got $40.60 worth of dry cleaning done.

Then he made sure taxpayers paid the bill.

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Politics
3:41 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Fight brewing over College Bound scholarship

Colin Fogarty

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 10:04 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – First it was Washington’s guaranteed tuition program. Now the new Majority Leader of the state senate has another college access program in his budget-cutting sights: College Bound. Democrat Rodney Tom says this higher education scholarship program is an unfunded state liability.

“It’s a great promise and it’s a promise that I think we should have as a state, Tom said.  "But, you know, it could be a $1 billion to $2 billion liability out there that we haven’t even recognized yet.”

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Politics
9:50 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Reform vs. funding: battle shaping up in Washington legislature

Austin Jenkins

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 12:32 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – One of the key battles shaping up in Olympia this year is over education reform. The Senate’s new majority coalition is proposing a series of measures aimed at getting better results in the classroom. Among the ideas: a state takeover of failing schools. Meanwhile, a key Senate Democrat says the focus should be on school funding – and proposes a new capital gains tax.

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Marijuana Legalization
10:54 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Governor Inslee: Pot legalization must inspire 'confidence'

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 4:42 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the eyes of the nation will be on the state as it creates a legal marijuana market over the next year. The new governor said Thursday that along with legalization comes the expectation that illegal pot production and sales will mostly end.

Inslee doesn’t expect a clear answer from the Obama administration anytime soon on how the federal government will respond to Washington’s new marijuana law. He met earlier this week with US Attorney General Eric Holder.

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Politics
9:02 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Bill to move wolves west no joke for conservationists

Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 3:02 pm

SPOKANE, Wash. - This week, a Republican lawmaker who represents eastern Washington ranch country introduced what many see as a poke in the eye for his colleagues who support wolf recovery. The new bill would move wolves to the west side of the Cascades. The proposal was immediately taken as a joke. But some conservationists say: moving wolves west is not a bad idea.

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Politics
10:58 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Washington pot forum draws standing room crowd

Justin Pitts runs a cannabis testing lab in Spokane. He says a felony conviction for pot should not prevent someone from becoming a licensed grower or seller in Washington.

OLYMPIA, Wash. –The first public forum on how to implement Washington’s new marijuana law drew a capacity crowd Tuesday night in Olympia. The state’s Liquor Control Board is seeking input as it writes the rules for enacting Initiative 502 – Washington’s new pot legalization law.

They arrived early and in droves – the smell of marijuana clung in the air. First in line to get a seat for the forum, Leslie Tikka of Olympia. She mainly came to see a bit of history in the making.

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Politics
10:02 am
Tue January 22, 2013

WATCH: Three lighter moments from Inauguration Day

President Barack Obama kisses first lady Michelle Obama as their daughters Sasha, left, and Malia, second from left, look on during the Inaugural parade.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 3:53 pm

We've covered the serious, so we thought we'd bring you three lighter moments from this historic day.

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Presidential Inauguration
9:33 am
Mon January 21, 2013

As It Happened: Obama Asks Americans To Carry 'Light Of Freedom'

President Obama taking the oath of office today on the steps of the Capitol. First Lady Michelle Obama held the two Bibles on which he placed his hand.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 4:25 pm

Calling on Americans to "answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom," President Obama used his second inaugural address to push for action on the nation's problems and to say that partisan politics should not get in the way of pragmatism.

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Politics
5:26 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Washington's new Secretary Of State wants primary voters' pamphlets

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s new Secretary of State Kim Wyman wants printed voters’ pamphlets in statewide and legislative primary elections. She’s asking state lawmakers to pay the $1 million cost. Currently it’s up to county auditors to decide whether to print voters’ pamphlets for those primaries and some choose not to.

Wyman says the handy guides are especially important in low-profile races.

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Video
11:25 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Inauguration Mashup: The speech in 11 easy steps

An 11-step guide to the perfect inauguration speech
NPR

May the eagles of democracy soar above the covenant that binds our great nation in an era of new beginning ... or something.

Have you ever watched an inaugural address and wondered: How DO those guys (because they're always guys) do it? Well, we've prepared this handy guide so you, too, can give a speech like the chief executive.

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Politics
12:49 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Social issues in Inslee's inaugural speech rub Republicans wrong way

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 5:40 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s new governor touched a nerve with some Republicans in his inaugural address. On the topic of abortion Democrat Jay Inslee called on the legislature to pass the so-called Reproductive Parity Act. It would require health insurers that cover maternity services to also pay for abortions.

Inslee said, "Washington women need the freedom and privacy” to make their own health care decisions.

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Politics
12:23 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Embattled Washington State Senator defends behavior

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Washington state senator with a long record of reprimands for her treatment of staff is taking the offensive. Republican Pam Roach Thursday fired back at her accusers – they include some fellow Republicans. The move comes just as fresh allegations of staff mistreatment emerge. And a narrow majority coalition takes power in the Washington senate.

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Politics
12:37 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Jay Inslee sworn in as governor, says Washington still poised to change the world

Jay Inslee gives a thumbs-up after being sworn in as Washington state Governor on Wednesday.
The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington state is poised to develop the next wave of innovations that will change the world.

In prepared remarks for his inaugural speech Wednesday, Inslee cited the state's history of ideas in aerospace and software. He said Washington isn't done.

Inslee's first talk took an international focus, noting that the world economy is changing as it emerges from the recession. And he said the state must move swiftly to continue competing with the rest of the world.

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