Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out-of-the-way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Before taking his current beat, Tom covered state government and the Washington Legislature for 12 years.  He got his start in radio at WCAL-FM, a public station in southern Minnesota. Reared in Seattle, Tom graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in American Studies.

When not sifting through press releases, listening to lobbyists, or driving lonely highways, Tom enjoys exploring the Olympic Peninsula backcountry and cooking dinner with his wife and friends. Tom's secret ambition is to take six months off work and travel to a faraway place beyond the reach of email.


5:32 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Immigrant Deportation Debate Spills Over To State Capitol

A bill in the Washington House would direct local police and jails to stop coordinating with federal agencies on immigrant deportations.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 5:33 pm

The congressional wrangling over immigration policy -- which threatens to cut off Homeland Security money later this week -- is spilling over to the Washington State Capitol in a fashion.

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Western Flyer
4:16 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Steinbeck Vessel To Be Refloated By New Owner And Northwest Shipwrights

The Western Flyer currently rests in dry storage at the Port of Port Townsend as seen in this 2013 photo.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 9:04 pm

New ownership is giving new hope to a decrepit, unseaworthy fishing boat with a notable literary pedigree.

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Washington Budget
4:56 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Higher Tax Collections Lowers Pressure On Washington Lawmakers To Raise Revenue

File photo of the Legislative Building on the Washington State Capitol campus in Olympia.
Tradnor Wikimedia

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 3:05 pm

In Olympia, legislative budget writers got a shot of good news Friday regarding tax collections.

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Daylight Saving Time
4:21 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Time Expires On Bill To Abolish Daylight Saving Time In Washington

Alexander T Carroll Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 4:11 pm

The sun rose and then quickly set again on a proposal by some state legislators to abolish daylight saving time in Washington state.

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Gay Rights
6:30 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Judge Rules Richland Florist Who Refused Gay Wedding Broke Law

A county judge has ruled that a flower shop in the Tri-Cities broke the law when it refused to serve a gay couple planning a wedding two years ago. Washington's attorney general joined the couple in suing the florist for violating state anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws.

Democratic attorney general Bob Ferguson says the florist's religious beliefs cannot be used to justify treating certain customers differently.

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School Immunization
4:53 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Move To Limit Vaccine Exemptions Draws Opposition From Some Parents

Opponents of mandatory vaccination testify to the state House Health Care Committee in Olympia Tuesday.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 4:45 pm

Legislative moves to limit school immunization exemptions are drawing vocal opposition from some parents. Opponents of mandatory vaccination crowded a public hearing at the state capitol in Olympia Tuesday, and the scene could repeat itself in Salem Wednesday.

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Amazon Warehouse
6:17 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Robots Do The Walking, Lifting At High-Tech Warehouse

"Amazonians," the nickname for fulfillment center workers, performing packing and loading chores, which they can do better than robots.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 6:03 pm provided a rare look Friday inside one of its gigantic, high tech warehouses.

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Port Slowdown
4:45 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Canadian Ports Offer Little Relief For Frustrated Northwest Shippers

The Port of Tacoma
Walter Siegmund Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 4:37 pm

The worsening labor dispute at West Coast container ports is causing shippers to search for alternate pathways to and from Asia.

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3:58 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Washington Senate Votes To Legalize Hemp Farming As Oregon Starts Writing Permits

File photo of a hemp field outside Southminster, England.
Glyn Baker Creative Commons

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 3:08 pm

The Washington state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to make hemp farming legal. The measure now goes to the state House for further consideration.

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Daylight Savings Time
7:42 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Washington And Oregon Lawmakers Propose Abolishing Daylight Saving Time

On this map, the blue areas observe DST, the red areas never have and the orange areas have in the past, but don't currently.
Credit Paul Eggert / Wikimedia Commons

It's about time... daylight saving time, to be precise. Some Oregon and Washington legislators want to end the yearly practice of springing forward and falling back.

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