Western Wind Storm
5:22 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Harrowing Moments In Midst Of Wind Storm

A large tree toppled onto a car in Olympia’s South Capitol neighborhood taking with it power lines. The force of the tree also snapped a power pole.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

There is a lot of clean up underway across western Oregon and Washington after a wind storm hammered the region Thursday night.

In Olympia’s South Capitol neighborhood, there was a harrowing moment. A tree toppled into power lines and onto a parked car. Scott Freeman lives on the block.

“It was a pretty loud shudder of the whole house because it pulled my lines off the side of my house. So, it yanked all the lines. I didn’t actually hear the tree go down, but the transformer exploded,” Freeman said.

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Gun Rights
5:54 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Washington Capitol Prepares For Gun-Rights Rally Saturday

File photo. Several hundred gun rights advocates rallying at the Washington Capitol in January 2013.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:37 pm

The state of Washington is preparing for as many as 6,000 gun-rights advocates to attend a rally at the Capitol on Saturday.

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Ferguson March
6:02 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Ferguson Protesters March In Olympia, Block Rush Hour Traffic

Protesters marching in "solidarity" with Ferguson, Missouri block traffic near an I-5 on ramp in Olympia Friday evening.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Protesters chanted the name of the Missouri teenager who was shot by police. They marched on the State Capitol in Olympia Friday afternoon. 

The group of about 50 protestors blocked a traffic circle leading from the Washington Capitol Campus out to Interstate 5.  They brought state employees leaving work to a complete halt.

Protestors surrounded a pick-up truck. They held a sign that said "Black Lives Matter".

There were drivers who were clearly frustrated, trying to do u-turns, and were honking.  It was absolute gridlock at the state capitol.

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Minimum Wage Rally
5:26 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Low Wage Workers Rally In Olympia

Activists rallied in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage on the steps of the Washington capitol building in Olympia on Thursday.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Low wage workers picketed and rallied across the country Thursday in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage.

On the steps of the Washington state capitol, you could see a group of about 50 people. Some of them carried signs saying "Strike poverty." They called for a $15 an hour base wage in Washington state.

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, a Democrat, indicated he would like to move a minimum wage bill in the upcoming 2015 legislative session. But with Republicans in charge of the Washington Senate, it seems likely that that effort would face roadblocks going forward.

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Washington State Birthday
7:26 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Washington Turns 125 But Doesn't Look A Day Over 30!

A new generation of capsule-keepers is sworn-in at the Washington Capitol. These mostly 10-year-olds will protect Washington’s time capsule for the next 25 years. This was part of a day-long celebration of Washington’s 125th birthday.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington state is 125 years old. There was a celebration Tuesday at the state capitol. It featured a historic reenactment, a time capsule ceremony and, of course, cake.

In the Capitol Rotunda, a member of the Squaxin Indian tribe sang a blessing song.

That was followed by “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Then a speech by the governor before the action moved to Washington’s time capsule. The locked vault was opened and a new generation of time capsule-keepers sworn in.

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Washington PACs
6:18 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

PACs Face Quirk In Washington Law Before They Can Spend Money

The dome and lantern of the capitol building in Washington.
Credit Photo credit: Wikimedia user Jay8g / Wikimedia Commons

California billionaire Tom Steyer is poised to help Democrats try to win back control of the Washington Senate. But first, his NextGen political action committee had to satisfy a quirk in the law. Call it the ten-ten rule. In Washington, political committees have to jump a small hurdle before they can play in Washington’s political sandbox.

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Employee Abuse
6:36 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Workers Rights Groups Want Penalties For Unlawful Employers

Workers rights groups have a term for cases of withheld pay, denied breaks, and unnecessary deductions. They call it “wage theft.” In Olympia Tuesday, advocates for labor groups testified in favor of a series of measures aimed at cracking down on fraud against employees.

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Legislators Accept Free Meals
3:40 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Several Washington Lawmakers Eat Frequently On Lobbyists' Dime

State Senator Doug Ericksen Washington Legislature

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:52 pm

Washington state lawmakers are barred from accepting gifts intended to influence their vote. But there’s an exception to that rule. Members of the legislature are allowed to accept free food and drinks if it’s related to their official duties, but only on an “infrequent” basis.

However, a public radio investigation, done in cooperation with the Associated Press, reveals that dozens of state legislators frequently accept meals from lobbyists. And many of them do so even while collecting taxpayer-funded per diem payments.

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May Day Olympia
6:55 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Police And May Day Protestors Face-Off In Olympia

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 11:19 am

In Olympia, May Day protesters faced-off with police in riot gear Wednesday night. But the two sides did not clash. A group of about 50 mostly young people – some of them wearing face masks - marched for more than an hour through the streets of downtown Olympia, disrupting traffic.

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Business Lobbying
6:52 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Inside The World Of Business Lobbying In Olympia

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:27 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In the world of state legislatures, there’s a powerful breed of players who normally shun the spotlight. They prefer to work behind the scenes to influence policy outcomes. We’re talking about business lobbyists. Inside this often hidden world, you’ll meet two of the most successful corporate contract lobbyists in the Washington state capitol. And learn some of their tricks of the trade.

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