Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. – New disclosure reports are out on money spent for lobbying in Olympia. Who tops the list? So far Washington’s teachers’ union is spending the most to influence state lawmakers this legislative session.

The Washington Education Association has five top priorities for the 2013 legislature. The list includes more money for schools as directed by the Washington Supreme Court. The union is also pushing for competitive salaries and benefits for teachers and support staff.

Inslee Stumps For Columbia River Crossing

Mar 25, 2013

Washington Governor Jay Inslee urged a group of regional business leaders today / yesterday (Friday)  to urge state legislators to support the Columbia River Crossing --the proposed new I-5 bridge.  April Baer reports.

Testimony On Wolf Bill Includes Story Of Attack

Mar 22, 2013

A public hearing Wednesday on a bill to allow people the right to protect livestock and pets from wolf attacks included the story of a very close wolf encounter near the town of Twisp.

President Obama is set to announce the creation of several new national monuments on Monday. One of them will be in Washington’s San Juan Islands. Ashley Ahearn reports.

Basketball Team Prompts Gonzaga's Growth Spurt

Mar 22, 2013

Gonzaga University’s name is seemingly everywhere this month – including the covers of magazines and newspapers, and mentions on NPR. Paige Browning explains that, while the basketball program gets more name recognition, the school is on a growth spurt.

BREWSTER, Wash. - There's one word that politicians almost always use when they talk about the U.S. immigration system. That word is “broken.” But what does that really mean? Residents of the small town of Brewster, Wash., know. For decades, immigrants have come from Mexico, often illegally, to work the surrounding apple and cherry orchards. Bewster, it turns out, is a microcosm of how the immigration debate is playing out.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Hopes for a rosier budget outlook in Washington are dimming. Expected savings in Medicaid haven’t materialized. And many state lawmakers expect this week’s quarterly revenue forecast to show a downward slide. Add to that, a Supreme Court ruling that requires more funding for schools.

In response, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee is expected to announce soon a list of tax “loopholes” – as he calls them – he wants to eliminate to fund schools. But closing tax exemptions is easier said than done.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Students would be able to take up to two days off per year for religious holidays under a proposal in Olympia. A hearing is scheduled Monday on a bill that would benefit Muslim students celebrating Ramadan.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Booth Gardner, Washington’s 19th governor, has died at age 76. Gardner’s family says he passed away Friday night from complications of Parkinson's disease. Gardner had lived with the illness for more than a decade.

Democrat Booth Gardner took office in January of 1985. He was a Harvard-educated businessman with a playful manner. Longtime newspaper columnist Joel Connelly offers these snapshot memories.

Gun Control Advocates Regroup After Failed Bill

Mar 15, 2013

Gun control advocates are regrouping this week. They’re looking at their options, now that a bill to broaden background checks for gun sales failed in the Washington legislature. They want to seize a moment when they believe public sentiment is on their side. KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

Photo by Amy Radil / Northwest News Network

Initiative 502 allows the state to license marijuana stores. Many aspiring pot retailers are scouting for real estate. But they aren’t having much luck finding space. Legislators say they may need to open up more real estate for the stores if I-502 is going to succeed. KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

Photo courtesy Washington Legislature

The fate of a universal background check measure in the Washington state House could be decided this week. Wednesday is a key cut-off deadline. Recently the gun control measure lost a pivotal “yes” vote. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins explains.

Voices Of Coal: Tribal Fisherman

Mar 6, 2013

This week we’re bringing you our special EarthFix series, "Voices of Coal."

Each day we'll hear from someone with a personal stake in the Northwest's debate over coal export terminals.

Voices Of Coal: Columbia River Pilot

Mar 5, 2013

This week we’re bringing you our special EarthFix series, "Voices of Coal."

Each day we'll hear from someone with a personal stake in the Northwest's debate over coal export terminals.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Three months ago, 23 Republicans and two breakaway Democrats seized control of the Washington state Senate. At the time, Majority Leader Rodney Tom, one of the Democrats, pledged a new spirit of bipartisanship.

“The public out there is hungry for us to come together, to work together in a collaborative manner and that’s exactly what this coalition is trying to accomplish,” he said.

But as the halfway point of the legislative session approaches, the Washington state Senate has become a hotbed of partisan recriminations.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

Marijuana advocates, people concerned about the effects of drugs on children and hopeful entrepreneurs filled a huge room at the Yakima Convention Center Thursday night. This hearing is part of a series across Washington on how to implement voter-approved marijuana legalization. Correspondent Anna King brings us our story from Yakima.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is a personal defeat for initiative activist Tim Eyman. Over the years, he sponsored three of the five ballot measures that enacted the supermajority rule.

Outside the Capitol after the ruling, reporters noted that Eyman seemed more subdued than defiant.

Education Groups Hail Supermajority Ruling

Mar 1, 2013

Education groups led the charge to strike down the two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes in the Washington state Legislature.

A union lock out at a big grain export terminal brought all ship loading and unloading to a halt at the Port of Vancouver, Washington Wednesday. It's one of several developments in a long-running labor dispute involving longshore workers and grain handlers.

SEATTLE, Wash. – As Washington moves to legalize marijuana, pot entrepreneurs are lobbying in public forums and behind the scenes. These business interests want to shape the new marijuana marketplace. Among them, a Seattle-based private equity firm called Privateer Holdings. The company has hired a top Olympia lobbyist and is making the case for large marijuana grows to state regulators.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

So far, Washington and Colorado are the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Two states is a pretty limited market if you’re getting into the cannabis business. But many so-called “potrepreneurs” are counting on the eventual repeal of marijuana prohibition nationally. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Washington Senate Panel Hears Debate On GMO Labeling

Feb 22, 2013

A Washington State Senate Committee heard testimony last week regarding the state initiative that calls for labeling genetically modified foods. Steve Jackson has more.

Oregon And Idaho National Guard Troops Heading Overseas

Feb 21, 2013

Two Oregon National Guard units are mobilizing for overseas deployments. Idaho soldiers will be joining one of the missions.

OLYMPIA, Wash. –Liquor control officers in Washington say they need more authority to combat the black market for booze, cigarettes and, soon, marijuana. State lawmakers on Tuesday will take testimony on a proposal to give full police powers to liquor enforcement officers.

Washington has 56 officers who police the stores and restaurants that sell liquor and tobacco products. Now that private retailers can sell booze, there are nearly three times as many liquor licenses statewide and theft has become a significant problem.

The deadline for marijuana experts seeking work has closed in Washington state. All bids to help the state set up its legal marijuana system had to be submitted by 2 p.m. Friday. State officials say the response was substantial. KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

Relocating An Endangered Deer

Feb 15, 2013
Photo by Wikimedia user Dcoetzee / Wikimedia Commons

A dike in southwestern Washington has become a ticking time bomb. Managers say it’s not a matter of if, but when, it will fail. And behind the dike? A small group of white-tailed deer, considered an endangered species. If biologists can’t move the herd before the dike is breeched, the deer could be wiped out. Courtney Flatt has this report.

Governor Jay Inslee has appointed a new director of the Washington Department of Ecology. Ashley Ahearn reports Maia Bellon is an Olympia insider with appeal on both sides of the aisle.

Washington Senate Passes Funding For School Security

Feb 12, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are moving ahead with their first education-spending bill of the year. The state Senate voted Monday to approve a $500 million in school construction bonds. Ten million of that would go to equip every school with a panic alarm by 2014, among other security measures.

Democratic Sen. Sharon Nelson said this was a step toward increasing gun safety. She says her next goal is to create more background checks for gun buyers.

SHELTON, Wash. - It’s one of the most vexing problems state lawmakers face: how to curb the rising cost of healthcare. In Washington, there’s one specific line item in the healthcare budget that’s startling, but few at the Capitol are talking about: taxpayers now foot the bill for more than half of all births in Washington. But why is that number is so high?

Marijuana Growers Say They Want To "Come Out"

Jan 25, 2013

The second statewide public hearing this week on the future of the marijuana industry was held in Seattle. Like the earlier one in Olympia, this one had overflow crowds. The Seattle hearing was filled with people who have grown marijuana for years, and want to "come out." KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

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