Washington

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.

Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

News out of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation can sometimes sound like just one critical report after another. In fact, last week a federal watchdog agency said Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant is in jeopardy. Several developments lately have intensified the debate over this question: Should a massive federal waste treatment plant move ahead or stop to fix its nagging technical problems? Correspondent Anna King has more.

It was standing room only for the first in a series of public forums on implementing Washington’s new marijuana law. The state’s Liquor Control Board invited public comment Tuesday night as it prepares to write the rules on pot legalization. Hairdresser Dana Anderson says until now she’s never been able to speak publicly about her interest in marijuana.

Can Washington Courts Deny Pot To Offenders On Probation?

Jan 22, 2013

Here’s the latest wrinkle in implementing Washington’s new marijuana law: Can courts restrict people on probation from using pot recreationally? That question was the subject of a committee hearing Monday in Olympia. Jessica Robinson has more.

Armed Gun Rights Advocates Rally At Washington Capitol

Jan 21, 2013
Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Netwrk

Several hundred gun rights advocates – many of them armed – rallied at the Washington state Capitol Saturday. Their purpose was to protest any new gun control measures. Similar rallies were organized in Salem, Boise and Coeur d'Alene. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Embattled Washington State Senator Defends Behavior

Jan 18, 2013
Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

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. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Photo by Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Washington wildlife managers are working to avoid the kind of escalation in wolf conflicts that led the state to kill an entire wolf pack last fall. Officials from the Department of Fish and Wildlife told a crowd in Spokane Valley Wednesday they’re trying to keep livestock losses down, even as Washington’s wolf population grows. Jessica Robinson has more.

Inslee Keeps Speech Short At Inaugural Ball

Jan 17, 2013

On his first night as Washington Governor, Jay Inslee wore a black suit with a maroon tie and lapels. The area where he stood earlier in the day to take the oath of office was now surrounded by sharply dressed people. Inslee had just a few words for guests at the Inaugural Ball.

Round Two For Washington Voting Rights Act

Jan 15, 2013

Do people vote based on race? That’s a question the Washington Legislature will likely tackle this session. Supporters of a state Voting Rights Act plan to push the measure again this year.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington lawmakers convene for the start of the 2013 session. They face a $2 billion budget problem, an unusual political dynamic in the state senate and hot button issues like gun control. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this preview.

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