Washington

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.

Washington’s State Supreme Court Makes History

Jan 14, 2013

The Washington State Supreme Court will make history Monday when newly elected Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud is sworn in. KUOW’s Patricia Murphy reports.

A shipbuilding executive with no social work experience will head Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services. Governor-elect Jay Inslee announced that appointment and four other cabinet picks Thursday. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Inslee Committed To Medicaid Expansion

Jan 10, 2013

Democrat Jay Inslee made his first public appearance since he won the election. The governor-elect spoke yesterday (Wed) at a health care policy conference in SeaTac. As Ruby de Luna reports, Inslee reiterated his commitment to change health care in Washington state through the Affordable Care Act.

Inslee Weighs In On Gun Control

Jan 10, 2013

As the federal debate over assault weapons continues, Washington’s Governor-elect Jay Inslee weighed in on the matter in his first public comments since the election.

Photo courtesy Wash. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

State and federal biologists say they are confident they have minimized the invasive species threat posed by a derelict dock that washed ashore last month in Olympic National Park. The concrete and steel dock appears to have drifted across the Pacific Ocean after last year's tsunami in Japan. But correspondent Tom Banse reports the story is not over yet.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has completed one of her last tasks before leaving office in January. The Democrat Tuesday proposed a $34 billion budget for the next two years. It includes a combination of cuts, pay increases for state employees and proposed taxes for education. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has details.

In less than 10 months, Washington State will launch its own health exchange. The exchange is part of the Affordable Care Act. It’s an online marketplace where people can buy health insurance. It’s like Expedia for health plans. But as Ruby de Luna reports, insurance brokers are apprehensive about the exchange. Many fear it will have a negative impact on their livelihood, just like Expedia removed the need for travel agents.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire will leave office January 16th. During her eight years as governor, the Democrat often referred to herself as a “recovering lawyer.” Polls showed the former attorney general struggled to connect with voters. She could come off as a fierce technocrat. But her two-terms in office were marked by challenges that affected her on a deeply personal level. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this look at the governor’s legacy.

Seattle Firm Wins Grant To Build Offshore Wind Platform

Dec 13, 2012

Seattle company Principle Power wants to take turbines out to sea. The feds today awarded the company 4 million dollars to design an offshore wind power facility. It would be anchored off the Oregon coast near Coos Bay. Amelia Templeton reports.

A new report gives Washington state lawmakers a “D” grade on their work on racial equity. As Paige Browning explains, the report card is based on policy decisions in the 2011-2012 session that advance or reverse racial and economic equity.

Seattle Center hosted an unofficial mini-Hempfest Thursday as marijuana smokers turned out to celebrate their new freedoms. A hundred or so people gathered around the International Fountain, smoking pot. A few of them spoke to KPLU’s Keith Seinfeld.

On Eve Of Legalization, Concerns About Pot Law Remain

Dec 6, 2012

At the stroke of midnight, adult marijuana users will no longer be lawbreakers in Washington. But lots of legal questions remain about how marijuana commerce will work, where it’s legal to use and how the federal government will respond.

WA Supreme Court Issues New Jury Rulings

Nov 22, 2012

The Supreme Court of Washington issued a series of rulings  on jury selection, isssuing opinions on four cases in one day. They all had to do with how courts and judges interact with jurors.

Bluedisk / Wikimedia Commons

Next fall, Washington’s health exchange is expected to be up and running. The exchange is an online market for health plans. Right now the Health Exchange Board is trying to figure out how to pay for itself. On Friday, the Board is considering different options.

Wash. Democrats Make Final Push to Get Out The Vote

Nov 5, 2012
Photo by Deborah Wang / Northwest News Network

In the final hours of the election, the state’s main political parties are engaged in massive get out the vote campaigns. They are especially critical this year, with several close statewide races and ballot initiatives. Deborah Wang has more on what the Democrats are up to.

Photo by Amy Radil / KUOW

If you haven’t returned your ballot yet, you’re probably hearing a lot from political parties and candidates. If you HAVE voted, those calls and mailings might be dying down.

This year campaigns are able to make faster and more nimble use of ballot returns than ever before. Republicans say Democrats had a stronger ‘get-out-the-vote’ effort in Washington in 2010, but this year they’re determined to learn from that example.

Some of their efforts, however, haven’t been well-received by elections officials. KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.

Photo by John Ryan / KUOW

Hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into political campaigns in Washington state and nationwide this year. A rising share of those dollars are being funneled through super PACs and other outside groups. KUOW's John Ryan takes a look at just where all the campaign cash is coming from in Washington state.

The latest TV ad from same-sex marriage opponents in Washington focuses on school children. It warns “schools could teach that boys could marry boys”. This ad mirrors those that ran in other states when gay marriage came up for a vote. And campaign strategists on both sides agree, it’s been a game changer. KUOW’s Liz Jones takes a closer at the ad’s claims and the track record of this particular strategy.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Nearly 300,000 people in Washington are still unemployed and looking for work. But there was reason to celebrate Monday in coastal Grays Harbor County – where the unemployment rate is tied with Ferry County for the highest in the state. A shuttered paper mill there recently roared back to life. With it came 175 jobs. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Same-Sex Marriage Mailers Raise Eyebrows

Oct 16, 2012

Some senior citizens in Washington recently got a flyer in the mail from supporters of same-sex marriage. It says approval of Referendum 74 will preserve domestic partnerships for seniors. Gay marriage opponents call the ad a misleading scare tactic. KUOW’s Liz Jones takes a closer look at that claim.

As Election Day nears, the candidates for Washington governor appear to be getting mellower, not feistier. Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee met Thursday night in their fourth formal debate. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports the face-off was void of many zingers.

A fire that burned roughly 250 acres in Mason County last week has been put out. Now biologists are concerned about the potential impacts on local salmon runs. Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix.

Schools Chief Asks For 39% Budget Increase

Oct 5, 2012

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has asked for an additional four-point-one-billion dollars for basic education in his biennial budget proposal. Ann Dornfeld reports.

Front Page: National Debate, Northwest Issues

Oct 5, 2012
Photo courtesy Spokesman-Review

This is Front Page, our new segment featuring conversations with journalists taking a closer look at the people, issues and events shaping lives across the Pacific Northwest. Today we’re visiting with the Spokesman Review. Here’s our news director John Paxson.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

This week we are looking at why Latinos have so little clout in Northwest politics, even though they’re the region’s largest minority group. One reason: Latinos are a younger demographic. And younger people -- no matter what their ethnicity -- are much less likely to vote than older people. But one issue that’s energized many young Latinos is the DREAM Act. It would create a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants. Anna King has our story.

Photo courtesy Wash. Fish & Wildlife Dept.

Forest and park rangers on Washington's Olympic Peninsula say they've reduced the risk from aggressive mountain goats. They did it by hazing the animals for much of the summer. Olympic National Forest reopened a popular hiking trail Monday. Correspondent Tom Banse has the story from Mount Ellinor, near Hoodsport, Washington.

For the past three months, the steep trail up Mount Ellinor has been closed. The reason for that is that multiple hiking parties reported feeling threatened by insistent mountain goats.

It took seven years and hundreds of court filings. Now the legal fight over Washington’s top-two primary is over. The U.S. Supreme Court Monday declined to hear an appeal brought by the state’s Democratic and Libertarian parties. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

The nation’s largest water bottling plant could go up in Anacortes, Washington. The Anacortes City Council voted Monday on a key provision in the process towards bringing in some sort of new manufacturing facility. KUOW’s Sara Lerner reports.

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