Law

Stories about law and politics in the Pacific Northwest, with many from KPLU's Law and Justice reporter, Paula Wissel.

A bill that would establish an expectation for Idaho schools to intervene when a kid is bullied is headed to the Idaho House floor.

Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes more opportunities to be outside. Oregon lawmakers want children to slather on the sunscreen when they hit the playground.

Oregon lawmakers gave initial approval Tuesday to a bill that would ban so-called "conversion therapy" on youth.

A cast of characters from Washington’s TV and film industry descended on Olympia Tuesday seeking an expanded tax credit for the film industry.

Don Wilson / Port of Seattle

With a growing economy comes a crowded airport.  Port of Seattle officials say the annual number of passengers traveling through Sea-Tac will double to 66 million in the next 20 years. The question is how to accommodate them.

A plan, called the Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP), is being circulated by the Port of Seattle and will be presented at a series of public meetings, the first one on Thursday, March 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Seattle Central Library.

Washington lawmakers have approved a flurry of bills -- and killed a bunch too -- as they crossed a key deadline in the 105-day session.

Seattle Police Department

 

One of Amazon's top executives is walking away from the corporate world to join the payroll at the Seattle Police Department. The agency is thrilled to have someone join its upper ranks  who does not come from law enforcement.

Greg Russell, an outgoing Vice President at Amazon's who oversaw the company's corporate applications, will be the Seattle Police Department’s new Chief Information Officer. Russell was one of more than 200 applicants for the newly created position.

 

Freedom could be just weeks away for the youngest person in the U.S. sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Northwest lawmakers are considering whether to make it harder for parents to opt out of immunizing their children.

Mental health is one of the top issues in the Washington legislature this year. Several measures cleared the Washington House Monday in advance of a Wednesday cut-off deadline.

Elected officials in Idaho do not need permits to carry concealed weapons.

Washington lawmakers face some long workdays as they try to beat the cut-off to move bills to out of their chamber of origin. Bills that don’t move on die.

The number of registered voters in Oregon could soon increase dramatically.

Legislative Democrats in Oregon are keeping their promise to quickly use their larger majorities to their advantage.

For the first time, the Washington state Senate has passed a version of “Joel’s Law.”

A new statistic from Washington state illustrates a problem 911 dispatch centers throughout the Northwest grapple with. About a third of 911 calls in Washington state are mistaken.

Worker rights advocates say it’s great that Washington is considering raising the minimum wage and that several cities have already passed higher wage and paid sick leave laws.

But they say it’s important to make sure such measures are enforced. That’s why a union local is teaming up with the University of Washington School of Law.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

 

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.

In Olympia, state representatives may take a preliminary vote Wednesday morning on a measure that would direct local police and jails to stop coordinating with federal agencies on immigrant deportations.

Brennan Linsley / AP Photo

People who survive gunshot wounds have a high risk of being the victim of a firearm again, according to a study conducted by the University of Washington. Researchers also found the victims were more likely to commit crimes and more likely to ultimately die from gunshot wounds.

Kaitlyn Bernauer

On the morning of Sept. 29, 1995, a woman was alone in her Yakima home, feeding her baby, when she heard an unusual noise. She found a man in the house, wearing a white nylon stocking over his face.

She tried to run, but couldn’t get away. He put a mask on her and raped her. And when he was done, she was left tied to the crib that held her crying child.

Alliance Defending Freedom

 

 

A judge in Benton County, Washington 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.

The judge said Barronelle Stutzman broke state anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws. In 2013, she told Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed she couldn't do the flower arrangements for their wedding because of her religious convictions against same-sex marriage.

Jen R / Flickr

Ever think about what happens to the information the government collects on you?

Even signing up with a utility or reserving a room at a local community center can result in your data being stored somewhere. Improvements in technology have made that even more likely. 

It's the reason Seattle city leaders say they want to make sure people’s privacy is being protected.

Austin Jenkins

 

The case of an infant who nearly died from severe abuse has captured the attention of Washington lawmakers. The child’s adoptive parents testified Tuesday in favor a proposed law named in their son’s honor.

“Aiden’s Law” would require Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services to conduct a formal review in near-fatal child abuse and neglect cases.

Courtesy of Zach Powers / Pacific Lutheran University

Lt. Col. Celia FlorCruz, 55, has done a lot in her life. She graduated from West Point at a time when women were just being allowed in. She flew a Medevac helicopter in a war zone. She’s now a top officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is married to JBLM I Corps Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl.

What she’s never done, until now, is speak about her personal experience as a victim of sexual assault, both in college and in the U.S. Army. 

Although there’s a law on the books in Washington that allows child victims of sexual abuse to testify remotely, a state lawmaker says the option isn’t being used often enough.

State Rep. Lilian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, is also a mental health counselor. For years, she’s worked with child victims of sexual abuse.

static416 / Flickr

 

A new bill under consideration in the Idaho legislature would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons in the state without a permit.

Greg Pruett told a House panel that lawmakers don’t have to have a permit for their concealed weapons. He wants the same right extended to all citizens.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

Even with all the talk about police misconduct, a bill in the Washington legislature could result in less discipline for cops accused of bad behavior.

When a cop is put on the stand as a witness for the prosecution during a trial, if there’s anything in the officer’s background indicating a lack of truthfulness or bias or misconduct, the prosecution is required to let the defense team know about it since it could help clear the accused.

Stephan Röhl

Sometimes it's a vengeful ex-lover; sometimes a thief or a hacker is behind it. Either way, explicit, private photos of people keep getting out on the Internet.

A woman from Seattle said she was mortified just over a year ago to discover naked pictures of herself posted to a "revenge porn" website. Kim asked that her last name not be used during testimony to a Washington state Senate committee Monday.

National Institute of Mental Health

Mental health advocates in Washington are assailing a proposal to allow psychiatric boarding in limited cases.

Boarding is when mental health patients are held involuntarily in a non-psychiatric setting, like an emergency department. It was a widespread practice in Washington until last year when the Supreme Court ruled it was illegal.

Paula Wissel

The Space Needle corporation engaged in unfair labor practices, according to a ruling from a three-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The ruling was issued on Friday, Jan. 30.

This is the latest decision in what’s been a two-year battle between the Seattle icon and its bartenders, servers, cooks and other unionized workers.

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