Law

Marijuana legalization
1:36 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Feds: Still no decision on Washington marijuana laws

Morgan Flickr

Attorney General Eric Holder says the Obama administration still hasn't decided on how the federal government will respond to the new legal-marijuana laws passed by voters in Washington and Colorado.

Holder appeared Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was asked about the issue by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

The attorney general reiterated what he has said recently — that a policy decision will be announced "relatively soon." He also said he's had good conversations with elected leaders from Washington and Colorado.

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Marijuana Legalization
9:17 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Pressure Mounts On Feds To Intervene In Washington, Colorado Pot Laws

Petr Brož Wikimedia

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 5:36 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday. He will likely get questions about Washington and Colorado’s new marijuana laws. Pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to block the pot legalization measures.

The new push for federal invention comes from a United Nations-based drug agency and nine former DEA chiefs. They say Washington and Colorado's new recreational pot laws violate international treaties.

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Marijuana Legalization
11:38 am
Tue March 5, 2013

United Nations: Legal pot violates international drug treaties

Elaine Thompson AP

A U.N.-based drug agency says the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Washington and Colorado violates international drug treaties.

The International Narcotics Control Board is urging the Obama administration to challenge the legalization measures. It made the appeal in its annual drug report released Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that he was in the last stages of reviewing the state laws. Holder said he was examining policy options and international implications of the issue. Marijuana is illegal under federal law.

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Law
5:36 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Washington Sheriffs, Police Chiefs Say Pistol Database Is Valuable Tool

Quagmar Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Efforts to get gun rights leaders in Washington to support -- or at least not oppose -- universal background checks appear to have hit a stumbling block. At issue is a state database that tracks pistol sales. Second Amendment advocates want it shut down, but the state’s sheriffs and police chiefs say it’s a vital law enforcement tool.

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Law
5:01 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Statewide bus tour demands immigration reform

Xochitl Rojas joins the Keeping Washington Families Together Bus Tour this week with her father. She has deferred action status but wants comprehensive immigration reform.
Courtesy OneAmerica

Imagine living your life in a legal limbo, with fear of deportation looming and constant uncertainty about your future.

That’s the reality for many immigrants in Washington State. Several dozen of them are boarding a bus that will criss-cross the state this week to tell their stories and demand comprehensive immigration reform. 

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Criminal Justice
5:00 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Moms in prison shouldn't lose rights to kids so quickly, some say

Nadine Miller, of Tacoma, holds her son Phinnix. She lost parental rights to her 3 older children.
Paula Wissel

Should going to prison mean losing your parental rights forever?  Legal advocates say that’s what’s been happening in Washington State, especially to women who are incarcerated.

Legal Voice and other groups are pushing a bill, HB1284, that would give judges more discretion in deciding whether to put children up for adoption when a mother or father is behind bars.

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Law and Religion
12:56 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Hijab approved for King County jail inmates

The King County Jail in Seattle, and it's companion in Kent, have new policies on religious garb
Manuel W. Flickr

Red jumpsuits might be the usual jail uniform in King County. But a new policy has the jail issuing headscarves and yamulkes to inmates.

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Crime Prevention
5:49 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Seattle, Tacoma rolling out new ‘predictive policing’ software

Mayor Mike McGinn introduced the new software at a press conference in Seattle on Wednesday.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Imagine you could predict crime the same way weather forecasters issue storm warnings.  

It’s happening – with new software recently deployed in Seattle and Tacoma. Police precincts in both cities hope it will help them allocate patrols more effectively.

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Law
7:43 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Northwest lawmakers continue fight against indoor tanning

Alexandra Kocik Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 8:42 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Research shows if you use a tanning bed before the age of 35, you are more likely to get skin cancer. That’s why legislators in Washington, Oregon and Idaho have been considering proposals to bar teenagers from indoor tanning salons. A bill in the Washington legislature to do this has died for the fourth year. But the idea is still alive in Salem and Boise.

Jessica Hewlett is just 22 years old and already a cancer survivor. Last March, her primary doctor sent her to a dermatologist because of a mole on her stomach.

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Law
10:29 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Fate of abortion coverage bill uncertain in Olympia

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 3:37 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. − A bill to require insurance companies to offer plans that cover maternity services and abortions passed the Washington House Friday. It is unclear, however, whether the legislation will make it through the Senate’s Republican-majority caucus. Majority Leader Rodney Tom has said he doesn’t want to vote on divisive social issues.

In the House debate, Rep. Laurie Jinkins said this bill would provide options for abortion coverage after the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.

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Law
8:34 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Self-driving cars can't be driverless under proposed state laws

Google

OLYMPIA, Wash. - What if you could just start your car, tell it where you want to go and then sit back and relax until you get there? Well, Google and many automobile manufacturers are hard at work on self-driving "robocars." Now lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are trying to figure out how to update the rules-of-the-road to keep pace with the cars of the future. But automakers are flashing a stop sign, saying it's too soon for new regulation.

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Law
5:18 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Seattle officials urge police not to switch on surveillance cameras yet

A Seattle Police Dept. map shows the locations of cameras in West Seatte, where all but two have been installed.
Det. Monty Moss SPD

Seattle city council members said today they want new laws on the books before police turn on a string of surveillance cameras. The network of 30 or so waterfront cameras is being installed in the name of port security, but citizens say those cameras could also turn around and peek into neighborhoods.

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Law
4:11 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Idaho Bills Would Keep State From Following Neighbors On Pot

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 6:00 pm

Idaho is now hemmed in by four states where marijuana is legal in some form, and a panel of state lawmakers fears Idaho could be next. A state Senate committee approved a pair of measures against marijuana, including one asking the federal government to crack down on Idaho’s neighbors.

Oregon, Montana and Nevada allow medical marijuana, while Washington legalized it for recreational use.

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Law
3:54 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Washington Gas Tax Increase Proposal Faces Bumpy Road

Kristen Steele

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A proposal to raise Washington’s gas tax by ten cents faces a bumpy road in Olympia. House Democrats rolled out the idea Wednesday as part of a $10 billion transportation funding package, but it faced immediate opposition.

The plan comes from House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn. It would increase Washington’s gas tax two-cents per gallon per year for five years. House Republicans quickly pointed out that when fully implemented, the state’s fuel excise tax would be 47.5 cents per gallon – higher than any other state today.

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Health Insurance
2:15 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Feds outline what insurers must cover, down to polyp removal

Colonoscopy copay? Zero.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 6:41 am

The Obama administration on Wednesday released its final rule on essential health benefits, which sets out the coverage insurers must offer starting in 2014.

Insurers must cover 10 broad categories of care, including emergency services, maternity care, hospital and doctors' services, mental health and substance abuse care and prescription drugs.

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