Law

rethinking marijuana legalization
9:29 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Marijuana repeal considered in Colorado

Ted S. Warren Associated Press

Marijuana legalization could be going back to the ballot in Colorado — a prospect that infuriated pot legalization activists Friday.

The marijuana ballot measure proposal went public as the House started debate on bills to regulate and tax pot. One bill would state how pot should be grown and sold, and the other would tax recreational marijuana more than 30 percent.

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Police Reform
3:33 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Police monitor reports significant, if uneven, progress toward reform

This was the first semiannual report from the watchdog assigned to monitor reforms at the Seattle Police Department.
Tom Harpel Flickr

The court-appointed watch dog monitoring the Seattle Police Department has completed his first report on the department's progress, and the report paints a picture of a police force moving unevenly toward reform.

Merrick Bobb and his team's job is to make sure police follow the plan to end excessive use of force and racially-biased policing.

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Law
12:39 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Colorado court says no protection for pot users

In this Dec. 6, 2012 file photo, Brandon Coats works on his computer at his home in Denver. Coats, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient, was fired from his job in 2010 as a telephone operator at Dish Network after testing positive for marijuana.
Ed Andrieski Associated Press

The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that there is no employment protection for people who use marijuana.

In a split decision issued on Thursday, the court said marijuana use is still barred by the federal government, even though state-licensed marijuana use has been approved by voters and is considered lawful.

"For an activity to be lawful in Colorado, it must be permitted by, and not contrary to, both state and federal law," the appeals court said.

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Law
5:06 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Seattle officials look to restrict urban pot farms

David Snyder NPS

Seattle's elected officials are moving to make sure sprawling marijuana farms don’t take over the city’s industrial areas, though it’s not clear whether growers would want to locate in the city at all.

Just who actually gets licensed to grow marijuana will be up to the state. But Seattle City Council members say any Seattle grower will likely end up in one of the industrial areas along the Duwamish corridor or Interbay.

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Law
2:35 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

A risk including gay partners in immigration bill?

Jay Mercado, left, and Shirley Tan, third from left, and their twin sons Jorien Mercado, second from left and Jashley Mercado, both 16, of Pacifica, Calif., wait on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 24, 2013, to meet with Senate Majority Leader
Carolyn Kaster Associated Press

Frustrated at being left out of an immigration overhaul, gay rights groups are pushing to adjust a bipartisan Senate bill to include gay couples. But Democrats are treading carefully, wary of adding another divisive issue that could lose Republican support and jeopardize the entire bill.

Both parties want the bill to succeed. Merely getting to agreement on the basic framework for the immigration overhaul, which would create a long and costly path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, was no small feat for senators. And getting it through a divided Congress is still far from a done deal.

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marijuana legalization
12:04 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

New state legal pot law jeopardizes prosecutions

Prosecutors and crime lab scientists say a little-noticed provision in Washington's new legal marijuana law has jeopardized their ability to go after any pot crimes at all, and they're calling for an immediate fix in the Legislature.

The problem stems from a part of the law meant to distinguish marijuana from industrial hemp, which is grown for its fiber. The law defines marijuana as having more than 0.3 percent of a certain intoxicating compound, called delta-9 THC.

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Drunk driving laws
1:46 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

DUI court packed with offenders and repeat offenders

New Mexico Department of Public Safety

Sit in a courtroom where people are being arraigned on charges of driving under the influence, and you get an idea of the obstacles Washington lawmakers face in trying to pass tougher drunk driving laws.

I recently spent an eye-opening afternoon in Judge Mark Eide's courtroom in King County District Court in Burien.

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Law
6:05 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Lawmakers consider special DUI driver license, alcohol bracelet

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, flanked by lawmakers, announces new proposed DUI legislation.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Repeat drunk drivers in Washington may soon carry a scarlet letter driver’s license and have to wear an alcohol detection bracelet. Those are just two of the requirements contained in DUI legislation proposed Tuesday in Olympia.

The bipartisan plan follows two recent drunk driving tragedies in the Seattle area. 

House Public Safety Chair Roger Goodman says the ankle bracelet detects alcohol consumption and alerts authorities.

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Immigration
5:57 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Legal victory for asylum seekers

The settlement of a class-action lawsuit, filed on behalf of asylum seekers, should make it easier for people to work in the U.S. while for their asylum petition to be acted on.

The problem has been with something called the “asylum clock.” The clock is actually a complicated formula the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies use to decide when someone is allowed to legally begin working in the United States. Theoretically, it’s supposed to be around six months. But, according to the court case, it stretches into years.

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marijuana legalization
6:27 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Local credit union tries on being banker to the pot industry

Verity might be the only financial company in Washington to let marijuana businesses open an account
Keith Seinfeld kplu

Federal law prohibits banks from helping drug dealers. So where do marijuana businesses keep their cash?  

“We would put the cash in the safe on premises, which obviously makes you nervous. You have to leave it there overnight,” said Cale Burkhart, who sells cannabis-infused lotions. His shop closed last year, but he’s still selling a line called Vita Verde.

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Drunk-driving laws
5:01 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Lawmaker wants more ignition locks for DUI drivers

New Mexico Department of Public Safety

In the wake of several fatal crashes in which alcohol likely played a role, state lawmakers are debating stricter DUI penalties.

Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, has proposed a bill to that would require suspected drunk drivers to use the ignition interlock device.

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Privacy in the digital era
6:00 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Can police use Google Earth images without warrant? They already do

Do law enforcement officials need a search warrant to use Google Earth images in a criminal investigation?

“It’s interesting to me that it’s worrisome to some people, because we’ve been doing this for some years,” says San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord.

But an Orcas Island court case now questions whether the practice should be allowed.

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Law
2:59 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Seattle's veterans treatment court sees its first 2 grads

Two Vietnam veterans are celebrating a milestone in Seattle today: They’re the first graduates of a special treatment court set up for veterans.

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marijuana & border patrol
5:01 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Ever try pot? Answer yes, and U.S. won't let you in — ever

File image
Associated Press

Ever try pot? Answer yes to a border agent, and foreigners could face permanent consequences even if they haven't used marijuana in years. 

More and more Canadians are learning the hard way that admitting to U.S. border agents that you smoked pot can bar you from entering the country forever.

Immigration lawyers say some Canadians are under the mistaken impression that legalization of marijuana in Washington state has resulted in leniency by U.S. border agents here, but it hasn't. Marijuana is still an illegal substance under federal law.

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terrorism
2:44 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Listen: Secret tapes of a terror plot

Photo from FBI showing Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif purchasing a machine gun for attack on military processing center in Seattle.
Joint Terrorism Task Force

After Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for plotting to attack a military processing center in Seattle, some of the secretly recorded tapes of him planning the assault were released by U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan.

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