Law

Law
8:57 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Law Change Makes It Harder To Unlock Cellphones

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 6:41 am

Maybe you don't like your mobile phone carrier, but you like your phone and you want to keep it but change providers. An obscure change in federal law makes it illegal to switch without permission from your carrier.

If you have, for example, AT&T, in order to switch to T-Mobile you have to unlock the phone, and AT&T can now stop you from doing that.

The change in the copyright law has some people upset, and they're petitioning the White House for a fix.

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Gun Control
4:06 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Bill Regulating Private Gun Sales Passes Committee

M Glasgow Flickr

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 3:46 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A bill to require background checks for private gun sales is one step closer to a final vote. Tuesday, members of a Washington House committee voted seven to six.

Republican Rep. Jay Rodne opposed the bill, saying it would not be enforceable.

“We’re going to drain precious law enforcement resources to policing this measure,” he says.

But, Republican Rep. Mike Hope, a police officer, said this measure could help prevent shootings like what happened in Newtown, Conn.

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Law
5:58 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Washington liquor control officers want full law enforcement powers

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.

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Law
4:27 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Seattle surveillance cameras have ACLU's antennas up

A surveillance camera sits atop a light pole along Seattle's Alki Avenue.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Civil liberties advocates are raising concerns about a network of 30 surveillance cameras installed along Seattle’s shoreline, purchased with a $5 million dollar federal grant. When the measure first came up in city council last year, Seattle Police Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh said it was all about Port security.  

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Law
11:27 am
Wed February 13, 2013

State senate targets Seattle's sick leave policy with two new bills

Seattle's sick leave law is being targeted in by two new bills introduced in the Senate.

The city's law requires businesses with at least five employees operating in Seattle to provide paid sick leave to workers. It took effect in September.

Two bills introduced Tuesday by Senate Republicans would directly impact that law. One would take Seattle's law off the books completely by declaring that the Legislature has the sole responsibility for sick-leave requirements.

Law
3:51 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Washington lawmakers consider immunity for minors with alcohol poisoning

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 5:52 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Calls to 911 for underage drinkers suffering from alcohol poisoning would not prompt police charges if a bill in Olympia passes. Tuesday, Washington lawmakers heard testimony on a measure that would allow young partiers to get help without penalty.

Currently, teens sent to the hospital after a hard night of drinking could find themselves in trouble with the law. Democratic Rep. Marko Liias said his bill would help young people avoid death by alcohol poisoning.

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Marijuana Regulation
5:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Should it matter how much marijuana is in your blood?

Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

It’s always been illegal to drive stoned. But, what that means has changed under Washington’s new marijuana law.

Initiative-502 includes a strict definition of "under the influence" – which some people say is misguided.

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Marijuana Legalization
11:45 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Federal lawmakers quietly working to change U.S. pot laws

From legalizing the industrial production of hemp to establishing a federal tax, an effort is building in Congress to change U.S. marijuana laws.

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon tells The Associated Press that lawmakers from both parties have been quietly working on several bills, and he and Colorado Democrat Jared Polis plan to introduce the first two on Tuesday.

Polis' measure would let states legalize pot and require growers to obtain a federal permit, while Blumenauer's would create a federal marijuana excise tax.

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Marijuana Regulation
2:32 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

'Grey' Market Concerns Grow As Washington Legalizes Pot

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:32 pm

As Washington moves to legalize marijuana, there are fresh concerns that a parallel market for pot will continue to flourish. It’s not quite a black market. Let’s call it a “grey” market – for medical marijuana. The question now: how will highly taxed and regulated pot compete with largely unregulated medical marijuana?

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Law
5:51 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Guilty Plea In Largest Public Embezzlement Case In Washington State History

RICHLAND, Wash. – The state of Washington’s largest public sector embezzlement case ever moves forward Thursday with a guilty plea. A public works employee admits he took the money over more than 20 years in Franklin County in the southeast part of the state.

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Families
3:00 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Can a child have more than two legal parents?

The two parent family portrayed in "Leave It To Beaver" circa 1960.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

What does it take to make someone a parent in the eyes of the law? And can a child have more than two designated legal parents?  

As families become more complex, those are questions courts in Washington and elsewhere are wrestling with.

Back in 2005,  the Washington State Supreme Court became something of a national leader when it ruled on a case involving a lesbian couple.

The court determined that, after the couple split up, the non biological mother could have full parental rights as a “de facto parent.”

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Law
5:48 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Billboards to stop human trafficking

These billboards are being rolled out across Western Washington, from Tacoma to Bellingham.
Kelly Gibbs

Billboards depicting the outline of a young girl and a short story about abuse have sprung up across western Washington. Seattle Police Captain Dave Emerick is in charge of the high risk victims unit. He says at any given time, between 300 and 500 young people are being sexually exploited in King County alone. He says the police want to hear from anyone who sees suspicious behavior.

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Marijuana Regulation
11:09 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Green thumb? Washington state looks for pot consultant

NPS and federal agents discovered and eradicated six illegal marijuana fields in North Cascades National Park Complex in 2008.
David Snyder National Park Service

Wanted: A green thumb with extensive knowledge of the black, or at least gray, market.

As Washington state tries to figure out how to regulate its newly legal marijuana, officials are hiring an adviser on all things weed: how it's best grown, tested, labeled, and cooked into brownies.

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Gulf Oil Spill
1:41 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Judge Approves BP's Manslaughter Plea In 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 12:03 pm

A federal judge has approved a guilty plea by BP to manslaughter charges in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The approved deal includes a record $4 billion in criminal penalties.

Eleven workers on the Deep Water Horizon rig died in the April 2010 explosion. BP pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges for those deaths and to lying to Congress about the amount of the oil spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico.

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Gun Safety
11:30 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Gun buyback: Mayor says "gaggles" of private gun buyers "insane"

Officers examine an inert surface to air missile launcher brought to the gun buy back program run by the Seattle Police Department on Saturday.
Joshua Trujillo AP

Seven hundred and sixteen guns were collected at Saturday’s gun buyback program in Seattle. But officials say they are disturbed by the large number of private gun buyers the event attracted.

Mayor Mike McGinn says he was shocked by what he describes as the “gaggles” of private gun buyers who showed up to tempt people away from the long lines and gift cards and offer them cash for their weapons.

“We had a gun bazaar break out of the streets of Seattle outside of a gun buyback. That was just insane."

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