Law

human rights
5:01 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Supporters Rally for Renton Woman Held in Mexican Prison

Grisela Rodriquez, daughter or Nestora Salgado, fights back tears as she speaks at the rally.
Paula Wissel KPLU

Human rights advocates rallied in front of the Mexican consulate in Seattle on Tuesday on behalf of a Renton woman being held in a Mexican prison.

Nestora Salgado, who was the commander of a community police force, was arrested in the Mexican state of Guerrero in August and charged with kidnapping. Her family in the Seattle area say the charges are trumped up in retaliation for her efforts to combat corruption in Mexico.

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gay rights
4:00 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

In Wake of Suit, BNSF to Offer Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses

Eli Hall, center, looks on as his husband and BNSF engineer Michael Hall, left, talks to reporters, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren Associated Press

The nation's largest freight rail carriers have announced they will provide health benefits to the same-sex spouses of their employees, one day after legally married, gay engineers filed a federal lawsuit in Seattle.

Gus Melonas, a spokesman for BNSF Railway Co., read the statement from the National Railway Labor Conference to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The conference represents the railroad companies in dealings with labor groups.

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civil rights
11:55 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Judge: Two Wash. Towns Failed Poor Defendants' Rights

A federal judge has ruled that two Washington cities have systematically violated the rights of poor defendants to have legal representation.

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued Mount Vernon and Burlington two years ago, alleging that public defenders there were so overworked that they amounted to little more than "a warm body with a law degree."

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gay rights
5:04 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Two Same-Sex Couples Sue BNSF over Health Benefits

Michael and Eli Hall, right, hold their marriage license certificate, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 as they talk to reporters in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren Associated Press

Listen to Paul Wissel discuss the story with Dave Meyer.
Listen to Paula Wissel's story.

Two workers are suing BNSF, one of the nation's largest rail companies, saying their same-sex spouses have repeatedly been denied health benefits even though gay marriage is legal in Washington state.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle states BNSF refused to add the spouses of locomotive engineer Michael Hall and conductor Amie Garrand to their plans.

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Law enforcement
4:30 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Are Former Peace Corps Volunteers Willing to Carry a Gun and a Badge?

A Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador.
Peace Corps

The King County sheriff wants to make his police force more culturally aware. So he’s come up with a plan that includes putting former Peace Corps volunteers on the payroll.

Sheriff John Urquhart says the force is “becoming more male and more white every single year," and that's a problem because the force should better reflect the increasingly diverse community.

"And that means we need all colors, we need all races, we need all genders, and we need LGBT, you name it,” Urquhart said.

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Marijuana DUI
10:40 am
Thu November 21, 2013

More Drivers Test Positive for Pot in Wash. State

Associated Press

New figures from the Washington State Patrol show that more drivers have tested positive for marijuana since the state legalized the drug last year.

In the first six months of 2013, the patrol's crime lab says, 745 people tested positive for marijuana. Typically there are about 1,000 positive pot tests on drivers in a full year.

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marijuana licenses
3:17 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Celebration, Angst as State Starts Accepting Pot License Applications

Jeff Gilmore, right, with partner Dave Brown have applied for a license to grow legal marijuana.
Austin Jenkins

The 30-day window for marijuana business licenses applications has opened in Washington. Would-be growers, processors and retailers applied online and in-person Monday.

At the Department of Revenue business licensing office, the flow of in-person applicants was more of a trickle, not a torrent on this historic day.

“This is absolutely amazing,” said Jeff Gilmore, who was among the first to apply for a license to grow legal pot after a career of growing illegally. “The state of Washington took two years of my life for growing marijuana two decades ago.”

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marijuana licenses
1:07 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

State Pot License Investigators to Look for 'Hidden Ownership'

Associated Press

Pot entrepreneurs in Washington can apply for a business license beginning Monday, Nov. 18. The state now has a team of 14 license investigators ready to vet the applicants.

Becky Smith with the Washington Liquor Control Board says investigators will be sleuthing for hidden owners and out-of-state financial backers, as well as other violations of the rules.

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changing times
5:01 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Lawyers Must Adapt to Changing Profession

Lawyers are finding themselves facing the same pressures recording artists and journalists have had to contend with: free content on the Internet. 

Technological changes and a DIY culture are also changing the legal profession in fundamental ways. And how to adapt has been a hot topic at law schools in Washington and at the Washington Bar Association.

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Marijuana DUI
5:01 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Test Case Shows Pot DUI Law Still Murky Despite Per Se Limit

Ronnie Payton is a medical marijuana patient.
Justin Steyer KPLU

When is someone too stoned to drive? Washington's new marijuana law includes a new way to answer that question: a blood limit for the drug.

It's supposed to set a standard just as clear as the .08 blood alcohol content police use for drunk drivers. But one year after voters legalized pot, the line is looking almost as blurry as ever.

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marijuana laws
1:14 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Colo., Wash. Courts Weigh Lawyer Pot Use, Advice

Associated Press

Seattle attorney Kurt Boehl is happy to think he's contributing to the success of Washington's grand experiment in regulating marijuana by advising his clients on how to navigate the industry's legal complexities.

But there's a worry that his efforts could earn him an ethics complaint. After all, marijuana is illegal under federal law, and lawyers aren't supposed to help their clients break the law.

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marijuana licenses
5:46 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

What You Should Know about Applying for a State Pot License

Associated Press

This month, the state Liquor Control Board will begin accepting applications for marijuana business licenses. State officials on Monday released details about the application process. Here are four things you should know:

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Guns In School
3:48 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Idaho School District Dumps Plan to Arm Teachers

Quagmar Flickr

 

Officials at a school district in north Idaho say a plan to arm teachers is off. The proposal has been generating controversy in the Sandpoint area.

But that part of a school safety plan is no longer under consideration.

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taxing marijuana
10:31 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Will Wash. State's Legal Pot Taxes Go to Health Care?

Associated Press

One selling point of Washington's new legal marijuana law was that a huge chunk of pot-related tax revenue would be devoted to health coverage for low-income residents.

But it's not clear the money will go to health care after all.Under the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," a would-be recipient of the pot taxes— Washington's Basic Health Plan—is being eliminated. The plan, which provided low-cost health insurance to the working poor, is being absorbed by Medicaid and will end Dec. 31, according the state Health Care Authority.

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employment rights
5:10 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

U.S. Stepping Up Enforcement of Veterans' Reemployment Rights

An Army Reservist will collect back pay from an Everett, Wash. company accused of violating his reemployment rights.

The U.S Justice Department announced a settlement Monday with the battery retailer that fired the Iraq War veteran.

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