Law

Discrimination
5:00 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Gay Rights Advocates: Idaho Bills Would Upend Local Discrimination Bans

The Pocatello City Council took public comment on an anti-discrimination ordinance in April 2013.
Jessica Robinson

Gay rights advocates say legislation introduced this week in Idaho would undermine local anti-discrimination ordinances passed in seven Idaho cities. The new bills are aimed protecting religious people from activities they say violate their beliefs.

Republican Idaho lawmakers are responding to incidents elsewhere in the Northwest. A florist in Richland, Wash., faces lawsuits for refusing to provide the flowers for a same-sex wedding. In Oregon, investigators found a baker in Gresham who made a similar stand violated the state's civil rights laws.

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Death Penalty
5:19 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Wash. To Change Execution Rules, Allow More Witness Access

The execution chamber at the Washington State Penitentiary is shown as viewed from the witness gallery, in this Nov. 20, 2008, file photo, in Walla Walla, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

The next time a death row inmate is executed by lethal injection in Washington, witnesses will see more of the process. Washington’s secretary of corrections confirmed Wednesday that a closed-circuit camera will capture the moment the needle goes in.

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Advertising
4:07 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Seattle Sues To Get Rid Of Wall Billboards

Seen at 127 First Ave. N. in Seattle.
City of Seattle

Seattle is suing Total Outdoor, a national advertising company, over the giant ads the company puts on the sides of buildings in the city. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes says the signs are a flagrant violation of a long-standing Seattle ordinance meant to limit billboards in the city.

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Privacy Law
4:30 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Court To Lawyers: Not OK To Secretly Record Phone Calls As Evidence

Chris Campbell Flickr

Secretly-recorded phone calls are not protected under law even when done in the course of gathering evidence for a lawsuit, law firms were told in a state court ruling.

The Court of Appeals case grew out of the surreptitious recording of a former executive with a technology-engineering firm by lawyers at the Seattle law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine.

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Legal Marijuana
12:06 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

State Lawmakers: No Tax Breaks For Pot Production

File image
AP Photo

Some lawmakers in Washington state want to prevent marijuana producers from qualifying for agriculture tax breaks.

A state House committee heard a bill Tuesday that would block the new marijuana industry from tax breaks for 10 years. Officials estimate that the industry could otherwise qualify for three dozen different tax breaks, largely surrounding the agriculture industry.

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Crime
4:30 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Copper Thieves Leave Tacoma Streets In The Dark For Months

Some streets in Tacoma will be in the dark for at least another six weeks, maybe longer. Thieves have been stealing copper wire from street lamps and city workers haven’t been able to keep up with repairs.

The theft of copper wire is nothing new. But this winter, Tacoma has been especially hard hit. Curtis Kingsolver, director of public works for the city of Tacoma, says for the first 10 months of the year, the city had about one copper wire theft-related street light outage a month.

“But, in the last two months of 2013, we had 56 outages, so we just had this huge rash of occurances that it’s been very demanding for us,” he said.

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Marijuana Business
3:34 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

I-502 Author Says Attorney General Got It Wrong On Pot Business Bans

Dozens of cities and counties have places bans or moratoriums on marijuana businesses.
Associated Press

Washington’s Attorney General buoyed local governments looking to block pot businesses with a legal opinion issued Thursday. His argument cites the intentions of those who wrote the state’s the pot law, but the initiative’s primary author said he got it wrong.

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Legal Marijuana
11:36 am
Thu January 16, 2014

State Attorney General: Cities Can Block Pot Business

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Matilde Campodonico AP Photo

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says cities and counties can block licensed marijuana businesses from operating.

In a long-awaited opinion Thursday, Ferguson says the state's legal marijuana law, Initiative 502, leaves local governments the option of adopting moratoriums or bans that prohibit licensed grow operations, processing facilities or retail shops from their jurisdictions.

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Tribal Fishermen
10:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Clean Slate For Tribal Fishing Rights Protestors?

Billy Frank, a veteran of the fish wars, Hank Adams, a tribal advocate, and Shawn Yanity, chairman of the Stillaguamish Tribe confer in Olympia.
Taylor Winkel

Some 40 to 50 years ago, American Indians in Western Washington were repeatedly arrested during protests over treaty fishing rights.

Now, convicted tribal fishermen may gain the opportunity to clear their records of misdemeanors and felonies from before 1975.

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Open Records
5:00 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Locking Out Homeless? Seattle Man Wants More Information From City

Outlets in the Armory, formerly the Seattle Center House, are blocked with covers and padlocks.
Paula Wissel

One Seattle man says he’s on a quest to expose why the Seattle Center blocked off use of power outlets in public spaces, and he is arguing his case before the Washington state Appeals Court today.

In September of 2012, Howard Gale noticed Seattle Center staff putting covers and padlocks on all of the electrical outlets, not long after the center had been remodeled and the outlets had been installed. 

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Legal Marijuana
4:01 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

No Pot-Shop Freeze-Out? Bill Would Ban Moratoriums

In this Dec. 6, 2013 photo, different strains of marijuana are displayed for sale at The Clinic, a Denver-based dispensary with several outlets, in Denver.
Brennan Linsley AP Photo

Some Washington lawmakers concerned about a possible pot-business freeze-out want to keep cities and towns from adopting marijuana-business bans.

Ten representatives in the House on Tuesday introduced a bill that would require cities and counties to cooperate with the state Liquor Control Board in terms of allowing licensed recreational marijuana gardens, processing facilities and stores within their jurisdictions. Local governments would have to treat those enterprises the same as any other business that attempts to locate within their boundaries.

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Legal Marijuana
5:01 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Yakama Tribes Take Pot Stand On Traditional Lands

File image
AP Photo

Leaders of the Yakama Nation in central Washington say they see little benefit to sales or farming of legalized marijuana on their traditional lands. And the tribes are making moves to prevent anyone from operating a pot business on an area that adds up to one-fifth of the state’s land mass.

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Legal Marijuana
1:13 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

State Liquor Board Seeking Formal Opinion On Whether Pot Moratoriums Are Legal

Different strains of pot are displayed for sale at Medicine Man marijuana dispensary in Denver, Friday Dec. 27, 2013.
Brennan Linsley AP Photo

Legal marijuana is expected to go on sale by this spring in Washington cities like Seattle and Spokane.

Some municipalities, including Federal Way, have put moratoriums in place to give officials more time to determine how to implement the new law in their community. But in some cases, the moratoriums are more severe. 

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Marijuana Licenses
10:04 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Wash. State Faces Prospect Of Too Many Pot Growers

File image
AP Photo

Washington state could be facing a curious economic problem: too many pot growers.

More than 2,600 applications have been submitted to produce the marijuana that will be sold at state-licensed stores when Washington's legal marijuana industry opens for business this year.

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Drug Crime
5:26 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

High-Profile Tacoma Pot Activist Booked On Cold Case Drug Murder

One of Schaef's former businesses in Tacoma allowed people to "vape" in a bar setting.
Paula Wissel KPLU

Pierce County law enforcement officials say they’ve cracked a cold case murder that happened more than 20 years ago, and the investigation has ensnared a high-profile Tacoma marijuana activist.

Michael Schaef is a self-styled cannabis consultant who’s run medical marijuana dispensaries and co-founded a Tacoma “vape bar” that operated, until it was shut down, in a gray area of Washington’s pot law.

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