Politics

Politics
11:01 am
Wed March 13, 2013

State Senate passes Inslee's climate bill

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee testifies before the House Environment Committee on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 in Olympia, Wash.
Rachel La Corte Associated Press

The Washington state Senate has advanced a measure championed by Gov. Jay Inslee to study the best practices for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the measure passed Wednesday, an outside consultant would review both Washington state's ongoing efforts to cut carbon emissions and similar endeavors elsewhere. It would then report back to the governor and legislative leaders.

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Politics
10:04 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Gov. Inslee disappointed with fate of gun bill

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to a joint session of the Washington Legislature, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, shortly after being sworn in as Governor, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren Associated Press

Gov. Inslee disappointed with fate of gun bill Gov. Jay Inslee says he is disappointed that a proposal to expand background checks on Washington state gun sales has stalled, but says he'll continue making phone calls on the issue.

After the issue locked up the House for much of the day Tuesday, the bill ultimately was not brought out for a vote and its sponsors conceded they could not get majority support for the measure, even with a proposed referendum clause that would have allowed the public to vote on the measure.

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Politics
9:06 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Bill to expand background checks for gun sales fail in House

M Glasgow Flickr

A proposal to expand background checks on Washington state gun sales has failed in the state House.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Pedersen of Seattle said Tuesday night he was unable to corral the 50 votes necessary to pass the bill through the chamber. Pedersen says he was disappointed by the result, coming even after he agreed to add a referendum clause to the bill.

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Politics
3:36 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Iranian-Americans test political 'glass ceiling'

Washington Legislature

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 10:00 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. - In the decades since the Iranian Revolution, immigrants from there have made it to the corner offices of corporate America, academia and Hollywood. But they're largely absent from the political scene.

In the U.S., the highest ranking Iranian-American elected official is a freshman state representative from suburban Seattle. But his heritage is not the only thing worth noticing about Representative Cyrus Habib.

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Politics
8:23 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Washington Senate approves limiting sick leave

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Senate moved Monday to limit the reach of Seattle’s pioneering paid sick leave law. In 2011, the city council voted to require all companies that do business in Seattle to offer paid sick leave. But in Olympia, the state Senate approved a measure to limit the benefit only to those companies and workers based almost all the time within the city limits.

State Sen. David Frockt from Seattle complained the bill is an attack on local control.

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Politics
7:35 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Energy secretary nominee no stranger to Hanford tank leaks

White House

RICHLAND, Wash. – President Obama’s nominee for the next federal Energy Secretary is no stranger to the cleanup work at the Northwest’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Ernest Moniz was Energy undersecretary during the Clinton Administration and back in the late '90s he faced scrutiny about tank leaks at Hanford.

The problem -- and question then -- was whether about a million gallons of leaked radioactive tank waste had reached the groundwater and was headed toward the Columbia River. Or if it was staying put in a dry layer of soil, above the groundwater.

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Politics
5:29 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Despite pledge to cooperate, partisan recriminations in Washington Senate

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Three months ago, 23 Republicans and two breakaway Democrats seized control of the Washington state Senate. At the time, Majority Leader Rodney Tom, one of the Democrats, pledged a new spirit of bipartisanship.

“The public out there is hungry for us to come together, to work together in a collaborative manner and that’s exactly what this coalition is trying to accomplish,” he said.

But as the halfway point of the legislative session approaches, the Washington state Senate has become a hotbed of partisan recriminations.

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Politics
12:10 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Yakima Marijuana Hearing Draws Entrepreneurs, Advocates, Moms

Anna King Northwest News Network

YAKIMA, Wash. – Marijuana advocates, people concerned about the effects of drugs on children and hopeful entrepreneurs filled a huge room at the Yakima Convention Center Thursday night. This hearing is part of a series across Washington on how to implement voter-approved marijuana legalization. Correspondent Anna King brings us our story from Yakima.

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Politics
5:45 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Defiance and praise as Washington High Court makes tax hikes easier

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Raising taxes in Washington just got a whole lot easier. The state Supreme Court Thursday threw out the requirement that tax increases muster a two-thirds vote of the legislature. Democrats say the ruling will allow more options as lawmakers grapple with ongoing budget woes. But Republicans vow to uphold the will of voters who have repeatedly supported a high bar for tax hikes.

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Politics
5:05 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Washington Supreme Court tosses out supermajority tax vote requirement

Cacophony Wikipedia

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:05 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Democrats say it’s a victory for democracy. Republicans call it a defeat for taxpayers. In a major decision Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out the state’s two-thirds supermajority requirement for raising taxes. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the voter-approved law violates a provision of the Washington state constitution that requires a simple majority vote in the state legislature to approve bills.

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Politics
4:43 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Oregon, Washington file briefs in support of same-sex marriage

SALEM, Ore. – The top state prosecutors in Oregon and Washington have filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. The high court is expected to take up the cases later this month.

The first case involves an effort to strike down California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. The second case involves efforts to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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Spending Cuts
12:46 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

How Washington Chose Not To Be Careful With Spending Cuts

Under sequestration, federal agencies don't have the flexibility to choose to spare popular programs or services by making administrative cuts elsewhere.
Tatiana Popova iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 8:35 am

Inconveniencing the public is part of the plan.

It may never have been intended to play out in quite this way, but the automatic spending cuts set to take effect for most federal programs Friday leave little room for preserving the most visible and popular programs.

"The law basically says the cuts have to be across-the-board by 'project, program and activity,' " says Stan Collender, a federal budget expert with the communications firm Qorvis. "That was specifically written to take away flexibility from the administration."

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Politics
5:29 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Anti-tax activist Tim Eyman blasts car tab proposals in Olympia

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – He is synonymous with keeping Washington car tabs at $30. Now anti-tax initiative sponsor Tim Eyman is fired up again. He testified in Olympia Monday against a series of proposals to allow local transportation districts to impose higher vehicle fees.

Eyman says even Seattle voters have demonstrated a scorn for car tab hikes.

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Politics
3:32 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Local effects of automatic federal budget cuts hazy

I Corps, US Army

Northwest military bases, universities, national labs and parks await guidance for how to implement automatic federal budget cuts. The so-called "sequester" is scheduled to take effect on Friday, March 1. Not much else is certain beyond that including who in the region could feel the pain immediately, if anyone.

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Politics
4:08 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Snohomish Co. Executive's resignation shocks fellow officials

Snohomish County

The Snohomish County Executive’s abrupt resignation announcement came as a shock to his fellow public officials. Aaron Reardon has been under the gun for more than a year, dating back to revelations of an extramarital affair.

But audience members were caught off guard when, at the end of an otherwise unremarkable “State of the County” speech, he announced he would step down May 31.

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