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Forty-eight days: That’s the average time people who are suspected of immigration violations are held in detention in Washington state before they are released or deported. A new report from researchers at Syracuse University also concludes that among states with the largest populations of detainees, Washington ranks among the worst for long detention times: number 20 out of 30.

There’s one week left in Washington’s special legislative session and still no budget deal. Governor Jay Inslee and the Senate majority caucus held dueling news conferences Tuesday complete with plenty of finger-pointing.

The governor went first. Inslee, a Democrat, blasted the mostly Republican Senate majority for an estate tax measure that passed out of committee late last week. Inslee called it a new tax break for more than 200 wealthy Washingtonians at the expense of public schools.

People take long flights to pay low prices for sex. In a radio story from WGBH, Phillip Martin explores the international sex tourism industry. Here in the Seattle area, Highway 99 hosts one main corridor where prostitution is easy to see. Hot spots dot the roadway, from Northgate to Sea-Tac. 

Some of those prostitutes are also underage girls, forced by pimps to walk the streets. That's called child sex trafficking.

Flickr Photo/Red Maxwell

After numerous high-profile lawsuits against tech companies, a Bellevue-based patent company is now setting its sights on the financial industry.

On Tuesday, Intellectual Ventures announced it has filed lawsuits against two banks, JP Morgan Chase and Fifth Third Bank, for patent infringement. This is Intellectual Ventures’ second round of lawsuits targeting financial firms in the past week. On May 29, the company filed suit against First National Bank of Omaha and PNC.

Courtesy of the National Park Service

The National Park Service said Tuesday it is increasing safety training and altering some rescue techniques in the wake of the death of ranger Nick Hall on Mt. Rainier last June.

Park Service officials made the recommendations following a report released Tuesday, detailing the incident. As a result of the review, they said the Park Service would begin favoring a technique that puts the ranger on a wire dangling from a helicopter, instead of on the ground battling a rescue litter.

An ankle-high plant with a funny name is stirring up controversy in southeast Washington. The federal government is considering whether to list a yellow-flowering plant known as the White Bluffs Bladderpod as a threatened species. Landowners worry the listing could curtail farming.

I’m out on the edge of a ridiculously steep precipice on the Hanford Reach National Monument – it’s a swath of protected federal ground. This spot overlooks old nuclear reactors just across the brimming Columbia River.

Even if you've never visited a jail, you probably have a pretty clear image of what inmate visitation is like – a shatterproof glass barrier, two people sitting on either side, speaking into telephones.

But that's changing in some parts of the Northwest. More and more county jails are switching to privately operated video conferencing systems. Sort of like Skype, for inmates. But these systems have technical difficulties and come with costs for the inmates’ families.

Delayed visits

King County

Correction 6/4/2013: A previous version of this story had a typographical error. The bridge is scheduled to be closed June 5, not June 6.

King County plans to close an old bridge near Kent earlier than originally scheduled, officials said Monday.

The Alvord T. Bridge is both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. It’s the first such closure since last month’s I-5 bridge collapse in Skagit County.

flickr/afagen

A legislator in Washington state says she will revive a bill that would make it easier for police to collect DNA samples. That’s in the wake of a US Supreme Court ruling Monday. The five-to-four ruling upheld a Maryland law that allows police to collect DNA samples at the time of arrest from people who are charged with certain violent crimes or sex offenses.

Seattle Police are warning parents to keep their young children within sight after a rash of apparent kidnapping attempts involving 3- and 4-year-old boys.

The latest incident happened Monday morning outside Coe Elementary School in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Seattle Police spokeswoman Renee Witt says a woman told police she had left her 4-year-old son inside her parked car while she walked her daughter to the school.

The ACLU is asking Governor Jay Inslee to call for a moratorium on hospital mergers and affiliations for six months.  Many of these partnerships involve faith-based health care providers. The ACLU, along with ten other local organizations, sent a letter to the governor saying they’re worried that these mergers will hurt patients in the long run.

Flickr Photo/Kosmosxipo

New streetcars might be running through downtown Seattle in a few years, under a plan announced Monday by Mayor Mike McGinn. The new route would be a link between the existing streetcar route in  South Lake Union, and the one under construction that will serve Capitol Hill, First Hill and Pioneer Square.

Washington’s 30-day overtime session of the legislature ends a week from Tuesday. So far there’s no sign of a budget deal between the mostly Republican-led Senate and the Democratic House. Governor Jay Inslee is urging the two sides to pick up the pace.

House and Senate negotiators continue to meet in Olympia. But finding agreement on the next two-year budget and the policy measures to implement it remains elusive.

Ashley Ahearn / Earthfix

Scientists believe that lack of food, underwater noise and pollution have contributed to the decline of Puget Sound’s iconic killer whales. One man is taking the latest orca research into classrooms around the Northwest.

Celeste Smith

June 2 is National Cancer Survivor Day. But surviving the disease is just one challenge facing cancer patients. A recent study by Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed that cancer patients are two-and-a-half times more at risk for filing bankruptcy compared to people without cancer.

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