Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 4:11 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Predicting marijuana usage rates in Washington might come down to a test Cheech and Chong would appreciate: the size of the joint. So says one of the state’s new pot legalization consultants.
There’s a classic Cheech and Chong scene where they smoke a massive joint while driving down the road. Cheech says “Looks like a quarter pounder, man.”
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 3:13 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Booth Gardner, Washington’s 19th governor, has died at age 76. Gardner’s family says he passed away Friday night from complications of Parkinson's disease. Gardner had lived with the illness for more than a decade.
Democrat Booth Gardner took office in January of 1985. He was a Harvard-educated businessman with a playful manner. Longtime newspaper columnist Joel Connelly offers these snapshot memories.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 9:18 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Hopes for a rosier budget outlook in Washington are dimming. Expected savings in Medicaid haven’t materialized. And many state lawmakers expect this week’s quarterly revenue forecast to show a downward slide. Add to that, a Supreme Court ruling that requires more funding for schools.
In response, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee is expected to announce soon a list of tax “loopholes” – as he calls them – he wants to eliminate to fund schools. But closing tax exemptions is easier said than done.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 7:41 am
OLYMPIA, Wash. – A controversial proposal to require criminal background checks for most gun purchases appears to have died in the Washington House. That announcement came Tuesday night after two days of efforts to wrangle enough votes to pass the measure.
Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 7:15 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Efforts to muster the 50 votes needed to pass a universal background check measure for gun sales were falling short Monday afternoon in the Washington House of Representatives. A planned vote after 3:00 pm was delayed while backers of the measure continued to work behind the scenes to secure the necessary support. Meanwhile majority Democrats moved on from the topic of reducing gun violence to consider non-related health care measures.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – In the world of state legislatures, there’s a powerful breed of players who normally shun the spotlight. They prefer to work behind the scenes to influence policy outcomes. We’re talking about business lobbyists. Inside this often hidden world, you’ll meet two of the most successful corporate contract lobbyists in the Washington state capitol. And learn some of their tricks of the trade.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday. He will likely get questions about Washington and Colorado’s new marijuana laws. Pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to block the pot legalization measures.
The new push for federal invention comes from a United Nations-based drug agency and nine former DEA chiefs. They say Washington and Colorado's new recreational pot laws violate international treaties.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Efforts to get gun rights leaders in Washington to support -- or at least not oppose -- universal background checks appear to have hit a stumbling block. At issue is a state database that tracks pistol sales. Second Amendment advocates want it shut down, but the state’s sheriffs and police chiefs say it’s a vital law enforcement tool.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:45 pm
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.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:00 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the two-thirds requirement for tax hikes is a personal defeat for initiative activist Tim Eyman. Over the years, he sponsored three of the five ballot measures that enacted the supermajority rule.
Outside the Capitol after the ruling, reporters noted that Eyman seemed more subdued than defiant.