Liz Jones | KUOW News and Information

Liz Jones

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2006

Liz reports on immigration and emerging communities for KUOW. Her work covers issues within our region’s growing immigrant and refugee populations, as well as stories connected to minority groups with a longer history in the area.

She comes to KUOW after several years at an online news startup, which was later bought by Oxygen Media in New York.  Her last position there was health editor for the network’s website.

Liz has also lived in Spain and Peru and speaks Spanish. She is a graduate of the University of Washington, with a degree in communications.

Liz’s work for KUOW has taken her to Mexico and India. Both those reporting trips produced award-winning documentaries. In 2009, Liz received a regional Murrow award for a documentary about indigenous Mexicans who migrate to the Seattle area. In 2014, she won a national Gracie award and RTNDA’s Kaleidoscope Award for a series that focused on immigration-related links between India and the Puget Sound region.

Her work has also been heard on national shows including NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now, PRI's The World, Latino USA, Marketplace, The Takeaway and BBC News Service.  

Ways to Connect

Liz Jones / KUOW

If you want to marry someone from another country, and you’re a US citizen, chances are your spouse could also gain citizenship through marriage. That is, if the marriage is between a man and a woman.  This path to citizenship is not available to gay couples because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Next month, the US Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to this federal law. It’s a case Seattle resident Otts Bolisay is anxious to watch unfold.

Seattle Housing Authority

Watch out for scammers. That’s Seattle Housing Authority’s warning to people who are going online this week to apply for the city’s Section 8 housing lottery.  Agency officials caution that some misleading sites have been set up to  trick people into submitting their personal information to the wrong place.

wisetechcolleges / Flickr

On Wednesday, hundreds of immigrants and advocates plan to gather in Olympia to lay out their priorities for lawmakers. One top issue is called the Washington Dream Act, which state Senator Ed Murray, D-Seattle, introduced today. Under the measure, undocumented college students would become eligible for state financial aid.

A proposed bill in Olympia aims to crack down on employers who shortchange their workers. The measure would create harsher penalties for business that skimp on minimum wage, overtime pay, or just flat out fail to hand over a paycheck.

This type of  underpayment is often referred to as “wage theft.” Advocates of the bill, HB 1440, say the victims of wage theft tend to be low-income workers and undocumented immigrants.

Shannon Dininny, File / AP Photo

This week, something new is sprouting in the Northwest’s fields and fruit orchards: optimism about immigration reform.

Ed Yourdon / Flickr

In the pre-dawn hours this Friday, hundreds of volunteers will fan out across King County to look for people sleeping in alleys, parks, shopping centers and city busses. The effort  is part of the county’s annual One Night Count, which aims to get an annual head-count of people who are homeless.

A view from inside a Boeing factory
Courtesy of Boeing

Outside the Boeing plant in Everett, newly assembled 787s sit ready for delivery. The lineup includes new planes for LOT Polish Airlines, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.  Inside, the production line rolls on despite this week’s setbacks for the company’s newest jetliner. Dreamliner number 94 stands at the front of the line. It’s an order for Thomson Airways, which is set to be the first British airline to fly the Dreamliner.

Clark County, WA

Some lawmakers in Olympia want to make the Department of Licensing an immigration checkpoint.
A proposed bill would require people to prove they are lawfully in the United States in order to get a driver’s license.

myJon / Flickr

Do people vote based on race? That’s a question the Washington Legislature will likely tackle this session, as supporters of a state Voting Rights Act prepare to push the measure again this year. The law would aim to strengthen minority representation in places with a large population of Latinos or other racial group.

Sheri Collins and her dog
Liz Jones

On Sunday nights, you can find Graham Pruss under the Ballard Bridge, serving up a hot meal. A recent menu included ham and potato soup, locally baked bread and apple cobbler. He calls this weekly dinner a bridge to connect with people who live in their cars. They’re often referred to as car campers or mobile homeless, but Pruss prefers the term, vehicle residents.

Pruss is one of many homeless advocates who’s pushed Seattle to provide more services to this group of people. In response, last year the city launched the “safe parking” program, which opens up church lots where people can park and connect to housing services. The pilot program is modestly increasing this year, in a step toward what advocates hope will be a citywide expansion. 

Washington DOL

In 2012 the Washington state Legislature passed a law that sponsors called the “driving while poor” bill. The law aims to help people who end up with suspended licenses because they failed to pay traffic tickets.

sarah sosiak / Flickr

Immigrant advocates are cheering a change in federal policy. New guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security offer a small break to people who entered the country illegally and now have a spouse or child who is a US citizen.

Liz Jones / KUOW

People who earn minimum wage in Washington state are about to get a small raise.  On New Year’s Day, the hourly rate increases by 15 cents to total $9.19.

Washington’s minimum wage is higher than any other state. But studies show it’s still far below the minimum cost of living here.

Liz Jones / KUOW

To many people, the holidays are about family tradition. Tradition is what brings Barry Ford and his wife, Shirley Babilya, to Seattle every December. They drive their RV across country from Iowa to do a job they love in the town where Ford grew up.

This year, the couple is 1,849 miles apart. Shirley is home in Iowa recovering from a heart attack and Barry is on his own in Seattle this season. When some Seattle neighbors found out, they stepped in to help fill the void.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection / cpb.gov

When a police officer needs to question someone in Spanish, or any other language, they can no longer use US Border Patrol agents as interpreters. This change in federal policy comes after a group of attorneys and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) in Seattle filed a complaint earlier this year. 

Married At Last

Dec 9, 2012
Michael Clinard

Wedding bells rang throughout Washington state Sunday as hundreds of same-sex couples said “I do.” December 9 was the first day gay couples could legally marry here, after voters upheld the state’s marriage equality law in the November election.

Liz Jones / KUOW

Gay and lesbian couples across Washington woke up to a new reality today: Same-sex marriage is now legal in this state. Hundreds of couples lined up in downtown Seattle Wednesday night to be among the first to receive marriage licenses. The honor of “first couple” went to Jane Abbott Lightly and Pete-e Peterson, ages 77 and 85.

“I never thought this day would come, but here it is," said Peterson. After 35 years together, Lightly and Peterson plan to make it an official marriage this Sunday.

Liz Jones / KUOW

The countdown is on. At 12:01 on December 6, King County will start handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Hundreds are expected to show up for this historic, once-in-a-lifetime event. County staffers are working around the clock to pull off an unprecedented, all-night operation.

A Very Long Engagement

Dec 4, 2012
Liz Jones / KUOW

What’s the opposite of a shotgun wedding? Try a 15-year engagement.  Seattle couple Kate Schubert and Liz Newman joke they’ve waited that long for the right to get married in their home state.  The wait is almost over. On December 6, same-sex marriage will be legal in Washington.  Now, Kate and Liz are eager to take the next step.

daimler.com/car2go

Maybe you’ve heard of the car-sharing service, Zipcar. It’s like a club where members can borrow cars for a set fee. On Monday, the Seattle City Council is expected to approve another similar car-sharing service to launch in the city next year.

erin m / Flickr

On the first day same-sex couples can get married in Washington state, Seattle City Hall will serve as a wedding chapel.   Mayor Mike McGinn's office is playing the role of planner. On Monday, it posted the itinerary for a historic wedding ceremony on Dec. 9.

Flickr/elfsternberg

Seattle city officials will soon begin sifting through applications for police watchdogs.  Last month, the city put out a call for citizens to serve on a new community police commission.  It’s being created as part of an agreement with the US Department of Justice  to reform the Seattle Police Department.

Gus Melonas / BNSF

People who ride the train between Everett and Seattle got a familiar taste of winter this week. Due to mudslides, Amtrak and Sound Transit canceled service on that route until at least Wednesday.

Darcyandkat / Flickr

King County plans to pull an all-nighter on the first day marriage licenses are available to same-sex couples under Washington state law. On Thursday, Dec. 6, at 12:01 a.m., the county is scheduled to open its licensing office in downtown Seattle.

Felicitas Flores and her daughter Claudia
Liz Jones / KUOW

Immigrants and advocates rallied in Seattle today to highlight their priority for the President Obama’s second term:  comprehensive immigration reform.

Catrena Hampton / KUOW

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Washington are celebrating victory. The campaign to approve Referendum 74, Washington United for Marriage, says it's now confident their four-point lead will hold.

Flickr Photo/prensa4 (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Audio Pending...

Correction:  In the original story Steve Sarich was referred to as an attorney.  He is not an attorney but a medical marijuana consultant and an opponent of I-502.

Hold off on that trip to Amsterdam. It appears recreational marijuana will soon be legal for adults in Washington, at least under state law.

The mood was jubilant at the official I-502 party at the Hotel Andra in downtown Seattle. In attendance was Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, a primary backer of the measure. He says this law change is about good government.

Dey / Flickr

Marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage are hot-button issues on the Washington ballot. Even after the measures are decided, the debate will likely continue and changes won't happen overnight.

Darcyandkat / Flickr

The latest TV ad from same-sex marriage opponents in Washington focuses on school children, warning “schools could teach that boys could marry boys.”

The ad mirrors those that ran in other states when gay marriage came up for a vote, notably when Prop 8 was on California’s 2008 ballot. Campaign strategists on both sides agree the “schools ad" has been a game changer.

ballot drop box ballot box
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Procrastinators. That’s how a lot people described themselves while waiting in line Monday for voter registration. It was the final deadline for Washington residents to register for the Nov. 6 election. Hopeful voters had to fill out the paperwork in person since the deadline had already passed to register by mail or online.

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