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Flickr Photo/torbakhopper (CC-BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/nHEVtP

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington researcher Caleb Banta-Green about why methamphetamine use is on the rise in Washington state.

"Why did he even have a gun?" — it's a common refrain in America, often after mass shootings by people who legally aren't supposed to have firearms.

One of the worst recent examples was the massacre in a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church last November, in which 26 people were killed by a man whose domestic violence conviction should have barred him from buying guns.

The Washington state Senate has passed a ban on trigger modification devices known as bump stocks that allow semi-automatic firearms to operate more like automatic weapons.

The vote Thursday evening came in response to last October’s mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and left hundreds more injured.

Patricia Murphy / KUOW

Is Washington state going to put an end to capital punishment?

The death penalty has been on hold since 2014 when Governor Inslee declared a moratorium on executions.

Hear an update on what lawmakers are up to from Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins. 

First, KUOW's Patricia Murphy was a media witness at the execution of the last person to put to death by the state.

Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1OGMTuh

Kim Malcolm talks with Crosscut reporter David Kroman about his investigation into the work culture at the city of Seattle's Human Resources department.

Pedestrians cross Pike Street in front of the Convention Center on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

You might think that before a massive project like the convention center expansion is approved, Seattle would decide how the city’s ambitious climate change goals might be affected.

You’d be wrong.


When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her legal crusade, women were treated differently than men by law. By the time she first put on judicial robes she had already worked a judicial revolution.

Today the issues are both the same and different. At front and center is the question of sexual harassment.

Raven Healing sings with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Washington group members during the Women's March on Saturday, January 20, 2018, on Pine St., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Tens of thousands of people took to Seattle streets Saturday for the Women's March 2.0. A stream of demonstrators was already heading towards central Seattle at 9 a.m., an hour before the scheduled start.

Flickr Photo/Tony Swartz (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Kim Malcolm talks with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the outcome of public records lawsuit against the Washington Legislature.

KUOW PHOTO/KARA MCDERMOTT

This week, a woman revealed graphic details about her date with comedian Aziz Ansari, and it has women discussing reasons why they don't always say "hell no" and walk out the door.

Also, should a Seattle Congressmember attend the State of the Union address despite her opinion of President Trump? 

Updated at 5:08 p.m. ET

So, here we go again.

The federal government is once more on the verge of a shutdown, and just like the last time, in October 2013, there will some things you'll notice that are shuttered and others you won't.

The Constitution of the United States in the rotunda of the National Archives, in Washington, DC.
Flickr Photo/MrTinDC (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7txMkC

The political climate in the United States is marked by ultra-partisanship. So it’s a good time to ask, how’s the Constitution holding up? A recent event brought together two people with a depth of political and jurisprudent experience to explore that question.

Communities and schools across Washington state are getting some welcome news. After a months-long delay, lawmakers Thursday night passed a $4.3 billion, two year state construction budget.

The discovery of an "overwhelming presence" of radon gas has forced more than 100 workers at the Hanford Site to move their offices Thursday. This follows a series of radioactive contamination issues at that same demolition project on the southeast Washington nuclear site.

Going to college can be hard, but it’s especially difficult for students experiencing homelessness. Washington lawmakers are exploring ways state colleges could help these students.

After a months-long standoff, legislative Democrats and Republicans say they’ve reached a bipartisan deal on a thorny water rights issue that will pave the way for quick passage of a $4.5 billion capital construction budget that’s been held up since last spring.

Updated at 8:46 p.m. ET

The House passed a stopgap funding bill Thursday evening, though the measure now faces uncertainty in the Senate as Republican congressional leaders work to avert a government shutdown by late Friday night.

Republicans need 60 votes in the Senate to proceed on the four-week continuing resolution, which would extend funding only until Feb. 16. That is looking more and more difficult after most Democrats and at least three Republican senators have said they won't vote for the bill.

Since last May, thousands of Haitian immigrants have been steadily pouring into Canada, mostly on foot at the Quebec border, in an attempt to flee aggressive anti-immigration policies by the Trump administration.

Pramila Jayapal
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Kim Malcolm talks with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) about why she won't attend President Trump's State of the Union address on January 30.

Gun rights activists from across Washington state rallied in Olympia Friday. They came to protest proposed gun control legislation that supporters say will reduce mass gun violence.

KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

The Seattle Police Department has reached a major milestone in their reform effort. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James Robart found the department in full and effective compliance with court-ordered reforms imposed more than five years ago.

The city of Seattle entered into a Consent Decree with the federal Justice Department in 2012 after findings that SPD had engaged in a pattern of using excessive force and possible biased policing.


Ely Thomas, 7, runs from water spilling over a set of stairs that normally lead to the beach during a King Tide at Alki Beach Park on Friday, January 5, 2018, in West Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Tom and Marie Cawrse live on the far east side of Port Townsend, on the northeast point of Washington's Olympic Peninsula, right on the beach. 

Since their house was built three decades ago, ice caps have been melting and the ocean's been expanding as it warms up.


Flickr Photo/Tony Swartz (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/a48XR

Kim Malcolm speaks with Senator Andy Billig (D - Spokane) about what Democrats hope to accomplish during the 2018 legislative session. Billig is deputy majority leader of the Washington State Senate. 

To get to zero carbon emissions by 2050, Seattle would have to make dramatic cuts, starting now.
KUOW Illustration by nope.ltd

For more than 15 years, leaders of the Emerald City have been promising that Seattle will lead the nation in fighting climate change.

But the lofty words have been matched by continuing clouds of carbon emissions: Seattle dumps as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the sky today as it did 25 years ago.


KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

More electric vehicles. More charging stations. More transit. Congestion pricing for cars. Funds for affordable housing. And lobbying for a statewide carbon tax. Those are just some of the ideas Mayor Jenny Durkan and her supporters are considering to help Seattle meet ambitious carbon-emissions goals.  


The Washington Legislature is set to open it's 2018 session on Monday. The 50 State Project from CQ Roll Call asked Austin Jenkins to come up with the top five issues facing Washington lawmakers this session.

Here's his list:

Emergency meetings are underway to discuss the threat of a possible landslide near Yakima, Washington. Dozens of federal, state, county and tribal officials are trying to work out a plan as this threat looms. 


This week's news isn't going to pump itself

Jan 5, 2018
KUOW PHOTO/KARA MCDERMOTT

The Trump Administration says it will stop telling prosecutors to look the other way when states legalize marijuana and wants to open federal waters off the coast to oil drilling.

Seattle taxpayers will pay to settle a sex abuse lawsuit against former mayor Ed Murray. And Oregonians will finally get to pump their own gas, but please cool it with the jokes.

The Trump administration announced a new plan Thursday that would allow offshore oil and gas drilling in the ocean off the West Coast for the first time since 1984.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the plan would open up 90 percent of the country's outer continental shelf to oil and gas leasing, including an area off the coast of Oregon and Washington.

After a harshly worded New Year's Day tweet by President Trump accusing Pakistan of "deceit" and of harboring terrorists, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert confirmed Thursday that the U.S. will suspend most security assistance to Islamabad.

The cutoff is not permanent, Nauert said, and only affects military assistance. Civilian assistance is not affected.

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