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government

Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Flickr Photo/Seattle City Council (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/U5ehfF

By Monday, Seattle could be the first city in Washington to adopt an income tax. The Seattle City Council's finance committee has approved a tax on high earners, which would go into effect in 2019.

Officer John Hill and Ryan Miles, a designated mental health professional with the Tacoma Police Department.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Could Charleena Lyles still be alive today if police had not gone to her apartment alone? 

In Tacoma, an officer can call for help dealing with someone who might be mentally ill. They can call a mental health co-responder. And now, this co-responder program might go statewide.

KUOW’s Bill Radke speaks with Tacoma Patrol Officer John Hill and a mental health co-responder who works with officers – Ryan Miles.

Beginning in 2020, workers in Washington will be eligible for paid family and medical leave through a new state program funded by employee and employer contributions. 



It’s not just the president’s commission on voter fraud that’s seeking information from the states. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman released a letter Monday from the Department of Justice.

A new bill in Congress would make sure Washington's four lower Snake River dams stay standing. It’s push back against a recent court order to find “a new approach” to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.

That approach could include removing or altering the dams.

That's not something Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington, thinks would be good for the Northwest. Newhouse introduced the legislation, along with four other Northwest representatives.

Employees at Ike's Pot Shop in Seattle's Central District sell marijuana products on their opening day, Sept. 30, 2014.
KUOW Photo/Posey Gruener

Bill Radke speaks with Emily Parkhurst, editor in chief of the Puget Sound Business Journal, about some of the reasons cannabis retail shops in Washington are having a hard time making a profit

It's been almost four years since Patrisse Khan-Cullors helped birth the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. Those three words gained national attention for demonstrations against police brutality and grew into a movement.

But progress has been slow, admits Khan-Cullors, a Los Angeles-based activist who co-founded the Black Lives Matter Network.

The Pentagon is considering pulling out of a deal it made with thousands of noncitizen recruits with specialized skills: Join the military and we'll put you on the fast track to citizenship.

The proposal to dismantle the program would cancel enlistment contracts for many of the foreign-born recruits, leaving about 1,000 of them without legal protection from deportation.

It took three overtime sessions and the threat of a government shutdown, but in the end a divided Washington Legislature found the will and the pathway to a compromise, passing a two-year, $43.7 billion budget, and the taxes to support it, that some lawmakers say will solve a generational problem—the ample funding of public schools. 



KUOW PHOTO/MEGAN FARMER

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray makes it official: He won't run as a write-in for a second term, and wants you to vote for former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan instead.

Details are emerging about the budget Washington state lawmakers plan to pass before midnight Friday. Over the next four years, schools in Washington will get more than $7 billion in additional state funds.

Much of that money will come from a hike in the state property tax.

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

Bill Radke talks to Joseph O'Sullivan, Seattle Times Olympia reporter, about the latest information on the state budget deal that Republicans and Democrats reached on Wednesday. 

Fourteen states — including Oregon and Washington — are threatening to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating the Clean Air Act.

In a letter to the EPA sent Thursday, the group argues Director Scott Pruitt broke the law when he ordered his agency to halt part of the rule-making process for regulating methane and other air pollution from oil and gas facilities.

Homeless RV
Flickr Photo/A. Kwanten (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Bv6MSo

Robert Loomis had a good job and had just signed a mortgage on a new home then he started having chest pains. This is his story.

The Washington state Capitol in Olympia.
Flickr Photo/amishrobot (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/4PxvK4

Bill Radke talks to Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the budget deal reached by lawmakers just in time to avoid a partial government shutdown. 

Joni Balter and Cathy Allen.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Why hasn’t Seattle had a woman mayor since 1928, when Bertha K. Landes was in office?

(Her slogan: Municipal Housecleaning.)

Washington lawmakers have reached agreement on a budget just in time to avert a government shutdown. The deal was announced Wednesday morning, but details have yet to be released.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

Americans broadly disapprove of the Senate GOP's health care bill, and they're unhappy with how Republicans are handling the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

There’s still no word of a budget deal in the Washington state Capitol. And a partial government shutdown is just days away. Yet lawmakers remain optimistic.

Bill Radke talks with Aaron Katz, who teaches health policy the University of Washington School of Public Health, and retired physician Roger Stark, a healthcare analyst for the Washington Policy Center.

They discuss the current healthcare bill being debated in the Senate and the Congressional Budget Office score that predicts 22 million fewer Americans will have insurance by 2026.

What would it cost to protect the nation's voting systems from attack? About $400 million would go a long way, say cybersecurity experts. It's not a lot of money when it comes to national defense — the Pentagon spent more than that last year on military bands alone — but getting funds for election systems is always a struggle.

Medicaid is the government health care program for the poor.

That's the shorthand explanation. But Medicaid is so much more than that — which is why it has become the focal point of the battle in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Bill Radke talks with KUOW immigration reporter Liz Jones about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear arguments this fall on President Trump's revised travel ban. The high court also allowed portions of the travel ban to take effect beginning on Thursday.

It’s do-or-die week in Olympia. If lawmakers don’t pass a budget and send it to the governor for his signature before midnight on Friday, state government will go into partial shutdown.

Washington lawmakers are optimistic that won’t happen.

Updated at 8:10 pm ET

Congressional forecasters say a Senate bill that aims to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026.

That's only slightly fewer uninsured than a version passed by the House in May.

Bill Radke speaks with Ben Casselman, chief economics writer at FiveThirtyEight.com, and Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant about the new minimum wage study from the University of Washington.

Casselman explains that the study found Seattle's minimum wage hike to $13 has led to hours cut and other issues that have hurt workers' earnings.

Sawant disagrees with the study, claiming there are methodological issues. She also argues for shifting the focus towards the inflated incomes of CEOs and other high-wage earners. 

The Supreme Court says it will decide the fate of President Trump's revised travel ban, agreeing to hear arguments over immigration cases that were filed in federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland and allowing parts of the ban that has been on hold since March to take effect.

The justices removed the two lower courts' injunctions against the ban "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," narrowing the scope of those injunctions that had put the ban in limbo.

Dave Meinert, owner of the 5 Point Cafe, supports Seattle's minimum wage hike but he has cut workers' hours.
KUOW Photos / David Hyde

A new report on Seattle's groundbreaking minimum wage law has bad news for some low-wage workers. Even though hourly wages are up, low-wage workers' earnings overall were flat in Seattle during an economic boom.  


Washington Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell (center) voices opposition to the bill at Virginia Mason on Friday.
KUOW Photo/Angela Nhi Nguyen

The Senate could vote as early as this week on the health care bill. And Washington Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell spoke in Seattle recently about how she’s trying to oppose it.

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

President Trump kept one of his campaign promises, signing a bill Friday to make it easier for the secretary of veterans affairs to fire and discipline employees. It came in response to the 2014 VA scandal in which employees covered up long wait times while collecting bonuses.

The bill, which passed earlier this month with strong bipartisan support, also gives the secretary authority to revoke bonuses and protects whistleblowers who report wrongdoing.

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