government

Federal Vs. State Law
5:18 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Washington Amends Pot Regulations To Appease Feds

If someone sells drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, they can receive a stiffer sentence under federal law. In developing rules for legal marijuana, Washington state regulators tried to depart slightly from that federal rule. They allowed stores to count the 1,000 feet along sidewalks or roads, rather than “as the crow flies.”

The change would have created more legal locations for pot stores.  But now the state is backtracking.

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10:55 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Internet Sites Provide Gateway For "Private Re-Homing" Of Adopted Children

Lead in text: 
An underground market for adopted children in America leads to many children ending up in abusive situations with no protection. Regretful parents offer their adopted children online with no agency oversight in a practice called "private re-homing."
REUTERS/Handout On the day her adoptive parents dropped her at the Eason trailer in Illinois, they snapped this picture inside the couple's kitchen. From left to right, Calvin Eason, Quita Puchalla and Nicole Eason.
Federal Vs. State Law
3:33 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Feds Seek To Corral Medical Marijuana 'Wild West'

A man pulls out a bag of marijuana to fill a pipe at Hempfest in Seattle on Aug. 16. Thousands packed a waterfront park for the opening of a three-day marijuana festival, an event that is part party, part protest and part victory celebration after the legalization of pot in Washington and Colorado in 2012.
Elaine Thompson AP

When the Obama administration recently announced it wouldn't challenge the decision by Colorado and Washington voters to fully legalize marijuana, criticism rained down.

The administration's position, complained one Colorado congressman, was tantamount to allowing states to opt out of the federal law banning pot possession, cultivation and sale.

Other anti-legalization activists predicted that the administration was waving the white flag in the war on drugs.

The first claim is essentially true: The states will be creating their own regulatory regimes.

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Inslee Issues Raises
10:05 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Washington Governor Boosts Salaries For Several Cabinet Positions

Cacophony Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:46 pm

Since taking office in January, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has raised the salaries for several cabinet level positions. In total, those raises add up to nearly $100,000 over the course of a year. The boost in salaries comes even as the state continues to recover financially.

The biggest pay hike went for the position of director of Department of Licensing. That’s the agency that handles driver licenses and license plates among other duties. The new director – Pat Kohler – earns $141,000 per year. That’s a 17 percent increase over her predecessor.

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Underwater Mortgages
9:19 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Foreclosure Crisis? Seattle's Numbers Don't Add Up

Distressed homeowners and housing advocates testify before the Seattle City Council.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

A correction and  further information on the story 9/14/2013:

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State Budget
10:02 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Washington Governor Announces 'Soft Launch' Of Performance Indicators

Office of the Governor

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 4:15 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants to more than double the number of state-funded preschool slots by 2019. He also wants to decrease the number of SUVs purchased by the state.

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International Diplomacy
3:42 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Syria Agrees To Get Rid Of Their Chemical Weapons. Now What?

Protest in New York City from September 8, 2013.
Credit Flickr Photo/Debra Sweet

After an off-the-cuff suggestion by Secretary of State John Kerry, President Bashar al-Assad’s government has accepted a Russian plan to turn over their chemical weapons. The significance of this agreement is “huge” according to Joseph Cirincione, the president of Ploughshares Fund and member of Secretary Kerry’s International Security Advisory Board. He explains what the prospects of this plan working are and how the international community might go about seizing Syria’s chemical weapons.

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Syria
3:34 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Rep. McDermott Hopeful Military Force Can Be Avoided In Syria

Rep. Jim McDermott speaking at a health care rally in 2009.
Flickr Photo/SEIU Health Care 775NW

President Obama had planned to address the nation tonight to make his case for a US military strike on Syria, but the day's events may have overtaken him. Today Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government accepted a Russian plan to turn over its chemical weapons stockpile, with France pitching  a UN Security Council resolution to verify the disarmament. President Obama threw his support behind the resolution. 

Ross Reynolds talks with Washington's 7th District Congressman Jim McDermott about the latest developments in the unfolding US-Syria story.

Jail Budgets
11:09 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Pierce County Jail Faces Hefty Budget Shortfall

The Pierce County jail is facing a hefty 8 percent budget shortfall. So far, 30 jobs are slated to be lost and two jail units, which can house more than 160 inmates, are set to close. Officials say even with these reductions, the budget crises will not be fixed.

Ross Reynolds talks with Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor about how these cuts will affect the jail and public safety.

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Hana Williams' Death
9:45 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Sedro-Woolley Couple Convicted For Abuse, Death Of Adopted Teen

A jury in Skagit County has found the parents of an adopted teenager guilty for her death. In May 2011, Hana Williams died of hypothermia and malnutrition in the family’s backyard in Sedro-Woolley. The girl was adopted from Ethiopia and believed to be 13 at the time of her death.

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Banking
7:46 am
Tue September 10, 2013

U.S. Senate To Hold Hearing On State Pot Legalization

Architect of the Capitol

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 5:01 pm

The conflict between federal law and pot legalization in Washington and Colorado will be on the agenda in Congress this week.

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Diplomatic Solutions
5:06 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Breakthrough? Syria Hints It Might Give Up Chemical Weapons

In Washington, D.C., this week, there have been demonstrations both in favor of and against a military strike on targets in Syria. Outside the White House on Monday, supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad waved a Syrian flag with his face on it.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 1:04 pm

(We most recently updated this post at 4:02 p.m. ET.)

Amid reports that Syrian President Bashar Assad may be willing to give up his chemical weapons, as his strongest ally has suggested he do, the Obama administration expressed skepticism Tuesday.

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Politics & Government
12:06 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Debate Over Syria Crowds Out Other Business In D.C.

Flickr Photo/Jonathon Colman

Congress is back in session this week, and Syria is at the top of the agenda. That means other business like immigration reform and the debt ceiling moves to the back burner. Why can’t Congress do two things at once? Marcie Sillman and Ross Reynolds talk with Andrea Seabrook of DecodeDC.

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Chemical Weapons
11:14 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Chemical Weapons: What They Are And Why They're Different

Congress returned to Washington, D.C., today with Syria at the forefront of its agenda. Lawmakers will debate a resolution on military intervention against Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons.

To take a step back, Ross Reynolds talks with Dr. Raymond Zilinskas, director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies about chemical weapons — what they are and why they are considered a different class than conventional weapons. 

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Pot Legalization
9:28 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Pot Taxes Paid In Cash? Washington Says OK

Leah Gaines US Navy

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 4:48 pm

Marijuana-based businesses in Washington will be able to pay their taxes in cash. That’s the word from the state’s Department of Revenue.

The agency is gearing up for more cash filers in its field offices.

Most banks are unwilling to open accounts for marijuana businesses because of the federal prohibition on pot. That means Washington’s new, legal recreational marijuana market could be a largely cash-based enterprise.

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