government

Syria Crisis
9:27 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Washington Congressmembers Mostly Holding Their Fire on Syria Vote

Architect of the Capitol. The western front of the United States Capitol.

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 4:25 pm

Members of Congress from Washington state are mostly undecided ahead of an expected vote next week to authorize military force against Syria.

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Gas Tax
5:57 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Gov. Inslee: Special Session On Transportation Needed

Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that he wants to call a special session of the state Legislature this fall.

The session would address what Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine described as the state’s urgent transportation needs.

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Gay Rights in Russia
4:22 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

LGBT Activists Protest At The Russian Consul General's House

Protesters line the street outside the Russian consulate in Seattle's Madison Valley.
Paul Constant

Tuesday afternoon, activists led by The Stranger's Dan Savage will protest in front of the Russian Consul General's house in Madison Park. The protest is in response to a Russian law passed in June that outlaws "propagandizing non-traditional sexual relations among minors."

Russian authorities have interpreted that language broadly and as a result, people seen as "promoting gay values" have been arrested and subject to violence from police or other Russians.

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Data Mining
1:47 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Oregon Sen. Wyden On The NSA, "The Law Always Ought To Be Public"

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

"When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they are going to be stunned, and they are going to be angry," said Oregon Senator Ron Wyden on the Senate floor in May, 2011. He was referencing the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program.

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City Ordinance Anniversary
12:41 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Seattle's Paid Sick Leave Law, One Year Later

Seattle City Hall.
Flickr Photo/Canadian Pacific

Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance is a year old this week. The law requires employers with more than four workers to provide paid time off for illness or a safety issue. But not all employers are on board with it.

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Basketball Diplomacy
12:17 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Dennis Rodman Returns To North Korea

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives at Pyongyang airport, North Korea, Tuesday.
AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin

Former pro basketball player Dennis Rodman has returned to North Korea for another so-called “basketball diplomacy” tour. Yet just last week, North Korea canceled the visit of US envoy Robert King, who was attempting to secure the release of Lynnwood resident Kenneth Bae.

In the past, North Korea has attempted to use detentions of Americans to win diplomatic concessions. Why did they cancel King’s trip? And what does North Korea gain by inviting Dennis Rodman back? David Hyde spoke with Charles Armstrong, professor of history at Columbia University, to find out.

Dennis Rodman: Kim Jong Un is "awesome."

Does Rodman's attitude toward the North Korean leader help legitimize his regime? North Korean media has been playing up the unlikely duo's relationship, but Armstrong had this to say about Rodman's testimony:


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Zoning Fines
12:15 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Kent Crackdown On Sex Offender Housing Could Result In More Homeless Offenders

Eddie Weber runs 11 clean and sober houses in Kent, Wash.  Five of those are full of sex offenders, which is a  problem according to the city of Kent. The city attorney has promised to start fining Weber $2,500 dollars a day – $500 for each house – because those houses violate the city’s zoning code.

Weber said Kent’s action is part of a larger trend where Draconian laws are enacted to drive sex offenders out of communities. Weber spoke to KUOW’s David Hyde.

Produced by Joshua McNichols.

Citizen Lobbyist
11:42 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Determined Father Learns The Ropes In Olympia, Gets A Bill Passed

Austin Jenkins. Citizen lobbyist Jeff Schwartz with his wife Cathy and sons Jacob (on couch) and Sam at their home in Kirkland, Washington.

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 4:44 pm

There are nearly 900 registered lobbyists in Washington state. These are the paid professionals who try to influence the outcome of the legislative process. But this year, a determined dad proved even outsiders can play the legislative game – with a bit of help.

So how does a Microsoft test manager become a citizen lobbyist? For Jeff Schwartz it all started back in 2007 when his son Jacob was about four months old.

“It was right about December that he started excessively throwing up and vomiting,” Schwartz recalls.

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International News
11:39 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Rep. Adam Smith On Syrian Intervention

Representative Adam Smith.

President Obama is asking Congress to approve air strikes against Syria in the wake of evidence that chemical weapons were used on civilians in the country. How is Washington's congressional delegation responding?

Rep. Adam Smith has just returned from the Syria-Jordan border. He said in a statement that the United States “should expand and accelerate our support for moderate elements of opposition forces” in Syria. Rep. Smith joins us to explain how the United States might support Syrian opposition.

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Syria Crisis
8:28 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Israel Missile Test Amid Fear Of Syria Escalation

This file photo, released in December 2005, shows an Arrow missile being launched at an undisclosed location in Israel. This is the same type of missile used in a joint test with the US on September 3 over the Mediterranean.
AP Photo/Uncredited

Israel has carried out a joint missile test with the US in the Mediterranean, amid heightened tension over possible Western military strikes on Syria.

The test came as the US Congress prepared for its first public hearing on a possible military response to alleged chemical weapons use by Syria.

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News & Analysis
10:00 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Feds Weigh In On Legal Pot, Fast-Food Workers Walk Out, And Obama Considers Military Action In Syria

It’s Friday — time to talk over the week’s news. The Department of Justice signals a long-awaited green light on new pot laws in Washington and Colorado. Fast-food workers in Seattle and across the country hold a one-day strike to push for an increase in minimum wage pay. The Obama Administration makes the case for American military involvement in Syria. 

Plus, state Republicans choose a new leader, Seattle schools face a possible teacher strike, and same-sex couples get a break from the IRS. 

We cover those stories and more with Joni Balter of the Seattle Times, The Stranger's Eli Sanders and Peter Jackson of the Everett Herald.

Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
4:30 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Massive Lawsuit Filed Against Boy Scouts Of America Includes Local Charters

An alleged victim identified in the lawsuit as S.O. describes sexual abuse he says was perpetrated by his scoutmaster.
Credit Courtesy Kosnoff/Fasy PLLC

A lawsuit filed Thursday in King County Superior Court alleges that the Boy Scouts of America continues to cover up a culture that ignored serial pedophiles in its ranks.

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Marijuana Regulation
10:00 am
Thu August 29, 2013

City Moratoriums Could Thwart Legal Marijuana

Katheirne Hitt, Flickr.

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 4:16 pm

Legal pot? Not so fast. That’s the message from a growing number of Washington cities.

Several municipalities are considering whether to pass a moratorium on pot-related businesses. Others – like Bellingham and Olympia – have already enacted temporary bans.

Richland, Pasco and Kennewick are just the latest Washington cities to consider moratoriums. But it’s not just more conservative eastern Washington communities. Liberal Bellingham and Olympia have said ‘time out’ when it comes to legal, recreational pot.

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Reduced Trail Work
9:50 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Forest Service Cuts Maintenance Projects In Sequester Response

US Forest Service. A trail crew widens the tread on the Tubal Cain Trail in the Olympic National Forest.

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 5:23 pm

Remember the "sequester" cuts? The dust is finally settling and the consequences becoming real for a program in the U.S. Forest Service that sends money to timber counties.

At the beginning of sequestration, the Forest Service demanded that rural counties pay back some of the timber payments they'd already received and spent. But all of the recipients of the federal aid refused to go along with this approach to across-the-board federal budget cuts.

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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

U.S. 'Ought To Respect' State Marijuana Laws, Sen. Leahy Says

Sen. Patrick Leahy is calling on the Justice Department to state its position on marijuana's legal status. Here, a man inspects a shirt depicting the U.S. flag made of marijuana symbols, at a medical marijuana show in Los Angeles earlier this year.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he's done waiting for answers about how the Justice Department will handle marijuana offenses in states that have legalized small amounts of the drug.

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