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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.

A preliminary federal crash report says an automatic safety braking system could have prevented last month's deadly Amtrak derailment near Tacoma, Washington.

Three people died and more than 60 were seriously injured when an Amtrak train going from Seattle to Portland on its inaugural passenger run along a new, faster route took a curve way too fast and hurtled from an overpass onto Interstate 5 below. 


Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scrapping Obama-era guidelines that essentially removed marijuana from the list of federal drug enforcement priorities as more states legalized it.

In guidance issued Thursday, Sessions rescinded those policies and instead will permit individual U.S. attorneys to decide how aggressively to go after marijuana in their jurisdictions.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator, has long viewed pot as a public menace and a source of street crime.

Jaidaa Bazara, left, with her younger siblings Alaa and Mohamed Bazara.
Courtesy of International Rescue Committee/Nick Hall

In the wake of the Trump Administration’s travel ban, the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the U.S. slowed considerably. In Washington state, the number dwindled to just 29 people in 2017, compared to nearly 200 the year before.

A North Korean soldier looks at the southern side through a pair of binoculars at the border village of Panmunjom, north of Seoul, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2003.
AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Bill Radke talks to Elizabeth Saunders, an associate professor of political science at George Washington University, about the exchanges between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, diplomacy and the threat of nuclear war

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Trying to change Obama-era rules, the Trump administration is one step closer to making it more difficult for students to have loan debt wiped clean in cases involving fraud by universities.

COURTESY U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

Morning traffic streamed past a busy intersection in South Seattle, past a family-style pizza shop and a brightly-painted Mexican restaurant that still wouldn't open for several hours. A few residents came and went from the low-rise apartments lining the blocks in this largely Latino neighborhood.


Workers in the state of Washington are about to get a new benefit. Starting January 1, the state will require all employers to provide paid sick leave.

It’s part of a law passed by voters in 2016 that also raises the state’s minimum wage.

This year, deep inside a mountain, North Korea detonated a giant nuclear bomb.

Washington state's Department of Transportation has unilaterally decided on a pre-condition before passenger trains resume service on the Point Defiance Bypass. That's where Monday's deadly derailment happened.

The area and amount of stuff contaminated by radioactive waste at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state keeps getting bigger.

First it was two cars. Then it was eight. The count is now 14 vehicles that are contaminated with radioactive waste. Half of them are personal cars. One is even contaminated on the inside. 

Updated at 7:14 p.m. ET

After a monumental legislative victory on taxes this week, Republicans in Congress have been scrambling to avoid a chaotic government shutdown that could overshadow their signature tax bill before it even gets signed into law.

Republicans in Congress are promising that their tax bill will create jobs. One place where we know it's going to create a lot of work is at the IRS.

That agency will have to figure out how to interpret and implement the hundreds of pages of changes to the tax code that were just passed, at a time when it is already struggling with budget cuts and staff reductions.

The Trump administration says it's already working with the IRS to update tax forms and withholding tables, promising that most taxpayers will notice a difference in their pay stubs by February.

Former Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley has been found guilty of possession of stolen property, making false declarations and filing false tax returns, but not guilty of money laundering.

The verdict came at the end of Kelley’s second trial on federal charges related to his past real estate services business.

Updated at 4:17 p.m. ET to include comment from homeopathic pharmacists.

The Food and Drug Administration said it plans to crack down on the sale of some homeopathic products.

The agency unveiled a new, risk-based approach to regulating homeopathic treatments Monday that aims to protect the public from dangerous products.

KUOW PHOTO/KARA MCDERMOTT

A Washington state representative denies sexually harassing anyone, but has resigned from his leadership position.

Do the results of the Alabama special election mean voters are turning away from Republicans? 

Embattled Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller has resigned his leadership position with House Republicans. He’s also been stripped of a key committee role.

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe that "a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is essential to bringing about change in our society."

At a time when partisan opinions are so polarized on a range of issues, Republicans and Democrats are relatively similar in believing that society should crack down hard on sexual harassment, a new poll from Ipsos and NPR suggests.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday rolled out his proposal for an update to the state’s two-year, $43 billion budget. Here are the top five items on the governor’s budget wish list:

Beginning early next year, a group of Washington drivers will be keeping close tabs on the number of miles they drive and how much they spend on gas. They will be part of a pilot program to test out a proposed pay-by-the-mile road tax, similar to what Oregon rolled out in 2015.

Flickr Photo/furtwangl (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/65WoW5

The parent company of Value Village has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson regarding whether the thrift store should be required to tell customers how much of its sales actually go to charities. Associated Press reporter Gene Johnson discussed the case with KUOW's Kim Malcolm.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and state lawmakers say they'll take action to preserve net neutrality rules for internet providers. This in light of an expected Federal Communications Commission vote Thursday to roll back Obama-era regulations.

Rick Williams, brother of John T. Williams, who was shot and killed by a Seattle Police officer in 2010, after he testified at a House committee hearing in Olympia, Wash. in 2016, for a bill that would make it easier to charge police officers with crimes.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A newly-formed committee will examine how the King County inquest process reviews officer-involved shooting and fatalities.

In Washington and around the country, Democrats and Republicans are trying to make sense of Doug Jones' stunning upset in the Alabama Senate race.

Jones' victory in a state that hadn't sent a Democrat to Washington in almost 30 years was even more shocking than when Republican Scott Brown won the late Ted Kennedy's seat in a Massachusetts special election in 2010.

Here are 5 takeaways from Tuesday's political earthquake:

1. The blue wave looks real

Pioneer Square apartment listed at $130/night on Airbnb.
Courtesy of Airbnb

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved regulations Monday to limit short term rentals like Airbnb, after more than a year working out concerns from that and similar companies.

Under the new ordinance, most people will be allowed to operate two rental units max.

A main corridor at the King County Juvenile Detention in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Updated 5:54 p.m., 12/11/2017: The King County Council on Monday signaled a commitment to jailing fewer young people.

The council told County Executive Dow Constantine to use an expert report to guide county policy for reducing youth detention.

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