This Week In Olympia With Austin Jenkins

Jun 28, 2013
Flickr Photo/Harvey Barrison

  The Washington state legislature finally came to a budget proposal this week, narrowly avoiding a massive government shutdown. What held them up? How will the new budget cover the increases in education spending mandated by the state supreme court? Ross Reynolds talks about that and other state news with KUOW’s Olympia correspondent, Austin Jenkins.

Top 10 Things To Do Before Applying For A Pot License In Washington

Jun 28, 2013
Washington State Liquor Control Board

  Licenses for marijuana sellers, processors and growers aren’t available until mid-September, but the Liquor Control Board says you should start getting ready to apply now.

Randy Simmons is deputy director of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the state agency that oversees the recreational marijuana business. He recommends 10 things to do before applying for a pot license in Washington.

Detectives stopped convicted arsonist Martin Pang just days before he was staged to steal nearly $20 million from firefighters, police officers and witnesses involved in a decades-old arson case. Pang is currently serving a prison sentence for the notorious 1995 warehouse blaze that killed four Seattle firefighters. Now, he could be facing more prison time for identity theft.

Washington State Reacts To Supreme Court Rulings On Gay Marriage

Jun 26, 2013
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

 The United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act today, allowing gay couples access to federal benefits. It also decided on another gay marriage case concerning California’s Proposition 8, effectively clearing the way for gay marriage in California. The LGBT community calls these rulings a victory for gay rights.

But Washington state legalized gay marriage back in December. So what do these Supreme Court rulings actually mean for LGBT couples here in Washington? Peter Nicolas, a law professor at the University of Washington and author of "The Geography of Love: Same Sex Marriage Recognition in America (The Story in Maps)” helps us break down the Supreme Court decisions. Christopher Plante, regional director of the National Organization for Marriage, also joins Ross Reynolds to explain why his organization condemns the verdicts. Ross also talks to callers about their reaction to the news.

Ernest Moniz, the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy visits Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington on Wednesday. Among the issues he will have to deal with are the leaking underground tanks of radioactive waste and the troubled waste treatment plant.

From his resume, it appears Moniz isn’t short on brainpower. He’s been on the faculty of MIT since 1973. Secretary Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University.

There’s suddenly a flurry of talk in Olympia about a quick resolution to the weeks-long budget stalemate. The change in rhetoric follows Tuesday’s positive revenue and caseload forecasts.

Budget writers will now have an additional $300 million-plus to help bridge their differences. They can thank a recovering housing market and improved consumer confidence.

The House and Senate have been locked in a partisan fight over whether to raise additional revenues by closing some tax exemptions. This new money could now fill that gap.

Does Jailing Juveniles Lead To More Crime?

Jun 19, 2013
Flickr Photo/publik16

 When kids are convicted of crimes, judges often have a choice: they can send those kids to jail, or they can place them in programs that don’t involve incarceration. Options include electronic home monitoring, group care or work crews. According to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, sending juvenile offenders to jail can have dire consequences for their futures. The study finds that kids who spend time in jail are 22 percent more likely to end up in jail as adults, and 13 percent less likely to graduate from high school. Read about it here.

How are juvenile offenders punished here Washington state? David Hyde find out from Paul Holland, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Law Professor at Seattle University.

Seattle's Tiny Statue Of Liberty

Jun 17, 2013

Out on Alki Beach in West Seattle is a statue. It’s called the Statue Of Liberty. It's a replica of the one in New York Harbor. Only this one is tiny, about six feet tall. It was part of a national Boy Scout campaign to erect statues like this across the country: a campaign called "Strengthening The Arm Of Liberty."

The original Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor symbolized America's freedom from colonial powers and its friendship with France. Over the years immigrants passing the statue on the way to Ellis Island adopted the statue as a sort of patron saint, and the famous quote "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" was eventually added to the statue's base.

By the time Seattle's Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1952, its meaning had changed yet again. Liberty was no longer a revolutionary idea. It was something old and familiar, a sign of stability in a time of great social and political instability.

You can get a sense of that instability from this 1951 newsreel. We sampled it in today's story:

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, June 17:

Conversation News Quiz!

Jun 14, 2013

 Tune in once again for public radio’s 11th most popular news quiz! Listeners weigh in on the news of the week. Do you have what it takes? This week David Hyde finds out who’s been listening closely.

drewesque / Flickr

Seattle drivers: Get ready to tap the brakes around more school zones. The city plans to install speed cameras at five more schools after early results indicate that the enforcement devices – and resulting $189 traffic tickets – are motivating drivers to slow down.

In December, the city rolled out the enforcement cameras at four schools. In those school zones, the cameras snap a photo of any vehicles that exceed the 20-mile-per-hour limit. Then the driver later gets a citation in the mail.

Insanity Plea: A Rare And Misunderstood Defense

Jun 10, 2013

Last summer 12 people were fatally shot and 70 others were injured when a gunman opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. James Holmes, the suspect in that shooting pleaded not guilty last week by reason of insanity.  David Hyde explores the history and myths behind the insanity plea with author and law professor Michael Perlin.

City Council Might Change The Rules For Hiring Criminals

Jun 10, 2013

The Seattle City Council is voting this afternoon on whether to ban employers from immediately asking about the criminal history of new applicants. They would have to wait until after an initial review of the application. After that, a past conviction can still figure into the hiring process. But that’s only if the employer proves that there’s a direct relationship between applicant’s crime and the job they’re applying for.

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has opposed this legislation from the beginning. Due to its influence, several changes have been made since November. However, the chamber still takes issue parts of the proposal. David Hyde talks to George Allen, the chamber's senior vice president of government relations. We also hear from local attorney Merf Ehman, one of the driving forces behind the City Council’s proposal.

City Councilmembers Push For Publicly Funded Elections

Jun 10, 2013

The Seattle City Council is considering a proposal to publicly fund council campaigns through a new property tax levy.  Supporters say using public funds strengthens our democracy by allowing candidates to focus on important issues, not just the issues of big donors. Opponents say public financing in other cities hasn’t made races more competitive or lessened the power of incumbents. Councilmember Mike O’Brien is sponsoring the public financing legislation and joins us today.

This Week In Olympia

Jun 7, 2013
Flickr Photo/MathTeacherGuy

 Lawmakers are rapidly approaching the deadline for the special session in Olympia. Still, it remains unclear whether the Senate Majority Coalition and the Democratically controlled House will reach an agreement on a budget deal. David Hyde discusses it with Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins during this week’s update from the state capital.

Conversation News Quiz!

Jun 7, 2013

 Do you have what it takes to win public radio honors? Join us once again for The Conversation’s weekly news quiz! This week David Hyde finds out who’s been listening closely.