Washington State Legislature

Interstate Bridge
9:37 am
Tue January 28, 2014

The Hour Of Decision Is Near For The Columbia River Crossing

Interstate 5 spans the Columbia River between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington.
Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 9:51 am

The Columbia River lazily passes under Interstate 5 between Portland and Vancouver, Wash. You wouldn't really call the water troubled. The bridges over it, however, are. 

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Texting While Driving
9:39 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Washington Lawmakers Want To Crack Down On Distracted Driving, Again

Jason Weaver Flickr

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 4:03 pm

In Washington and Oregon, if you want to talk on your phone while driving, you’re required to use a hands-free device. But now a Washington state lawmaker wants to go further.

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Politics
9:08 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Washington House Democrats Propose $12 Minimum Wage

File photo of the House Chamber at the Washington state Capitol in Olympia
Cacophony

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 4:33 pm

Washington’s minimum wage would rise to $12 per hour by 2017 under a proposal from Democrats in the state House.

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Government
9:00 am
Fri January 24, 2014

How The Farm Bill Could Make It Harder To Track Down Pollution

Two provisions in the House version of the latest Farm Bill could limit the amount and type of information federal agencies give out about farms.
Flickr Creative Commons: Scott Butner

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 1:00 am

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency messed up. And now the mistake has led to a fight between open government advocates and farmers.

The EPA accidentally released the names and addresses of 80,000 farmers to environmental groups. That's a lot of information that's supposed to be redacted.

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Youth Issues
3:15 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Stability And Security: The Case For Extended Foster Care

Deontae Cruz and Mockingbird Society founder Jim Theofelis are advocating for a bill that would allow foster youth to remain in the system until age 21.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds sits down with Jim Theofelis, founder and executive director of the Mockingbird Society, and 21-year-old Deontae Cruz who participated in the original extended foster care pilot program.

They spoke about the importance of allowing young adults in foster care to remain in the system until age 21 — an issue state legislators will address this session.

Politics
10:03 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Washington Lawmakers Consider Ban On Gay Conversion Therapy

Washington lawmakers are considering a ban on gay conversion therapy.
Flickr Photo/clappstar (CC BY-NC-ND)

Mental health experts say it’s dangerous. Now, Washington lawmakers are taking up the controversy over gay conversion therapy.

That was the subject of a hearing Wednesday in Olympia. Psychologists and gay rights advocates testified in favor of a ban on therapies designed to convert patients younger than 18 away from being gay.

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Advocacy Groups
9:46 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Wealthy Donors Fund Never-Ending 'Progressive' Campaign In Washington State

Staff at Fuse Washington meet to update their communications and community organizing efforts.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 9:02 am

You’ve heard of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and other issue advocacy groups that don’t have to disclose their donors. They are transforming American politics.

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EarthFix Reports
9:27 am
Thu January 23, 2014

New Legislation Calls For Transparency On Oil Moving Through Washington

With more oil moving through Washington by train and other transportation modes, state lawmakers want oil companies to keep environmental regulators better informed.
Katie Campbell

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:26 pm

SEATTLE -- Washington lawmakers took up a proposal Wednesday to require more transparency from companies that transport oil through the state.

The hearing on House Bill 2347 played out before a packed committee room in Olympia. The new bill would require oil companies to file weekly reports with the state Department of Ecology detailing how much oil is being transported, what kind of oil it is, how it’s being moved and what route it’s traveling through the state.

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Education
3:11 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Federal Loophole For No Child Left Behind Waiver

If the Washington state doesn’t comply with a mandate to use a state test for teacher evaluations, it may lose $44 million of federal education funding.
Flickr Photo/Kathy Cassidy (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Tacoma News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan about Washington's No Child Left Behind waiver and why the state is at risk of losing it.

Politics
10:09 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Minimum Wage Fight May Heat Up In Olympia

Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 5:18 am

The battle over Washington’s minimum wage could soon heat up at the Capitol. House Democrats may roll out a proposal as early as this week to increase the state’s base wage.

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Wage Theft
9:24 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Workers' Rights Groups Want Penalties For Unlawful Employers

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 6:14 am

Workers' rights groups have a term for cases of withheld pay, denied breaks, and unnecessary deductions. They call it “wage theft.”

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Online Privacy
3:22 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Proposed Bill Would Make 'Revenge Porn' A Felony In Washington

The proposed bill would outlaw posting explicit photos or videos of someone else online, with the intent to cause serious emotional distress.
Flickr Photo/Matthew (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with activist Charlotte Laws about her daughter's experience as a revenge porn victim.

DREAM Act
8:50 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Muslim-American Communities Lobby For Equal Financial Aid

More than 500 Muslim Americans lobbied for the Washington DREAM Act in Olympia
Taylor Winkel Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 10:05 am

Immigrant rights groups are trying to convince Washington state Senators to make undocumented students eligible for financial aid.

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The Week In Review
1:45 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Inslee's State Of The State, Legislative Session Kicks Off, And Machinists Union President Retires

Tom Wroblewski, pictured in 2012, has stepped down as president of the local Machinists union. His last day is Jan. 31.
Photo IAM District 751

Washington Governor Jay Inslee pushed for a higher minimum wage and increased education funding during his State of the State Address this week. The state legislature kicked off its 2014 session. Also, Boeing Machinists Union President Tom Wroblewski announced his retirement.

We review these stories and more with news analyst Joni Balter, Crosscut's Knute Berger and The Stranger's Eli Sanders. Plus, we hear from Live Wire host Luke Burbank.

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Washington Legislature
10:16 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Genetically-Modified Labeling Fight In Washington Continues With New Bills

Washington lawmakers will hear a bill to label genetically engineered salmon. The proposed bill would also ban transgenic salmon production in the state.
Credit Flickr Photo/Katrine Kaarsemaker

When Rep. Cary Condotta campaigned for labeling genetically modified food last fall, he noticed reactions were different depending on the type of food: fish or plant. “When you start talking about modifying animals to grow faster and larger, boy, they light up,” he said. “People go, really? They’re not doing that, are they?”

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