Washington State Legislature

Mental health is one of the top issues in the Washington legislature this year. Several measures cleared the Washington House Monday in advance of a Wednesday cut-off deadline.

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about Joel's Law, the legislative proposal that would allow families to petition a court to have a loved one involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

Sillman also talks with David Johnson, CEO of Navos, a Seattle-based mental health service provider.

Josh Etzler, left, and colleague Jeff Stewart break for lunch in Tulalip. Etzler says marijuana retail stores could be undercut by tribes.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

In Les Parks’ perfect world, the Tulalip Tribes would not only legalize marijuana but fund research into its medical benefits.  

“I see Tulalip leading the country and being on this frontier for what this plant can do for mankind, basically,” said Parks, the Tulalips’ vice chairman and a longtime supporter of legalization, speaking from the tribe’s gleaming new government building, with sweeping views over Puget Sound.

Washington lawmakers face some long workdays as they try to beat the cut-off to move bills to out of their chamber of origin. Bills that don’t move on die.

For the first time, the Washington state Senate has passed a version of “Joel’s Law.”

Ross Reynolds talks to state Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, about a bill in the Senate that would require schools include social and emotional learning in their curriculum.

Also Zane Thorton, a 7th grader at Pacific Middle School, talks about why emotional learning is important to him.

Naloxone has been touted as an heroin overdose reversal drug.
Flickr Photo/intropin (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Dennis Donovan, director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington, about a bill which would grant wider access to the opiate overdose medication, Naloxone.

Flickr Photo/hapal (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Page Ulrey, senior deputy prosecuting attorney with King County's Office of Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Abuse, about House Bill 1499, which seeks to increase prosecutorial power in cases of elder abuse in Washington.

Ross Reynolds talks with Erika Teschke about a bill in the state legislature that would require all new rape kits to be tested by the Washington state crime lab. Teschke is director of Rape Kit-WA, a Seattle-based organization that advocates for rape kit reform.

A clipboard used for King County's annual One Night Count.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

When a homeless person needs help, they are often asked for a lot of personal information.

For victims of domestic violence, that information could potentially help an abuser track them down. That’s why homeless people in Washington state are given the choice to keep personal information from a big database that service providers keep and share on the people they help.

The Washington House is expected to vote this week on a $12 per hour minimum wage.

In January, the Washington state Senate adopted a rule requiring that new taxes pass the Senate by a two-thirds vote. Monday Lt. Governor Brad Owen tossed it out.

Owen said the super majority threshold runs afoul of the state constitution. Owen pointed to a 2013 Washington Supreme Court ruling that overturned a voter-approved super majority requirement for tax hikes.

The Republican-led Washington Senate Monday approved a nearly 12-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase phased in over three years.

Flickr Photo/Atomic Taco (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins and state Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, about a possible transportation package in the legislature. 

When temperatures rise this spring, you're bound to hear the occasional sad tale of a dog locked in a hot car in the sun.

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