Washington state is facing a crisis when it comes to providing beds for psychiatric care. On a per capita basis, according to a 2009 national report, Washington ranks at the very bottom.
When beds are unavailable at psychiatric hospitals and regional mental health providers, hospital emergency rooms are often a last resort. Mental health advocates say this is a huge problem, because in some cases, mentally ill people are housed in emergency rooms for months, without access to sufficient treatment.
Washington lawmakers have departed the Capitol and are getting back to their normal lives. For most of them, that means going back to their regular jobs as farmers, lawyers, nurses, business owners. It’s the essence of a citizen legislature.
But this dual existence – one job as a lawmaker and another job back home - can invite conflicts of interest.
There were dramatic developments in Olympia overnight. Governor Jay Inslee held a midnight bill signing to amend Washington’s estate tax. The move means the Department of Revenue will not begin to issue refund checks Friday morning to the heirs of some multi-million dollar estates.
The state of Washington was about to embark on a months-long process of refunding an estimated $140 million to more than 100 estates. This was the result of a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year. The money would have come out of a fund dedicated to public schools.
The Washington legislature reconvenes Monday for a 30-day special session. But there’s still no budget deal in sight – despite a two week break to negotiate.
Senate budget chair Andy Hill, a Republican, says both sides are “working in good faith.” But “true negotiations” have yet to begin. That’s because the House, Senate and governor are still working to agree on the basic assumptions for the next two year budget.
In the first three months of this year, lobbyists in Washington state spent more than $200,000 on entertainment. Much of that money was spent to wine and dine state lawmakers during the just-concluded 105-day session. But what are lobbyists and their clients getting in exchange for picking up the tab?
After the legislative day ends up at the Capitol, it’s pretty common for some of the players to decamp. They go to one of a handful of usually higher-end Olympia establishments. This is where – over a meal, perhaps a bottle of Washington wine – the work continues.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 5:51 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington House has voted to allow the Department of Licensing to continue to issue fictitious driver licenses to undercover police officers. But with new safeguards. Even so, the vote Tuesday came over the objections of some Republicans.
The Department of Licensing has issued so-called confidential driver licenses for decades. But it never had direct authorization from the legislature to do so. The program is supposed to be for law enforcement officers.
It's getting down to the wire at the state capitol in Olympia, where lawmakers are working to pass a budget in the final weeks of the 105-day state Legislative session. Legislators are bargaining over how to best meet a state Supreme Court ruling to amply fund public education to the tune of $1 billion. There's also talk of toughening DUI laws, and a dispute over funding for the Columbia River Crossing in Southwest Washington. We'll ask Governor Jay Inslee about the latest news. Have a question for the governor? Call us at 206.543.5869 or send an email to email@example.com.
What is there to eat in Antarctica? Not much, though you could try penguin. In 1897, stranded Captain Georges Lecointe said penguin tasted like “beef, odiferous cod fish and a canvas-backed duck, roasted together in a pot with blood and cod-liver oil for sauce.” Desperate and trapped Antarctic explorers have eaten all kinds of awful things. Author Jason Anthony explains the culinary lengths people will go to in order to survive.