Government

Obama Administration Finalizes Clean Water Rule

2 hours ago

The Obama Administration Wednesday announced a new clean water rule. The Environmental Protection Agency says it will help limit pollution in streams and wetlands.

The rule is meant to clarify uncertainty about who can regulate these smaller waterways and water bodies.

Environmentalists say the new rule will keep drinking water clean. Lauren Goldberg is the staff attorney with Columbia Riverkeeper. She says this new rule will provide critical protection for clean drinking water and fish habitat.

Federal prosecutors allege indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley paid his defense attorney out of a pot of money that’s central to his tax evasion case.

Washington lawmakers will have to return for a second 30-day special session. The first overtime session ends Thursday and the House and Senate still don’t have a budget deal.

Seattle's proposed ban would apply to people lighting up tobacco products. Washington state law prohibits marijuana smoking in public places.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Seattle officials want to ban smoking in all public parks, but some opponents say the crackdown would unfairly target homeless people.

A park advisory board will take up the issue for a possible vote Thursday night.

As KUOW's Liz Jones reports, public opinion is mixed.

Nebraska's Legislature voted Wednesday to abolish the death penalty, overturning Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto. The state's unicameral legislature overwhelmingly approved the measure in a series of three previous votes.

The repeal comes as other states have experienced complications with new lethal-injection cocktails. But Americans overall still support the practice.

Support for the death penalty has slowly fallen over the past couple of decades, from a high of 80 percent in favor in the mid-1990s to just over 60 percent currently, according to Gallup.

A panhandler in Auburn, Washington.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Many cities around Washington state make it a crime to do things that everyone does but that homeless people have to do in public – like sitting down, sleeping, going to the bathroom or asking for help.

No city has more laws against these activities than Auburn, a southern suburb of Seattle.

Lee Townsend with the Metroplitan Improvement District checks his "hotspots" in Belltown for litter...and worse.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Over the past year, street sweepers in downtown Seattle saw a dramatic increase in the number of syringes on the ground. But those numbers have declined since March. They’re a data point in the larger debate over policing and drug use downtown.

Takeoff at Sea-Tac airport
Flickr Photo/Alan Turkus (CC BY 2.0)

International travel from Sea-Tac Airport is expected to grow by a quarter over the next five years. So the Port of Seattle is getting serious about expanding facilities for international passengers.

You’d think airlines would be happy about that, but many of them went to the Port Commission meeting Tuesday to protest. 

The Washington state Department of Corrections has contracted with The GEO Group, Inc, a Florida-based private prison company, to house up to 1,000 prisoners in Michigan to ease overcrowding.

Updated to reflect that Santorum is now officially in the race.

After taking the silver medal in the 2012 GOP presidential primary, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is making a second bid for the White House. But Santorum faces a very different — and much larger — field than four years ago.

As candidates hit the campaign trail, NPR looks at four major issues the next president will face from Day 1 in office.

When President Obama took office back in 2009, "cybersecurity" was not a word that everyday people used. It wasn't debated. Then, mega-breaches against consumers, businesses and the federal government changed that.

When the Supreme Court returns for its next term in October, among the cases it has agreed to hear is a challenge to a fundamental practice that has governed American elections for generations.

When public-policy makers talk about a state's population, they generally mean the number of human beings living in that state — as counted or estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

That applies to a host of political actions, including the apportionment of seats in Congress and the Electoral College votes that choose the president.

British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott in the KUOW offices, May 2015.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

David Hyde speaks with British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott about a unique environmental partnership between Washington state and the United Kingdom. They also discuss the recent tussle between Shell Oil and the City of Seattle. 

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