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Special Legislative Session
9:39 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Washington Budget Impasse Prompts Finger Pointing

Cacophony Wikimedia

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 5:24 pm

There’s one week left in Washington’s special legislative session and still no budget deal. Governor Jay Inslee and the Senate majority caucus held dueling news conferences Tuesday complete with plenty of finger-pointing.

The governor went first. Inslee, a Democrat, blasted the mostly Republican Senate majority for an estate tax measure that passed out of committee late last week. Inslee called it a new tax break for more than 200 wealthy Washingtonians at the expense of public schools.

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Battling Prostitution
6:20 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Seattle "John School" Educates Men Who Pay For Sex

People take long flights to pay low prices for sex. In a radio story from WGBH, Phillip Martin explores the international sex tourism industry. Here in the Seattle area, Highway 99 hosts one main corridor where prostitution is easy to see. Hot spots dot the roadway, from Northgate to Sea-Tac. 

Some of those prostitutes are also underage girls, forced by pimps to walk the streets. That's called child sex trafficking.

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Hospital Debate
11:51 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Debate Over Catholic Health Care Expansion In Washington State

Swedish Medical Center Cherry Hill campus.
Flickr Photo/Michael Holden

 Last year the secular Swedish Medical Center stopped performing elective abortions after affiliating with a Catholic health care provider, Providence Health & Services. Now some organizations in Washington state are calling for a moratorium on similar contracts between secular, publicly funded hospitals and religious providers. They fear patients in the state could see a reduction in access to services.

What happens when faith and health care mix? Should the state do anything about it? Ross Reynolds talks with Peter Adler, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Catholic provider Peacehealth, and Kathleen Turner, head of the ACLU of Washington.

Jean Godden Interview
11:41 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Jean Godden: The Columnist, The Councilmember, The Kayaker

Jean Godden's Facebook page

 You may know that Jean Godden has served on Seattle’s City Council for the last 10 years. Before that she worked as a journalist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times. But you may not have heard that before age 17, Godden lived in over 100 different towns. As part of The Conversation’s feature interview series, Ross Reynolds chats with Godden about her life and work. 

Jailtime Skype
10:44 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Inmates' Families Say They're The Ones Punished By Switch To Video Visits

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 4:32 pm

Even if you've never visited a jail, you probably have a pretty clear image of what inmate visitation is like – a shatterproof glass barrier, two people sitting on either side, speaking into telephones.

But that's changing in some parts of the Northwest. More and more county jails are switching to privately operated video conferencing systems. Sort of like Skype, for inmates. But these systems have technical difficulties and come with costs for the inmates’ families.

Delayed visits

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IRS Hearing
9:19 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

IRS Chief Tells Panel "Primary Mission" Is Restoring Trust

Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, left, testifies before the House Financial and General Government subcommittee, alongside Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 5:50 pm

The Internal Revenue Service must earn the trust of the American people, the tax agency's new leader said on Capitol Hill Monday, as he promised to hold employees accountable for targeting the tax-exempt applications of conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

A recent report by the Treasury Department's Inspector General faulted the IRS for using "inappropriate criteria" to identify groups for further review.

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Tax Debate
11:15 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Still No Budget Breakthrough As Washington Special Session End Approaches

Cacophony Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 5:01 am

Washington’s 30-day overtime session of the legislature ends a week from Tuesday. So far there’s no sign of a budget deal between the mostly Republican-led Senate and the Democratic House. Governor Jay Inslee is urging the two sides to pick up the pace.

House and Senate negotiators continue to meet in Olympia. But finding agreement on the next two-year budget and the policy measures to implement it remains elusive.

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Tall Truck Ban
12:16 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Senate Republican Proposes Bridge Collapse Prevention Bill

The Interstate 5 bridge about an hour after the collapse over Skagit River, May 23.
Credit Harley Soltes

Republican State Senator Michael Baumgartner tells Ross Reynolds about a bill he’s proposed this week to try to prevent future bridge collapses. It would ban trucks that are too tall from traveling on certain bridges.  Senator Baumgartner represents the 6th Legislative District in Spokane.

Washington State Lobbyists
12:10 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

What Do Lobbyists Expect When They Take Washington State Lawmakers To Dinner?

Flickr Photo/Robyn Lee

Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins joins Ross Reynolds with a special report on state lobbying efforts.  Plus, Austin and Ross discuss the late Republican Washington State Senator Mike Carrell of Lakewood.   

Entertaining Lawmakers
11:02 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Washington Lobbyists Routinely Fail To Properly Report Entertainment

Robert S. Donovan Flickr

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:50 pm

Lobbyists in Washington state routinely fail to properly report dinners out with lawmakers. And dinners over $50 in value do not always show up – as required – on lawmakers’ personal financial statements. Those are among the findings of a public radio investigation – conducted in cooperation with the Associated Press.

The 'Morton Rule'

When retired Senator Bob Morton was in the Washington legislature, he’d go out to lunch with a lobbyist. But he had a rule.

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Liquor Privatization Update
11:02 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Liquor Privatization In Washington State, One Year Later

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:34 pm

As of June 1, it will be one year since grocers, big box stores and other private retailers started selling liquor in Washington state. The voter approved privatization initiative has sent prices unexpectedly higher. Also, the government is collecting more tax revenue than anticipated.

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Genetically Modified Wheat
8:53 am
Fri May 31, 2013

EU, Japan, South Korea Markets React To Modified Wheat Found In Oregon

Flickr Photo/Jonny Boy

WASHINGTON (AP) — World markets are responding to this week’s discovery of genetically engineered wheat on an Oregon farm. Japan has suspended some imports of US wheat, while the European Union and South Korea will increase inspections of wheat imported from the US.

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Wikileaks Documentary
11:31 am
Thu May 30, 2013

We Steal Secrets: A New Documentary About Wikileaks

There is a new documentary out about Wikileaks, Julian Assange and the American soldier Bradley Manning. It's called We Steal Secrets. Ross Reynolds interviews filmmaker Alex Gibney.

Shooting Anniversary
9:01 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Legislative Session Yields New Mental Health Bills, Advocates Say More Needs to Be Done

Flowers and notes in front of Cafe Racer in Seattle. The cafe closed in remembrance of victims of last year's shooting.
Credit KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Seattle’s Café Racer is closed today in remembrance. 

It's been a year since a gunman shot five people inside the eclectic coffee shop and bar. Drew Keriakedes, Joe Albanese , Kimberly Layfield, and Don Largen were killed. The cafe's cook, Leonard Meuse, was the lone survivor.

After the gunman fled the scene, police say he made his way downtown where he  killed  Gloria Leonidas and stole her car before shooting himself in West Seattle. 

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Federal Sequester Budget Slash
12:02 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

How Will Federal Budget Cuts Affect Forest Firefighting In Washington State This Season?

Flickr Photo/US Department of Agriculture (CC-BY-NC-ND)

 State officials are predicting another challenging wildfire season this year. Fighting those fires may be more difficult due to the federal sequester, which slashed nearly 8 percent from the Forest Service’s budget. Ross Reynolds interviews Washington State’s Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.

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