On Wednesday, hundreds of immigrants and advocates plan to gather in Olympia to lay out their priorities for lawmakers. One top issue is called the Washington Dream Act, which state Senator Ed Murray, D-Seattle, introduced today. Under the measure, undocumented college students would become eligible for state financial aid.
Yesterday Ross talked to the Republican Senate chair of the Early Learning and K-12 Education committee. Today he follows up with Democratic State Senator Rosemary McAuliffe. How do Republicans and Democrats differ in their goals and strategies for improving state education?
Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 3:46 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Card-holding medical marijuana patients would get protection from arrest under a proposal in the Washington legislature. But some industry insiders say it doesn’t go far enough. That was their message Monday at a state Senate hearing.
By the end of this year, the production and use of recreational marijuana in Washington will be regulated and taxed. That’s because of voter-approved Initiative 502. But medical marijuana – also voter-approved back in 1998 – is largely unregulated.
President Obama thinks E-Verify should be mandatory as part of his plan for immigration reform. Is this a good idea? How accurate is E-Verify? What happens if someone comes up negative? Is immigration contacted immediately? Ross Reynolds talks with CEO Roy Beck of Numbers USA, and Policy Analyst David Bier.
Big changes to US immigration policy could mean more temporary work visas for people with skills like computer programming. Employers in the Northwest including Microsoft say there aren’t enough US workers to meet demand. Now, a bipartisan group of Senators wants to expand the number of temporary worker visas from 65,000 to 115,000. But critics say those jobs can and should be filled by qualified US workers. Ross Reynolds talks with public policy advocate and political strategist Maria Cardona and president of the Programmers Guild, Kim Berry about the ongoing issue of temporary worker visas.
Washington state is under a state Supreme Court mandate to adequately fund K-12 education. But Democrats and Republican disagree over increasing funding versus guaranteeing the money is used well. Ross Reynolds talks with Republican State Senator Steve Litzow who chairs the Early Learning and K-12 Education committee about what is being done to fund K-12 education.
As part of the agreement with the Department of Justice to implement reforms in the Seattle Police Department, Mayor Mike McGinn proposed the creation of a Community Police Commission. The 13-member commission, selected by the mayor and City Council, is supposed to ensure that the police are acting lawfully and safely.
The commission still has to be confirmed by the City Council, but Ross Reynolds sits down with commission co-chair and deputy director of the Defender Association, Lisa Daugaard, to discuss what the commission can and hopes to accomplish.
A proposed bill in Olympia aims to crack down on employers who shortchange their workers. The measure would create harsher penalties for business that skimp on minimum wage, overtime pay, or just flat out fail to hand over a paycheck.
This type of underpayment is often referred to as “wage theft.” Advocates of the bill, HB 1440, say the victims of wage theft tend to be low-income workers and undocumented immigrants.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:51 pm
RICHLAND, Wash. – The state of Washington’s largest public sector embezzlement case ever moves forward Thursday with a guilty plea. A public works employee admits he took the money over more than 20 years in Franklin County in the southeast part of the state.
Sound Transit has been under fire lately for poor budgeting, rider shortages and even for train interruptions due to mud slides. The regional transit provider is the force behind Link light rail in Seattle and Tacoma and the Sounder train, which stretches from Lakewood through Seattle and up to Everett. Their express-bus system serves passengers in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. Today Ross talks to Sound Transit Executive Director Joni Earl to find out what the future holds for our regional trains and buses.
The Seattle City Council is thinking about developing a publicly-funded approach to campaign finance. The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission would develop a detailed plan and voters would decide whether to approve it later this year. The idea to use public money to fund city campaigns is meant to open up the political arena to candidates who might not otherwise run for office. On Thursday, city councilmembers will meet with representatives from Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles to see how publicly funded campaigns have played out in their cities.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:33 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Democratic lawmakers in both Washington and Oregon are working on measures to require background checks for all gun sales. A universal check proposal was introduced Wednesday in the Washington House. A similar bill is expected in the Oregon Senate soon.
Seattle-area officials are touting a new campaign to fight human trafficking. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn announced the new effort Wednesday that mainly involves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.
Larry McWilliams protests I-90 tolls outside of the Mercer Island meeting
Credit KUOW/Derek Wang
WSDOT Toll Division boss Craig Stone takes audience questions
Credit KUOW/Derek Wang
Different tolling scenarios are being studied. One calls for tolls only between Mercer Island and Seattle. Another would only toll the segment between Mercer Island and Bellevue. And a third scenario would toll drivers based on how far across they go.
Operating personnel of the I-90 Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge and SR 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940.
Imagine having to pay a toll every time you left your city. People on Mercer Island have to face that possibility, because state officials are considering putting tolls on the Interstate 90 floating bridges. I-90 is the only roadway that connects the island to the mainland. A series of public meetings about the idea is being held this week. The first was held Tuesday on Mercer Island.