Government

Families and staff at Rainier Prep sand old paint off railings in the school's adopted building at a recent work party.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Charter schools are unconstitutional, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled late Friday afternoon – dropping a bombshell just days after some charter schools opened their doors. 

Washington state voters approved charter schools in 2012, after rejecting them three times.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley faces additional charges of money laundering and tax evasion. The U.S. Attorney’s office announced the new charges Thursday afternoon.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown is calling for a top-to-bottom review of a long-troubled tax incentive. The Business Energy Tax Credit was supposed to give companies an incentive to invest in clean energy.

Sex-Trafficking Lawsuit Against Backpage.com Goes Forward

Sep 3, 2015
A poster aimed at battling sex trafficking in King County.
King County

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled Thursday that three girls can sue online marketplace Backpage.com over claims that they were sold as prostitutes on the site. Marcie Sillman talks to Jason Amala, a lawyer representing the victims, about the ruling and what it means for Backpage.com.

In this Nov. 20, 2008, file photo, the execution chamber at the Washington State Penitentiary is shown with the witness gallery behind glass at right, in Walla Walla, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Since 1976, 1,413 people have been executed in the United States. That number rose steadily through 1999, when 98 people were executed. Last year, 35 people were put to death.

Can there be justice in the imposition of capital punishment? Humanities Washington hosted a deeper discussion of issues surrounding the death penalty at The Royal Room in Columbia City on May 27, 2015.

Photos of the students shot at Marysville-Pilchuck High School are seen in a memorial last year.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery
  • The aunt of a teenage girl who dated the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooter says releasing her text messages could inflame the community and haunt her for the rest of her life. 
  • The Everett Herald KUOW and other media organizations have filed briefs advocating for the texts to be made public.
  • Her request is expected to be heard in Snohomish County Superior Court on Thursday. 

Advocates for a teenage girl caught up in the investigation of last year’s shootings at Marysville-Pilchuck High School say releasing her personal text messages from that time would re-traumatize her and potentially subject her to threats and reprisals.

The girl did not attend the high school but was the former girlfriend of Jaylen Fryberg and friends with his victims.

The Olympia police officer who shot two African-American brothers during a confrontation in May will not be criminally charged.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson Wednesday announced a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy and some of its contractors over worker safety at the Hanford nuclear site.

Jaylen Fryberg, the 15-year-old who shot five friends in the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in October.. Jaylen and four of the friends died.
Facebook

Minutes before a Washington state high school freshman fatally shot four friends and then himself, he sent a group text message to his family outlining his funeral wishes and apologizing to the parents of the teenagers he was about to kill.

Operators of some hookah lounges in Seattle say the city's crackdown unfairly targets them. This hookah lounge is on Roosevelt Way Northeast in the University District.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Seattle’s hookah lounges got a little reprieve. The city had planned on closing down the smoking lounges on Monday, but now officials are backing off.

Earlier this month Seattle Mayor Ed Murray took hard a stance against local hookah lounges, citing public safety concerns associated with the businesses. But the city eased off after business owners and supporters pushed back.

Last week, city officials and hookah lounge owners met. Both sides say they’re pleased with the initial conversation.

The phrase "police militarization" conjures up an image of cops wrapped in Kevlar, barging into homes with semi-automatic weapons. But familiar as that image is, we don't know how common it is. There are simply no good statistics on police tactical operations in America. The federal government doesn't keep track, and neither do the states — with one exception: Utah.

It seems to be part of human nature to want to belong to a group. People constantly form groups, in all kinds of situations, and high-stakes negotiations on climate change are no exception.

Ever heard of the Umbrella Group? Or the Like-Minded Developing Countries? How about the Group of 77? (Here's a hint — it doesn't actually have 77 countries.)

Experts testify before a U.S. Senate hearing on wildfires. The hearing was held at Seattle University.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Senator Maria Cantwell is trying to build bipartisan support for what she’s calling the Wildfire Management Act of 2015. The bill would change the way we fight fires and secure more dependable funds for fire prevention. At a public hearing this week, she heard testimony from fire experts. 

Ross Reynolds speaks with Capt. Chris Fowler, commander of the Seattle Police Department's West Precinct, about the Neighborhood Response Team. The group of six officers patrols a nine-block area in downtown Seattle, using a new kind of policing to fight what business owners have called "downtown disorder."

Washington Lt. Governor Brad Owen traveled to China last year and touted a company that’s now at the center of a federal fraud investigation.

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