Government

As promised, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has called an immediate second special session of the legislature. It begins Friday.

The U.S. Department of Justice is having Pasco, Washington, police officers and residents meet for coffee and a conversation Wednesday following the police shooting of a farmworker there earlier in February.

To raise or not to raise taxes? That is the question that’s pushing Washington lawmakers into a second 30-day special session.

How well do you know the Seattle City Council district you live in? In 2013, Seattle voted to split the city into seven districts to elect council members with two more members elected at-large. This year will be the first election under that system.

To help navigate the new voting framework, we gathered demographic and other information on the new districts from Seattle's Department of Planning and Development and surveyed our listeners about their thoughts as they prepare to choose the new City Council.

The Seattle Police Department's "Safe Place" decal.
Seattle Police

David Hyde speaks with officer Jim Ritter, LGBTQ Liaison for the Seattle Police Department, about the new Safe Place program which aims to keep the city's LGBTQ community safe from harassment and violence. 

The Department of Defense says an attempt to ship inactive anthrax samples resulted in live samples being sent to labs in nine U.S. states and to a U.S. Air Force base in South Korea.

Fears of exposure to the potentially deadly disease prompted officials to advise four civilian workers to get preventive care; more than 20 military personnel are also being monitored. The samples were sent via commercial shipping companies, but the Pentagon says there is "no known risk to the general public."

Obama Administration Finalizes Clean Water Rule

May 27, 2015

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.

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