Washington lawmakers begin to drop bills ahead of upcoming session

BY: and - December 4, 2023

Providing striking workers with unemployment checks. Protecting unspent gift card balances for consumers. Keeping the old name for a new state building. These are among the matters Washington lawmakers are teeing up for debate in the 2024 session. Legislators on Monday could begin pre-filing bills for introduction on the session’s first day, Jan. 8. To […]

Inslee wants to spend $50M more to combat opioid crisis

BY: - December 4, 2023

Gov. Jay Inslee is calling for another $50 million in state spending to fight the flow of illegal opioids into Washington and to provide services for people with substance use disorder.  The governor included the funding in the budget proposal he will ask state lawmakers to consider in the upcoming legislative session, which begins in […]

Sex traffickers evade justice as child victims openly walk PNW streets

BY: - December 4, 2023

This article was first published by InvestigateWest. Prosecutor Ben Gauen recognized all the signs. He knew that the teenager who’d been screaming for help in the middle of a spring day on Aurora Avenue North — the “epicenter of sex trafficking in Seattle,” according to Gauen — was a victim of sex trafficking.  Witnesses, still […]

This land is our land: States crack down on foreign-owned farm fields

BY: - December 4, 2023

Andy Gipson gets concerned even when American allies such as the Netherlands and Germany invest in large swaths of Mississippi’s farmland. “It just bothers me at a gut level,” he said. For Gipson, Mississippi’s commissioner of agriculture and commerce, the growing trend of foreign ownership could threaten what he views as the state’s most valuable […]

‘Unexpected’ deaths are up in Washington’s prisons

BY: - December 4, 2023

At least 29 people died unexpectedly in Washington’s state prisons from July 2022 to June 2023, according to a new state report.  That means deaths are up from the last reporting period, when the state Department of Corrections identified 11 unexpected deaths in its prisons.  The recent review, released by Washington’s Office of the Corrections […]

Initiative poses extra hurdle for merging of Washington, California carbon markets

BY: - December 2, 2023

Gov. Jay Inslee and Democratic legislators see linking Washington’s cap-and-trade program with carbon markets in California and Quebec as a critical next step for the signature climate policy and are pushing ahead to make it happen.  But a ballot measure to repeal the Climate Commitment Act may slow their pursuit – unless they are willing […]

‘Forever chemicals’ in thousands of private wells near military sites, study finds

BY: - December 1, 2023

Water tests show nearly 3,000 private wells located near 63 active and former U.S. military bases are contaminated with “forever chemicals” at levels higher than what federal regulators consider safe for drinking. According to the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that analyzed Department of Defense testing data, 2,805 wells spread across 29 states […]

Looking for child care in Washington? A new online marketplace aims to help

BY: - December 1, 2023

Parents across Washington may soon be able to search in one place online for child care openings in their neighborhoods.  Kinside, a Seattle-based startup, has launched a website where families can find real-time prices and openings at child care centers. Currently, the program only allows people to search for openings in the Seattle area, but […]

Federally funded project will search for rare earth elements in Southeast Alaska seaweed

BY: - December 1, 2023

What if prized rare earth elements could be extracted from seaweed, avoiding the need to dig into the ground for the materials used in technology and renewable-energy equipment? That question will be addressed by a new project to examine whether those elements can be found in seaweed growing in the waters of Southeast Alaska. The […]

Federal judge issues preliminary injunction blocking effective date of Montana’s TikTok ban

BY: - December 1, 2023

Saying Montana’s law banning TikTok in the state oversteps the state’s powers and infringes on people’s constitutional rights, a federal judge in Missoula on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction temporarily prohibiting the state from enforcing the law set to take effect Jan. 1. U.S. District of Montana Judge Donald Molloy found the law banning TikTok […]

U.S. House votes to bar use of public lands for housing migrants

BY: - November 30, 2023

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Thursday passed a bill to bar the use of public lands for temporary housing for migrants applying for asylum. The bill, H.R. 5283, passed with a majority of Republicans in support, 224-203.  Six Democrats voted with Republicans: Reps. Henry Cuellar of Texas, Don Davis of North Carolina, Jared Golden of Maine, Vicente […]

Farmers and growers seek leeway under new agriculture overtime law

BY: - November 30, 2023

Agricultural workers in Washington will attain a historic milestone next month when, for the first time in state history, they will earn overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week. The achievement is the result of 2021 legislation negotiated by labor advocates, agricultural producers and lawmakers that erased language in state […]