ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Spin Control

Posts tagged: Jay Inslee

Inslee to brief Obama on fires

Gov. Jay Inslee will brief President Obama on the fires in Central Washington as the two drive into Seattle this afternoon.

Obama, Air Force One and the traveling White House press corps are due in to Boeing Field at mid-afternoon, and the president will motorcade into Seattle for a fund-raiser. Inslee will ride in the car with Obama to brief him on the progress of fighting the wildfires, which have torched a record amount of area east of the Cascades.

The president is due to leave Seattle right after the fund-raiser to fly to San Francisco. Seattle drivers are being warned to expect traffic days for Obama's coming and going. 

Inslee, who has made several trips to the east side of the state to check on firefighting efforts, plans to stop at the Camp Murray Emergency Operations Center to thank workers on his way up to Boeing Field, his staff said.

Ex-Im Bank: How vital is it?

Govs. Jay Inslee and Butch Otter signed on to a letter Tuesday urging Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, but the owner of a Palouse company sometimes listed as a local beneficiary of the institution says the United States should let it go out of business . .  .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Inslee talking up WA in UK

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee is returning from the Farnborough Air Show in Great Britain, but it would seem none of the British reserve rubbed off on him during his short stay there.

Asked during a telephonic press conference this morning how the air show was going Inslee offered this observation:

“It's hard being humble when you win the Super Bowl and have the best airplanes in the world.”

Asked what he was doing for fun, Inslee produced an all-business answer: “The pleasure was watching our airplanes fly.”

Clearly, the governor needs to get out more.

He also put in a plug for Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, currently the subject of some debate within the House GOP majority. He said he doesn't see any need for big reforms, which Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers recently said are needed before she'd sign on to re-upping the Ex-Im, but he'd be open to some changes as long as the bank can keep helping the state's exporters.

The fight is along ideological lines, he said, but shouldn't be. “This is a meat and potatoes issue.”

Inslee offers up clean water plan

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee proposed new standards for cleaning up Washington’s lakes, rivers and the Puget Sound, immediately drawing criticism from some business and labor groups that they will be too expensive and from some environmentalists that they are too lax.

The plan announced Wednesday, which is still in an early draft stage, would require stricter standards for 70 percent of the chemicals regulated by law and “no backsliding” on the others, Inslee said: “If we do this, we will make our waters cleaner and safer and we will in fact reduce Washingtonians’ risk of having cancer.”

The new standards will be packaged with legislation Inslee will seek next year give more authority to the Department of Ecology and exceptions known as variances for some businesses that try to meet the new standards but can’t until technology improves or they find new materials that won’t bring toxic chemicals into their manufacturing processes.

Under orders from the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington has been trying for several years to upgrade its water quality standards that date to the 1970s.

The stricter limits proposed for toxic chemicals are set by a formula that includes a controversial “fish consumption standard” . . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

New proposal on water standards coming today

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee is set to release a proposal to change the state's water quality standards at noon today, and already both sides of the debate are warning that it could be bad, if not downright terrible.

The environmental group Earthjustice is saying the devil may be in the detail, with confusing numbers that make things look stricter but really aren't.

Mark Schoesler, the Senate Republican leader, is saying the new standards must balance cleaner water with family budgets and jobs.

At the heart of the new rules will be the “fish consumption standards”, which estimate how much fish, shellfish and other river-lake-seafood people eat. The current rules are set with a daily consumption rate of 6.5 grams, a little less than a quarter ounce or about what you'd find on one fancy canape if the chef isn't skimping too much on the good stuff. Put another way, that's about 7 ounces a month, or about the size of that pricey Copper River salmon fillet that cost you an arm and a leg at the restaurant last month.

Obviously, some people eat way more fish than that. But it also matters what kind of fish, and where it comes from. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Union leaders worry about new fish consumption standards

OLYMPIA – Washington state is rushing toward water quality standards that will be too strict and cost jobs without being backed up by good science, leaders of unions with workers in aerospace, timber and paper industries claimed Monday.

But a spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee said the union leaders are jumping the gun because no decision has been made. What many call the fish consumption standards are still under review, he said. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

Coaches top state salary list

OLYMPIA – The official report of state employee salaries for 2013 is out and as usual the highest paid people on the list are athletic coaches at the major universities.

Former University of Washington football head coach Steve Sarkisian topped the list for the fourth straight year, pulling down 2.6 million in 2013 before leaving in December to return to the University of Southern California.

Second on the list is Washington State University football head coach Mike Leach at $2.3 million, followed by UW head basketball coach Lorenzo Romar at $1.9 million, WSU head basket coach Ken Bone at $870,143 and UW assistant football coach Justin Wilcox at $799,259.

Athletic salaries are paid from ticket sales and other income, not from the state's general fund.  But the state reports salaries for all state employees, regardless of the source of money.

David Woodward, UW associate vice president, is at $692,323 and WSU Elson Floyd is at $662,560.

The two universities dominate the first 100 or so names with other administrators and professors who do research and get much of their total pay through grants and other stipends. The only non-university employee in the first 50 names is Gary Bruebaker, the chief investment officer for the State Investment Board, at $452,085.

To check out a searchable database of employee salaries and agency payrolls designed by The Spokesman-Review, click here. 

According to the salary data released Monday, the state had about 6,750 employees last year who earn $100,000 or more. The highest-paid elected officials are the nine members of the state Supreme Court, who each receive $165,316 and are tied for 1,280th on the list. As for the state's chief executive officer, Jay Inslee, he has 2,370 names ahead of him and his salary of $157,646. 

The salary data includes annual pay to more than 329,500 people who have worked full- or part-time for some state agency or public college or university since 2010. A searchable database on The Spokesman-Review’s website lists the salary totals for agencies or colleges and allows readers to search for salaries for individual employees by name.

 

Inslee pushes for speedier report on oil transport

Citing new safety and environmental risks as more crude oil moves by train through Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday directed state agencies to evaluate the safety of oil transport in the state.

The governor’s directive comes as Senate panel is preparing for a hearing in Spokane on oil transportation safety and railroad companies are filing information with the state on the amount of oil being shipped through Washington.

The directive would effectively speed up the timeline for a study already being conducted by state agencies, Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith said. The Department of Ecology is leading a study to analyze safety and environmental impacts of oil transport, after receiving $300,000 from the Legislature earlier this year.

The directive asks Ecology and other agencies to look at the risk of accidents along rail lines, assess the relative risk of Bakken crude oil compared to other forms of crude oil, and begin developing oil-spill response plans for affected counties. Ecology will submit budget recommendations and initial findings by Oct. 1.

The governor’s order re-emphasizes the issue, Ecology spokeswoman Lisa Copeland said. “Nothing in the directive is new for us,” she said.

The Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee will discuss possible legislation on oil transportation safety Monday morning at a hearing in the Spokane City Council Chambers. Democrats and Republicans introduced different plans for monitoring oil shipments and protecting communities in the last session but couldn’t reconcile them.

Monday’s hearing involves a Senate Republican proposal complete studies and develop emergency response plans but Democrats say it doesn’t give cities and towns enough information about the amount of shipments coming through their community.  

Last week the federal government ordered railroad companies to provide states with information about their crude oil shipments. BNSF Railway, Tacoma Rail and the Portland and Western submitted their information; Union Pacific said it’s shipments don’t meet the reporting threshold.

Information in those reports is not immediately available to the public. The railroads can go to court in an effort to block its release under the state’s Public Records Act.

Inslee heading to UK, Finland

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee and folks from the state Department of Commerce are heading to jolly old England next month where Washington has a booth at the Farnborough Air Show.

The United Kingdom and France sort of alternate the big European air shows, holding it in Farnborough one year and Paris the next. State officials like to put in an appearance to support Washington's big aerospace industry, in hopes of making it even bigger. Inslee will be there for opening day, July 14, to throw out the first pitch, cut the ribbon or what ever one does to open an air show exhibit.

Not to waste a trip “across the pond” on a single stop, Inslee will make a stop in Helsinki, Finland to meet with the Nordic Council of Ministers and visit Nokia, which had its mobile devices and services businesses bought up by Microsoft this spring. He'll also tour a renewable diesel refinery and meet with companies that might be interested in investing in Washington.

Full details of the trip, contained in the press release from Inslee's office, can be found inside the blog.

Sunday Spin: Inslee to pass on Hoopfest ‘14

OLYMPIA – For the second year in a row, Gov. Jay Inslee won’t be able to make good on a post-election promise to come to Spokane to play in Hoopfest.

Inslee, an admitted hoop-aholic, played in the 2012 tournament during the gubernatorial campaign, and made what seemed like an easy-to-keep promise on Inauguration Day to return with a team as governor. He repeated the promise a few weeks later to the Greater Spokane Inc. lobbying contingent, saying he planned to double the number of victories from the previous year. (Not a high goal, considering they won one.)

But the Legislature went into double overtime in 2013, and didn’t have a budget by the last weekend of June, which meant state government faced a partial shutdown on July 1. So Inslee had to stick close to the Capitol for budget talks rather than hitting the half-court.

This year the Legislature finished on time and the living is easy in Olympia. During the mile walk for his annual pre-fire season test, he talked of plans to participate in the 100-mile Wenatchee Apple Century Bike Ride.

Got a team ready for Hoopfest this year, he was asked.

“I have to work that weekend,” he said, shaking his head. He’s out of state at a Democratic Governors Association meeting that weekend, his staff said. 

Practicing for fire season

Inslee deploys a fire shelter during a practice session near the Capitol.

OLYMPIA — With wildfire season approaching, Gov. Jay Inslee used an annual exercise to push for more controls on carbon emissions, saying forest fires will get worse in Washington if the nation doesn't cut greenhouse gases.

The state is facing what Inslee called “the three horses of the fire Apocalypse” – drought, heat and beetle infestation killing trees – and doubled its wildfire fighting budget this year. The number of wildfires in Washington could quadruple by 2030 if steps aren’t taken to reduce carbon pollution and slow climate change, he said. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Govs send joint letter to feds on pot banking

OLYMPIA — Governors from Washington and Colorado sent a letter to federal banking officials trying to get them to get a move on and develop rules for recreational marijuana businesses.

In their joint letter (insert expected marijuana joke here), Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper reminded the heads of the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration and the comptroller of the currency of a letter the governors sent last October, asking for banking policies in line with the Justice Department's memo on marijuana in states that have legalized it.

The banking officials, or their predecessors, responded last November with their own joint letter (insert second marijuana joke here) and issued some guidance in February on marijuana businesses. But they have yet to come up with instructions to banks and credit unions on how to provide banking services to state-licensed marijuana businesses.

“In the meantime, product sales have begun in Colorado and will soon begin in Washington, exposing all involved to significant risks of criminal activity associated with accepting, storing and transporting large quantities of cash that can be ameliorated by access to the banking system,” the governors wrote.

They asked bank officials “expeditiously” provide guidance to the banking institutions.

Washington expects to have some recreational marijuana stores open in late June or early July.

Sunday Spin: Inslee probably not giving away the store

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee raised eyebrows, and some blood pressures, among some legislative Republicans and other conservatives last week with comments about state worker salaries on the eve of contract talks.

“It’s just clear to me that it’s unacceptable state employees have gone so long without a general pay increase,” he was quoted as telling members of the Washington Federation of State Employees.

Some suggested he was making a concession on wages before contract talks even started. Perhaps they would have liked him to suggest workers should get ready to swallow pay cuts or expect to be replaced by robots. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

Top Inslee aide stepping down

OLYMPIA — Ted Sturdevant, the head of Gov. Jay Inslee's legislative affairs and policy office, will step down at the end of June.

In an e-mail to legislators today, Sturdevant said he decided “it's time for a different pace and a different work-life balance.”  Sturdevant, who was director of the Department of Ecology under Inslee's predecessor Christine Gregoire, and said he first went to work for the Oregon Legislature 30 years ago.

“I have an enormous amount of respect for those of you who are willing to surmount those obstacles and make the sacrifices required to serve the state as elected leaders,” he wrote in the e-mail.

Inslee's office said no decision has been made on a replacement.

Sims named health exchange chairman

OLYMPIA — Ron Sims will be the new chairman of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which operates the state's online system for finding health insurance.

Sims, a member of the Washington Health Alliance board,  is a former King County Executive and former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 1994 as a Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Slade Gorton.

On a more parochial note, he's a Spokane native and graduate of Lewis and Clark High School. 

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the appointment this week to replace current chairwoman Margaret Stanley.

Inslee to name high court appointee at noon

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee is scheduled to name his choice to fill an opening on the state Supreme Court at noon today.

Inslee plans to make the announcement in the Temple of Justice, the Supreme Court building across from the state Capitol Building. He'll be naming a replacement for Justice Jim Johnson, who stepped down because of health concerns. Johnson's last day was Wednesday.

The appointee will have to run in this year's election

 

Inslee looks for ways to cut carbon emissions

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee appointed a new task force to find ways for Washington to reduce carbon emissions as part of an executive order that attempts to find ways to fight climate change.

At a speech at Shoreline Community College Tuesday, Inslee outlined goals in an executive order that calls for less carbon pollution and more clean energy sources, including a reduction in electricity generated by coal-fired power plants and increased use of electric vehicles and mass transit.

The Republican chairman of the Senate Energy Committee accused Inslee of attempting to maneuver around the Legislature to impose a new gasoline tax. Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale also questioned Inslee's commitment to an open discussion of the issues, noting the Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force’s  first meeting occurred the day the group was announced, with no advance public notice… . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

State, feds nix each others Hanford plans

OLYMPIA — Washington rejected the U.S. Energy Department's latest plan for the cleanup of leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The federal government, in turn, rejected the state's counter offer, setting up the prospect that they could be headed back to court with their long-running dispute over one of the nation's biggest nuclear cleanups. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Inslee signs most of ‘disappointing’ budget

OLYMPIA – The ink from his signature wasn’t even dry on the Legislature's current budget before Gov. Jay Inslee was challenging lawmakers to do more on their next one.

Inslee signed the state’s supplemental operating budget, vetoing some elements such as a section that would have ended the Life Sciences Discovery Fund.

Overall, he called it a budget with “modest adjustments” in many programs and disappointing on education.

“It does not make sufficient progress on the state’s paramount duty to schools,” he said.

Legislators are also disappointed, but more with Inslee’s characterization of their final work product that passed the Senate 48-1 and the House 85-13. Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, said the spending plan, as a supplement to last year’s two-year budget that added almost $1 billion to public schools, was supposed to make modest adjustments.

But it keeps the state in the black, financially, through this fiscal period and the next, Braun said.

“There were a lot of tough decisions that had to be made,” he said… .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Drone bill vetoed

OLYMPIA — A proposal to regulate the use of drones by law enforcement and other agencies was vetoed Friday. Gov. Jay Inslee said the bill did not do enough to protect the public's right to privacy and raised questions about public records.

In its place, Inslee said he was issuing an executive order for a moratorium for the next 15 months on purchase or use of unmanned aircraft by state agencies for anything other than emergencies, such as forest fires. He said he hoped local police chiefs and sheriffs would issue similar orders, and the Legislature would take another run at the issue next year.

The proposal had broad, bipartisan support in the Legislature, with backing of both the ACLU and the law enforcement community. Senate Law and Justice Committee Chairman Mike Padden, who helped shepherd the bill through the final days of the session, said he was surprised by the veto.

“We had worked with so many different groups, getting their input,” Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said.

The bill set up standards for state and local government's use of unmanned aircraft or drones, with requirements for obtaining warrants for surveillance uses by law enforcement.

In striking down the House Bill 2789, Inslee called it “one of the most complex bills we've had to analyze”  and said the emerging technology of drones create difficult issues for government. The bill had some conflicting provisions on disclosure of personal information, he added 

“I'm very concerned about the effect of this new technology on our citizens' right to to privacy,” he said.”People have a desire not to see drones parked outside their kitchen window by any public agency.”

Sections of the bill dealing with exemptions to public record laws for some information gathered by drones could create a “major carve-out” to the state's public records laws, Inslee added. 

Kathleen Taylor, executive director of the ACLU of Washington, called Inslee's veto disappointing and described the bill as “well-balanced and carefully considered.” His call for a  15-month moratorium will have little impact, she said in a prepared statement, because it still allows agencies to acquire drones and “includes no rules for their use after acquisition.”

Padden said legislators worked at balancing the rights of privacy with law enforcement's needs to gather information on criminal activity.

“We thought there were some safeguards in there with the warrants,” he said. The bill required police to obtain a warrant from a judge for using drones the same why they would need a warrant for other types of surveillance.

 

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Spin Control.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here