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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Jay Inslee

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. . . 

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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… .

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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.

 

Inslee to Energy Dept: Time’s up on Hanford delays

OLYMPIA – Northwest residents need more than vague plans and missed deadlines for the cleanup of nuclear waste at Hanford, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday.

If the federal government doesn’t come up with a more specific plan or agree to one proposed by the state over the next two months, Washington will go back to court to try to force the U.S. Department of Energy to act. . . 

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Inslee signs suicide prevention bill, dozens of others

Gov. Jay Inslee hands the pen used to sign a suicide prevention bill to Zoe Adler, 5, of Seattle, while her brother Jake, age 9, looks on.

OLYMPIA – With strokes of a pen, Gov. Jay Inslee approved statewide suicide prevention training for medical professionals, raised some motor vehicle fees pay for a new ferry, banned most teens from tanning salons, toughened penalties for drunk drivers and required public records training for most elected officials.

Between the official signings of some four dozen bills in a marathon session Thursday morning, Inslee criticized the Legislature for exempting itself from rules it imposed on other officials and at one point broke down when describing the losses in the Oso mudslide, where he’d talked with families of victims the night before.

He agreed with a recent assessment that the Snohomish County mudslide could top the Mount St. Helens eruption and produce the largest loss of life from a natural disaster in state history, but added: “We’re looking for miracles” . . .

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Inslee signing boatload of bills

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee is scheduled to sign more than four dozens of bills this morning, including:

— a bill to raise fees on vehicle tab replacements and transfers for people who do that online or at county auditors' offices to help pay for the state's next 144-ca.

— a bill to outlaw tanning for minors without a doctor's prescription 

— a bill to require suicide prevention training

— a bill to establish a license plate for breast cancer awareness

— a bill requiring training in the open meetings and records act for public officials.

In signing that last one, he took a swipe at legislators, whom he said were “disingenuous” by exempting themselves from that training while requiring it for other elected officials. The original bill, requested by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, included legislators and Inslee said the amendment that took them out was a “serious error.”

Immigrant protections added to labor law

OLYMPIA – Washington employers who threaten their immigrant employees with deportation or the destruction of their documents while forcing them to work can be charged with a felony.

A new law signed Wednesday stiffens the penalties for coercing workers into forced labor, adding to existing law that makes it illegal to threaten a person with physical harm to make them work. The law now allows employers to be charged with a felony if they threaten to withhold or destroy documents connected to a worker’s immigration status, or threaten to report them to immigration officials to force them to work.

Reporting someone to federal officials for being in the country illegally is not against the law; using it as a threat against workers as a form of “involuntary servitude” is.

Another term for that practice, Gov. Jay Inslee said when signing the bill, is slavery. 

Inslee offers E. Washington asides at bill signings

Gov. Inslee pets service dogs Huckleberry and Huey who attended a bill signing with Darly Abbot of Olympia.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee might want to think about making more trips across the mountains to Eastern Washington.

Back from Tuesday's sojourn to Dayton, Starbuck and Palouse Falls State Park, the governor was in an especially chipper and talkative mood at his daily bill signing ceremony with plenty of East Side anecdotes.

Signing a bill for better management of the Milwaukee Road rail corridor, Inslee asked Rep. Matt Manweller,R-Ellensburg, the sponsor, if that wasn't also the John Wayne Trail. Yes, said Manweller, at which point the governor launched into an explanation of how Wayne learned lots about acting from Yakima Canutt, a fact he learned on a poster during the trip. Canutt, who did teach Wayne that rolling walk and was his stunt double in several films, was born in Colfax.

A bill to expand the authority of Fish and Wildlife officers to order people to produce identification and have fishing or hunting gear inspected would be welcome news to the mayor of Starbuck, who owns a tackle shop, he said. And he had the best burger of his governorship at the Rawhide Bar and Grill in that town.

One of the highlights of the trip, he said,  was signing the bill to make the falls the official state waterfall surrounded by students from Washtucna Elementary School, who came up with the idea and with good teachers turned it into a successful multi-grade project.

Inslee also signed bills outlawing involuntary servitude by coercion, and  legalizing growlers — the large bottles that can now be used to take cider home from bars and breweries, not the four-legged kind he's petting in the photo. 

As Palouse Falls. . .

OLYMPIA – Palouse Falls is officially the state water fall.

In a ceremony this afternoon with the Eastern Washington falls as a backdrop and dozens of Washtucna Elementary students around the table, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill that bestows the title on the geologic feature. The students came up with the idea as a way to draw attention to the falls and a handful of them traveled to Olympia to testify on behalf of the bill.

It was one of two successful efforts to name an official state something in the last session. The Legislature also named the Olympia oyster the official state oyster. 

WA Lege 2014: The done and the undone

OLYMPIA – The Legislature closed up shop with seven minutes before its constitutionally mandated midnight stopping time Thursday, ending a short session that was short on expectations, and many would argue, short on accomplishments.

After passing an updated operating budget that even supporters said contained plenty of things to dislike, a couple of bills on many legislators’ priority lists were saved from oblivion and moved back and forth between chambers with admirable speed.

Military veterans were granted in-state tuition at Washington’s public colleges and universities, regardless of how long they’ve been in the state. A $40 fee home buyers pay to file their documents, which pays for programs to fight homelessness but due to expire this year, was extended until 2019.

Meanwhile, the subject getting the most attention seemed to be deciding what medical procedures can be performed by plebotomists, medical assistants who draw blood. A phlebotomist bill ping-ponged back and forth across the Rotunda and showed up on one floor or the other eight times in the last eight days as the chambers tweaked the bill with amendments. It eventually had to be untweaked because the wrong amendment was added – and approved – before people noticed, so that amendment had to be subtracted and replaced, prompting three roll-call votes on the last day.

“I didn’t know what a phlebotomist was until today,” Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, deadpanned. . . 

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Inslee raps Legislature for no transportation package

Gov. Jay Inslee says Republicans in the Senate kept changing demands on the amount of sales tax they wanted redirected for transportation projects.

OLYMPIA — Washington faces reduced maintenance on roads and bridges as well as cuts in mass transit because the Legislature did  not pass a major package this year of transportation projects funded by higher gasoline taxes, Gov. Jay Inslee said early Friday morning.
 
The Legislature finished its 60-day session at 11:53 p.m. after a flurry of final day bills that included some modest changes to its operating budget, a bill to allow all veterans to receive instate tuition at state universities and colleges and an extension of a fee that helps pay for programs that fight homelessness.
 
There were big wins in the constitutionally short session, particularly a law earlier in the year that allows the Washington high school students who aren't legal residents but grew up in Washington to be eligible for some college aid, Inslee said shortly after midnight. But, he added, “there's a lot left undone”…
 
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Inslee pushing for testing to keep federal money

Inslee urges Legislature to approve student testing bill.

OLYMPIA — The Legislature should approve a bill requiring statewide testing in an effort to keep $40 million in federal funding for local schools, Gov. Jay Inslee said today.

Speaking at a press conference while teachers opposed to testing requirements were filling the halls outside the legislative chambers, Inslee said he does not “have the luxury” of getting into a philosophical discussion about the value of standardized testing. To have any chance to keep federal money from the No Child Left Behind program, the state should pass a law that requires that by the 2017-18 school year, students' scores on statewide tests are used as at least part the way teachers are evaluated. 

Collective bargaining agreements and local school boards would be able to determine how the tests are used, Inslee said.

Federal education rules require standardized statewide tests to receive the money; state law currently says those tests can be used, but doesn't say the must be used, causing the U.S. Department of Education to say it will cancel the money. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has not given “an absolute guarantee” the state will get a waiver and continue to receive the money before 2017-18, Inslee said, but added: “I'm highly confident we will.”

A bill to require testing died recently in the Senate when most Democrats joined with the chamber's more conservative Republicans to kill it. Opponents said they had heard from teachers, administrators and school boards in their districts concerned about the time and expense of additional testing on top of new evaluation procedures.

Sunday Spin: Death penalty bill dies, but not quietly

OLYMPIA – Whether Washington state should execute some people for crimes like aggravated first-degree murder is a good debate to have.

Whether the governor or the Legislature has the constitutional authority to do certain things is a good debate to have.

Mix capital punishment with separation of powers and you get a not so-good-debate, but an excellent vehicle for diatribes. . .

 

Inslee: Minimum wage prospects not good in Lege

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee said he wants a public conversation about raising the state's minimum wage but acknowledged today the chance an increase will pass the 2014 Legislature are not good.

“I can't be optimistic it's going to pass the state Senate this year,” he said during a telephone press conference from Washington, D.C., where he's attending the National Governors Conference. . . 

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Execution moratorium misuse of power, Republicans say

OLYMPIA — Legislative Republicans accused Gov. Jay Inslee of misusing his power by announcing a blanket moratorium on all executions during his term.  

“It's the Legislature that decides whether (capital punishment) is an appropriate policy,” Sen. Steve O'Ban, R-University Place, said, while a governor has the authority to stay the execution of a particular inmate on an individual basis. “He has usurped his role.”

Inslee announced Tuesday he would not allow anyone who has been sentenced to death by the courts and exhausted all appeals to be executed while he is in office, hoping that would spark a discussion on whether equal justice is being served by capital punishment in Washington. A successor could allow the executions to go forward if he or she chooses, Inslee said.

Criticism from O'Ban and other Republicans was varied, and at times seemed contradictory. At one point, O'Ban said it could take a valuable tool out of the hands of prosecutors, who have used the possibility of not seeking the death penalty as a way to force serial killers to reveal information about victims; later he said it won't save the state any money because prosecutors will still be seeking the death penalty for cases that qualify for them.

O'Ban later said that defense attorneys will bring up the moratorium in discussions and “undercut” a prosecutor. It would also lead to “open season” on prison guards for inmates serving life without parole, because they'd have nothing to lose by killing a guard.

The threat of the death penalty didn't keep Monroe inmate Byron Scherf from strangling prison guard Jayme Biendl in 2012. But Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, said he is hearing from prison staff who want to know the Legislature is doing the best they can “to make them safe.” 

The Legislature could address problems with the cost of capital punishment and the long delays from appeals without a complete suspension, O'Ban said.

A spokesman for Inslee said the governor acknowledged Tuesday that people will disagree with his decision. As to the suggestion that Inslee was usurping his power, Attorney General Rob Ferguson said Tuesday the decision was within Inslee's authority as governor, and spokesman David Postman said the public can judge who was right on that point.

To read Ferguson's press release on the legality of the moratorium, click here to go inside the blog.

GOP raps Inslee in advance of their transportation package

OLYMPIA — A transportation package from the predominantly Republican Senate majority may be announced Thursday, although coalition leaders couldn't say Wednesday how much support it has in their caucus.

Instead, they took aim at Gov. Jay Inslee, accusing the governor of a lack of leadership in negotiating something that he and legislators have said the state needs for more than a year — a plan to build new highway projects, fix roads and bridges, reform transportation practices and generate support for the taxes needed to accomplish that. They haven't had a meeting with Inslee since the first day of the legislative session, Majority Coalition Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, of Ritzville, said.

“We need to get back in that room,” Majority Coalition Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, said. “The governor's going to have to show a lot of leadership.”

A spokesman for Inslee called the criticism “utter nonsense” and a sign that those leaders are feeling the heat from constituents and business groups for their own inaction.

David Postman said staff from the governor's office has been in contact with the Curtis King, the Senate Republican working on the package, on a daily basis. The governor convened a dozen meetings on transportation with legislative leaders last year. They broke up in December with King saying it would be up to the Senate to come up with a package as a counter to the proposal House Democrats passed in that chamber, Postman said. According to some recent reports, that package might not be ready until a “lame duck” session after the November elections.

Tom and Schoesler parried questions about whether they had the votes to pass a transportation package by questioning whether House Democrats have the votes to approve the bonds needed for their proposal. Although a list of projects and taxes can pass with a simple majority, the bonds needed to build some of those projects by using the tax money require a three-fifths majority, 60 votes in the House and 30 in the Senate.

“To get to 30, the governor needs to get us in the room. Maybe then you can start meeting everybody's needs,” Tom said.

Inslee and House Democrats can't negotiate with Senate Republicans unless they have the votes to pass their package and get their members to agree to changes they sign off on. “The people who need to be locked in a room is the coalition,” Postman said.

 

Gov proclaims ‘moment of noise’ for ‘Hawks

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee is calling for a “moment of noise” at 12:12 p.m. today to celebrate the Seahawks' Super Bowl victory.

Actually, 30 seconds worth of noise. Feel free to make as much noise as you want, unless you're in some place inappropriate like a library, a church or a  hospital.

Inslee has pretty much been in full-fan mode since the weekend. He attended the game in New Jersey, and will attend the victory parade in Seattle at 11 a.m. plus the 1 p.m. celebration at CenturyLink field. 

 

Sunday Spin: Spokane delegation makes its annual trek west

OLYMPIA – A delegation of more than 80 Spokane-area folks arrived here last week with their annual “agenda” – some might call it a wish list – of things the Legislature could do to make life better for the state in general and the center of the Inland Empire in particular.

This annual trek to the capital sponsored by Greater Spokane, Inc., herds well-briefed leaders of business, political, education and civic groups through the marbled rooms and committee rooms and is the envy of many other cities and counties around Washington. It has prompted the sincerest form of flattery, imitation, from other communities but many legislators still say Spokane’s full-court press lobbying remains the best.

At least that’s what some tell members of the Spokane throng. Others offer recollections of their last visit to the city or Spokane Valley, or some other anecdote to show they are all paisans. . . 

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Inslee: Do more hard things. GOP: Be more specific.

OLYMPIAWashington should raise its minimum wage, spend more on schools and highways, raise teacher salaries and do something about climate change, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday.

“We have done hard things. And we can do more,” the Democratic governor told a joint legislative session in his annual state of the state address.

Legislative Republicans and a Democrat who joined them to form the Senates ruling coalition were quick to criticize the speech as long on ideas but short on specifics. . . 

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Govs bet on Seahawks-Saints

OLYMPIA — Add one more politicians' bet to the list of wagers over today's Seahawks-Saints game.

Gov. Jay Inslee's office said today he has bet Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal that if the 'Hawks win, Jindal will donate 100 pounds of Louisiana seafood to a food bank of his choice. If the Saints win, Inslee, via Ivar's, will donate 500 cups of chowder to a Louisiana food bank.

Ivars freezes chowder and ships it around the country, in case you were wondering what shape it would be so many miles away from “Acres of Clams.”

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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.

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