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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Jay Inslee

Inslee to hold internet town hall on education

 OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee will take his plans for public schools to the public, in Rogers High School and three other locations, via Skype tonight.

With large screens set in the schools to carry the online video-phone connection, Inslee will unveil his proposals for the state to meet court orders to improve public schools, along with other education and public college initiatives for he will will include in his upcoming 2015-17 state budget. He will then take questions from audiences in four locations. 

He'll be live at Newport High School in Bellevue for one hour, starting at 6 p.m., and carried via Skype to the Rogers Commons, the Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center in Moses Lake and the Jason Lee Middle School Auditorium in Tacoma. . .

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

Inslee budget to propose $1 billion in tax hikes

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee's budget proposal for the next two years will include a request for $1 billion or more in higher taxes along with some program cuts, a delay of some new school spending approved by voters and raises for state employees.

Inslee will unveil the details of his budget plans for the second half of his term over four days next week. But in a discussion Tuesday with reporters, State Budget Director David Schumacher said without some new taxes the cuts to state programs would be “horrible.”

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

Marr, Foster leaving Liquor Board

OLYMPIA – Two of the three members of the state board that oversees Washington’s liquor and marijuana laws will step down early next year.

Chairwoman Sharon Foster has informed Gov. Jay Inslee that she will not accept a reappointment to the Liquor Control Board when her term expires in January, and former state Sen. Chris Marr said he is leaving that month to take a position as a lobbyist. . .

 

State won’t extend Hanford deadline a third time

OLYMPIA — Washington state will not give the federal government a third extension of the deadline for coming up with a way to resolve the dispute over cleaning up waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. 

Unless the U.S. Department of Energy comes up with a plan in the  next 30 days, the state and the feds likely are headed to court over the cleanup. Again.

The department is under a court order to clean up Hanford, which has tanks holding decades of waste from the construction of the nation's nuclear arsenal. Some of those tanks are leaking, but the process to pump out the waste and either treat it or put it in more secure tanks that would have to be built will take years. The court set up a timeline for all that to happen 

In 2011 the department started telling the state it wasn't going to meet some of the deadlines. This spring, the state and the department each submitted new timelines, but neither agreed to the other's plan. They've negotiated, and the state has agreed to extend the deadline for an agreement twice. Friday Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson told the department they wouldn't agree to another extension, which means the state could go to court on Oct. 5 and file a “petition for relief”, essentially asking a judge to resolve the dispute.

 

Inslee approves group to protect WA military bases

Rich Hadley talks with Gov. Jay Inslee at the announcement of the reformation of the Washington Military Alliance.

OLYMPIA – Protecting the jobs and economic stimulus from the many military installations in Washington is “a no-brainer”, Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday as he resurrected a coalition of groups from around the state to prepare for any cutbacks in the nation’s defense budget.

The Washington Military Alliance – which will have members from economic development offices, chambers of commerce and military installations – will help the protect defense jobs, contracts and infrastructure in the state. A 2012 study estimated about 136,000 jobs and some $15.7 billion in economic activity are tied to military bases around the state and billions more are tied to contracts the Defense Department has with businesses throughout Washington. . . 

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

 

Inslee to Yakima: Don’t appeal Voting Rights ruling

OLYMPIA — The city of Yakima should not appeal a federal judge's order that invalidates the way city officials are elected because is unfair to Latinos , Gov. Jay Inslee said today.

In a letter to the Yakima City Council, Inslee said it should”show leadership” and focus on a plan that will improve its system. 

U.S. District Thomas Rice recently found Yakima in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and invalidated the way city council members are elected. Under the current system, four council members run in districts for the primary but citywide in the general; three others are elected citywide. That system “routinely suffocates the voting preferences of the Latino minority,” Rice said and set an Oct. 3 hearing for redistricting plans.

Many jurisdictions in the state suffer from a lack of diversity in political leadership and representation, Inslee wrote in a letter to the council. “This is an opportunity for a show of civic leadership that I believe would be admired throughout Washington,” he wrote.

Grain loading deal reached

Dock workers and a major grain company in Vancouver have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, clearing the way for smooth shipments of grain as the wheat harvest gets underway and removing a bone of contention between some legislative Republicans and Gov. Jay Inslee.

The AP report on the agreement can be found inside the blog. A bit of back story: In the midst of the labor dispute, United Grain imposed a lockout in February 2013 after saying a union worker had sabotaged company equipment. The longshoremen set up picket lines. Federal and state grain inspectors, who must check the wheat before it was shipped, were hesitant to cross the line. 

Last October, the Washington State Patrol began escorting inspectors into the facility, saying he hoped this would lead to a settlement. Last month Inslee said he was cancelling the escorts because no progress had been made, and he hoped the change would bring both sides back to the bargaining table and lead to an agreement.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, filed an ethics complaint in last July against Inslee with the Executive Ethics Board, contending the governor was failing to protect public employees and “using his office to unfairly benefit his political allies.” The board dropped the complaint last week, saying the governor's actions didn't appear to violate the state Ethics in Public Service Act and the board didn't have jurisdiction over the matter.

Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, welcomed the agreement, saying in a prepared statement he was “glad cooler heads prevailed and these two parties were able to reach an agreement.”

Inslee released a statement calling the agreement “outstanding news” and notified United Grain Company that state grain inspectors will resume inspections immediately. 

Inslee, other govs oppose oil drilling off coast

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee joined counterparts from Oregon and California today in asking the federal government to ban any new oil and gas drilling off their coasts.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the three governors said they were strongly opposed to any new gas and oil lease sales, fearing the “devastating impact” a spill could have on commerce, tourism, recreation and local economies. The three states have also joined with British Columbia in an effort to fight climate change and promote clean energy, Inslee, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said.

The governors are providing formal comment to the Interior Department's proposal for oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf from 2017 through 2022.

Eastern WA burn ban extended

OLYMPIA — The ban on most outdoor and agricultural burning in 20 Eastern Washington counties was extended for another week.

The ban, ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, was set to expire at noon today. But with wildfires still burning east of the Cascades, Inslee extended it through Aug. 1.

“While fire crews  have made significant progress over the past week in bringing the fires under control, weather conditions are still a concern and we need to continue erring on the side of safety,” Inslee said in a press release announcing the extension.

The ban includes, but isn't limited to:

Campfires
Bonfires
Yard debris or trash burning, land clearing, weed abatement
Agricultural burning
 Fireworks.

Obama signs emergency declaration for fires

President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration this morning that offers federal aid to Central Washington areas hard hit by wildfires.

It authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts in Chelan and Okanogan counties and on the Colville Reservation. Obama had promised action Tuesday in Seattle after receiving a briefing on the fires from Gov. Jay Inslee. 

Full text of the White House announcement can be found inside the blog.

 

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. 

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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.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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