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Ross Hunter to leave House for Early Learning post

Rep. Ross Hunter, the House Democrats’ chief budget writer, will leave the Legislature to become director of the Department of Early Learning.

McMorris Rodgers, Newhouse criticize Inslee on carbon efforts

OLYMPIA – Two Republican members of Congress from Eastern Washington think it’s great their Democratic governor is helping to boost foreign trade, but they want him to back off on carbon reduction plans and any efforts that could block new coal terminals. A spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee said their opposition to his efforts to cut carbon pollution isn’t surprising. But spokesman David Postman said the representatives are wrong in implying Inslee has made up his mind on proposals to build new seaports to ship coal to Asia after it has been hauled across the state by rail.

McMorris Rodgers to Inslee: Boosting trade is good, carbon reduction plans bad

OLYMPIA – Republican members of Congress from Eastern Washington think it’s great their Democratic governor is helping to boost foreign trade, but they want him to back off on carbon reduction plans and any efforts that could block new coal terminals.

Inslee’s office unveils wildfire info website

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office unveiled a new website with information on Washington’s wildfires.

Obama orders federal help for state, local firefighting

President Barack Obama ordered federal aid to state and local agencies fighting wildfires in Washington. In signing an emergency declaration Friday morning, Obama authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief “to save lives and protect property and public health and safety and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe.” He was responding to a request Wednesday from Gov. Jay Inslee.

Inslee, U.S. senators promise push for federal funds as fires top 400,000 acres

CHELAN, Washington – With smoke filtering the summer sun and flags at half-staff to honor three firefighters killed near Twisp, Gov. Jay Inslee and other top elected officials pledged state and federal resources to battle fires that by late morning Thursday were scorching nearly 400,000 acres around the state. The briefing they received from fire commanders in Central Washington underscored both the sense of loss of the three Forest Service firefighters the evening before and the enormity of the task ahead.

Inslee: ‘A match in a box full of fuses’

CHELAN, Washington — Gov. Jay Inslee and members of the state’s congressional delegation are getting a full briefing this morning from fire commanders battling blazes around Central and Eastern Washington.

Twisp blaze kills three firefighters as towns evacuate

WINTHROP, Wash. – Three firefighters were killed and four others injured Wednesday as raging wildfires advanced on towns in north-central Washington. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said the deaths in a wildfire near Twisp were confirmed, but he said he was not immediately releasing further details about the circumstances. The firefighters who died were members of a Forest Service crew from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Rogers said.

Firefighters were overtaken by fire after vehicle crash

WINTHROP, Wash. - The U.S. Forest Service closed a large chunk of the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River drainage Wednesday due to a forecast of hazardous fire weather and because close to 20 fires already are burning on the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District.

Inslee confirms 3 dead in Twisp fire

OLYMPIA — Saying his “heart breaks” over the loss of life, Gov. Jay Inslee confirms three firefighters died battling the blaze in Twisp.

State Supreme Court stands firm in dispute with Legislature over education funding

OLYMPIA – Enough already with promises to fix the state’s schools, the state Supreme Court told the Legislature on Thursday. Until the Legislature establishes a concrete plan, it’ll cost the state $100,000 a day, the justices ruled. The court strongly suggested lawmakers return to the Capitol for a fourth special session, saying it would void the fines if that results in a plan for the remaining obstacles to meeting a constitutional mandate to treat public education as the state’s paramount duty.

Which state employees were the highest paid last year?

The annual report on state employee salaries is out, and The Spokesman-Review’s searchable database has been updated. Details, and the link, inside the blog.

Editorial: Inslee missteps in ditching clean-water standard

Last summer, Gov. Jay Inslee released a pragmatic plan to update the state’s clean-water standards. Friday, he walked away from the solution that was three years in the making and involved extensive collaboration among municipal, industrial and environmental stakeholders. He not only scrapped the state’s best shot at cleaning up waterways, he gave many people reason to utter “never again” to invitations from government to help solve a problem.