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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Washington smoking age could jump from 18 to 21

OLYMPIA – Young adults would be barred from cigarettes under a proposal unveiled Wednesday by Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Under Ferguson’s plan, Washington would become the first state in the country to raise its smoking age from 18 to 21; Utah and Colorado tried but failed last year. So far, only a handful of cities and counties, including New York City, have done it. In Alabama, Alaska, Utah and New Jersey, it’s 19.

Number of same-sex marriages in Washington in 2014 likely down from 2013

With much fanfare and even some post-midnight ceremonies, same-sex marriage became legal in Washington two years ago today. But after boosting state marriage statistics by 8,429 to 49,590 in 2013, the number of same-sex marriages may drop in 2014 as it becomes legal in more states.

Judge denies appeal, keeps South Hill rapist behind bars

OLYMPIA – A federal judge in Tacoma turned down the latest request from South Hill rapist Kevin Coe to be released from McNeil Island, where he is incarcerated as a sexually violent predator. Coe has exhausted one avenue of appeals but still faces annual reviews by the state of the civil commitment that could keep him behind bars for life.

Editorial: Hanford resolution a hostage of politics

Death, taxes, and more time to clean up Hanford. Those are the certainties of life in Washington, but the state is pushing back against the latest federal request for permission to miss another deadline on radioactive remediation.

In brief: Event to focus on exposing scams

The Washington state Attorney General’s Office and AARP are having a free “Scam Jam” Sept. 9 in Spokane to help people avoid today’s leading scams designed to steal your identity and your savings, especially those that prey on seniors. The event will focus on scams that are tearing through the nation. Participants also will hear tips learned straight from the con-artists about who they target and why, according to an AARP press release.

Washington AG warns high court of ‘slippery slope’ in public education case

OLYMPIA – The Washington Supreme Court should not go down a “slippery slope” and punish the Legislature because it didn’t come up with a complete plan to improve public schools, the state attorney general’s office said. Although public education is the state’s “paramount” duty, it is not the only duty, and the Legislature still has to pay for programs for public health, safety and welfare, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and a group of senior assistants said this week in their last written argument before all sides in the case appear before the state’s highest court next Wednesday.

Washington seeks to avoid court ruling that state pot law is pre-empted by federal law

OLYMPIA – Washington wants to join legal battles between some potential pot businesses and cities that won’t let them open inside their boundaries. But Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the state won’t side strictly with one side or the other. It hopes to argue that cities have the right to ban such businesses under state law, even if they have licenses from the state Liquor Control Board, but cities can’t use the excuse that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Supreme Court ruling could play role in state’s Reproductive Parity Act

OLYMPIA – Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows some companies to refuse birth control coverage for employees is likely to add fuel to both sides of the Washington legislative controversies over the Reproductive Parity Act. It probably won’t affect two other controversial cases that involve businesses and claims of religious freedom.

State officials: Companies offering health benefits must cover same-sex spouses

OLYMPIA – Businesses that offer health coverage to opposite-sex spouses must also offer it to same-sex spouses, state officials said Thursday. Insurance plans must offer equal coverage to all spouses. Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and Human Rights Commission Executive Director Sharon Ortiz issued an open letter to the state’s employers, insurance companies and benefit plan administrators that state law requires same-sex and opposite-sex spouses to be offered equal health coverage. Otherwise, they run afoul of state laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Feds reject state plan for Hanford cleanup

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 counteroffer, 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.

Inslee threatens legal action on Hanford

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.

Caribbean calls scam cellphone users

OLYMPIA – If someone calls your cellphone from a Caribbean island but hangs up before you answer, chances are some friend wasn’t calling to gloat about sipping daiquiris on a beach. Don’t call back, or you could be out $20 or more, the Washington attorney general’s office warns.