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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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Bill would require statement on initiatives’ funding on ballot

OLYMPIA – State initiatives would contain a ballot message that they could require the Legislature to cut programs or raise taxes if they pass under a bill passed overwhelmingly by the Senate. The bill is a reaction by some legislators to recent initiatives that have approved major changes to state policies without providing a way to pay for them, from teacher raises to reductions in the number of students in public school classrooms. It would require any initiative that is estimated to raise state spending by more than $25 million to state the estimated impact on the state budget and a warning: “This means other state spending may need to be reduced or taxes increased to implement this proposal.”

House passes WSU med school bill

OLYMPIA -- WSU could start its own medical school in Spokane under a bill that passed overwhelmingly in the House late Monday.

WALeg Week 9 on tap: Look for lots of votes

OLYMPIA -- Expect plenty of votes in both chambers this week as legislators try to beat the clock and get bills out of their "house of origin" by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Spin Control: Something rare from a politician: A sincere apology

OLYMPIA – In the Legislature, if there is a corollary to the rule “one good turn deserves another,” it is “one stupid thing begets another.” So it was late last month when a Yakima senator seemed to reach back to the 1960s for terminology to describe minorities during discussion of a bill that would have allowed the state to gather better data about racial disparities in some of its social programs.

Sunday Spin: As momma Gump said, “Stupid is as…

OLYMPIA – In the Legislature, if there is a corollary to the rule “one good turn deserves another,” it is, one stupid thing begets another. So it was late last month when a Yakima senator seemed to reach back to the 1960s for terminology to describe minorities.

Bill would block release of sex predators who refuse treatment

OLYMPIA – Sexually violent predators who don’t take part in prescribed treatment could not be released from the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island under a bill approved overwhelmingly by the House. When they are released into community custody, a judge would first consider sending them back to the county where they were convicted, another bill the House approved says.

Bills seek to boost state nuclear efforts

OLYMPIA – Washington could renew its interest in nuclear energy by finding locations for small reactors and teaching teens about the industry, under a pair of bills the Senate passed Friday. One bill would require state officials to seek potential locations for “modular” nuclear reactors able to produce about a third of the power of traditional power plants. Traditional plants generate 1,000 megawatts or more while modular reactors generate 300 megawatts or less.

Washington lawmakers mull rules for powdered alcohol

OLYMPIA – Many states are banning powdered alcohol – a controversial product that turns water into rum or vodka. But in Washington, lawmakers want to legalize, tax and regulate it just like liquid booze. The product, which goes by the brand name Palcohol, can’t be sold in the United States pending approval from federal regulators. Five states have laws that would keep it from hitting shelves, if that happens, and bans are being considered in at least a dozen more. Lawmakers there say it’s dangerous, unnecessary and too easy to misuse.

Pot lounges among marijuana issues lawmakers asked to consider

OLYMPIA – As legislators worked this week to blend the state’s recreational and medical marijuana laws, Spokane Valley officials asked them to consider one more wrinkle in the rapidly changing marketplace: pot lounges. The Members Lounge, which is connected to a medical marijuana dispensary and allows consumption of some vapor and edible marijuana products on its premises, is an example of where the state’s two very different systems don’t mesh well. Using recreational marijuana in public is not legal, but the law is silent on public consumption of medical marijuana, and the lounge contends its patrons aren’t in public but become members of a private club by paying a fee.

Valley asks for rules against marijuana “lounges”

OLYMPIA – As legislators worked this week to blend the state’s recreational and medical marijuana laws, Spokane Valley officials asked them to consider one more wrinkle in the rapidly changing marketplace: pot lounges.

WALeg: Keeping it clean…on the med school bill

OLYMPIA – A bill to give Washington State University permission to start its own medical school might seem like a locomotive sitting at the station, ready to steam down the track. After all, it’s got two-thirds of the state House of Representatives as co-sponsors. Now supporters must work to keep extra cars from being attached to that train.

WSU med school backers seek ‘clean’ bill

OLYMPIA – A bill to give Washington State University permission to start its own medical school might seem like a locomotive sitting at the station, ready to steam down the track. After all, it’s got two-thirds of the state House of Representatives as co-sponsors. Now supporters must work to keep extra cars from being attached to that train.

Senate passes bill requiring data on mentally ill patients turned away

OLYMPIA – The state would find out how many people with mental illness are being turned away from treatment facilities under a bill the Senate passed unanimously Wednesday. Under the state’s Involuntary Treatment Act, mental health professionals can detain a person they believe to be “gravely disabled” or at risk of physical harm.

Washington House passes bill to raise minimum wage to $12

OLYMPIA – Washington would raise the minimum wage for most workers to $12 an hour by 2019 under a bill that passed the House on Tuesday after a spirited partisan debate. Democrats said it was a way to give workers at the bottom rungs of employment a chance to pay their way out of poverty. Republicans said it would make it even harder for young workers to get their first jobs and the work skills that would serve them later in life.

WALeg Day 51: House passes $12 minimum wage

OLYMPIA – Washington would raise the minimum wage for most workers to $12 an hour by 2020 under a bill that passed the House Tuesday after a spirited partisan debate.

Gas tax increase passes Washington Senate

OLYMPIA – A controversial package of higher taxes and fees which would raise gasoline taxes by 11.7 cents over three years passed the Senate Monday on a 27-22 vote. By a much larger margin, senators then approved a list of some $15 billion worth of projects those taxes and fees would support, nearly $1 billion of them in the Spokane area.

Shea says student-tracking bill poses terror risk to military families

OLYMPIA – Terrorists could use data from school report cards to track American soldiers and their families if a bill that passed the House on Monday becomes law, a Spokane Valley legislator warned. Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, argued against the legislation to revise how the state monitors academic progress in grades K-12, to add a focus on children from military families. That includes students’ grades, schedules, enrollment and program participation.