Government and Politics

Political news

Courtesy Carolyn Guinotte

This January, Carolyn Guinotte took her son Alan to the emergency room because he was unable to go to the bathroom. Alan is 30 years old, autistic and mostly non-verbal. But when it was time for Alan to get out of the hospital, Guinotte and her husband said they couldn’t take him back. 

Courtesy of Dawn Akerman

In recent months, court commissioners on both sides of the Cascades have found the state of Washington in contempt, and even imposed fines, over access to state psychiatric care for people with severe developmental disabilities.

Courtesy Deborah Davis

Christopher Davis was lying on the floor watching cartoons one night last December while his mother, Beverly, decorated her Spokane home for Christmas.

From time to time, she showed him a decoration. But Christopher, a 46-year-old developmentally disabled man, just pushed them away.

“It’s going to be OK, Chris,” his mother recalled telling him that night. With that, she says, Christopher stood up, picked her up and tossed her across the living room.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will run for a third term, seeking to become only the second governor, and the first Democrat, in state history to serve three consecutive terms. 

Courtesy Tammie Corter

The state of Washington is canceling two more contracts with a troubled provider of in-home care to people with developmental disabilities in Spokane County.

The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) announced the contract terminations Tuesday, the same day the state placed Aacres Washington LLC (Spokane) and Aacres Washington LLC (Spokane County #2) on provisional certification status “based on serious non-compliance with the law and regulations.”

Megan Farmer / KUOW

Whale watch tour companies have knocked a proposed orca protection initiative off the November ballot in San Juan County, Washington. The ballot measure would have asked voters to greatly increase the stand-off distance between boats and endangered killer whales.

Courtesy Tammie Corter

It’s been more than a year since the state Department of Social and Health Services took the unprecedented step of shutting down a major in-home care provider for developmentally disabled adults.

Now, 16 months after the provider’s sister company, Aacres Washington, took over care of many of those vulnerable adults, the cycle is repeating itself.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington State Gambling Commission voted Thursday to delay deciding a request from the National Rifle Association's charitable arm to increase a $300,000 cap on raffle prizes. The commission cited ongoing investigations of the NRA’s nonprofit status and finances in New York and Washington, D.C.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

From campaign appearances in Iowa and Philadelphia to debate stages in Miami and Detroit, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has been hopscotching the nation as a longshot Democratic candidate for president, focused on climate change.

Rep. Laurie Jinkins (center) stands with former Speaker Frank Chopp (left) and Speaker Pro Tem John Lovick. Jinkins was selected as the first woman speaker of the Washington state House on Wednesday.
Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington House Democrats have selected Rep. Laurie Jinkins to serve as the state's first woman speaker of the House. 

Washington Legislature

In the month since Washington state Sen. Mona Das, a first-term Democrat from Kent, made headlines for comments about racism and sexism in the Senate Democratic Caucus, she has been calling her colleagues to apologize that her words “were as strong as they were.”

Washington State Department of Corrections

Washington's Department of Corrections has agreed to improve conditions for inmates with mental illness at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Under a court-approved settlement reached last week, the agency will open a new minimum- and medium-security unit for these inmates, with the goal of reducing the amount of time they spend locked up in their cells.

Washington Secretary of State's Office

County election officials in Washington are warning that a new statewide voter registration database system is not ready for the state's August 6 primary and could result in some voters getting incorrect ballots or no ballot at all.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Keith Akada thought Keiro Northwest Rehabilitation and Care Center in Seattle’s Central District would be the final resting place for his mother, Mieko, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

The nursing home opened in 1976 to serve aging issei, first-generation Japanese Americans, who faced exclusion and racism. For decades, it’s provided culturally sensitive care to the area’s Asian and Pacific Islander community.

In this file photo, Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to reporters after an appearance in January at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.
Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is stoking outrage and taking on his own party after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) unequivocally quashed his proposal for a debate centered on climate change. He's also refusing to take "no" for an answer. 

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Activists are asking city or county governments of at least seven Pacific Northwest communities to defy the federal government. They want to stop the deployment of next-generation 5G cellular service.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed into law a $52.4 billion, two-year state budget that he said "rises to the needs of our time," but that minority Republicans quickly criticized as a "tax-and-spend home run." 

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

After years of debate, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is scheduled to sign into law on Tuesday a new tax on vaping products to fund cancer research and tobacco cessation and prevention efforts. But critics say the tax measure could put individual vape shops out of business and amounts to a giveaway to big tobacco companies.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington is poised to become the first state in the nation to offer a public health insurance option, as well as a new, employee-paid long-term care benefit.

Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat who is running for president, signed both landmark measures into law Monday at a packed bill signing ceremony in the State Reception Room at the Capitol in Olympia.

Kevin Mooney / Northwest News Network

At the same time Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing three Fortune 15 pharmaceutical distributors for allegedly “fueling the state’s opioid epidemic,” majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature this year left intact a generous tax break for distributors of opioids and other prescription drugs while raising taxes on other business sectors.

In this file photo, Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to reporters after an appearance in January at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.
Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

Campaigning for president in California on Friday, Washington's Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, called for all new cars and new buildings to be carbon-free by 2030 and all electricity to go carbon-free by 2035.

Inslee's announcement at a press event in Los Angeles marks his first concrete policy idea since launching his campaign two months ago on a platform of combating climate change.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Opponents of affirmative action filed a referendum Monday morning to overturn Initiative 1000, which majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature passed Sunday evening in the waning hours of the 105-day legislative session. 

Courtesy U.S. Deptartment of Energy

The project to stabilize and seal a large tunnel of radioactive waste has been completed at the Hanford nuclear reservation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor.

The so-called Tunnel 2 project started in October 2018, at the massive Washington cleanup site near Richland.

MOLT Studios via Recompose

Washington lawmakers just wrapped up an action-packed, 105-day session with passage of the first state budget to exceed $50 billion and a bundle of tax hikes to fund it.

WSDOT / TINYURL.COM/YDDSPL8B

Washington lawmakers adjourned at midnight Sunday after majority Democrats approved an initiative to restore affirmative action and passed a $52.4 billion, two-year state operating budget. The budget relies on an array of tax increases, including on businesses and real estate transactions, but doesn't impose a new capital gains tax as had been proposed. 

Molly Solomon / Oregon Public Broadcasting

Washington state Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, still remembers the day in 2014 that she toured a police evidence facility and saw stacks of white boxes on the shelves. She asked what they were and the answer shocked her. They were untested rape kits.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington’s three living former governors testified Thursday in favor of an initiative to once again allow affirmative action policies in public employment, education and contracting.

Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell is forming an exploratory committee for attorney general in 2020.
Washington Attorney General's office

Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell, who received national attention for challenging the Trump administration's first travel ban, has announced the formation of a committee to explore a possible run for attorney general as a Democrat in 2020. 

Washington House Republicans - tinyurl.com/yc7cqc2w

Former Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller has settled a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer, Central Washington University (CWU), for $155,000. Manweller had initially sought more than $2 million in damages.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Senate Democrats on Friday proposed a capital gains tax that would fund a suite of tax reductions for low-income families, small businesses and senior citizen homeowners. The tax proposal was rolled out in conjunction with the Senate Democrats' unveiling of a $52 billion two-year state spending plan, which followed a House Democratic budget presentation earlier in the week. 

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