Author Archive of Waseniorlobby

Legislature: enshrine equal political access for all

Here in the progressive Northwest, we like to think that voting rights issues are a problem for the southern “red” states. But a recent federal court busted that myth in a ruling that the City of Yakima’s at-large system disenfranchises Latino voters and, therefore, runs afoul of the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act.  http://www.theolympian.com/2014/09/17/3320069_legislature-enshrine-equal-politcal.htmlsp=/99/109/207/&rh=1#storylink=cpy

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How Washington state can lead on climate

Smarter carbon controls won't necessarily happen quickly, but experts say the Northwest is headed in the right direction. The Pacific Northwest is on the cutting edge of tackling climate change, but it will likely be a something of a slog before major policy advances occur. http://crosscut.com/2014/09/17/environment/121942/global-warming-climate-change-washington-inslee/

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Understanding new ‘in-state’ tuition ceiling on gi bill

Perhaps the first thing veterans using GI Bill education benefits should understand about new “in-state tuition” protection that Congress approved last month is that it won’t take effect for another year, by fall semester 201 That delay will give state-run colleges and universities — or, in some cases, state legislatures — time to prepare policies or laws to lower tuition and fees for non-resident veterans to match what in-state students

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What a carbon tax would mean for Washington’s economy

Preliminary calculations show that a Washington carbon emissions tax would slow the state economic growth in the long run. But the short-term economic impact appears negligible. Economists from the Washington Office of Financial Management presented two scenarios to a climate change advisory task force in Seattle on September 9, 2014. The scenarios, based on computer simulations, were not actual plans and each came with some caveats. But they provided

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Slight bump in premiums for employer health plans: Study

Health insurance premiums for the nearly 150 million people who get family health insurance through employers rose an "extraordinarily modest" 3 percent in 2014, a new report released Wednesday shows.   http://www.cnbc.com/id/101985624#_gus

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Editorial: Effort to preserve military’s presence in Washington vital

Washington lived a charmed life while other states lost thousands of jobs during rounds of military base closings in the 1980s and 1990s. The charm may be wearing off...Washington has 10 military installations, most clustered in the Puget Sound area. They have survived because of the vigilance of key members of Washington’s congressional delegation, and geography: Washington is the closest Lower 48 state to Asia, a theater toward which the United

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Proceed carefully in pushing insurance companies to cover sickest patients

The health care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) prevents insurers from rejecting customers with expensive pre-existing medical conditions. Yet, insurance companies have figured out ways to discourage those expensive patients from buying their insurance.   http://union-bulletin.com/news/2014/sep/07/proceed-carefully-pushing-insurance-companies-cove/

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Solar energy’s gains still outpaced by increase in fossil fuel use

Solar energy appears to finally be coming of age. In July, Bloomberg New Energy Finance declared that we are in the midst of a “solar revolution,” and the firm predicted that solar will be the fastest-growing form of global generation capacity through 2030. A few days after that report was released, Deutsche Bank announced plans to lend $1 billion to support solar deployment in Japan.   http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20140907/OPINION03/140909436/Solar-energy%2526%25238217s-gains-still-outpaced-by-increase-in-fossil-fuel-use

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Getty v. Microsoft lawsuit could have ripples for all digital creative content

It’s one of the easiest things to do on a computer — search for an image, right click on it and press copy. Then voila, you have a photo you can do pretty much anything you want with.  But copyright laws prevent much of that activity from taking place. Legally, anyway.   http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/techflash/2014/09/getty-v-microsoft-lawsuitcould-have-ripples-for.html

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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. http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/sep/09/editorial-hanford-resolution-a-hostage-of-politics/

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Add a need for adequate prison space to the big issues facing state lawmakers

As if school funding and mental health care didn't generate enough concerns for next year's Legislature, now there are dire reports about Washington's prison system. According to the Justice Reinvestment Task Force, providing adequate prison space over the next 10 years could cost between $387 million and $481 million, which just might be the legislative equivalent of squeezing blood from a turnip. http://www.columbian.com/news/2014/sep/09/in-our-view-correcting-corrections/

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Get smart on property crime to lower state’s incarceration rate: An Editorial

A smart-on-crime approach to property crime could ease demand for $480 million new prison. WASHINGTON’S prison system is jampacked. Inmates are already sleeping on the floor at some prisons, and projections suggest a “tough-on-crime” approach would only make it worse. The state is predicted to need 1,400 new prison beds by 2024, at a cost of up to $480 million over http://seattletimes.com/html/editorials/2024494495_editpropertycrime08xml.html

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WWI Hellfighter Closer to Getting Medal of Honor Award

Harlem Hellfighter Henry Lincoln Johnson is another step closer to being the second black WWI hero to be awarded the Medal of Honor. The Oregonian reported Sept. 4 that a campaign launched by former New York Sen. Joe DioGuardi and continued by Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish; Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Ron Wyden of Oregon; and The Skanner News, seems to be succeeding. Read The Oregonian's story here.  http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2014/09/wwi_african-american_soldier_h.html

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Swallow hard, and accept a state income tax

Washington needs a revenue source or sources that are steady and capable of paying for the basics. I have a suggestion. It probably won’t surprise you, and I know many of you aren’t going to like it, but it would be better for us than a dose of cod-liver oil. This state should add a progressive income tax to its revenue mix. We never seem to get a handle on state funding. Our problems are intense when the economy is down, and the rest of the

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WSU Extension celebrates 100 years of service and expanding water and natural resource programs

When most people think of Washington State University Extension, programs such 4-H, Master Gardeners and support for the agricultural community and families come to mind. Many of these programs have been in place since the local office was established in 1917. One of the lesser known roles and values of Extension is its ability to respond to new challenges and issues facing the counties where our offices are located. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/09/06/3828880_wsu-extension-celebrates-100-years.html?sp=/99/122/291/&rh=1

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Report offers look at why VA claims exploded

America's population of living veterans fell by almost 5 million, or 17 percent, from 2000 to 2013. So why did the number of veterans drawing disability compensation climb by 55 percent over that period? And why has yearly VA disability payments tripled since 2000 to reach $60 billion in 2014? http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20140905/NEWS01/140909700

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2 more Hanford tanks declared empty of waste

Hanford workers have emptied waste to legal requirements from two more of the nuclear reservation's leak-prone underground tanks, including the first tank emptied with the Mobile Arm Retrieval, or MARS, system. Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/08/31/3130695_2-more-hanford-tanks-declared.html?sp=/99/900/901/&rh=1#storylink=cpy

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Two deaths reduce orca population to lowest level in 30 years

SAN JUAN ISLAND — The endangered killer whale population in Puget Sound continues to decline, with the confirmation of two new deaths this year. The number of whales in J, K and L pods has dropped to 78, a level not seen since 1985, according to Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research. http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/local-news/two-deaths-reduce-orca-population-to-lowest-level-in-30-years_24504009

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Guest: Is warehousing mental patients another state constitutional dilemma?

Article XIII in the Washington state constitution mandated that the state “foster and support” prisons, universities and institutions for the mentally ill, according to guest columnist Hugh Spitzer. http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2024404422_hughspitzeropedpsychiatricboarding28xml.html

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As newly insured seek care, rural doctor shortage worsens

As more people get health-insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, the doctor shortage in rural areas is worsening. In Port Angeles, for example, a local clinic is turning away 250 callers a week. http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024441142_acaruralaccessxml.html

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