Author Archive of Waseniorlobby

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
orca

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?
mentally ill

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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Aging and Disability, Joint Legislative Executive Committee

Full Committee (360) 786-7407Sen. Conf. Rms ABCJ.A. Cherberg BuildingOlympia, WAAgenda:   Update from the Community First Choice Option Work Group. Use of technology to help people maintain independence. Training Partnership and workforce quality. Public comment. Initial member discussion of final report. Meeting is scheduled to end at 4:00 p.m.

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Early quake warning system critical for coast

The Northwest is the nation’s second most earthquake-prone region, just behind California. Washington state lies within the Ring of Fire, the zone of frequent earthquake and volcanic activity circling the Pacific Ocean. More than 90 percent of all earthquakes and 80 percent of the most destructive quakes occur in the Ring of Fire http://www.theolympian.com/2014/08/28/3286273_early-quake-warning-system-critical.html?sp=/99/109/207/&rh=1

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Medicare Star Ratings Allow Nursing Homes to Game the System
nursinh home

  Medicare’s Skewed Star System A 5-star rating system of nursing homes begun in 2009 is intended to provide consumers with a way to measure quality. A home’s rating is based on three criteria: its performance on annual health inspections, its staffing levels and its performance on quality indicators that are collected for every patient. But only the health inspections are performed by the government; the other two are reported by the homes. 

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Wild Olympics legislation touted by lawmakers during Peninsula visit

Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer visited Jefferson County on Thursday to thank supporters of Wild Olympics legislation they are sponsoring in the Senate and House — even though their proposals likely won't be addressed this year, they said.  http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140822/NEWS/308229977/corrected-8212-wild-olympics-legislation-touted-by-lawmakers

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Washington Legislative Ethics Panel To Consider Free Meals Rule

Washington law allows lawmakers to accept gifts of food and drink on infrequent occasions. But that word “infrequent” has never been defined. How many free meals is too many? That’s the question Washington’s Legislative Ethics Board aims to answer at a public hearing Tuesday in Olympia. The panel will consider a draft proposal to limit how many free meals lawmakers can accept from lobbyists. http://nwnewsnetwork.org/post/washington-legislative-ethics-panel-consider-free-meals-rule

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Editorial: Innovation would be stifled under FCC’s plans

The FCC must listen to Americans who have flooded the commission with comments in support of preserving an open Internet.  ONE system crash and nearly 1.1 million comments later, the Federal Communications Commission should get the message: Many Americans strongly oppose proposed regulations that would create two lanes on the Internet highway — fast or slow. Providers would be able to sell faster connectivity to companies that can afford to pay

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Can veterans on Medicaid move to VA care? One man’s answer saves $30M for Washington state

With the spotlight currently on appallingly long wait times at Veterans Affairs facilities, a program that works to move veterans from Medicaid coverage to federally funded health care is gaining recognition. http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/health-care-inc/2014/06/can-veterans-on-medicaid-move-to-va-care-one-mans.html?page=all

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Don’t gut social services to satisfy McCleary ruling

All children in Washington should have the opportunity to succeed in well-funded, high quality schools. However, for many families without access to a home, food or health care, this opportunity diminishes substantially. Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/08/17/3332975/dont-gut-social-services-to-satisfy.html?sp=/99/447/1290/#storylink=cpy

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Money starts to flow in for gun initiatives

OLYMPIA — While state voters won’t weigh in on competing gun-related ballot measures for months, money already is pouring into the campaigns in advance of the November election. Initiative 594, which proposes universal background checks for gun sales and transfers, has a significant fundraising advantage over its rival. Initiative 591 would prevent the state from adopting background-check laws that go beyond the national standard, which requires

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Group Health ends 20-year relationship with Virginia Mason, switches to Swedish

Group Health has signed an agreement with Swedish Health Services to provide Group Health’s Seattle-based hospital services, a decision that will end a 20-year-long acute-care relationship withVirginia Mason. http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/health-care-inc/2014/08/group-health-ends-15-year-relationship-with.html

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Paul Allen chips in $500K for gun initiative

Standing out amongst the $25 and $50 individual donations to Initiative 594, or the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility initiative, is Paul Allen's name. http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/techflash/2014/08/paul-allen-chips-in-500k-for-gun-initiative.html

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End state law that criminalizes mental health patients

Washington is in a real mental-health crisis now, with the state scrambling to open hundreds of psychiatric hospital beds after a state Supreme Court ruling in August. That is a welcome shift, because in the absence of those resources, prisons and jails are the de facto psychiatric  http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2024363282_jonathanmartinmentalhealthcolumn22xml.html

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Where are Washington’s K-12 dollars? Just ask Microsoft shareholders

In June, the Washington State Supreme Courtordered the Legislature to appear on September 3rd to explain why it hasn't found the revenue to fully fund the education reforms required by its McCleary ruling, reportedly as much as $7.83 billion through 2019. http://crosscut.com/2014/08/22/education/121586/where-money-k-12-washington-just-ask-microsoft/?page=single

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What a free dinner buys you

A generation ago, “legislative ethics” couldn't pass the straight-face test. Olympia lobbyists looked as if they fell out of a Thomas Nast cartoon of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall, roaming the veined-marble committee rooms of the Legislative Building, checkbooks in hand.   http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20140821/OPINION01/140829817/

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The “McCleary” of state’s transportation system

Imagine you are driving on the freeway, returning from a long trip, longing with all your heart just to be home. Suddenly you are forced to a complete stop because the freeway is broken and you are facing a 10-foot cliff. There’s no way forward, and as cars pile up behind you, no way back. Read more here:  http://www.theolympian.com/2014/08/20/3275061_the-mccleary-of-states-transportation.html?sp=/99/109/207/&rh=1

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