Business and Finance

Judiciary

Reforming Ferguson-style “debtors’ prisons” here in Washington State

The most shocking news out of Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of Michael Brown wasn’t about police violence or racism. It was the way Ferguson and neighboring cities balanced their budgets by operating what are widely called “modern-day debtors’ prisons.” Courts there routinely jailed poor people for failing to pay traffic tickets and other minor infractions, then charged them a never-ending series of court fees and jail costs,

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Join in effort against domestic violence By Bob Ferguson

I am the father of 6-year-old twins. My wife, Colleen, and I want to raise a son who respects women, and a daughter who lives in a world where she is respected and free from violence. In September 2014, NFL football star Ray Rice's assault on his then-fiance, captured on video, received significant media attention and brought to national awareness the unfortunate prevalence of domestic violence in our society. The statistics are sobering. An estimated

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Mental health court a ‘safe zone’ of help

Assistance program for those in criminal justice system not feeling pinch, official says Tracey Anne Green walks 9 miles round-trip to make her Clark County Mental Health Court appearances. “That’s my meditating time,” Green said Wednesday following a five-minute check-in with a judge. Green, 53, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. She doesn’t travel by bus from her Hazel Dell mobile home to the

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Council meeting on ACLU ruling delayed

The next potential decision in a federal voting rights case against the city of Yakima will come a week later than expected. Earlier this week, the Yakima City Council authorized its defense attorney to negotiate a redistricting plan for city elections with the American Civil Liberties Union, which won a lawsuit against the city in August. The city’s Seattle attorney, Francis Floyd, was to report the ACLU’s response to the council at a special

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Infographic: Connection between gun deaths and gun laws

On the fall ballot, Washington voters will be asked to vote on two opposing gun control initiatives — one calling for expanded background checks, the other keeping the current system of background checks in place. These are two of only three statewide gun control measures on November ballots anywhere in the country. Alabama voters will be asked to weigh in on an amendment to that state’s constitution protecting the right to bear arms.  

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Study: Criminals easily skirt law buying guns online

This spring, a man in King County posted an ad on an online gun market, seeking a 9mm handgun. “Cash in hand for the right deal,” he wrote. Around the same time, a man in Tacoma posted an ad saying he was “always looking for guns.” A Vancouver man posted an ad seeking to buy pistols. A Longview man posted an ad seeking a lower receiver for an assault rifle. Each of the men was legally prohibited from owning firearms due to criminal convictions

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Tacoma council to decide whether to back statewide background checks for all gun buys

The Tacoma City Council could decide Tuesday (Sept. 23) whether to endorse a statewide initiative that would require background checks for all firearm sales. Mayor Marilyn Strickland said Tuesday that she and council members Ryan Mello, Lauren Walker and Victoria Woodards will co-sponsor a City Council resolution to support Initiative 594. Strickland said she expects the council to have “an interesting discussion” on the topic. Strickland said

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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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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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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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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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Washington is a political testing ground on gun safety

“Seattle is not unique, it is not immune: Our nation faces an epidemic of gun violence . . . We stand here at the end of a week where three good young men, who were excited about their futures, are now dead,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who was at SPU and later at the Leschi vigil. Read more, click here http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2014/06/06/seattle-is-a-city-of-gun-violence-vigils-washington-is-a-political-testing-ground-on-gun-safety/#21728101=0

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New Law Gives Renters Protection During Foreclosure

May 21, 2009 important protections for tenants living in foreclosed properties were signed into law by President Obama.  The renter protection provision took effect immediately and expire at the end of 2012.  S.896 contains key renter protections, advocated for byNational Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and other organizations.   For More, see New Law Give Renters Protection

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