On ‘The Impact’ this week: Senate races, voting history

By | October 15, 2014 | Comments

On this week’s edition of “The Impact,” we break down the state Senate races that are most in play.

On-set guests Republican Sen. Bruce Dammeier and Democratic Sen. Kevin Ranker talk about the implications the races will have on the balance of the state Senate, which is currently controlled by the mostly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus.

Plus, a look into the state archives to see the first voters’ pamphlet dating back 100 years. The Secretary of State’s office has archived all voters’ pamphlets since 1914 at this link.

Update: The show is now online — watch it below:

Categories: TVW

Clarification on the League of Women Voters of Washington

By | October 14, 2014 | Comments

TVW would like to clarify the position of the League of Women Voters of Washington. In our question to Sen. John Braun on the Oct. 8 edition of “The Impact,” we stated the league was opposed to Initiative 1351, which would reduce class sizes. The league’s board voted to take no position, and neither supports nor opposes the initiative.

The following is a statement from their website: LWVWA.org.

“Initiative 1351 – The League of Women Voters of Washington does not take a position on this initiative.This measure would direct the legislature to allocate funds to reduce class sizes and increase staffing support for students in all K-12 grades, with additional class-size reductions and staffing increases in high-poverty schools. Although the LWVWA has studied K-12 education numerous times (1968, 1975, 1977, 1991, 1997 and 2009), it has not studied class size as a way “to ensure that every child regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or disability is ready to learn (K-12 – 2). The League’s position on Initiative and Referendum supports having sponsors of these measures suggest ways to pay for them.Therefore the LWVWA Board voted to neither endorse nor oppose Initiative 1351.”
Categories: TVW

Ethics board votes to limit free meals for legislators

By | October 14, 2014 | Comments

Legislators cannot accept more than 12 free meals a year from lobbyists under a new rule adopted unanimously Tuesday by the Legislative Ethics Board.

Lawmakers are allowed to accept gifts of food or beverages on “infrequent occasions” if they are discussing legislative business. However, an investigation published last year by the AP and Northwest Public Radio found that legislators were accepting hundreds of meals worth thousands of dollars from lobbyists on a regular basis.

The ethics board held four meetings this year to define “infrequent” for the first time.

The new rule adopted Tuesday defines “infrequent” as 12 times per calendar year, and states that a qualifying meal could be a breakfast, lunch or dinner that includes food and beverages.

It also includes a number of exceptions — for example, a legislator is allowed to accept a free cup of coffee from a lobbyist. The rule also doesn’t apply to buffet-style events where attendance is related to the legislator’s official duties.

Read the draft rule here.

The new rule goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015. Watch today’s hearing at this link.

Categories: WA House, WA Senate
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Smaller class size initiative leading in Elway Poll

By | October 14, 2014 | Comments

Voters appear to be in support of an initiative that would require smaller class sizes in public schools.

The latest Elway Poll shows that 66 percent of voters said they would definitely or probably vote yes for Initiative 1351. Twenty four percent said they would definitely or probably vote no, and 11 percent remain undecided.

The ballot measure requires the Legislature to allocate funding for smaller class sizes over the next four years, starting with high poverty schools where half of the students receive free or reduced lunch.

The poll said the initiative showed support across demographics, although support waned when voters pay closer attention. “The more attention voters have paid, the less likely they are to support I-1351,” pollster H. Stuart Elway said.

Supporters say the measure would allow teachers to pay more attention to students and bring the state in line with national class size rankings. Opponents argue that the measure doesn’t say where the money would come from, and it displaces money that could be better spent.

TVW’s Video Voters Guide has statements from the proponents and opponents of the measure.

In 2000, Washington voters passed Initiative 728 requiring smaller class sizes, but the ballot measure was repealed by Legislature in 2012 because of lack of funding.

Categories: Election

On TVW this week: Ethics board, welfare program updates

By | October 13, 2014 | Comments

Here’s what we’re covering live on TVW this week:

Tuesday, Oct. 14 at noon: The Legislative Ethics Board is meeting to discuss and vote on a rule for how frequently lawmakers are allowed to accept free meals from lobbyists. TVW will air the meeting on television and the web.

Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 7 & 10 p.m.: On “The Impact,” we look at the battle over control of Washington’s Senate and why it matters so much this election. Plus, a rare glimpse into our state archives to see what Washingtonians voted on 100 years ago.

Thursday, Oct. 16 at 10 a.m.: The House Early Learning committee is holding a meeting to discuss child welfare court data. It will be broadcast live on television and on the web.

Thursday, Oct. 16 at 7 & 10 p.m.: On “Inside Olympia,” host Austin Jenkins interviews the proponents and opponents of the class size initiative, as well as the gun control initiative.

Friday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m.: A health subcommittee is scheduled to get updates on two welfare programs, as well as a prescription drug initiative. Live on television and the web.

Friday, Oct. 17 at 1 p.m.: TVW will be live with the Citizens Tax Preference Commission.

Categories: TVW

Former TVW president Greg Lane to become Deputy Secretary of State

By | October 9, 2014 | Comments

Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced today that former TVW President and CEO Greg Lane will become Deputy Secretary of State.

Current deputy Mark Neary will become Assistant Secretary of State, succeeding Ken Raske, who will retire at the end of the year.

Lane joined TVW in 2008, and his last day as leader of the organization was Oct. 3. He previously worked as the deputy chief of staff and communications director for the Attorney General, and as the media services director at the House of Representatives.

From the Secretary of State’s press release:

Wyman noted that as a TVW board member, she had an opportunity see Lane’s administrative and policy skills in action. After Lane announced his departure from TVW, Wyman said she realized Lane would be an ideal fit for the Office of Secretary of State and asked him to come on board.

“I’m delighted that Greg will be our new Deputy Secretary and I know he brings energy, innovation and a commitment to excellence,” Wyman said. “As we look toward big changes at the State Library and State Archives and bringing our `A-Game’ to Elections, Corporations, Legacy Washington and our special programs, we will have a very strong leadership team to guide the way.”

Categories: TVW

AT&T to pay $105 million for ‘cramming’ customer bills

By | October 8, 2014 | Comments

AT&T agreed to pay $105 million to settle claims that it charged customers for premium services they never requested, such as horoscopes, trivia or sports scores.

Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson says more than half a million Washingtonians may have been affected by the practice, called “cramming.” In many cases, customers were charged $9.99 per month without their permission for third-party services like ringtones, wallpapers and text message subscriptions.

AT&T will pay $80 million to the Federal Trade Commission to refund customers nationwide who were charged unauthorized fees.

Current or former AT&T customers may apply for a refund by visiting www.ftc.gov/att.

The wireless carrier is also paying $20 million to the attorneys general of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as $5 million to the FCC as a penalty.

Washington state received $807,314 for its participation in the agreement, according to Ferguson.

Categories: Attorney General

Bankers say they need more guidance to provide services to marijuana businesses

By | October 6, 2014 | Comments

Bankers told legislators this week they need more clarity when it comes to laws that allow them to provide checking accounts, loans and other financial services to marijuana businesses.

Salal Credit Union of Seattle currently counts five marijuana producers and four retailers among its customers, Russ Rosendal told a joint legislative committee on Monday.

The bank follows guidelines from the so-called “Cole memo” released by the U.S. Department of Justice last year. The memo said the federal government will only enforce eight areas of the federal Controlled Substance Act in Washington and Colorado.

However, the memo contains “exceptions and loopholes,” Rosendal said, and it doesn’t prohibit the federal government from launching investigations or prosecutions. “So while it was a step forward, there are still a lot of issues there,” he said.

Numerica Credit Union also provides services to marijuana businesses. Bank representative Lynn Ciani said one reason she thinks more banks aren’t providing financial services to the marijuana industry is because of the criminal penalties that the DOJ can impose for violating federal anti-laundering laws.

“Although we are used to the large civil penalties and that risk, the whole going to jail thing and wearing orange is probably causing people to take a second thought,” Ciani told the committee.

Both banks also follow guidance released in February by the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Justice Department.

However, a number of issues remain to be sorted out.

Rosendal said it is unclear what tax deductions a marijuana business is allowed to take. He said banks are also unsure about forfeiture and seizure laws. “As long as financial institutions are unclear about what collateral they have…it is going to be hard to lend any money to 502 businesses,” he said.

Credit cards are also a problem, Rosendal said, because companies like Visa or Mastercard don’t allow their products to be used for marijuana. “Until these I-502 businesses can do electronic transactions, they’re going to be forced to be in a cash business,” he said.

Watch the full meeting at this TVW link.

 

Categories: Marijuana

On TVW: Marijuana banking regulations, jail and mental health agency collaborations

By | October 6, 2014 | Comments

Here’s what we’re covering this week on TVW:

Monday, Oct. 6 at noon: A joint legislative committee is holding a work session on legal marijuana and federal banking regulations. At 1 p.m., the House Government Accountability and Oversight committee will discuss the legal marijuana markets in Washington and Colorado. The meetings will be broadcast on TVW and the web.

Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 7 & 10 p.m.: On “The Impact,” Washington lawmakers get an update on the legal marijuana market and how it’s working so far. Plus, the pros and cons to I-1351, Washington’s class size initiative.

Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7 & 10 p.m.: On “Inside Olympia,” host Austin Jenkins discusses the upcoming elections with State Democratic Party Chairman Jaxon Ravens and Susan Hutchison, the chair of the state Republican party.

Friday, Oct. 10 at 9 a.m.: The Adult Behavioral Health System Task Force is holding a meeting to discuss jail and mental health agency collaborations, among other items. TVW will air the meeting live on television and the web.

 

Categories: TVW

‘Flight Plan: Charting a Course for Drones in Washington’ is now airing on TVW, online

By | October 2, 2014 | Comments

This one-hour television special from TVW looks at the growing popularity of civilian drones, and the privacy questions they raise. TVW introduces you to hobbyists who are flying drones for fun, as well as professionals who want to use them for things like selling real estate or growing grapes.

We also take you inside Washington’s booming drone industry, where unmanned aerial systems are built primarily for military customers. And finally, we show you how police and Washington state agencies could use the technology — and hear from those who say government drones threaten your civil rights.

“Flight Plan: Charting a Course for Drones in Washington” is airing on TVW. Or, you can watch it anytime on YouTube or at TVW’s website.

Categories: Drone, TVW

More must be done to prevent oil spills in Washington, Inslee says

By | October 1, 2014 | Comments

Gov. Jay Inslee says the state and federal government must do more to prevent oil spills from “outdated, inadequate and outright dangerous” trains that carry volatile Bakken crude oil across Washington state.

“These train cars were not designed to carry this product,” Inslee said at a press conference in Seattle on Wednesday. The governor is calling on the federal government to impose a speed limit of 30 miles per hour for trains that have not been updated to transport high-hazard materials, and 40 miles per hour once the train cars are upgraded.

“We don’t let speeding cars through our school zones,” he said. “We should not let speeding unsafe oil rail cars through Washington state cities.”

A train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed in Seattle in July as it was heading for a refinery at Anacortes, but it didn’t spill any oil. Inslee said the state “dodged a bullet” because the train was traveling at slow speeds.

Inslee also wants the federal government to shorten the two-year time period it is proposing for rail companies to upgrade train cars. “That is too long,” he said. “A one year window should provide adequate time for rail car upgrades that are already underway.”

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, the governor urged a “quicker phase out of the T-111 tank cars that are inadequate for transporting high-hazard materials,” saying the cars should not be used to transport Bakken crude after October 2016.

The Dept. of Ecology released a preliminary report on Wednesday that makes recommendations on how the state can improve rail safety at a time the state is seeing increased carloads of oil and coal from Montana and North Dakota.

The report includes more than $12 million in budget recommendations, including hiring extra rail inspectors, providing equipment and training for local first responders and firefighters, and developing new geographic response plans for oil spills.

Inslee said he would use the recommendations to submit a plan to the Legislature during the 2015 session.

The public can submit comments about the initial recommendations online or at two public meetings: Oct. 28 in Spokane, or Oct. 30 in Olympia.

TVW taped the press conference. Watch it below:

On TVW: Food safety hearing, revenue forecast & health benefit exchange update

By | September 15, 2014 | Comments

Here’s what TVW is live with this week:

Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 9 a.m.: House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee is holding a work session on food security and new federal food rules. TVW will be live on television and the web with the hearing.

Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m.: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education is having a work session on early education. The meeting will be broadcast live on television and the web.

Wednesday, Sept. 17 a 7 & 10 p.m.: On “The Impact” this week: Finding adequate treatment and housing for Washington’s mentally ill patients. Plus, how the new military alliance will work to preserve the military’s economic presence in our state.

Thursday, Sept. 18 at 10 a.m.: A health care committee will get an update on the health benefit exchange. Watch live on TVW, or at this link.

Thursday, Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m.: The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council will release its revenue forecast. Live on TVW, and the web.

Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7 & 10 p.m.: On “Inside Olympia” this week: What are the reasons behind record Columbia River salmon runs? Is wildlife poaching a problem in Washington? Host Austin Jenkins interviews a leader from the state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Friday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m.: TVW will be live with the Citizens Tax Preference Commission.

 

Categories: TVW

Supreme Court holds Legislature in contempt for education funding

By | September 11, 2014 | Comments

The Washington Supreme Court is holding the Legislature in contempt for failing to submit a plan detailing how the state will pay for public schools through 2018.

However, the court stopped short of imposing sanctions. It is giving the Legislature the “opportunity to purge the contempt” if lawmakers submit an education funding plan by the end of the 2015 session.

“If the contempt is not purged by adjournment of the 2015 legislature, the court will reconvene and impose sanctions or other remedial measures,” Chief Justice Barbara Madsen wrote in the unanimous order released Thursday.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 2012 McCleary decision that Washington state was not meeting its constitutional duty to fund K-12 education. The court has since demanded regular updates from the Legislature, including an order asking lawmakers to submit a plan in April explaining how the state will pay for basic education.

The Legislature failed to submit that plan, spurring a contempt hearing last week in which lawyers for the state asked for more time.

“The state assured the court that a contempt order is not necessary to get the legislature’s attention, that school funding is the number one issue on the legislature’s agenda, and that the 2015 session will provide the best opportunity to take meaningful action on the matter,” Madsen wrote.

“The court has no doubt that it already has the legislature’s ‘attention.’ But that is not the purpose of a contempt order. Rather, contempt is the means by which a court enforces compliance with its lawful orders when they are not followed,” the court said.

The order will be posted on the court’s website.

Categories: Education, McCleary

Oil train safety on ‘The Impact’

By | September 10, 2014 | Comments

On this week’s edition of “The Impact,” host Anita Kissee looks at the controversy surrounding oil trains traveling through Washington, and what the state is doing to prepare.

The state Dept. of Ecology is conducting an oil transportation study to look at risks to health and safety, as well as environmental impacts. The Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study is due to the governor and Legislature in March 2015.

Also on the show: A look inside Washington’s first charter school to see the unique way it’s educating children. Plus, there is a new way for parents to find out what toxic chemicals are in things like children’s toys with an online database of all consumer products tested by the Ecology department.

Watch the show below:

Categories: Oil Trains

Supreme Court hears arguments in contempt hearing related to school funding

By | September 3, 2014 | Comments

A lawyer for the state argued Wednesday that the Washington Supreme Court should not hold the Legislature in contempt for failing to come up with a plan to fund schools because it would set back progress.

“Finding contempt and ordering a sanction could impede progress toward the ultimate resolution — the ultimate funding of schools — rather than promote it,” deputy solicitor general Alan Copsey told justices during a show-cause hearing.

The state Supreme Court is considering holding the Legislature in contempt for not complying with a court order related to the 2012 McCleary ruling, which found the state is not meeting its constitutional duty to fund K-12 education.

The court ordered the Legislature to come up with a detailed plan in April explaining how it will pay for schools through 2018. The Legislature failed to submit that plan, spurring Wednesday’s hearing.

Copsey asked the court to wait until after the 2015 session to give lawmakers time to write an operating budget and pass legislation to fund education.

“This court should give the 2015 Legislature the opportunity to act, but stand ready should legislators stumble in that duty,” said Copsey.

Justice Charles Wiggins questioned why justices should believe the Legislature will do things differently this time.

Copsey responded by saying the Legislature was not “thumbing its nose” at the court order, but it simply couldn’t agree on how to fund schools. He says he hopes legislators will come to an agreement in 2015.

An attorney for the McCleary family and other plaintiffs urged the court to take action against the Legislature.

“Call a spade a spade. They’re in contempt, don’t be afraid to say the word ‘contempt’,”  attorney Thomas Ahearne told justices.

Ahearne said the court should demand the Legislature submit a plan by the end of 2014. If lawmakers fail to submit a plan, he said the court should step in with sanctions.

“The reason for a sanction is to coerce…the person who is not complying to actually comply,” he said.

The Supreme Court will respond at a later date. TVW taped the show-cause hearing — watch it below.

Categories: Education, McCleary

TVW president Greg Lane stepping down

By | August 28, 2014 | Comments

TVW President and CEO Greg Lane is stepping down from his position, effective Oct. 3

Lane joined TVW in 2008. He is the third president in TVW’s history, succeeding Cindy Zehnder and founding president Denny Heck.

During Lane’s tenure, TVW expanded its web services to make meetings more accessible to the public. All hearings and meetings recorded by TVW are now available on the organization’s website, and viewers can search, highlight and share TVW video, as well as track issues and access legislative documents.

Lane also led efforts to enhance the produced programs at the station. TVW won three Emmy Awards from the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the last two years. In 2013, TVW won the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.

The education resource Teach With TVW was expanded under Lane’s guidance, including the creation of Capitol Classroom, which each year teaches more than 300 middle and high school students how to participate in the legislative process.

“TVW was established because citizens deserve to be able to watch their government work, no matter where they live in our state,” Lane said. “I’m very proud of the improvements TVW has made over the last six years to increase that access, as well as help people better understand the issues and how to participate in the process.”

TVW’s Board of Directors is launching a search to fill the position.

Categories: TVW

McCleary school funding hearing set for Sept. 3, TVW will carry live

By | August 28, 2014 | Comments

The Washington Supreme Court is ordering lawyers for the state to appear before justices to explain why the Legislature should not be held in contempt for failing to provide a complete plan for funding education.

TVW will air the hearing live on television at 2 p.m. on Sept. 3. It will also be live webcast at this link.

The state Supreme Court ruled in the McCleary case that the state is not fulfilling its obligation to fully fund education. The court has demanded regular updates from the Legislature since the 2012 ruling, and earlier this year the court gave lawmakers an April 30 deadline to explain how the state will pay for schools through the 2018 school year.

Legislators submitted a report by the deadline, but it didn’t include a plan. The report instead asked the Supreme Court to give “deep consideration” to the action taken by lawmakers this year, and recognize that “2015 is the next and most critical year for the Legislature to reach the grand agreement” to pay for education.

The plaintiffs in the McCleary case filed a brief this month asking the Supreme Court to take action if lawmakers don’t have a funding plan by the end of the year.

The court issued a show-cause order for the state’s lawyers to appear before the court to “address why the state should not be held in contempt for violation of this court’s order” that directed the Legislature to submit a complete plan for funding education.

Categories: Courts, Education, McCleary

Test scores hold steady, but majority of schools fail to meet federal standards

By | August 27, 2014 | Comments

Statewide school test scores released Wednesday show students are performing about the same on math and reading tests as in previous years. More than 90 percent of students in the class of 2014 passed graduation tests, the same as last year.

But about 1,900 schools in Washington — or 88 percent — failed to meet adequate yearly progress under federal standards. The state must comply with federal No Child Left Behind standards this year after losing its waiver.

“We had to go back to a law that Congress knows doesn’t make sense anymore,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn at a news conference Wednesday. Federal officials revoked the waiver because the state Legislature did not pass a bill that would have changed teacher evaluations to incorporate standardized test scores.

“By losing our waiver, we’ve had to do some things that are ridiculous, stupid, ineffective, waste of resources and accomplished zero,” Dorn said. He cited the effort that went into sending mandatory letters to parents in failing school districts notifying them of the status. The letters were sent out over the last two weeks.

No Child Left Behind requires 100 percent of students to pass reading and math by 2014.

Reading and math scores for Washington students in grades 3-10 show only slight changes from the previous year, except for a 5.9 percent drop in 7th grade math scores and a 5.4 percent increase in reading scores for 8th graders.

“We’ve stayed kind of steady the last three years,” Dorn said. “Which is probably, in my mind, good news.”

Full results are available on OSPI’s website here.

TVW taped Wednesday’s press conference. Watch it below.

Categories: Education

Round-up of Tuesday’s primary election results

By | August 6, 2014 | Comments

Here’s a round-up of some of the highlights from Tuesday’s primary election results. Washington’s top-two primary system means the top two vote-getters advance to the Nov. 4 general election regardless of party affiliation.

Republican Sen. Pam Roach of Auburn holds a slim lead in a close contest with Republican challenger Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, 40 percent to 39.2 percent. The 31st Legislative District race has become one of the state’s most contentious showdowns, defined by a barrage of accusations and personal attacks.

Sen. Tim Sheldon is one of two conservative Democrats who joined forces with Republicans to form the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. Tuesday night’s results show Sheldon in second place with 33 percent of the vote, trailing behind Democrat Irene Bowling who garnered 35 percent of the vote. A third candidate, Republican Travis Couture, is not far behind with 32 percent of the vote.

The other Democrat who joined with Republicans, Sen. Rodney Tom, chose not to seek reelection this year. Democratic Rep. Cyrus Habib is leading over Republican Michelle Darnell in the race to replace Tom, 63 to 37 percent.

In the 28th Legislative District, Republican Sen. Steve O’Ban of Tacoma is leading with 56.5 percent of the vote over Democrat Rep. Tami Green of Lakewood, who had 44 percent. O’Ban was appointed to fill the seat following the death of Sen. Mike Carrell. The district includes parts of Lakewood, Tacoma and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Another closely watched race is taking place in Federal Way, where two candidates are vying to replace outgoing Democratic Sen. Tracey Eide. So far, Mark Miloscia, a former Democratic state Representative who is running as a Republican, is leading with 57 percent of the vote over Democrat Shari Song.

In Washington’s 4th Congressional District, two Republicans look poised to advance to the November election. Clint Didier and Dan Newhouse are the top two frontrunners in the bid to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. “Doc” Hastings. The crowded contest included a dozen contenders, including two Democrats, eight Republicans and two Independents.

Statewide, 123 legislative districts and ten congressional races are on the ballot — read the full results on the Secretary of State’s website here.

Categories: Election

On TVW: Pension funding council, fish hatchery lawsuit and Results Washington

By | July 28, 2014 | Comments

TVW will be covering the following events live this week:

Monday, July 28 at 10 a.m.: TVW will be live on television and the web with the Pension Funding Council. The webcast will be streamed at this link.

Tuesday, July 29 at 10 a.m.: The Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee is holding a work session on “recent state hatchery litigation and settlement.” The meeting will be broadcast live on television and on this link.

Wednesday, July 30 at 10 a.m.: TVW will live webcast Gov. Inslee’s “Results Washington” meeting on the economy at this link.

 

Categories: TVW