Archive for May, 2010

On TVW now: Quality Education Council

By | May 10, 2010 | 0 Comments

Right now on TVW, you can watch the Quality Education Council’s meeting. On the agenda: the state’s next steps in the McCleary case, where the King County Superior Court  ruled that the state wasn’t fulfilling its constitutional obligation to fund education in Washington.

Also on the schedule: the QEC’s agenda for the coming year. Watch live on TVW, and check back here for more on the McCleary lawsuit and the state’s plans.

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Law enforcement medal of honor ceremony

By | May 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

The medal of honor ceremony — for law enforcement officers who were killed or seriously injured in the line of duty — started off with a quote from Winston Churchill: He “once said that all great things are simple and many can be expressed in single words: justice, honor, duty, and I would add courage.”

After the bagpipe procession,Patti Lankford, a retired Washington State Patrol Officer, sang the national anthems of the U.S. and Canada to the crowd of hundreds of officers, family members and others in the audience. During the prayer, John Roberts, pastor at Moses Lake Christian Church, prayed for the officers who have been killed and wounded and said their service is honorable.

Lewis Co. Chief Chandra Brady: “It goes without saying that 2009 was a horrific year for law enforcement. In Washington state, we lost seven men and women,” she said. “The names here on this memorial, these names are our reality. These men and women suited up everyday, just like you and I, to make a difference.” She said the officers’ attendance today was a testament that a difference has been made. She said she challenged everyoene to remember the officers, their families and their agencies.

Now, for the “roll call of honor” — the reading aloud of each officer’s name. The officers who died in duty are:

Deputy Stephen (Mike) Gallagher, Jr., Lewis Co. Sheriff’s Office

Officer Timothy Q. Brenton, Seattle Police Department

Sergeant Mark J. Renninger, Lakewood Police Department

Officer Tina G. Griswold, Lakewood Police Department

Officer Ronald W. Owens III, Lakewood Police Department

Officer Gregory J. Richards, Lakewood Police Department

Deputy W. Kent Mundell, Jr., Pierce Co. Sheriff’s Department

Now, Gov. Chris Gregoire will speak. Continue to read after the jump. (more…)

A couple photos from the fallen police officer memorial

By | May 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

Things are going to start soon at the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor ceremony in Olympia for all the police officers killed or seriously wounded while on duty this year. People are filtering in for the ceremony, on the capitol campus, overlooking the bay. Here are a couple of photos:

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Watch live on TVW now or read-along here.

Today: Law Enforcement Medal of Honor ceremony for Lakewood officers

By | May 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

Today at 1 p.m., Gov. Chris Gregoire will be at the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Ceremony at the Law Enforcement Memorial on the Capitol campus, where the fallen Lakewood officers will be honored. The ceremony will be live on TVW and I’ll be blogging and/or posting to Twitter from the ceremony.

The Law Enforcement Medal of Honor was created by the Legislature in 1994 and is given to police officers who have been killed in the line of duty or have acted exceptionally on the job.

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Supreme Court: Libraries can set up porn filters

By | May 6, 2010 | 0 Comments

The state Supreme Court ruled today that public libraries can set up filters to block patrons from viewing pornography. The Secretary of State’s Office has a bit about that here and the ruling is here.

Here’s part of the opinion: “A public library has traditionally and historically enjoyed broad discretion to select materials to add to its collection of printed materials for its patrons’ use. We conclude that the same discretion must be afforded a public library to choose what materials from millions of Internet sites it will add to its collection and make available to its patrons. A public library has never been required to include all constitutionally protected speech in its collection and has traditionally had the authority, for example, to legitimately decline to include adult-oriented material such as pornography in its collection. The same discretion continues to exist with respect to Internet materials.”

Here are the arguments from last summer:

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Q&A: Think the Gulf oil spill doesn’t affect Washington? Think again.

By | May 6, 2010 | 0 Comments

This week’s Q&A is with Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, the Preparedness Section manager for the Department of Ecology’s Prevention, Preparedness and Response program. That program is in charge of handling the 4,000 spills each year in the state — and work toward preventing them.

And now, she helps decide which people and equipment the state can send to the Gulf to help out with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Here, she discusses the spill, how it’s affecting Washington, and whether a catastrophic spill could happen here.

Q: Tell me a little about what you do at the Department of Ecology?

Pilkey-Jarvis: The Department of Ecology has an oil spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response program. And I manage the oil spill preparedness work. And what that means is prevention is the number one goal for the state but we do know that spills occur so preparedness means making plans and testing those plans and proving those plans so that when spills occur we can rapidly and aggressively respond. The whole point is to minimize the inevitable damage of oil spills.

Q: Do spills happen often here?

Pilkey-Jarvis: Spills happen quite frequently. We respond to roughly 4,000 complaints of some sort of an environmental release each year. Not all of those are oil spills, but a good majority of them are. So the kind of regulatory preparedness that we’re focusing on is we’ve identified the industry sectors who pose the highest risk and those are the ones that we have really engaged in these oil spill preparedness efforts. So while we have a program in place to respond to the more typical, more common smaller volume spills, we’re focusing these regulatory efforts on the industry groups that pose the highest risk. That includes the refineries that we have in this state, all the vessel traffic that comes in and out of the Puget Sound and the Columbia River, the pipelines that carry oil and a bunch of other fuel distributors.

Q: Have there been any large spills here?

Pilkey-Jarvis: We’re interested in incidents that are a near miss — a close call – as well as actual spill incidents. Over time, the numbers of the large spills has really declined because of the prevention efforts. But we still do have an occurrence of near misses that we pay just as close attention to because you can always learn a lesson from them. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some vessel incidents that have happened off of our coast that have been close calls. (more…)

The budget’s impact on higher education — and more

By | May 6, 2010 | 0 Comments

Watch this week’s edition of The Impact right here. Host Jessica Gao goes over the budget, which Gov. Chris Gregoire just signed, and what it will mean for higher education.

Vaccines — including HPV — still available for all children

By | May 5, 2010 | 0 Comments

Last year, the state announced that a program to provide free vaccines to children — including the HPV vaccine — was ending. But legislation to create a public-private partnership that passed this year has saved the program.

Here’s how it will work: “…state funds that had been cut have been replaced with an assessment to the state from health plans. Now, some kids will be covered by federal funds and other kids will be covered with state funds through this assessment. Health insurers and self-insured plans will be assessed for vaccines given to the children they cover.”

One change: Those providing vaccines will need to keep a record of vaccines given to children with private health insurance. But  they won’t have to keep vaccine purchases separate (previously, vaccine providers had to buy vaccines for insured and uninsured children separately).

“Vaccinating children is one of the best ways to keep them healthy,” Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said in a press release. “This new partnership means kids have continued access to vaccines that prevent disease, and it’s seamless for parents — that’s why we got together with our partners in the private sector to make this change.”

The HPV vaccine is available for girls only and protects against strains of the virus that cause cervical cancer.

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Sen. Rosa Franklin will not run for re-election

By | May 4, 2010 | 0 Comments

Sen. Rosa Franklin announced today that she will not run for re-election.

“It’s been such a rewarding experience representing the 29th District for so long,” she said in a press release. While she won’t run for re-election, she said she will continue to devote herself to serving her community.

Franklin was elected to the House in 1991 and was elected to the Senate in 1993.

Update: Rep. Steve Conway told The News Tribune’s Jordan Schrader that he will run for Franklin’s seat.

Gregoire signs the budget bill and more

By | May 4, 2010 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire is signing the budget and the “healthy schools” bill — to use money from new bonding to make schools more energy efficient. Watch live on TVW now.

Voters must approve the bond before the bill goes into effect. The bottled water tax goes toward paying off the bond.

Gregoire was joined by a group of school children during the “healthy schools” bill. She jokingly quizzed them about what would happen if  she didn’t sign the bill — or vetoed it.

Now, for the capital budget. “The supplemental capital budget is expected to support an additional 9,000 jobs,” Gregoire said. “We know that these projects will help jump start our economy,” she said, and add family wage jobs. The bill includes $123 million total for Puget Sound Projects, including $50 million for stormwater clean-up.

And now for the operating budget. Gregoire said the Legislature used a three-prong attack last year — cuts, federal money and fund shifts — to balance the budget without taxes. But, she said, that wasn’t possible this year.

“We’ve reformed how we do business,” she said, including closing or partially closing state institutions. “But in this budget we do more to shrink the bottom line” while ensuring that critical services are retained.

“This budget will leave $452 million” in the Rainy Day Fund, she said.

Update: Here’s a post by Jordan Schrader about some of the things Gregoire cut from the budget.

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Gregoire to sign budget bill tomorrow

By | May 3, 2010 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office just sent out notice that she will sign the budget tomorrow. Here’s the full list of bills:

• Engrossed House Bill No. 2561, relating to creating jobs by funding construction of energy cost saving improvements to public facilities and raising revenue therefor.

• Engrossed Substitute House Bill No. 2836, relating to the capital budget.

• Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 6444, relating to fiscal matters.

• Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 6872, relating to medicaid nursing facility payments.

As I posted earlier today (see below), state schools superintendent Randy Dorn is asking Gregoire to veto part of the budget. We’ll find out tomorrow at noon. Watch live on TVW.

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Dorn to Gregoire: Please veto section of budget

By | May 3, 2010 | 0 Comments

State schools superintendent Randy Dorn sent a letter to Gov. Chris Gregoire asking her to veto a section of the budget. Read the whole letter below.

The segment he wants her to veto the section that would set aside $250,000 for a committee that would look at how to reorganize the state’s school districts.

Dorn’s letter says that the new commission would have powers that overlap existing regional boards, that there isn’t enough money budgeted for such an effort, and that creating a new commission goes against the Legislature’s efforts to shut down and defund most boards and commissions.

Here’s Dorn’s veto letter to Gregoire.

Two people per week die on-the-job in Washington

By | May 3, 2010 | 0 Comments

The statistic in the headline came from a speech by Gov. Chris Gregoire last week — on Workers Memorial Day. She said in 2009, 73 people died in Washington while working, which was an improvement, she said, but still too many.

See the whole presentation, with speeches from business and labor organizations, here:

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