Archive for TVW

On TVW: Columbia River Crossing audit, health insurance update

By | April 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

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

Wednesday, April 23 at 10 a.m.: A recent state audit found the Columbia River Crossing project included $17 million in questionable payments. The Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee will review the audit, as well as discuss a report about competency evaluations completed by the Dept. of Social and Health Services. The full agenda is here. TVW will be live on television and the web with the hearing.

Wednesday, April 23 at 11 a.m.: TVW will live webcast a press conference in Seattle with Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray as they discuss health insurance enrollments in Washington state. State healthcare officials will release new data, including private health insurance figures, demographic information and the types of plans selected. Watch the live webcast at this link.

Wednesday, April 23 at 1:30 p.m.: The Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee will hear public testimony on three recent state audits: Medicaid managed care, safe data disposal and performance-based funded for higher education institutions. TVW will be live on television and the web with the hearing.

Wednesday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m.: TVW will air a previously recorded Seattle CityClub forum with U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer and U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, who will discuss partisanship and finding common ground in Congress. Political journalist Robert Mak will moderate the program.

Thursday, April 24 at 12 p.m.: A legislative task force on career education opportunities will meet to discuss its goals. The group was created to look at ways that schools can better prepare students for careers, including technical and career courses. TVW will be live on television and the webcast it at this link.

Thursday, April 24 at 7 & 10 p.m.: Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom will sit down for an in-depth interview with “Inside Olympia” host Austin Jenkins.

Categories: TVW

TVW nominated for six Emmy Awards

By | April 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

TVW was nominated for six Emmy Awards by the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Friday.

Washington’s Food Fight,” a one-hour documentary about the debate over labeling GMO food, was nominated in the Politics/Government “Program/Special” category. Those nominated include host and executive producer Anita Kissee, videographers Lars Peterson, Markisha Lynch and Brett Hansen, producers Greg Lane and Mike Bay.

Anita Kissee was also nominated separately as the writer of the documentary. Videographers Lars Peterson and Markisha Lynch were nominated separately in the photographer category.

A segment on “The Impact” dealing with GMO foods was nominated in the Public/Current/Community Affairs “Feature/Segment” category. Those nominated include host and executive producer Anita Kissee, director Nate Shaw and senior production technicians Markisha Lynch and Lars Peterson.

An episode of “Inside Olympia” that focuses on the threat of mega-earthquakes and tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest was nominated in the Interview/Discussion “Program/Special” category. Those nominated include host Austin Jenkins, producer Christina Salerno, producer Mike Bay and photographer Aaron Qualls.

Starcia” is a one-hour look at the life of Starcia Ague, who overcame her juvenile criminal history and received a rare pardon from former Gov. Chris Gregoire. It was nominated in the Public/Current/Community Affairs “Program/Special” category for Director of Education Resources David Johnson, special projects manager Jason Gutz, producer Greg Lane and VP of Programming Mike Bay.

The full list of all nominees for the 2014 Northwest Regional Emmy Awards is available here. The winners will be announced June 7.

Categories: TVW

On TVW this week: Ed funding, Hanford cleanup and lobbyist-provided meals

By | April 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

Here’s what TVW will be covering live this week:

Monday, April 14 at 9:30 a.m.: A joint legislative committee tasked with interacting with the Washington Supreme Court on education funding issues will meet in Seattle. The high court issued an order earlier this year requiring the Legislature to come up with a plan by April 30 explaining how the state will fund schools through 2018.

The committee will discuss the court’s order, as well legislation related to education funding that was passed or proposed during the 2014 session. TVW will live webcast the meeting at this link.

Monday, April 14 at 10 a.m.: Gov. Jay Inslee‘s Results Washington group will meet to discuss progress on the initiative, which intends to bring “lean management” techniques to state government in five areas: education, environment, health, economy and government.

The meeting will focus on the “Sustainable Energy and a Clean Environment” category. Participants include Inslee, Dept. of Ecology director Maia Bellon, Dept. of Fish & Wildlife director Phil Anderson, Dept. of Health Secretary John Wiesman and several others.

TVW will live webcast the meeting at this link.

Tuesday, April 15 at noon: The Legislative Ethics Board will discuss meals and drinks that are provided as gifts to legislators. It is the first step in developing a formal rule on the issue. The discussion comes out of news reports about several Washington lawmakers who regularly allow lobbyists to pick up dinner tabs.

The meeting agenda also includes “informal advice” about two proposed trips by legislators. TVW will air the meeting live on television and webcast it at this link.

Tuesday, April 15 at 7 p.m.: The three government agencies in charge of the Hanford nuclear waste cleanup are holding a “State of the Hanford Site” public meeting to discuss cleanup progress, challenges and priorities related to the site. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will deliver presentations and hold an open discussion about Hanford.

TVW will live webcast the public forum at this link.

Wednesday, April 16 at 3 p.m.: The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council will present a budget outlook. The meeting will be live webcast by TVW at this link.

Categories: TVW

On TVW this week: Retirement insecurity, outdoor task force, fish and wildlife meeting

By | April 7, 2014 | 0 Comments

Here are the events TVW is covering live this week:

Tuesday, April 8 at 10 a.m.: TVW will live broadcast a work session held by Democratic lawmakers on the issue of retirement insecurity. Several experts will discuss retirement issues faced by many of the state’s residents.

Participants include Sen. Steve Conway (D-Tacoma), Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Kent), Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle), Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-Shoreline), Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle); plus Diane Oakley, Executive Director, National Institute on Retirement Security; Teresa Ghilarducci, Director Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School For Social Research; Terry Gardiner, VP Policy and Strategy, Small Business Majority; and Ingrid McDonald, Advocacy Director, AARP Washington.

Wednesday, April 9 at 9 a.m.: TVW will live webcast the first meeting of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation, which was established by Gov. Jay Inslee in an executive order. The 28-member task force must come up with a plan by September to promote Washington’s parks and outdoor recreation assets, with a focus on increasing jobs and outdoor activities. The meeting agenda is available here. The task force includes 16 members involved in recreation businesses or organizations, such as REI and Sierra Club, four legislators and eight state agency representatives.

Watch the live webcast at this link.

April 11-12, 8:30 a.m.: TVW will live webcast the two day meeting of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. The full agenda is available here. Webcast links can be found on TVW’s daily schedule page.

Today on TVW: Medal of Honor ceremony, UW minimum wage debate

By | April 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

TVW will live webcast the following events on Wednesday, April 2:

11 a.m.: A public ceremony honoring the three most recent Washington state Medal of Honor recipients will be held Wednesday at the Capitol Rotunda. Leroy A. Petry, Ty M. Carter and William D. Swenson received the highest military decoration awarded by the U.S. government for their actions during the Afghanistan war.

Gov. Jay Inslee and Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, the Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, will speak at the ceremony. Following the ceremony, the medal recipients will see their names unveiled on the state Medal of Honor monument on the Capitol campus.

TVW will live webcast the ceremony at this link.

7 p.m.: National and local experts will debate minimum wage at the University of Washington on Wednesday evening. “The Minimum Wage Debate” is hosted by the Washington Policy Center’s young professionals group and will be moderated by Robert Mak.

Panelists include Steve Moore of The Wall Street Journal, Sarah Jane Glynn of the Center for American Progress, T. William Lester of University of North Carolina, Steve Hooper co-founder of Kigo Kitchens in Seattle, Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, and Rep. Chris Reykdal, D–Tumwater.

TVW will live webcast the debate at this link.

Categories: TVW

Legislative Year in Review

By | March 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

On this special one-hour edition of “Legislative Year in Review,” we recap the highlights from the 2014 session — from opening day to Sine Die. The show includes debate over issues such as the Dream Act, minimum wage, gun control, abortion insurance bill, death penalty, mental health, teacher evaluations, taxing e-cigarettes and the supplemental budget. Plus, a quick wrap-up of several of the bills that passed this year. Watch the show below:

On ‘Legislative Review:’ Highlights from the final week of session

By | March 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

On our 30-minute weekly edition of “Legislative Review,” we recap the highlights from the final week of session — including the Sine Die ceremony, debate over the supplemental budget and the passage of a bill to help fund homeless programs.

Watch the show below:

Categories: TVW

2014 Roundup: What bills passed, what didn’t pass during session

By | March 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Washington State Legislature adjourned shortly before midnight on Thursday, the final day of the regular 2014 session. It’s the first time since 2009 that lawmakers finished their work without going into an overtime special session.

Here’s an overview of what lawmakers accomplished — and didn’t accomplish — during the session.

PASSED:

Supplemental budget: Both chambers agreed on a supplemental operating budget that spends about $155 million, including $58 for K-12 books and supplies. It also adds additional money to the mental health system, early learning and prisons. It does not include any new taxes or tax breaks, nor does it include teacher pay raises.

Dream Act/Real Hope Act: The Dream Act allows undocumented immigrants to apply for state need grants to help pay for college. The House passed its version of the Dream Act on opening day. The Senate renamed it the Real Hope Act and added $5 million to the state need grant. It was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee in February.

Homeless fees: As part of a last-minute deal, lawmakers agreed to extend until 2019 a $40 document recording fee that people pay during real estate transaction, such as buying or refinancing a house. The fee supports homeless shelters, affordable housing and other services and was scheduled to sunset unless the Legislature took action.

24 credit diploma: Starting with the class of 2019, high school students will have to earn 24 credits for a diploma. The current minimum is 20 credits, although some school districts require more than the minimum. The bill will also provide more opportunities for students to take career and technical classes that meet graduation requirements.

Tanning beds ban: Teenagers under the age of 18 would no longer be allowed to use tanning beds in Washington. Senate Bill 6065 bans minors from using tanning beds, unless they have a written prescription for UV radiation treatment from a doctor. Tanning salons would be fined $250 for violations.

Domestic violence: Washington residents under domestic violence restraining orders will soon be barred from owning guns. The bill says that someone who is under a protection, no-contact, or restraining order related to domestic violence must surrender his or her guns to law enforcement.

Drones: The Legislature approved a bill that puts limits government agencies that use drones, or remote-controlled monitoring devices, for surveillance. An agency may only use a drone after getting a warrant or under several exceptions, such as a fire or other emergency.

Religious holidays: State employees will be allowed to take two unpaid days off a year for religious reasons, and public school children will be excused for two days under a bill approved by the Legislature.

Military in-state tuition: Veterans and active duty military members will soon qualify for in-state tuition at Washington colleges and universities without having to first establish residency. Senate Bill 5318 waives the one-year waiting period for veterans, military members and their families.

Short-barreled rifles: Washington gun owners will soon be allowed to own a short-barreled rifle under a bill approved by the Legislature. It is currently a felony to own a gun with a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches, or to have a modified gun that is shorter than 26 inches overall. (more…)

Live in Olympia: TVW’s Sine Die show starts at 8 a.m. Thursday

By | March 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

Washington’s legislative leaders will adjourn the 2014 session Thursday, unless a special session extends the deadline. But before they go back to their districts TVW will air back-to-back live interviews with more than 20 lawmakers starting at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Anita Kissée reporting live from the capitol rotunda for TVW's special edition mid-session show Feb. 18.

Anita Kissée, host of The Impact, will sit down with Gov. Jay Inslee, House Democratic Majority Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan and House Republican leader Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Other guests include Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, and Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island. The lawmakers will talk about a range of issues from education to the capital budget to the environment.

Plus, Austin Jenkins, host of TVW’s “Inside Olympia” and reporter for the Public Radio Northwest News Network, and Brian Rosenthal, a state government reporter for The Seattle Times, will stop by to talk about some highlights from the past 60 days and what to expect when the election process begins.

Coverage will be here on the blog, and you can watch live on TVW or via webcast.

Poor voter turnout among young people topic of forum

By | February 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Washington leaders are not only questioning why more millennials don’t engage in the political process, but they’re also looking for solutions to boost participation.

Fewer than half of Washingtonians between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in the 2012 national election. That’s compared to 70 percent of voters 30 and older.

Disengaged youth was this year’s topic at a forum put on Friday by the Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service and the Jackson Foundation in Olympia.

Millennials are more diverse, socially connected and volunteer more than their parents — but they are less likely to cast a ballot, said Kei Kewashima-Ginsberg, deputy director at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

Lack of passion among millennials isn’t the problem. Young people don’t make the connection between voting and making an impact, said Emile Netzhammer, the Chancellor of Washington State University.

“They don’t see immediate change or necessarily any change at all,” said Netzhammer. He said that has created an apathetic political climate, where millennials have a distrust in the process and believe that one vote doesn’t matter.

One panelist argued that the problem of low voter turnout among young people is often exaggerated. Lindsay Pryor, Voter Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Washington Secretary of State office, assured the audience that as people get older, they vote more.

“If you look at baby boomers, they did not vote more than millennials when they were young,” said Pryor. (more…)

Categories: Olympia, TVW
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Anti-harassment bill would make it harder for prisoners to sue their victims

By | February 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Criminals may soon face additional hurdles if they attempt to sue their victims from behind bars.

Senate Bill 2102 would require prisoners convicted of serious violent offenses to get court approval before filing lawsuits against their victim or the victim’s family. If the prisoner files a lawsuit without a judge’s approval, he or she would lose a chance of an early release.

The prime sponsor, Rep. David Sawyer, D-Tacoma, is pushing the bill after his friend was sued by the man who killed her husband.

In 1995, Paula Henry’s husband was murdered by his former business partner, Lawrence Shandola. Six years later, Shandola was sentenced to more than three decades in prison. But locking him up didn’t stop him from harassing Henry.

During tearful testimony at a previous House committee, Henry shared her experience of being stalked and sued by the criminal for about five years.

“All of the sudden a stranger knocks on the door and I thought it might be the cable guy or something. He throws all of these papers at me and the papers said you’re being sued by the man who blew my husband’s head off,” she said.

Now, she wants to make sure other victims do not suffer. Sawyer said Henry did not testify at Friday’s Senate committee because it was too upsetting to revisit the experience.

However, bill critics such as the American Civil Liberties Union said a system already exists to filter out frivolous lawsuits.

Greg Link with the Washington Defenders Association said at Friday’s Senate committee hearing that Henry’s situation is rare, and it does not justify the bill.

He added that it punishes criminals for actions outside of their original crime and prison behavior, straying from the structure of the Sentencing Reform Act. The act seeks to ensure that the punishment for a criminal offense is proportionate to the seriousness of the offense and the criminal’s history.

“It creates more holes than it fills,” said Link.

The bill unanimously passed out of the House. The Senate Law and Justice Committee took no action on the bill Friday.

On ‘Legislative Review:’ Highlights from the week’s cutoff floor action

By | February 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

On Tuesday’s edition of “Legislative Review,” we have highlights from floor debate over a number of bills that passed out of the House or Senate before Tuesday’s policy cutoff deadline. Plus, the Senate rejects an attempt to change teacher and principal evaluations.

Watch the show below:

Categories: TVW, WA House, WA Senate

TVW live mid-session show starts at 8 a.m. Tuesday

By | February 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

TVW will be live starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday with interviews from the Capitol rotunda for a special mid-session edition of The Impact with host Anita Kissée. Tuesday marks a key deadline in the 2014 legislative session as lawmakers rush to meet a 5 p.m. cutoff to move bills out of the chamber of origin.

Tune in to watch interviews with Gov. Jay Inslee, Senate leaders Rodney Tom and Christine Rolfes and House leaders Pat Sullivan and Dan Kristiansen. Plus, transportation leaders will stop by to talk about the latest progress on a transportation package.

The show will also include interviews with Sen. Ann Rivers and Sen. Linda Evans Parlette of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, and Rep. Laurie Jinkins and Rep. Monica Stonier of the House Democratic Caucus.

We’ll also cover a range of issues, including the death penalty with Rep. Jay Rodne and Rep. Reuven Carlyle, education with Rep. Ross Hunter and Rep. Bruce Chandler, labor with Rep. Matt Manweller and Rep. Mike Sells, and higher education with Sen. Barbara Bailey and Rep. Larry Seaquist.

Watch live on TVW or via webcast.

UW Huskies lobby for Dream Act and tuition issues

By | February 6, 2014 | 0 Comments

About 120 students from the University of Washington took a day off from school to lobby at the Capitol Thursday. The Huskies pushed the Dream Act and a bill preventing differential tuition.

The students expressed their support of extending financial aid to undocumented immigrant students and thanked legislators for passing the Dream Act, known in the Senate as the Real Hope Act.

Also, the students pushed House Bill 1043, which prohibits state universities from allowing differential tuition, which is a tuition rate based on a student’s major. Amber Amim, a student majoring in informatics and applied math at UW, raised concerns that math and science students would have to pay more if it were allowed.

The bill to prohibit differential tuition passed in the House at the start of the session.

But the value of lobby day goes beyond these particular issues, said Jillian Celich, a senior at UW and ASUW employee.

“It’s important for students to tell their personal stories to lawmakers. There needs to be a stronger voice for higher education,” Celich said.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, spoke at the Capitol steps and encouraged the crowd of student lobbyists to stay involved with the legislative process after lobby day.

His final words: “Think bigger than just today.”

2.1.12

Categories: Education, Olympia, Rally, Schools, TVW

Legislation aims to help homeless students by housing their families closer to schools

By | February 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

As many families struggle to find affordable housing and stable employment, the number of homeless children in Washington state public schools is increasing.

In the 2011-2011 school year, more than 27,000 students were reported as homeless, a 5 percent increase from the previous year and a nearly 50 percent increase from 2008, according to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The statistics are stark, and not unusual. The Department of Education estimates more than 1.1 million students in the U.S. in grades K-12 were homeless in the 2011-12 school year.

Lawmakers discussed potential solutions to help families and schools address the needs of homeless students during a Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee hearing Tuesday.

Advocates and legislative leaders pushed two related bills, Senate Bill 6365 and Senate Bill 6338, which would get low-income families in houses closer to their schools. The first bill connects families with stable housing and the other gives priority to housing projects that involve certain partnerships that support children of low-income families.

Those partnerships are critical to “breaking the cycle of poverty” said Michael Power, the manager of educational programs with Tacoma Housing Authority (THA).  He used the McCarver Elementary Special Housing Project in Tacoma as the model example of a successful joint effort, which involves the THA, the elementary school, students and parents.

Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, said that the law would not only help homeless students and families, but also minimize transportation costs for schools.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is a federal law that requires schools to provide free transportation to students. For schools particularly in rural areas, these expenses can be high. Supporters say the bill would reduce those costs because students would live closer to their schools.

Homeless advocates want to see the bill extended to other housing nonprofits, such as tribal housing. But they agreed it is a step forward in providing families in need with stable housing, which they say is critical to student success.

Research shows that the academic achievement of homeless students declines across all grades and subject material. Liz Allen, a previous teacher and advocate with the UW School of Law, reported that homeless children are nine times more likely to repeat a grade and four times more likely to drop out of school.”It’s hard to do homework with no home,” said Allen.

Proposal would require day care providers to learn about safe sleeping practices

By | February 3, 2014 | 0 Comments

Sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, is the leading cause of death among babies. During the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee on Monday, lawmakers talked about ways to make safe sleeping practices clear to care providers .

House Bill 2695 would require the Dept. of Early Learning to provide applicants seeking child care licenses with information about safe sleep practices and also monitor the way child cares manage nap time. If a facility was found violating safe sleep practices more than once the department would would revoke their license.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, examples of safe sleeping practices include placing a baby on a firm surface, laying the baby on his or her back and keeping soft objects out of the crib, such as loose bedding.

The bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle, is also pushing “The Eve Uphold Act” a related bill that would require the department to conduct official reviews when a baby dies at a licensed daycare. She said that the goal is to emphasize the importance of safe sleeping to child care providers and hold them accountable for their actions.

Representatives from the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds (OFCO) and Knowledge Universe supported the intent of the bill, but say that child care providers should lose their license upon the first violation.

“One violation is one too many. One incident of a provider failing to meet safe sleep practices can result in a child’s death,” said Erin Shea McCann with OFCO.

Categories: Olympia, TVW, WA House

Controversial DNA testing bill considered in Senate committee

By | January 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

Anyone arrested for a felony in Washington state would be required to submit a DNA sample under a controversial measure considered Friday in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Senate Bill 6314 would require police officers to collect DNA samples of all adults arrested for felonies and certain gross misdemeanors, except for drug offenses. Only qualified lab personnel would have access to the DNA records, and personal identifying information would not be stored in the database.

Prime sponsor, Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, is pushing this bill after she had a change of heart.

She said that she was responsible for stopping a similar bill that was introduced in 2005 because she felt that the DNA collection process was a threat to civil liberties. Today, she sees it as a tool to to protect more women and children from crimes, prevent wrongful convictions and eliminate racial bias.

“We have the opportunity to solve more crimes with accuracy,” Darneille said.

A rape victim, Laura Niblack, testified in support of the bill.  She believes that this technology could have stopped her perpetrator before he raped her and his other 22 victims.

Opponents said that DNA has not been shown to improve public safety and voiced concerns that marginalized communities would be unfairly impacted.  Shankar Narayan with ACLU also said that the $600,000 that would be used to execute this bill could be better spent to help solve more crimes.

No action was taken at the hearing.

Name-changing legislation: Mt. Seattle Seahawks & 12th Man National Park

By | January 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Senate floor was awash in blue and green on Friday as lawmakers showed off their Seahawks pride with ties, scarves, pins and jackets.

Lawmakers unanimously voted to rename Mt. Rainier to Mt. Seattle Seahawks and rename the Mt. Rainier National Park to 12th Man National Park from today until 12 a.m. Monday. The support didn’t stop there; they also proclaimed Sunday Feb. 2 “Seahawks Sunday” as part of Senate Resolution 8676.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, embraced this as an opportunity to get in touch with his inner comedian. Wearing a hoodie and shades, he impersonated Marshawn Lynch saying, “I hate to talk to the press” and “I’m just taking it all in boss.”

They concluded the light-hearted discussion with an appropriate “Go Hawks!” chant.

Watch a run-down of the playful stunt below:

Categories: Olympia, TVW, WA Senate

Advocates to end homelessness rally at the capitol

By | January 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

“Get up! Get down! There’s a housing crisis in this town!” the crowd shouted at Homeless Advocacy Day Tuesday.

The capitol steps were flooded Tuesday afternoon with more than 500 advocates in support of low income and affordable housing and homeless rights.

Organizations including the Washington Housing Alliance, Survive the Streets, Imagine Housing and Real Change gathered in Olympia to raise awareness about the struggles those seeking stable housing face.

“Everyone needs a home to be a happy, healthy and productive member of society, so we put our energy into supporting more housing options for more people,” said Melanie Cunningham with the Delta Sigma Theta chapter at Tacoma.

Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, and Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, joined the rally to voice their urgency to end homelessness and support for more affordable housing initiatives.

“We need to have a broad coalition. Legislative leaders just can’t do it alone and that’s why it’s so important you are all here today,” said Robinson.

One of the main bills highlighted at the rally was the Fair Tenant and Screenings Act, Part Three, which would stop landlords from charging tenants for multiple screening reports.

Other bills advocates supported were Senate Bill 6074, which aims to improve educational outcomes for homeless students and  Senate Bill 6313, which would make permanent a fee that helps fund homeless programs. Both bills are scheduled for public hearings this week.

2.1.12

Drone bill attempts to address privacy concerns

By | January 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

As drones get smaller, cheaper and more advanced, lawmakers are talking about putting restrictions on the use of the unmanned aircrafts by local police and other public agencies.

Senate Bill 6172 would require police to get search warrants for drone surveillance. The person who is the target of the surveillance must be given a copy of the warrant within 10 days. It would also make agencies record details about all of the information gathered in the process.

Police drone (Photo credit: KOMO)

Exceptions would be made for emergency situations, in which there is an immediate danger of death or serious physical injury.

Supporters said the bill balances the benefits and dangers of drones. Shankar Narayan with the ACLU of Washington testified in favor of the bill, saying the state needs regulations in place.

“Now is the right time — before abuses happen — to enact a statewide regulatory scheme on this powerful technology,” Narayan said.

Opponents voiced concerns that the bill violates the “plain view doctrine” which allows an officer to seize evidence found in plain view without a warrant. Officers would not be allowed to use information collected from a drone if it wasn’t part of the original search warrant.

“The only thing this bill really does to us is it makes us spend more money and put police officers at risk when we don’t need to,” said Don Pierce of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

Thirteen states have drone regulations in place including Montana and Oregon, which require law enforcement agencies to get warrants. Idaho restricts use by law enforcement and has a strict set of guidelines for private citizens.

No action was taken at the hearing. Another drone bill scheduled to be discussed this week would ban the use of drones above private property to capture personal information.