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

Gov. Inslee details plan for new clean water standards

By | July 9, 2014 | Comments

Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing new clean water standards that are partly based on an assumption of how much fish Washingtonians eat each month.

Inslee’s plan would raise the state’s fish consumption rate from 6.5 grams a day — or about one serving of fish a month — to 175 grams a day, or about a serving of fish every day of the month. He said the new standard is more “realistic” and protects those who eat locally-caught fish as a regular part of their diet, including tribal members and recreational fishers.

The fish consumption rate is part of a formula that determines how much pollution can be discharged into the state’s waterways by factories, municipal sewage plants and other industries.

Businesses have previously opposed stricter water quality standards because of the high cost of upgrading equipment. Boeing on Wednesday issued a statement saying the proposed standard could result in “little to no improvement to water quality and be a substantial detriment to Washington jobs and economic health.”

As part of his plan, Inslee intends to send a proposal to the 2015 state Legislature that would reduce toxics in the water by targeting four chemicals: PCBs, phthalate plasticizers, toxic flame retardants and zinc.

Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler says any new standards must balance environmental benefits with protecting family budgets and jobs.

The Department of Ecology must come up with a preliminary draft rule that matches Inslee’s proposal by Sept. 30. The full package won’t be submitted to the federal Environmental Protection Agency until after the 2015 legislative session to allow for the passage of the toxic reduction bill, Inslee said.

Watch TVW video of the press conference below:

Categories: Uncategorized

First 24 marijuana licenses issued by state officials

By | July 7, 2014 | Comments

The Washington State Liquor Control Board on Monday issued the state’s first 24 marijuana retail licenses to stores in cities that include Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Bellingham and Lacey.

The licenses pave the way for stores to begin selling pot as soon as 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. The full list of 24 stores is available online here, although not all stores are expected to have supply ready to go on the first day.

Cannabis City in Seattle told the Associated Press it will open its doors at noon Tuesday, while other stores say they will have “soft openings” in the coming days as they stock their shelves.

The board expects to eventually license 334 stores across Washington state.

Voters in Washington legalized marijuana during the November 2012 election. The state Liquor Control Board has spent 18 months establishing a system to produce, process and sell recreational marijuana.

A number of stores in small cities in Washington also received retail licenses Monday, including Ephrata, Kelso, Prosser, Camano Island and Bingen.

Categories: Marijuana

On TVW this week: Discussion about rules for ‘unstable slopes’ in wake of Oso mudslide

By | July 7, 2014 | Comments

Here’s what TVW is covering live this week:

Monday, July 7 at 1 p.m.: TVW is live webcasting the first meeting of a joint legislative task force on “Economic Resilience of Maritime and Manufacturing.” The agenda is here, and TVW will live webcast the meeting at this link.

Tuesday, July 8 at 9 a.m.: TVW will be live on television and the web with a special meeting of the Forest Practices Board. In the wake of the deadly Oso mudslide, the board is considering new rules to “improve public safety and local and state coordination efforts for those living near unstable slopes.” It will also consider rules for aerial chemical spraying. The full agenda is available here, and TVW will webcast it at this link.

Wednesday, July 9 at 10 a.m.: TVW will be live on television and the web with the first meeting of a task force on nuclear energy. The meeting will be webcast at this link.

Wednesday, July 9 at 12 p.m.: Gov. Jay Inslee will hold a press conference to announce his proposal for updating the state’s clean water standards and fish consumption rate. TVW will live webcast the press conference at this link.

Categories: TVW

Drone task force set to meet Monday

By | June 26, 2014 | Comments

TVW will be live at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 30 with the first meeting of the state’s drone task force.

Gov. Jay Inslee created the task force after vetoing House Bill 2789, which would have required public agencies such as police departments to obtain a warrant before using a drone, except during emergencies. It would have allowed public agencies to use drones for training, testing, wildlife and environmental monitoring.

Inslee asked the task force to examine the privacy concerns surrounding unmanned aerial vehicles, and to come up with proposed legislation for the 2015 session.

The Unmanned Aerial Systems Task Force meeting will be held from 9 am. to noon on June 30 in the ABC Conference Room of the Cherburg Building at the Capitol. The group is expected to meet four times this year.

TVW is producing a one-hour documentary this summer about drones — watch a short preview below on the latest edition of “The Impact:”

Categories: Drone, Governors Office

On ‘The Impact:’ New television ads warn smokers about driving while high

By | June 25, 2014 | Comments

Traffic safety officials are launching a new television advertising campaign in July to warn people about the consequences of driving after smoking pot.

The state’s first retail marijuana stores are set to open on July 8, and the ads coincide with stepped-up DUI patrols that will begin on July 1.

The campaign features three 30-second television commercials produced by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The message of the ads: You can do a lot of things high, but don’t drive. Here’s an example:

On this week’s edition of “The Impact,” host Jennifer Huntley talks with Shelly Baldwin, a program manager with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, about the new ad campaign.

Also on the show, find out about an upcoming change for registered domestic partners. Couples under the age of 62 who are registered domestic partners with the state will automatically become married on June 30. The change is part of the state’s 2012 law legalizing same-sex marriage.

More information about the conversion process is available online here.

“The Impact” airs on Wednesday, June 25 at 7 & 10 p.m.

Categories: Marijuana, TVW

Marijuana retail stores set to open July 8, but may not be selling edibles at first

By | June 24, 2014 | Comments

Edible pot food such as brownies and candy likely will not be on the shelves when Washington’s first legal marijuana stores open their doors on July 8.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board is expected to adopt an emergency rule requiring prior approval of the labels that go on edibles before the pot-infused food can be sold at retail stores. (Update: The emergency rule was formally adopted by the board on Wednesday.)

The labels cannot feature cartoon figures or appeal to children. The packages must include scoring to show serving sizes, along with other requirements. Makers of pot-infused food can get approval for their products by submitting a photo of the package to the Liquor Control Board. If rejected, the board has an appeals process.

So far, no labels have been submitted to the board for approval. Twenty marijuana stores are expected to open on July 8, although the store locations have not yet been released.

In advance of the opening date, state officials are also launching a public campaign to dissuade anyone under the age of 21 from using marijuana. Gov. Jay Inslee said at a press conference Tuesday that the statewide campaign is “essential to protect the human health of our kids.”

“If we fail to act, this effort to legalize marijuana could be in some doubt,” Inslee said.

And it’s not just kids that the state is trying to educate. “One of our concerns is the adult consumers that maybe haven’t had marijuana in a long time, or are new users,” said Liquor Control Board Chair Sharon Foster.

‘The marijuana of today is not the marijuana of the ’60s,” warned Foster, who said she was told by an emergency room doctor that most marijuana-related cases are Baby Boomers.

Foster said the board is also trying to get out the message that people may have to wait up to two hours before they begin feeling the effects of edible pot food.

Edibles have come under scrutiny in Colorado after a 19-year-old student fell to his death from a hotel balcony after eating six pot cookies. Colorado is now weighing potency rules for edibles.

Watch the press conference below:

On TVW: Safety at marijuana stores, examination of criminal justice system

By | June 24, 2014 | Comments

TVW will be live with several events on Tuesday, June 24, including:

10 a.m.: The governor’s Results Washington group will meet to discuss its “education” initiative. TVW will live webcast the meeting, which will cover topics such as early learning and the opportunity gap.

10 a.m.: The House Finance Committee is holding a work session on the fiscal sustainability of cities and counties. The agenda is available here, and TVW will live webcast the meeting at this link.

12:30 p.m.: TVW will be live on television and the web with a press conference by Gov. Jay Inslee, who will discuss public safety efforts as the state prepares to open its first recreational marijuana retail stores. Also speaking at the press conference will be Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Washington State Liquor Control Board Chair Sharon Foster, and State Health Officer Kathy Lofy. The press conference will be live streamed at this link.

2 p.m.: Inslee will sign an executive order creating the Justice Reinvestment Task Force, which will conduct a data-driven review of the state’s criminal justice system. Washington state was selected to be one of 22 states to participate in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative. Following the signing of the executive order, the task force will hold its first meeting. TVW will live webcast the event at this link, and it will be broadcast on television at a later time.

Categories: Governors Office, TVW

On ‘The Impact:’ Education funding, ferry water monitoring system

By | June 18, 2014 | Comments

On Wednesday’s edition of “The Impact,” host Jennifer Huntley gets reaction from Representatives Ross Hunter, D-Medina, and Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, about the state Supreme Court’s latest order on education funding.

Plus, Carol Maloy of the Dept. of Ecology state ferry system describes a new partnership with scientists to learn more about the water in Puget Sound. A high-tech water monitoring device attached to the ferries measures the velocity of the water moving in and out of Puget Sound. It is currently in place on the “Salish” ferry, which crosses daily between between Port Townsend and Coupeville.

More information about the program can be found here.

Update: Watch “The Impact” below:

Categories: TVW

Hundreds of bills passed by Legislature set to take effect this week

By | June 10, 2014 | Comments

More than 200 bills passed by the Washington State Legislature this year are set to go into effect on Thursday, including new laws dealing with tanning beds, religious holidays and the number of credits required for high school students to graduate.

Here is the full list of bills that passed and the date they take effect. Among those taking effect on June 12:

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 Senate Bill 5173.

Military in-state tuition: Veterans and active duty military members will 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.

Homeless fees: A $40 document recording fee that people pay during real estate transactions, such as buying or refinancing a house, is extended until 2019. The fee supports homeless shelters, affordable housing and other homeless programs.

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 also provides more opportunities for students to take career and technical classes that meet graduation requirements.

Tanning beds ban: Teenagers under the age of 18 will 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 will be fined $250 for violations.

Domestic violence: Washington residents under domestic violence restraining orders will 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.

Many of the other bills passed by the Legislature this year take effect July 1, including a bill that bans minors from purchasing cough syrup that contains dextromethorphan.

Also beginning July 1, all adoptees over the age of 18 will have access to their original birth certificates unless a birth parent files a form declining to release the information. More information about the law and forms are available at the Dept. of Health website here.

Categories: Public Policy, TVW

On TVW: College bound scholarship, House Judiciary committee, Supreme Court

By | June 9, 2014 | Comments

Here’s what TVW is covering this week:

1 p.m. Monday, June 9: TVW will live webcast the College Bound Scholarship Program Work Group meeting. The program was created by the Legislature in 2007. It gives low-income middle school students a chance to earn a scholarship to college if they sign a pledge to keep a 2.0 GPA, commit no felonies and apply for college financial aid. Watch the webcast at this link.

9 a.m. Thursday, June 12: TVW will be live on television with the House Judiciary Committee as they hold a work session on the recreational land use immunity statute. The work session will be immediately followed by a joint session with the House Public Safety and Judiciary committees on several items related to legal financial obligations. Both meetings will be live webcast at TVW.org.

9 a.m. Thursday, June 12: TVW will live webcast the Washington Supreme Court arguments in a case involving Regence BlueShield’s refusal to cover treatments for autistic children. A lower court found that Regence’s exclusion for treatments violates Washington’s Mental Health Parity Act of 2006. TVW will live webcast the arguments here.

10 a.m. Friday, June 13: TVW will be live on television with the state Clemency and Pardons Board. The board will hear from seven people who are seeking to commute or pardon their sentences.


Categories: TVW

TVW wins two Emmy Awards

By | June 9, 2014 | Comments

TVW received two Emmy Awards from the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Saturday.

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

TVW also won an Emmy for “Starcia,” a one-hour documentary about the life of Starcia Ague, who overcame her juvenile criminal history and received a rare pardon from former Gov. Chris Gregoire. It won in the Public/Current/Community Affairs “Program/Special” category for producer and writer David Johnson, producer and videographer Jason Gutz, and executive producers Greg Lane and Mike Bay.

TVW was nominated for a total of six Emmy Awards.

Categories: TVW

WSDOT update on fish passage barriers

By | June 4, 2014 | Comments

The Washington State Department of Transportation is spending $36 million on replacing fish passage barriers during the current two-year budget cycle that ends in 2015, the most it has ever devoted to the project.

But it still falls short of the estimated $310 million needed each budget cycle to meet the U.S. District Court injunction requiring the state to fix hundreds of fish-blocking culverts by 2030.

WSDOT Director of Environmental Services Megan White said Wednesday the department is working in “good faith” to meet the deadline, but an estimated $2.4 billion dollars of work remains to be done.

“Replacing culverts isn’t easy,” White said.

The average cost of replacing a culvert is $3 million, she said, although some cost upwards of $20 million. The culverts must be built to last and able to handle a significant amount of traffic, White said.

Watch an interview about the issue on “The Impact” on Wednesday, June 4 at 7 & 10 p.m. More information about the project can be found here, including WSDOT’s response to last year’s court injunction requiring the state to increase its efforts in fixing the culverts.

Update: Watch “The Impact” below:

Health department investigating cluster of birth defects in Eastern Washington

By | May 28, 2014 | Comments

The state Department of Health is investigating more than two dozen cases of babies born with a rare birth defect in a three-county area in Eastern Washington.

From 2010 to 2013, there were 23 babies were born with anencephaly in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties — roughly four times the national average. Anencephaly is a neural tube defect in which the baby’s brain and skull do not fully form during the first month of pregnancy. Babies with the defect often die shortly after birth.

Kathy Lofy, state health officer for the Dept. of Health, spoke with Jennifer Huntley of “The Impact” about the ongoing investigation, and whether or not there is a link to the nearby Hanford nuclear site in Benton County. The show airs Wednesday, May 28 at 7 & 10 p.m.

More information about the investigation can be found here. Officials recommend that pregnant women take folic acid daily to prevent birth defects, and also have their water tested for nitrate and bacteria if drinking from a private well.

Update: Watch “The Impact” below:

Categories: Healthcare, TVW

On TVW this week: Forum on teen brain development, swearing-in of new justice

By | May 19, 2014 | Comments

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

Monday, May 19 at 1 p.m.: The Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Aging & Disability is meeting to discuss several agenda items. TVW will be live on television and webcast the meeting at this link.

Tuesday, May 20 at 8:30 a.m.: Washington Supreme Court justices will hear from experts about adolescent brain development and new developments in the juvenile justice system. Read more about the symposium here. Judge Mary Yu will be sworn in to serve as the newest justice on the state Supreme Court directly following the symposium. TVW will broadcast the symposium live on television, and webcast it at this link.

Tuesday, May 20 at 9 a.m.: TVW will live webcast the Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee, also known as the “Sunshine Committee.” The meeting will be webcast at this link.

Tuesday, May 20 at 10:30 a.m.: TVW will live webcast the Select Committee on Pension Policy. Watch the live webcast here.

Wednesday, May 21 at 7 & 10 p.m.: Find out how new research on the adolescent brain is changing how juveniles are treated in the justice system on this week’s edition of “The Impact.” Plus, young artists from around the state gather to showcase their art. Host Jennifer Huntley is filling in for Anita Kissee.

Thursday, May 22 at 7 & 10 p.m.: “Inside Olympia” host Austin Jenkins interviews Kris Johnson, head of the Association of Washington Business and David Giuliani, the co-founder of the Washington Business Alliance.

Categories: TVW

Supreme Court race: Mary Yu declares candidacy, Bruce Hilyer decides not to run

By | May 15, 2014 | Comments

Former King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Hilyer will not seek election for the state Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice James Johnson, who retired at the end of April.

Gov. Jay Inslee recently appointed King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu to fill out the remainder of Johnson’s term until the November election. Yu filed this week to officially enter the race.

Hilyer said in an interview that he did some “soul-searching” and discovered that he has found satisfaction in helping parties resolve disputes out of court. He is currently working for Seattle-based firm Judicial Dispute Resolution.

“I’ve decided that’s my first priority and to not seek election to the court,” Hilyer said.

Hilyer filed campaign committee paperwork in April with the state Public Disclosure Commission. He submitted an email to the PDC on May 6 withdrawing the filing.

TVW this week interviewed Yu about her appointment to the state Supreme Court — watch that segment on “The Impact” here.

Categories: Courts, Election

Party buses targeted by Washington regulators

By | May 14, 2014 | Comments

Alcohol-fueled parties that take place on buses outfitted with smoke machines, music, flat-screen TVs and brass poles are coming under the scrutiny of a Washington regulatory agency.

Inside of a party bus

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission completed a report in April looking at incidents on so-called “party buses.”

It found 21 deaths and 48 injuries related to party buses operating in the U.S. and Canada since 2009. No incidents have occurred in Washington state.

“What we learned gave us reason for concern,” said commission chair David Danner, speaking at a meeting Wednesday of the Joint Transportation Committee.

The report found the most common reason for death was because a passenger fell out of the moving bus. Others died after hitting their head on an overpass while on the top deck of a bus. In two cases, underage passengers died after drinking an excessive amount of alcohol.

Danner said party buses are a “new and growing phenomenon.”

In Washington state, 33 companies operate party buses, but only 14 hold a UTC charter party certificate. Those companies without certification may not have proper insurance, safe vehicles or drivers that have been drug tested, Danner said.

Danner encouraged lawmakers at the meeting to consider a bill that would clarify the law on party buses.

He pointed to a recently enacted California law, which requires party buses carrying minors to have a chaperone to ensure there is no underage drinking. The chaperone is held liable if any incidents occur.

TVW taped the meeting, and the archive video will be available here.

Categories: transportation

Seattle high school wins national honors at mock trial competition

By | May 13, 2014 | Comments

A mock trial team from Seattle Prep won the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Wisconsin on Saturday, beating state championship teams from 45 other states.

The mock case examines a death at a rave in the Wisconsin woods. The victim’s lawyers argued that the dead man was poisoned by his business partner at an energy drink company, while the defense contends that the victim had a history of drug use.

Students received details about the case in April, and began preparing by studying cardiology, toxicology and intellectual property rights.

TVW will air the championship trial, which took place at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, later this month. TVW previously aired the Washington State Mock Trial State Competition in March.

The victory is the second time Washington state has won a national championship. Seattle’s Franklin High School took home the top prize in 2000.

More details about Washington’s mock trial program is available here.

Categories: TVW

Widow of Oso mudslide victim urges state to take action

By | May 12, 2014 | Comments

A woman whose husband died in the Oso landslide urged the state Forest Practices Board on Monday to enforce logging regulations and to let people know about the “dangerous creatures on our lands.”

“Nothing can prepare you for a loss like this,” said Deborah Durnell, whose husband Tom was buried by the landslide in their home on Steelhead Drive. “We owe it to every person who died to do all in our power to make sure logging regulations are adequate and that they are enforced.”

Durnell testified during a special all-day meeting Monday of the Forest Practices Board, which sets the standards for forest practices such as timber harvests. The board heard from several experts about the history and science behind landslides in the wake of the Oso mudslide, which left 41 people dead and two missing.

U.S. Geological Survey research scientist Jonathan Godt said the Oso landslide traveled “a remarkably far distance” of nearly a mile from the slope.

Geological maps show landslide activity was documented on that hill going back to the 1950s, with the most recent activity in 2006. Godt said an unusually wet spring likely contributed to the landslide. An earthquake has been ruled out as a factor, he said.

Godt estimated it would take years and several million dollars to answer key questions about the landslide, including why it traveled so far, how old it is and the location of similar landslide deposits.

But Peter Goldman of the Washington Forest Law Center told reporters that he doubts it would take that long, or cost that much money. He said the more important question is whether there was logging in the recharge zone, and if that zone was put in the right place.

“Did we increase the risk of a catastrophic landslide by allowing logging in areas where we know water gets into the ground? That needs to be modeled in retrospective,” said Goldman.

Goldman later told the board it should adopt an emergency rule imposing a moratorium on logging near landslides.

Rob Kavanaugh, who worked on the Stillaguamish River Basin Plan more than two decades ago, said the people who lived in the area weren’t notified that they were living in a catastrophic slide area.

“My concern is public safety. There are 43 dead people, and something went wrong with your system that allowed them to be killed. And you haven’t identified what it is that you’re doing wrong,” Kavanaugh told the board during the public comment period.

There are about 51,000 landslides in Washington state, according to data presented at Monday’s meeting. Of those, about 11,000 are deep-seated landslides like the Oso landslide. Deep-seated landslides are typically large and occur on terrain with a long history of landslides.

“Landslides will always be a natural part of our landscape in the the Pacific Northwest, and we will always have impacts due to the wet weather and geology,” said Mark Doumit of the Washington Forest Protection Association.

“It’s time for a broader public discussion to inform people and keep them out of harms’ way,” he said.

TVW taped the meeting — you can watch the first part here. We’ll update this post with a link to the second part of the meeting once it is available.

Categories: Environment

On TVW: Oso landslide review, regulating ‘party buses’ and tax preference review

By | May 9, 2014 | Comments

A look at upcoming events:

A funeral service for tribal fishing activist Billy Frank Jr. will be held Sunday at the Squaxin Island Tribe’s event center at the Little Creek Casino Resort. Frank was a member of the Nisqually Tribe and died May 5 at the age of 83. He was arrested dozens of times during the “fish wars” protests of the 1960s. TVW will not cover the funeral, however the tribe will live stream it at this link.

Monday, May 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: The Washington Forest Practices Board will hold a special all-day board meeting to review the Oso landslide and to discuss regulatory protections. TVW will air the meeting live on television and webcast it at TVW.org.

Tuesday, May 13 at 10 a.m.: The House Capital Budget committee is holding a work session on storm water, flood risk reduction and water supply. TVW will air the work session live on television at the web.

Wednesday, May 14 at 10 a.m.: The Joint Transportation Committee is meeting at DuPont City Hall to discuss several issues, including the regulation of “party buses.” The Washington State Patrol will discuss its $40 million project to transition to digital radios and the patrol’s recent switch to Ford Interceptor SUV’s as their main patrol car. The committee will also get an update on the Alaskan Way Viaduct program and State Route 530, which was damaged in the Oso landslide. TVW will tape the meeting for air later and webcast it at TVW.org.

Friday, May 16 at 1 p.m.: TVW will broadcast the meeting of the Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences. The commission meets periodically to consider public testimony and establish a schedule for review of tax preferences.

Categories: TVW