Topic: Jay Inslee
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October 2, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Gov. Jay Inslee plans to go on an overseas trade mission to China next month.
Current plans call for him to leave for Tokyo on Nov. 9 for a short stop. He plans a longer stay in China with visits to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. He’s slated to be the keynote speaker at a biotechnology convention in Beijing on Nov. 12.
A trade delegation of about 40 people will also be on the trip. Inslee’s travel costs will be covered by the Host Fund of Washington, a non profit.. The Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle handles the fund’s administrative and support functions, said David Postman, a spokesman for the governor.
The China Daily interviewed Inslee about the upcoming trip.
October 1, 2013 at 1:01 PM
Most medical marijuana patients should be brought into the recreational pot market the state is creating, urged all nine Seattle City Council members in a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee and key legislators.
The medical marijuana market continues to operate, at best, in a gray market, council members said, which could undermine the state’s goal of curtailing illicit dealing through a legal system allowing adults to possess small amounts of weed.
While many medical customers “live with conditions ameliorated by medical cannabis, the vast majority do not and would be better served through the access made possible by Initiative 502,” council members wrote in a letter dated Sept. 30.
That could mean combining the recreational and medical markets into a single regulated system, according to council members — though they also said the state should “make certain that the legitimate needs” of medical marijuana users are met. “Patients deserve a system that supports development of medicines appropriate to different conditions at a price point patients can afford,” council members said.
Under orders from the state Legislature, three state agencies — the Liquor Control Board and the departments of Revenue and Health — are supposed to make recommendations regarding the medical and recreational systems.
On Oct. 21, the agencies are scheduled to provide draft recommendations for comment, with a Nov. 8 deadline for comments.
The agencies will then present recommendations to state House and Senate committees in late November. By Jan. 1 they are supposed to deliver final recommendations to state lawmakers.
October 1, 2013 at 11:09 AM
House Finance Committee Chairman Reuven Carlyle is calling on the governor to spell out how the state will pay for a proposed $4.2 billion plan to bring more water to the Yakima River Valley.
As explained in a Seattle Times story on Sunday, the proposal would be the biggest thing to hit the region since the Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1942. It was tentatively endorsed by the Legislature earlier this year. Among other things, the plan calls for fish passages on dams, new and bigger reservoirs, and a 5-mile-long tunnel to move water between lakes.
“It is fiscally irresponsible to take another step until there is a financing plan,” Carlyle, D-Seattle, said in an interview this morning.
He sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday asking his office to develop one, pointing out that, although backers say farmers and other water users will pay for their share of the project, there’s nothing in writing that spells that out.
Carlyle in an interview also said he’s worried that the federal government won’t come through with funding and that the state will be made responsible for the entire cost.
“This is one of the largest of the largest public works projects in state history with nothing beyond a back-of-the-envelope scribble of how to pay for it. We’re not going to empty out the capital budget account for the next 30 years because the federal government can’t rub two sticks together,” he said.
The governor’s office had no immediate response.
September 9, 2013 at 4:34 PM
Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked a U.S. Senate committee for a key bit of help in creating a tightly regulated legal pot market.
In written testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a Tuesday hearing, Inslee and Ferguson stressed that without changes at the federal level, Washington state’s legal pot merchants will operate on a cash-only basis.
That will make it more difficult for the state to audit their books and track their income, the duo said, and make legal businesses a target for theft and burglary, “thereby creating additional public safety challenges.”
As it now stands, federally regulated banks are wary of providing financial services to legal pot merchants, Inslee and Ferguson said, because federal law can impose penalties on banks that accept money they know to come from drug sales – even if those sales are legal under state law.
Inslee and Ferguson suggested two fixes: the federal Department of Justice could advise banking regulators that it isn’t going to prosecute banks for handling legal pot money; or, Congress could also pass a law allowing banks to accepts deposits from a legal pot business.
The rest of their four-page testimony details the many ways in which Washington state’s legal pot rules are consistent with the DOJ’s eight priorities for legal pot in Washington and Colorado — from preventing youth access to legal pot, to preventing Washington pot from leaking into other states.
Tuesday’s hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Pacific time. The committee chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT., will begin by questioning U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole. It would be no surprise for the banking issue to come up in that portion of the hearing. Then, the hearing on “Conflicts in State and Federal Marijuana Laws” will address a panel of three: King County Sheriff John Urquhart; Jack Finlaw, the top lawyer for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; and Kevin Sabet, the director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an organization that’s opposed to legalization.
September 5, 2013 at 1:52 PM
Washington’s newest state lawmaker is likely to be Mercer Island City Councilmember Tana Senn, who likely will be appointed to the state House next week.
A Metropolitan King County Council committee unanimously voted this week to send Senn’s nomination to the full council on Monday, spokesman Al Sanders said. She had been the top choice of local Democratic Party officials to fill a vacancy created by former state Rep. Marcie Maxwell’s decision to join Gov. Jay Inslee’s education team.
If the selection is formalized, it will mark a quick political ascension for Senn, a 42-year-old consultant who work for a national Jewish women’s organization before coming to the Seattle area about a decade ago.
Senn was appointed to the Mercer Island City Council last January after serving as campaign manager for another council member, according to her campaign website. She had been running for a full term on the city council.
She took the lead in the race to replace Maxwell after party officials chose her over local activist David Ellis and George Pieper, a former vice president of the Greater Seattle Business Association.
Maxwell’s replacement will serve until the term ends in 2014.
September 3, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Declaring that “our state’s transportation challenges are not going away,” Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday morning that he will call a special session for November to deal with the issue — if lawmakers agree on a package that can pass.
But the Democratic governor provided few details about how that might happen just a few months after the Republican-run state Senate rejected a package last session.
In a Seattle news conference with King County Executive Dow Constantine, Inslee called on lawmakers to “step up to the plate.”
Constantine said “the consequences of continued delay are unacceptable,” citing looming 17 percent Metro Transit cuts that could eliminate 65 bus routes, among other impacts.
A transportation package approved by the state House last session could have helped stave off those cuts by giving local governments the option of a 1.5 percent vehicle renewal fee. It also would have raised the gas tax by 10 cents to fund road projects.
The package didn’t gain traction in the Senate, in part over concerns about funding for the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project.
On Tuesday, Inslee said the CRC should not necessarily block a new package because he and Oregon officials are exploring other options to fund it.
Inslee promised a bipartisan push for the package.
“There are no bridges that are either Republican or Democratic,” he said.
Later this month, Senate leaders are planning to embark on a “listening tour” to six cities to talk transportation with residents.
August 8, 2013 at 5:43 PM
Updated at 6:50 p.m. with a comment from a Reichert spokeswoman.
U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert is apparently again thinking about running for statewide office.
Reichert, a former King County Sheriff and fifth-term Republican representative in the 8th Congressional District, said in a Thursday interview with C.R. Douglas of Q13 FOX News that he is considering running for governor or U.S. Senate in 2016.
“I’m thinking about all those options,” he said. “I still feel like I’m young and energetic. And, you know, we’ll see how Mr. (Gov. Jay) Inslee does, and if he continues on the path that he is, it doesn’t look too good for him. So I’ll keep an eye on that. And who knows what Patty Murray does in the next year or two?”
Reichert, 62, is a popular politician who represents a safe Republican seat. He has toyed with running for statewide office in the past.
In the run-up to the 2012 election, he for months remained coy about possibly challenging U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell before ultimately seeking re-election.
Reichert spokeswoman Leighanna Driftmier said that “the congressman is focused on serving the 8th District of Washington right now. That’s his top priority.”
“But,” Driftmier said, “of course he does consider all opportunities as they come.”
July 9, 2013 at 6:48 PM
Gov. Jay Inslee has chosen state Rep. Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton, to serve as an education policy adviser, filling a key position that had been handled on an interim basis all year.
Maxwell announced her resignation from the House on Tuesday in an email obtained by The Associated Press. She will start working in Inslee’s legislative affairs and policy office next week, according to the email.
The move brings another Renton education voice to Inslee’s administration. The governor’s chief of staff, Mary Alice Heuschel, previously served as superintendent of the Renton School District.
Maxwell, a Realtor and small-business owner, served on the Renton School Board for eight years before being elected to the House in 2008. She has been re-elected twice.
She has served on the House Education Committee, Appropriations Committee and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Funding. She co-chaired the Quality Education Council.
She is seen as a close ally of the state teachers union, the Washington Education Association, which has donated to her campaigns.
Inslee’s interim education adviser, Lynn Macdonald, was a spokeswoman for the WEA’s Tacoma chapter when it went on strike in 2011.
June 28, 2013 at 11:14 PM
The chief proponent of a major Washington state transportation package said Friday night the bill was on life support and that it was extremely unlikely to pass this year.
Democratic Rep. Judy Clibborn said Friday night that she was sorry and disappointed the $10 billion package did not have the support needed to get through the Legislature. Clibborn had been working on the issue for some two years but said it became clear over the past week that the Senate was not willing to work with her plan, which would have included a 10 1/2-cent increase in the gas tax.
“It’s time to let go,” said Clibborn, D-Mercer Island. “I think I did everything I could.”
After the governor’s office told her they were still working on the package, Clibborn later backed off that comment, saying she considered the measure on life support but would continue working on it.
Business leaders had supported the package, saying it was necessary because the state’s highways and bridges can’t wait any longer for improvements. Jocelyn McCabe, a spokeswoman for the Association of Washington Business, said the group wasn’t ready to close the door on the bill and was continuing to work with lawmakers in both chambers.
Gov. Jay Inslee had hoped the package would pass through the Senate by Sunday night.
Senate Transportation Committee co-Chair Curtis King, R-Yakima, said his caucus has no appetite for the transportation package and he didn’t anticipate a vote this weekend, regardless of the governor’s statement.
“He can hope all he wants,” King said. “There’s lots of reasons why we shouldn’t go this way.”
Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler said the House and Senate were just too far apart on what a package should look like. Everyone wants to make improvements in that the transportation system, but lawmakers couldn’t find a joint way forward, he said.
A version of the proposal approved by the state House included $3.2 billion for several state road projects, including State Route 167, Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass and a replacement bridge over the Columbia River into Oregon.
That Columbia River bridge was widely opposed by Republicans in the state Senate, who said the current proposal for the bridge was too low and should not include light rail transit. They also expressed concern about the costs.
Supporters, meanwhile, said now was the time to approve that bridge. Oregon and Washington are each responsible for $450 million of the replacement span, with the federal government and toll revenue paying the rest. Oregon has already approved its portion, and officials have expressed concern that federal money provided for the project will fall through if Washington state fails to act.
Clibborn said lawmakers could try and return to the issue next year, but she suspect it may have to wait until 2015. In the meantime, she said motorists concerned about traffic and road conditions may want to put pressure on lawmakers and ask for change.
June 27, 2013 at 7:28 PM
The man whose family was devastated by a crash that propelled state lawmakers to consider tightening state DUI laws says he doesn’t think their final product does enough to address the problem.
Dan Schulte, whose parents were killed and wife and infant son critically injured March 25 when a truck slammed into them as they crossed a North Seattle street, said he has “mixed feelings” about Senate Bill 5912.
“I’m pleased to know the Legislature is working on the issue,” Schulte wrote in a statement to The Seattle Times. “However, I do not believe the bill goes far enough.”
The bill, which would require faster charges and brief initial jail time for repeat DUI offenders, among other provisions, won unanimous approval in the state House on Thursday, one day after it passed the state Senate.
Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign it soon.
In announcing the bill’s final version, lawmakers said they simply did not have the money for the more ambitious ideas they proposed in the aftermath of the North Seattle crash — including requiring faster charges for all offenders, increasing minimum jail sentences and making DUI a felony on the fourth conviction, instead of the fifth.
Ultimately, the lawmakers said, passing something was better than nothing.
“It’s a rare opportunity when we can press the green button and literally save lives,” said state Rep. Roger Goodman, a Kirkland Democrat and architect of the bill, who mentioned recent tragedies in his floor speech.
Goodman and others said they hope to take up the issue again soon.
Schulte, in his statement, urged them to do just that.
“Until the next session, my family will be praying that our story and my voice alone will discourage some people from driving while intoxicated, but I know it is not enough,” he wrote. “We need your help, too.”
Specifically, Schulte said, “it’s not clear why any DUI offense is less than a felony.”
His wife, Karina Ulriksen-Schulte, and son, Elias, are both recovering, according to the family. The man who allegedly drunkenly ran them down, Mark Mullan, is awaiting trial.
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