Topic: Gov. Jay Inslee
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November 29, 2013 at 1:31 PM
A few hours before the Apple Cup kickoff Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee met with the regents of the University of Washington and Washington State University and pledged support for more money for higher education.
Inslee also urged the schools to invite legislators to campus, show them the universities’ top accomplishments and make the pitch for higher-education funding as part of the tours.
“We have to find a way to increase revenues or you’re going to be back on the tuition-increase treadmill all over again,” said Inslee, who met with the regents in a ground-floor boardroom inside Husky Stadium, to the left of the main entrance gate. The meeting was drowned out on one occasion by the sound of the Cougar marching band warming up outside the room.
After several years of raising tuition by double-digits, the state’s two- and four-year colleges and universities received enough of a funding boost from the Legislature this year to keep tuition flat for the next two academic years.
After the meeting, Inslee said he thinks all the money needed to increase K-12 and higher-education funding can come from closing tax loopholes. He said he is not talking about another form of tax increase, although some legislators have argued that closing loopholes amounts to the same thing.
“We are looking for revenue sources that are possible, politically,” Inslee said, adding, “We have a slew of other tax exemptions that have accrued barnacles over the decades” and no longer make sense economically for the state.
Inslee joked that legislative tours of campus could become a kind of competition, and that each school should try to outdo the other in getting more lawmakers on campus. “One thing I’ve learned is the single most powerful thing to get people to advocate your position is to get them to understand your position,” Inslee said — and that understanding often begins with a visit and a tour.
UW and WSU regents meet together once each year, usually just before the Apple Cup, and trade good-natured ribbing about which school is most likely to come out on top. Inslee, a UW graduate, would as governor present the Apple Cup to the game’s winning team, but he said he was thinking about handing that honor over to his wife, Trudi, if the Cougars prevailed. Trudi Inslee attended WSU.
October 31, 2013 at 5:19 PM
OLYMPIA — Trick-or-treaters arriving at the governor’s mansion will be greeted by pirates.
Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi, chose a pirate’s theme for Halloween, and trick-or-treaters are invited to come to the mansion, next to the Capitol, on Thursday between 6 and 7:30 p.m.
The governor will also give out 10 chocolate bars that will contain “golden” tickets for a special reception at the mansion that will be held at a later date.
In previous years, Inslee’s predecessor, Gov. Chris Gregoire, and her husband dressed up as characters from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte’s Web, Happy Feet, Dora the Explorer, Toy Story and The Adams Family.
September 17, 2013 at 9:43 AM
Union longshoremen are taking down their picket line this morning, and digging should resume in a few days at the Highway 99 tunnel project, Gov. Jay Inslee said.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) agreed to end picketing while talks continue about who will load the excavated muck onto barges as the giant tunnel machine churns through the dirt.
For now, the four jobs per shift will be done by building-trades union members, Inslee said. The ILWU wants those jobs.
The governor, at a news conference this morning, acknowledged the ILWU could picket again if a solution isn’t found, but Inslee said talks will resume in a few days and he is determined to help the sides find agreement.
Inslee said that, politically, he was very concerned that if the stalemate goes on much longer — with the tunnel machine stalled about four weeks now — it would hurt the chances to enact a 10-year state transportation plan.
Inslee spent an hour in Bellevue on Monday talking with management and union officials.
July 20, 2013 at 3:26 PM
Hundreds of people signed liability waivers and walked through a dirt yard in Sodo, to take a close look Saturday at tunnel machine “Bertha” before it disappears under Seattle for 14 months.
Even as Gov. Jay Inslee and other officials speechified next to the launch pit, crews at the world’s widest drill already were bolting together the first of several temporary concrete rings, where 56 hydraulic thrusters will give the machine an initial push north, breaking through the pit into soft soil. As Bertha proceeds, permanent concrete rings will form the four-lane tunnel.
Many well-wishers signed ring pieces, while others waited in line to stroll a catwalk that spans the pit.
A bottle of Washington state white wine, a bottle of Spanish sparkling wine, and a bottle of sake, were broken against the steel machine, built by Hitachi-Zosen in Osaka, Japan and operated by Spain-based Dragados.
“I’ve gotta say I am a big fan of a big jobs program for the state of Washington, which is big Bertha…” said Inslee. “When I look down into this pit, I don’t just see a big machine, I see determination, I see innovation, I see teamwork, I see a symbol of a community that worked together to move us forward.” He mentioned that 135 of 171 contracts for the Highway 99 program, and the bulk of skilled construction jobs, went to Washington firms and workers.
On the downside, government leaders have yet to figure out a tolling program that will keep motorists from diverting onto and clogging downtown streets. They also haven’t determined how to keep more than 24,000 bus riders moving — passengers who now reach downtown via the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s midtown exit.
Spokeswoman KaDeena Yerkan said more than 5,000 people showed up. Attendance was boosted by Sounders FC fans who dropped by before the team’s 1 p.m. match.
The $2 billion tunnel, to open in late 2015, is the biggest part of a $3.1 billion replacement for the old viaduct.
May 31, 2013 at 11:49 AM
The ACLU of Washington and 10 other advocacy organizations have asked Gov. Jay Inslee to enact a six-month moratorium on state approvals of hospital mergers, saying religious-secular affiliations put patients at risk of being denied legal health services because of Catholic religious restrictions.
Recently, the state Department of Health, through its Certificate of Need program, approved an application by PeaceHealth, a Catholic health system founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, to lease and operate United General Hospital, owned by a tax-supported public hospital district in Sedro Woolley, Skagit County.
In its evaluation, the state noted that the proposed arrangement had drawn criticism from those concerned about access to women’s reproductive services and end-of-life care options. But the state said that under the status quo the hospital was in danger of having to close, and it did not expect the lease-operation agreement to close any existing services.
The arrangement is the latest in a string of affiliations between secular and Catholic hospital systems in Washington.
The ACLU letter to to Inslee cites “serious state constitutional concerns when public, tax-funded hospitals consolidate with religious health care corporations,” sometimes with arrangements that include long-term taxpayer subsidies going to religious health-care corporations.
Jason McGill, Inslee’s executive policy advisor, said: “The Governor does want to protect women’s access to reproductive services and ensure that we have a competitive health care environment, so he is concerned about some of the allegations.”
Inslee has asked staff to research “all available options” that will help ensure all Washingtonians maintain access to all health care services, from reproductive care to end-of life-services, said Jaime Smith, Inslee spokesman. “The options we’re looking into include the moratorium.”
February 27, 2013 at 3:20 PM
By Mike Baker
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — Radioactive waste tanks may be leaking some 1,000 gallons per year at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday officials are still evaluating how to effectively remove the remaining material from the problematic tanks.
The 1,000-gallon figure is a rough estimate based on the early assessment of six identified leakers. Inslee said the leakage numbers are still being evaluated to determine exactly how much has been lost and how fast the waste is leaving the tanks.
Inslee said there’s no available technology to plug the leaks, so federal and state officials are working to find the best available solution to remove the sludge. Inslee said that solution could come in weeks or months.
“We want to find the most expeditious way to get this job done,” Inslee said.
Hanford has 177 aging tanks that store millions of gallons of radioactive sludge. Inslee said faulty data analysis meant officials did not properly catch signs of leaking before now, and Inslee expressed concern about the other tanks at the reservation.
Federal officials say there is no immediate threat to public safety and that they have not detected any discernible change in contamination levels in monitoring wells.
The federal government built the Hanford facility in south-central Washington at the height of World War II as part of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. Now the tanks at Hanford hold some 53 million gallons of highly radioactive waste.
Leakage has been a problem in the past, with an estimated 1 million gallons of radioactive liquid having already leaked, but the tanks were believed to have been stabilized in 2005.
February 22, 2013 at 2:47 PM
By Seattle Times staff and The Associated Press
Six single-shell underground radioactive waste tanks at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site are leaking, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday.
He warned there could be more leaky tanks and that an investigation is under way to find out. There is no immediate safety threat, he said.
Inslee made the announcement after meeting with federal officials in Washington, D.C. Last week it was revealed that one of the 177 tanks at south-central Washington’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation was leaking liquids.
“The amount of leakage varies from tank to tank. They are certainly levels that cause us concern and demand action,” Inlsee said in a conference call with reporters on Friday.
Inslee is in D.C. this weekend for a meeting with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and a meeting with other governors at the White House.
The governor said it was discovered that readings from the tanks were not being properly evaluated. “He (Chu) reported to me that a new evaluation of data … has shown that there are six tanks that have had a drop in level with a high probability that these tanks are leaking,” Inslee said.
“So to find these, you do have to have pretty exquisite instruments to find the change in the level. We have those instruments. They work and have worked. The problem, according to Secretary Chu, is the data simply was not interpreted in a way that would be able to identify the change in level.
“If you can imagine a graph with a generally rising curve, as the graph goes up over time with jagged peaks, up and down daily … and if you look at it across the spectrum of the horizontal axis you’ll see a rise in the graph. But if you only look at it for a tiny sliver of that spectrum, you’ll only see tiny little changes that are not interpreted as leakage.”
Officials are now checking the readings from other tanks to make sure they’ve been interpreted properly.
“This raises the prospect that we have leakage in additional tanks even above and beyond the six,” Inslee said.
The governor said he was assured “there is no imminent public health threat. If this material were to reach ground water, it would be quite some period of time, perhaps years,” he said.
Still Inslee said, “We are going to be insistent on the fastest technological solution to eliminate this risk of leaking.”
The tanks, which already are long past their intended 20-year life span, hold millions of gallons of a highly radioactive stew left from decades of plutonium production for nuclear weapons.
The U.S. Department of Energy said earlier that liquid levels were decreasing in one of the tanks at the site. Monitoring wells near the tank have not detected higher radiation levels.
The federal government created Hanford in the 1940s as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. The government spends $2 billion each year on Hanford cleanup — one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally. The cleanup is expected to last decades.
Central to cleanup is the construction of a plant to convert millions of gallons of waste into glasslike logs for safe, secure storage. The $12.3 billion plant is billions of dollars over budget and behind schedule.
Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber have championed building additional tanks to ensure safe storage of the waste until the plant is completed. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said earlier this week that he shares their concerns about the integrity of the tanks, but that he wants more scientific information to determine it’s the correct way to spend scarce money.
Wyden noted the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site — and the challenges associated with ridding it of its toxic legacy — will be a subject of upcoming hearings and a higher priority in Washington, D.C.
February 14, 2013 at 3:19 PM
Saying “the world is watching,” Gov. Jay Inslee has sent a five-page letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that outlines how Washington’s new legal marijuana system will be tightly controlled to prevent illegal activity such as state-licensed pot from leaking into other states.
The federal government considers all marijuana illegal, despite voter-approved laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize recreational use for adults. And Holder, the nation’s top law officer, has suggested that leakage of Washington weed into other states is one of the Department of Justice’s top concerns, Inslee said after a meeting last month with Holder.
Inslee’s letter, dated Feb. 12 , doesn’t offer much in the way of new details. For the most part it spells out what the state’s law calls for in the way of restrictions, safeguards, law enforcement and expertise.
“Clearly, the world is watching the states of Colorado and Washington as their initiatives are implemented. We intend to do it right,” Inslee wrote, “to minimize diversion and the illicit market.”
Inslee listed 21 separate ways in which the state will carry out the law in a thorough and disciplined manner, “with public safety being our paramount responsibility.”
Alison Holcomb, a sponsor of Initiative 502 that enacted the state’s legal pot law, praised the letter for highlighting the controls written into the law. “Everything looked accurate to me,” said Holcomb, drug policy director for the ACLU of Washington.
Calling the letter an update on strategies under consideration to prevent diversion of pot across state borders, the governor said he was “personally committed to having a well-regulated, disciplined system with tight investor controls and close coordination with law enforcement.”
The Washington State Liquor Control Board, the agency implementing I-502, has until December to come up with rules for the state’s seed-to-store system, untested on the planet.
While it’s too early to say exactly what all the rules will be, Inslee said his goal is to create a system that “minimizes the illicit market through price, access and convenience while simultaneously controlling the product.”
Some of the controls highlighted by Inslee:
- Only licensed producers, processors and retailers within the state will be allowed to sell marijuana products.
- The law only allows adults to possess, consume, grow, process or sell pot products.
- Washington state agencies are talking with Colorado officials about their tightly controlled medical marijuana system that uses bar codes to electronically track each step of the plant’s progress to market.
- Washington is also looking at private-sector models for digital tracking of products. The state’s apples, Inslee noted, can be traced from orchards through packing houses and ultimately to market.
- The state will run background checks, which are likely to include fingerprints, for license applicants and other parties of interest.
- The state will develop audits to identify reporting discrepancies by licensees.
- Non-licensed cultivation and distribution remains illegal under state law and law enforcement agencies will vigorously enforce I-502.
- The state’s high tobacco tax and experience with intercepting contraband cigarettes should help strengthen marijuana controls.
Jaime Smith, a spokeswoman for Inslee, said there are no specific next steps the governor plans to take with Holder. But Smith said the governor will continue to provide regular updates to Holder as the rules evolve and answer any questions the Department of Justice might have.
January 21, 2013 at 4:13 PM
OLYMPIA (AP) — Washington state officials are looking to build a strictly regulated marijuana system that could forestall federal concerns about how the drug will be handled once it’s available for public purchase.
Rick Garza of the Washington Liquor Control Board said Monday he expects the federal government will try to take action if Washington’s system has loose controls. He says it’s important for Washington to have a strong regulatory structure that would limit how much marijuana is grown to ensure that it’s only meeting demand for in-state users.
Garza’s comments came a day before Gov. Jay Inslee was set to meet with the federal Department of Justice to discuss the marijuana law. Washington voters approved the marijuana law in November, but DOJ officials have not indicated whether it will allow Washington and Colorado to create legal marijuana markets, since the drug is illegal under federal law.
January 17, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Hiker missing in Snohomish County: A 39-year-old Seattle man is believed missing in the Mount Persis area east of Gold Bar, because that’s where an emergency beacon signal was coming from last night. Rescuers were expected to begin the search this morning. KIRO-TV has the story.
Boeing troubles: When we mentioned the company’s woes yesterday, we had no idea what was in store later in the day for the plane maker, whose health is bread-and-butter for so many folks here. The grounding of its 787 Dreamliners comes at a time when competitor Airbus reports that it set a record last year for the number of plane deliveries, though that number was still less than Boeing’s.
Teen’s family settles lawsuit in her drug overdose death: The mother of the 16-year-old girl who died from an overdose in a barracks in what was then called Fort Lewis in 2009 sued the government and the security contractor at the base, but the suit has been settled for $40,000 after a federal judge dismissed the contractor from the suit and the chance of winning was limited, according to the mother’s attorney.
The new governor knows how to party: Some 3,000 people attended Gov. Jay Inslee’s inaugural ball last night. OK, the ball has been a fixture for some 150 years, but we had to say something about 3,000 people being there, right? Oh, and it cost $100 to get in. Party on.
Most-read stories this morning on seattletimes.com:
- Mariners get Mike Morse in three-way trade
- Obama’s gun measures face a tough road in Congress
- Seahawks defense’s inability to finish cost team dearly
- Boeing cancels strategy sessions to focus on 787
- 787 grounded, but Boeing to keep building
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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