Political Buzz

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Archives: Nov. 2011

Nov.
29th

State Patrol: Six troopers hurt; overtime, travel at $20,000 on first day

Six troopers were hurt in Monday’s protests at the Capitol, the State Patrol says.

The patrol had originally said just one trooper was bitten on the arm. Officials later learned of another bite injury and four who mostly suffered bumps and bruises, the patrol said today.

As protesters tried to push into the closed Capitol, three of them were stunned with Tasers and a Department of Enterprise Services worker’s ribs were bruised and face was injured.

The patrol also released its first-day totals for the costs of having dozens of troopers stand guard and evict protesters.

Overtime totaled $12,000, according

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Nov.
29th

Redistricting at ‘impasse’?

That’s the word Republican Slade Gorton used at today’s Redistricting Commission meeting to describe his negotiations with Democrat Tim Ceis over legislative districts in the north part of Western Washington.

Ceis said that might be too strong but agreed the pair have areas of disagreement.

The report from the other two voting members of the commission wasn’t any more positive. Republican Tom Huff said his bargaining with Democrat Dean Foster over districts in the south of Western Washington has seen only “nominal” progress.

Foster added: “We take two steps forward; sometimes we go back one. Sometimes we go back two.”

It’s clear

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Nov.
29th

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray plans hearing on long wait times for veterans seeking mental health care

Sen. Patty Murray plans to lead a hearing Wednesday that will examine long wait times for veterans who are trying to get mental health care services from the Veterans Administration (VA).

The hearing comes after the Washington state Democrat, who heads the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released a survey last month that found most VA mental health care providers across the country were ill-equipped to do their jobs.

Among the findings: Nearly 40 percent said they can’t schedule an appointment within 14 days, as required by the VA; 70 percent said they lacked adequate staff or space to meet the

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Nov.
29th

Washington as outlier: New national report on state finances shows most seeing increasing revenue, end to budget cuts

This report comes from the National Association of State Budget Officers and is one of those good-news/bad-news analyses.

States are doing better than they were in the depths of the recession with most showing revenue gains and fewer facing mid-year budget cuts. But all are collecting taxes at levels lower than prerecession years and the rate of increases in tax collections is slow.

“The data in this report show some relative financial improvement for states, with rising tax collections, growing general fund expenditures, and a slow restoration of state rainy day fund balances,” the report states. “Despite these recent relative

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Nov.
29th

Morning update: special session Day 2

A day after some 3,000 people took part in rallies and dozens stayed in the Capitol until state troopers evicted them, we’ll see more protests today.

Occupy protesters plan to march to the Capitol this afternoon from downtown Olympia’s Capitol Theater.

Following the lead of the House budget committee, the parallel committee in the Senate will be briefed on the governor’s budget plan and take up a proposed bailout of a Wenatchee arena. The $42 million loan passed the House panel Monday, the AP’s Mike Baker reports.

Apart from state lawmakers, two other significant government bodies meet today.

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Nov.
28th

UPDATE 4: State Patrol tases 3 protesters, evicts 30 more

Patrol spokesman Dan Coon said about 30 were being evicted and given no-trespass warnings.

Over the course of the day, four protesters were arrested – one for disorderly conduct, two for third-degree assault of a trooper and one for fourth-degree assault of a DES employee, Coon said. Other misdemeanor charges also were being recommended for some of the arrested subjects.

Read full post. Or read Tuesday’s story.

Nov.
28th

Video: Protest in legislative chambers calls for “citizens’ arrest”

As I wrote earlier, the State Patrol says a disruption in the Legislative Building helped lead to a protester’s arrest today.

Here’s a video e-mailed to members of the Occupy movement of that protest, which took place in the House chambers when a banner was unfurled calling for a “citizens’ arrest” of legislators.

Protesters later yelled outside a budget hearing that lawmakers should be arrested because of a judge’s ruling that the Legislature has failed to fund basic education. The state Supreme Court is considering the case.

UPDATED 11/29 to note source of video.

Nov.
28th

Protesters disrupt budget hearing; teacher arrested

The state House’s first budget hearing of the emergency session is now underway after Occupy protesters disrupted it.

The chanting protesters packed the hall outside the hearing and banged on the doors but seemed peaceful — if not exactly polite in their language. But at least one, a Seattle Public Schools teacher, was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

State troopers were putting Jesse D. Hagopian, 32, in a patrol car outside the Cherberg Building shortly before 2 p.m. State Patrol spokesman Dan Coon didn’t yet have details on what Hagopian is accused of doing, but said he was “disrupting legislative

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