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Category: Congress


Washington’s members of Congress ask AG Eric Holder to respect voters on marijuana

Washington state Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, along with five Democratic House members from the state’s delegation, want a quick decision from the U.S. Justice Department on whether the state can proceed with its plans to sell marijuana for recreational use beginning next year.

Entering the debate for the first time, the seven members wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday, asking that the federal government respect the decision made by state voters in November and to provide clarity on whether the state can proceed.

Those signing the letter, along with the senators,

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U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer to host town halls next week

Derek Kilmer, the freshman congressman and Democrat from Gig Harbor, plans six town halls next week, finishing up with one in Tacoma June 1.

Doors open a half hour before the 1 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. at Tacoma Community College’s Building 2 auditorium, 6501 S. 19th St.

Here’s the rest of the schedule put out by Kilmer’s office: 

Port Angeles Town Hall

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

12:00pm – 1:30pm

Peninsula College, The Little Theater (In Building J, the Pirate Union Building)

1502 E Lauridsen Blvd

Port Angeles, WA 98362

Port Townsend Town Hall**

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5:00pm –

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Former U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, state Sen. Debbie Regala will receive honorary degrees from Puget Sound

The University of Puget Sound announced today the recipients of honorary Doctor of Laws degrees at next month’s commencement ceremony. UPS President Ronald Thomas will present the honorary degrees to 18-term U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks and Debbie Regala who served as a member of the Metro Parks board, the state House and the state Senate.

Regala is also a graduate of UPS, receiving a degree with the Class of 1968.

Both retired from office at the end of 2012.

“Congressman Dicks and Sen. Regala exemplify the principles of informed and engaged citizenship so central to our educational mission at Puget

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U.S. Rep. Heck devotes first House floor speech to ailing teacher/coach from Olympia High

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck gave his first floor speech today in the House, and he used his time to ask for support for Olympia High School baseball coach and English teacher Todd McDougall, who was diagnosed last month with an inoperable brain cancer. Heck is an Olympia Democrat in the state’s new 10th Congressional District.

Heck is an Olympia Democrat in the state’s new 10th Congressional District. The video of his short speech is here.

Meg Wochnick of The Olympian has written about McDougall here and here, and the OHS

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Activists asking Legislature to take a stand on controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance

Getting a federal constitutional amendment passed is a tall order at best – if not a fool’s errand in some cases. But activists from a handful of groups worried about the influence of money in politics brought an estimated 12,000 petition signatures to the state Capitol Thursday, seeking legislative support for exactly such a federal campaign.

The activists gave their petitions to state Sen. Adam Kline, a Seattle Democrat who is introducing a bill that would ask Congress to draft the constitutional amendment for adoption by the states. Kline hasn’t dropped his bill into the hopper but he says his

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Cantwell names Skokomish member as staff director for Indian Affairs committee

Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat who is taking over the chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today named a Washington native the committee’s staff director.

Mary J. Pavel, a member of the Skokomish Tribe, is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law. She grew up and attended high school in Shelton. She is a partner in a Washington, D.C., firm specializing in tribal law and the founding president of the Native American Bar Association.

“Mary is well-known as one of the best and sharpest policy experts in Native American and Alaska Native policy

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House committees: Denny Heck to Financial Services, Derek Kilmer to Science, Space & Technology

Those are the new assignments for the South Sound’s two newest congressmen.

Heck, D-Olympia, had touted his appointment to the Budget Committee. But instead he announced today he is being switched to the Financial Services Committee, which he called his top request.

The panel has wide-ranging jurisdiction over banks, insurance, housing and the stock market. Heck has taken a tough line against Wall Street on the campaign trail, calling for example for a reinstatement of the defunct rule separating investment banks from commercial banks, a law known as Glass-Steagall.

Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, announced he would serve on Technology

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U.S. Rep. Heck opens new 10th district office in Lacey

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck was sworn into office earlier today in Washington, D.C., and his new congressional web site became active. Heck also announced he opened his 10th district office on the third floor of Lacey City Hall.

Heck put out a news release that said the office, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, is available to meet with constituents. Roel van der Lugt, who had worked for U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, was named Heck’s district director.

Heck, a Democrat, beat Pierce County Councilman Dick Muri, a Republican, in November’s

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