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Category: State Government

May
13th

Court rules against Goldmark in case that McKenna argued under protest

A local public-utility district is legally allowed to use eminent domain to take over state forest land, a court has ruled.

“We conclude that the State trust lands may be condemned as a matter of law,” a unanimous three-judge Court of Appeals panel wrote, siding with a PUD trying to build a power line in the Methow Valley and against Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark.

I missed the ruling last week but the Methow Valley News covered it here:

The PUD can condemn state land for its Pateros-Twisp powerline, said the Court of Appeals in Spokane in a ruling issued

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May
8th

Liquor Control Board sticks with 20-mile restriction on small liquor stores, with exceptions

You shouldn’t have to drive more than 20 miles to buy your whiskey and gin.

That’s the idea of a rule the state Liquor Control Board proposed in March, making an exception for small stores under 10,000 square feet that otherwise are mostly barred from opening under voter-approved liquor privatization. It’s a pretty narrow exception, permitting perhaps 20 stores, the board has estimated. Most are likely to be in Eastern Washington.

Today the board widened the exception slightly, moving forward unanimously with a revised proposal that also allows small stores on islands that are inaccessible by

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May
1st

Inslee fills out Cabinet, leaving vacancy at Liquor Control Board as it writes marijuana rules

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Pat Kohler as the new director of the Department of Licensing today, pulling Kohler from the Liquor Control Board that is in the middle of writing rules for the state’s brand new marijuana industry.

Inslee is nearly done filling out his Cabinet. The governor named Chris Liu to lead the Department of Enterprise Services, the big agency that manages state-government real estate and deals with other back-office functions like purchasing, accounting and human resources. He replaces Joyce Turner, who stepped down as DES director last month.

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April
30th

Court rules against 24-liter daily limit on bars and restaurants buying liquor from stores

UPDATED 2:30 P.M. WITH DISTRIBUTORS’ COMMENTS

Restaurants say there are two obstacles keeping them from buying liquor at grocery stores. One of them could be removed in a special session of the Legislature that starts May 13. A judge on Monday ordered removal of the other one.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price sided with Costco, groceries and restaurants in invalidating the state Liquor Control Board’s rule limiting groceries’ sales of liquor and wine to restaurants and bars to 24 liters a day.

The rule was the liquor board’s interpretation of the 2011 voter-approved liquor-privatization law, which had limited those

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April
25th

Former state auditor Brian Sonntag to be inducted into hall of fame for open government work

Former state auditor Brian Sonntag will be recognized next month for his contributions to state open government.

He’ll be formally inducted into the Heroes of the 50 States: The State Open Government Hall of Fame May 18.

The honor was created by the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Freedom of Information Coalition in 2003.

Sonntag, who retired this year after serving five terms as state auditor, is the 13th person selected for the award. He is the second consecutive inductee from Washington, and the third elected official chosen.

Washington Coalition for Open Government president Toby

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April
25th

Moneytree-backed bill will be part of budget talks

A controversial bill that was thought to have died in committee may have risen from the ashes. The bill, backed by payday lender Moneytree, is being touted as “necessary to implement the budget” by one of its biggest proponents.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, said Senate Bill 5312 is one of a number of bills that are “critical” to the balance of the budget passed in the Senate. He said the bill will be part of the upcoming budget negotiations.

“We certainly expect and hope 5312 to pass,” Benton said, “because we’re counting on some of that revenue

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April
25th

Bipartisan criticism of new fees on businesses wanting driving records; could scrap outsourcing of “e-government”

I wrote Wednesday that lawmakers were considering freezing fees for access to driving records, fees that could be crucial to state government’s plans to privatize its “e-government” services. A letter confirms there’s bipartisan consensus around preventing such fee hikes.

Democratic House Transportation Chairwoman Judy Clibborn joined her Senate counterparts, Democrat Tracey Eide and Republican Curtis King, in writing to the Office of Financial Management to say that while they support outsourcing website work to the company NIC Inc., they oppose funding it solely by charging new fees on driving records.

The lawmakers refer to an additional $2 charge that could be placed on

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April
19th

Craft brewers to lawmakers: “We’re here! We’re beer! Get used to it!”

Following a public hearing on a proposal that would extend and expand the beer excise tax, brewers and beer fans gathered on the steps of the Legislature to voice their anger.

A number of lawmakers came to speak to the crowd, including Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard. Angel, donning a red raincoat and hat, used a bullhorn to address the sign-wielding crowd.

“I voted against this tax the first time, and I’m sure as heck am not going to support it a second time,” Angel said.

The beer excise tax, which was originally $8.08 per barrel, was increased to

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