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Tag: Jeanne Kohl-Welles


Senate Republicans poised to take over Environment, Higher Ed, Parks, Trade, Human Services; remaining question marks include Sens. Hobbs, Hatfield, Eide

Washington will get a new Democratic governor this week with a green-energy agenda, but Republicans are preparing to take the helm of the Senate committee that would consider such proposals — along with other panels dealing with colleges, trade, parks and prisons.

The Legislature officially returns to session today at noon with the specifics of how the Senate will work still up in the air. After several Democrats turned down its offers to lead committees, the Republicans-plus-two-Democrats majority in the Senate has issued a new proposal to the minority.

As described in an e-mail that was circulated among Democratic senators

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Drive to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries fails

Last week, I wrote that the medical marijuana bill was on life support. Today, it’s officially dead.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the main proponent of legalizing and licensing dispensaries that sell marijuana to patients, announced today that even her most recent, scaled-back bill won’t proceed.

It’s “the greatest disappointment of my legislative career,” Kohl-Welles said in a statement.

Gov. Chris Gregoire gutted her first try at proposing regulations, but allowed a few changes to proceed into law, including authorization for collective marijuana gardens. The remnants that made it into law also contain some vague references to dispensaries — which the industry hopes to use to convince courts they are indeed legal.

The next move is up to cities and counties. Tacoma has ordered dozens of dispensaries to close, and their appeals were put on hold while the City Council waited for the Legislature to act.

Here’s Kohl-Welles’s statement:

OLYMPIA—Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, issued the following statement today regarding her efforts to reform Washington’s medical marijuana law.

“Regretfully, I have decided not to pursue further attempts this year to strengthen our state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law. Read more »


Gov. Chris Gregoire likes new medical marijuana bill

Gov. Chris Gregoire today gave a thumbs-up to the new medical-marijuana proposal developing in the Senate, the offspring of the legislation she gutted last week.

Gregoire said Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles‘s latest creation is “absolutely mindful” of the reason for the governor’s partial veto: that state employees might be prosecuted.

But before the bill can be heard in special session, Gregoire said she wants the leaders of the Legislature’s four party caucuses to agree to take it up. “I’ve indicated to the senator I’m a go,” she said, “but you’ve got to get the other ‘four corners’ to say they’re

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New medical-marijuana bill developing in Legislature

The blueprint for a new medical-marijuana proposal is circulating in the Legislature.

Cities and counties are pushing lawmakers to come up with a bill Gov. Chris Gregoire will accept after she vetoed most of the last one. The developing proposal would leave key decisions up to those local governments.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, and her allies developed the new ideas, discussed them in a meeting Monday and are showing them to Gregoire’s office in hopes they will meet her requirement of keeping state employees away from the regulation of marijuana.

The governor nixed the idea of state-licensed, for-profit dispensaries. So

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Veto likely for medical marijuana bill, says Gov. Chris Gregoire

Gov. Chris Gregoire said Wednesday she wouldn’t sign a medical marijuana bill to license dispensaries in Washington because doing so would be “irresponsible.”

Gregoire said she thought the bill, which the state Legislature already passed, had some good elements, including a proposal to set up a patient registry to provide some arrest protection, but she couldn’t approve a bill that could put state employees at risk of arrest by the federal government.

“I’m looking at it only with what I can save, not whether I will sign it,” said Gregoire of Senate Bill 5073.

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Senate sends medical marijuana bill to Gov. Chris Gregoire

The state senate passed a bill on to Gov. Chris Gregoire today to license medical marijuana dispensaries despite threats from the governor that she’ll veto the measure.

In a 27-21 vote that divided both Democrats and Republicans, senators approved House amendments to Senate Bill 5073, forcing the governor to decide what to do with the controversial proposal.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the bill’s primary sponsor said the proposal was a well thought-out approach to a black-market problem in Washington.

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Governor signs anti-human trafficking bills

The governor signed two bills into law to expand protections for human trafficking victims in Washington Monday.

The measures, Senate Bills 5546 and 5482, are meant to improve Washington’s existing anti-human trafficking laws and provide more support for victims, their proponents said.

“I’m so thrilled,” said Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, a Seattle Democrat and the primary sponsor of both bills. She said the measures’ passage today shows that the public and lawmakers are becoming more aware of the problem of trafficking in Washington and the laws combating it are getting more aggressive.

In 2003, Washington became the first state to pass a law making human trafficking a crime, though it was illegal nationally already. Under federal law, human trafficking is defined as participating in coercing someone into forced labor, including forcing a person to perform commercial sex acts.

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Senate Democrats: End tax breaks for chickens, cattle, others

Save state programs from budget cuts by ending tax breaks for sales of chicken bedding and bull semen.

That’s the idea of a bill introduced today by Sen. Tracey Eide of Federal Way, who says programs in the state safety net should “outweigh the chickens.”

“We don’t provide bedding for our children, yet we provide bedding for chickens,” Eide said at a press conference where she and other Senate Democrats introduced a slew of proposals to close tax exemptions – alternatives to the deep cuts in the budget unveiled by their majority party and minority Republicans on Tuesday.

Her bill would end exemptions to the sales tax for bedding and heating fuel for chicken coops and for sales of semen for artificial insemination of livestock. That raises a healthy $2.5 million, but it pales in comparison to the $338 million that Sen. Phil Rockefeller of Bainbridge Island proposes raising by exempting large banks from a tax break on mortgage interest and  slicing 25 percent off of all “preferential” business tax rates for everything from the timber industry to the aerospace industry. Read more »