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Tag: Mike Carrell


Stopping ‘flash robs’ a priority for Lakewood senator

State Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood
State Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood

Flash mobs aren’t just people bursting into song at food courts anymore.

Most people have heard of flash mobs: groups of people who convene at a set time and place to perform a coordinated activity, often organized via a viral email or text.

Now, flash mobs are converging on stores and stealing things in a trend commonly referred to as “flash robs.” Stores from Portland, Ore. to Chicago, Ill. were overwhelmed last year with young people who entered a store in sync and stole items while clerks helplessly watched.

Here in Washington, a state legislator wants to address the problem by making it easier to prosecute groups of people who organize a theft spree via text or email.

Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, has introduced a bill in the state Senate that would allow groups of nine or more people to be charged with organized retail theft if they collectively steal $250 or more in merchandise and use electronic messages to plan the crime. Existing law requires an individual person to steal goods worth $750 or more to be charged with organized retail theft, which is a felony.

Carrell’s proposal, Senate Bill 5178, will have a hearing at 8 a.m. Friday before the Senate Law & Justice Committee.

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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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Senate committees get new leaders, including Pam Roach, Randi Becker, Mike Carrell

The political earthquake today that gives control of the state Senate to Republicans and two Democrats will reshuffle the leadership roster.

The coalition announced they would put Republicans in charge of some of the most important committees, including budget-writing Ways and Means (Andy Hill of Redmond instead of the Democrats’ pick, Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam), Education (Steve Litzow of Mercer Island replacing Rosemary McAuliffe of Bothell), Commerce and Labor (Janea Holmquist Newbry of Moses Lake taking over from Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle) and the judiciary or justice committee (Mike Padden of Spokane Valley replacing Adam Kline of Seattle).

Randi Becker of Eatonville,

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Sen. Debbie Regala takes up death-penalty abolition

In recent years, Sen. Ed Murray has repeatedly taken the lead in the Legislature in trying to abolish the death penalty. This year, the Ways and Means chairman and gay-rights advocate is a little busy trying to write a state budget and legalize same-sex marriage.

Taking over this perennial heavy lift is Tacoma Sen. Debbie Regala.

The Democrat is working with the American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of groups that opposes the death penalty and is coming to Olympia Wednesday to lobby lawmakers to abolish capital punishment and to speak at a public hearing

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Sen. Mike Carrell files bill to change ethics investigations

Carrell has been the chief agitator of the Department of Corrections over a case in which the Executive Ethics Board found cause to believe an administrator committed ethics violations by managing nonprofit groups on the job.

Corrections staff conducted an internal investigation first, which Carrell said shouldn’t be allowed for a top administrator. The measure introduced today by the Lakewood Republican would require an independent investigation.

The ethics board has few employees and has argued it can’t take on full investigations without more money from the Legislature.

Carrell’s bill also called for termination of employees who commit serious violations.

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Committee endorses aid for veterans, military spouses

A series of efforts aimed at helping veterans and military families won unanimous backing today from a task force of state lawmakers.

The ideas endorsed by the Joint Committee on Veterans’ and Military Affairs could be considered by the Legislature in the ongoing emergency budget session but are more likely to wait until January. They include:

  • An expedited process for professional licensing of military spouses. Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, said his proposal would apply to wives and husbands who are licensed in another state and are transferred to Washington. They would get a temporary license and a quicker

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DOC salaries don’t violate rules

The salaries of the Department of Corrections employees who worked for Belinda Stewart were in line with required salary ranges, according to data provided today by the governor’s budget office.

State Sen. Mike Carrell had said they were above the ranges. His online posting led to an ethics complaint dismissed today.

The reason for the discrepancy:  The official salary document Carrell cited in his newsletter didn’t reflect a 3 percent pay cut that state employees took this year, while the official salary range on the Department of Personnel website did reflect the cut.

According to the budget office’s data,

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