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Category: General Politics

July
12th

Backers of labeling for genetically-engineered foods say 66 percent in poll are supporting Initiative 522

Backers of the Initiative 522 campaign to require labeling of genetically engineered foods said Friday their own polling shows 66 percent public support for the measure. The poll was done by GBA Strategies of Washington, D.C., and it queried 1,200 likely voters during June 18-23. The survey included respondents on land lines and cell phones and had an error margin of plus-or-minus 2.8 percent.

According to the poll memo released by Elizabeth Larter, spokeswoman for I-522, the pollsters asked: 

Initiative Measure Number 522 concerns labeling of genetically engineered foods. This

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June
12th

U.S. Rep. Heck wins passage for first bill; it allows quick reform of reverse mortgage rules

First-year Congressman Denny Heck of Olympia pushed his first piece of legislation through the U.S. House on Wednesday, passing a reverse-mortgage reform bill on a voice vote. The measure, H.R. 2167, now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Heck, a Democrat representing Washington’s new 10th Congressional District, sponsored the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act at the behest of the Federal Housing Administration, which reports a higher rate of underwater mortgages in its reverse-mortgage portfolio than its holdings overall.

Heck said the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act lets FHA make rule changes quickly by letter to mortgagees and

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June
6th

House approves $109.9 million telecommunications tax bill on bipartisan vote

The state House passed a bill to equalize taxes levied on various telecommunications services Thursday, winning strong support from both sides of the aisle for what is in effect a $109.9 million increase in taxes on home and cell telephone services. The vote in the Democrat-controlled chamber was a lopsided 74-to-18 with more than 20 Republicans voting for it and just 17 opposed. Among Democrats, only Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver voted against it – something the first-year lawmaker has done on several tax measures this year.

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June
4th

McKenna launches ‘smarter government’ web site; is forming nonprofit that may have advocacy role

Republican Rob McKenna, the state’s leading Republican figure after his vigorous run for governor last year, probably isn’t coming back to public life as a candidate any time soon. But his new web site devoted to “smarter government” ideas is up and running. Within weeks the former Washington attorney general’s other forays back into public policy and politics should become clearer as the details of his nascent and nonprofit Reform Alliance (aka REAL) organization is birthed.

“Today we launch my new website, which will replace my RobMcKenna.org campaign site,” McKenna wrote on his site, which will

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May
22nd

Gov. Inslee signs bill giving adoptees more access to birth records

 

As an adoptee, state Rep. Tina Orwall once hoped to win more disclosure. As one who gave up a child for adoption, Sen. Ann Rivers didn’t want to allow more. In the end, a compromise bill signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee this week strikes a middle ground both lawmakers are hailing as a step forward for those involved in adoptions.

The legislation – House Bill 1525  lets those adopted before October 1993 obtain a copy of their original birth record, if the birth

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May
22nd

UPDATE – Salary commission just set pay – giving Supreme Court justices higher pay than governor

 

If case you wondered, Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t getting a pay raise this year – or in 2014. But the nine members of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen will get raises on Sept. 1 – when their pay rises above that even of the governor.

The Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials finished its work today and it is holding pay for governor – the top elected official’s spot – at $166,891. That’s the same it’s been since September 2008, shortly before the economy’s bottom fell out.

UPDATE: “It’s appropriate for these times

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May
14th

Supreme Court hears arguments over legitimacy of $95M court award to care workers for the severely disabled

The Washington Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a class-action case brought by “live-in” home care aides against the state Department of Social and Health Services over unpaid work hours that could cost taxpayers $95 million or more, if the court upholds earlier court rulings.

TVW’s coverage of the hearing is here:

The 22,000 workers in the suit tend for disabled clients, some of them severely, and they saw their work hours cut by an average of 15 percent during 2003-07 under a “shared living” rule adopted by the state agency for Medicaid clients.

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April
9th

Senate’s capital budget has $1M for Thurston Food Bank, $816K for Oly Performing Arts Center; GOP proposal goes lighter on environment projects

The Thurston County Food Bank is earmarked for $1 million in the state Senate Majority Coalition’s proposed capital budget. The money would help pay for a warehouse purchase in Tumwater, refrigeration equipment in the new storage space and also a new roof for the food bank’s distribution center in downtown Olympia.

The $3.6 billion Senate proposal authored by Republican Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside went public Tuesday, and the House is expected to follow suit at noon Wednesday with its capital-construction plan.

The Senate proposal has money for other South Sound projects of note:

  •  $816,000 for the Washington

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