Political Buzz

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Archives: Sep. 2011

Sep.
30th

Heard about the Lottery’s new Mercedes?

Some folks may think it’s just a new way for Washington’s Lottery to take suckers for a ride.

That’s not quite the agency mission, insists Lottery director Bill Hanson. So what is it?

Hanson said Friday that the agency bought a $49,000 Mercedes Sprinter van for use as a marketing tool to boost Lottery ticket sales at the Puyallup fair and other big festivals where it sets up for marketing . He said it is an idea the agency dreamed up to boost

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Sep.
30th

State sets pay bands for new CTS agency

State personnel director Eva Santos signed off Friday on new pay brackets for some 175 newly exempt workers in the Consolidated Technology Services agency, despite calls by labor and some Democratic lawmakers to wait until next year.

A dispute broke out late last month over how many workers will end up outside collective bargaining agreements after Consolidated Technology Services is up and running this weekend.

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Sep.
30th

Doctors follow through on ER suit

Emergency room doctors announced their lawsuit this morning in Thurston County Superior Court. The Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians is seeking to overturn new state rules limiting Medicaid clients to three visits to hospital emergency rooms for non-emergency conditions.

Jordan Schrader had the story in our Olympia and Tacoma McClatchy papers this morning about lawsuits piling up to challenge the Legislature’s budget cuts for 2011-13.

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Sep.
30th

Frank Warnke, longtime legislator and lobbyist, has died

Frank Warnke, who represented two different South King County districts in the state House and Senate for 18 years and later lobbied for clients including the Public School Employees union for which he was its first executive director, died at home Sept. 23 after a long illness.

The news was released by his family which said a public memorial will be scheduled sometime in November.

Warnke, a Democrat, represented the 30th District from 1973 to 1983. After redistricting, he then served two terms in the Senate from the 31st District from 1983 to 1991. In the Senate he was chairman

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Sep.
29th

Dorn: Superintendent’s office defying budget-cut order

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has told Gov. Chris Gregoire that his office won’t submit a budget proposal, saying that her orders to cut another 10 percent to education violate the state constitution.

Seeing a sinking revenue forecast, Gregoire has ordered all agencies to cut their budgets 10 percent. Lawmakers are returning to Olympia in November for a special session to deal with another shortfall that could grow to $2 billion.

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Sep.
29th

Report: Recent Capitol outages risked killing 2

A power outage on the state Capitol Campus on Aug. 21 was a “near miss” accident that could have seriously injured or killed two workers when power was restored, according to a state-paid consultant’s review of the incident.

The 26-page report from DHittle & Associates of Lynnwood, released today, recommends changes in Department of General Administration procedures to avoid putting workers at undue risk in the future. And it lays out some $300,000 in repairs to equipment damaged by what it says were two widespread outages that came after a planned one.

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Sep.
29th

A thousand words: Wayward cart finds way to councilman’s parking spot; photo op

Earlier this week, ace TNT intern Stephanie Kim wrote about a controversial proposal from City Councilman Ryan Mello that aims to “get abandoned shopping carts under control” to help reduce neighborhood blight.

The measure would impose fines on large grocery stores and retailers that don’t take steps to prevent carts from being taken from their property.  (Wayward carts are a real problem, some community proponents say, because they end up littering streets, parks and yards — sometimes miles away from the stores where they came from.)

But after some criticism from business reps and fellow council members who

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