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Inslee keeping open mind on Med School control

Sept. 4, 2014 5:16 p.m. - Updated: 5:28 p.m.

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee said he’s keeping an open mind about which state university should operate a medical school in Spokane, but he has no problem with the two school using state resources to make their case to the public.

Asked Thursday whether the University of Washington or Washington State University should run a new school to train physicians in Spokane, Inslee said other questions that are more important to answer first. Among them are the true need for additional doctors, the most cost-effective solution and the effects any new system would have on the current five-state consortium to train doctors that UW operates.

“I do not go into it with any preconceived notions,” Inslee said during a press conference that also discussed public school funding and the state’s economy. . . 

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Inslee approves group to protect WA military bases

Sept. 3, 2014 5:43 p.m. - Updated: 5:43 p.m.

Rich Hadley talks with Gov. Jay Inslee at the announcement of the reformation of the Washington Military Alliance.

OLYMPIA – Protecting the jobs and economic stimulus from the many military installations in Washington is “a no-brainer”, Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday as he resurrected a coalition of groups from around the state to prepare for any cutbacks in the nation’s defense budget.

The Washington Military Alliance – which will have members from economic development offices, chambers of commerce and military installations – will help the protect defense jobs, contracts and infrastructure in the state. A 2012 study estimated about 136,000 jobs and some $15.7 billion in economic activity are tied to military bases around the state and billions more are tied to contracts the Defense Department has with businesses throughout Washington. . . 

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Hastings endorses Newhouse

Sept. 3, 2014 1:15 p.m. - Updated: 1:15 p.m.

Rep. Doc Hastings today endorsed Dan Newhouse as his replacement for Washington's 4th Congressional District seat.

Newhouse, the former state agriculture director, is running against Eltopia farmer and fellow Republican Clint Didier in the Central Washington district. 

Didier replied that Hastings was being pressured by “the Republican establishment and beltway insiders” to endorse Newhouse. 

“And remember, Doc is part of Speaker John Boehner's management team,” Didier said in his press release knocking the endorsement.

That's arguable. Hastings is a chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, but he's not part of House GOP leadership structure below Boehner.


Supremes hear McCleary arguments today

Sept. 3, 2014 11:27 a.m. - Updated: 11:34 a.m.

OLYMPIA — The state Supreme Court will be asked this afternoon to punish the Legislature for not coming up with a plan to improve public schools during the 2014 session. 

Attorneys for education advocates who filed the case now known as “McCleary” for the name of the first plaintiffs on the lawsuit will argue that the justices should come down hard on the Lege. The state attorney general's office will argue the court should wait until at least after the 2015 session, which is one where major budget decisions will be made — but also suggest the court should let legislators know what's in store for them if they don't come up with a plan.

In other words, a little incentive to guide them on their discussions and deliberations.

Each side has 20 minutes to plead its case, starting at 2 p.m. 


John Moyer, legislator and physician, dead at 92

Sept. 2, 2014 6:17 p.m. - Updated: 6:20 p.m.

As a physician, John Moyer had a soft voice and a calm bedside manner that brought thousands of Spokane’s babies into the world. As a legislator, he helped set Washington on the road to making sure all of its children would have health care.

Moyer, who represented two different Spokane legislative districts over a 10-year stretch, died last week from complications of Parkinson’s Disease at 92.

“He was a wonderful, kind-hearted guy,” state Sen. Mike Padden said Tuesday. “He wasn’t a natural when it came to politics.”

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Sunday Spin: Call Mad Men. We’ve got rules for pot ads

Aug. 30, 2014 5:40 p.m.

Every time I forget how far Washington’s venture into the world of legalized recreational marijuana is taking us from the days when pot was illegal and thus the stuff of counterculture song and legend, the state does something to remind me.

It happened again last week when the state Liquor Control Board released a set of Frequently Asked Questions about advertising marijuana.

Think about that for a minute. Less than two years ago, having a place with pounds of marijuana that you would sell in small batches to anyone who happened in could put you in prison for a long time. Now the state has guidelines for Mad Men to follow as you try to outsell your competitors.

Cue Tommy Chong singing “No stems no seeds that you don’t need, Acapulco Gold is … badass weed.”

Which apparently would be OK under certain circumstances, according to the FAQs. . . 

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Inslee to Yakima: Don’t appeal Voting Rights ruling

Aug. 28, 2014 4:30 p.m. - Updated: 4:43 p.m.

OLYMPIA — The city of Yakima should not appeal a federal judge's order that invalidates the way city officials are elected because is unfair to Latinos , Gov. Jay Inslee said today.

In a letter to the Yakima City Council, Inslee said it should”show leadership” and focus on a plan that will improve its system. 

U.S. District Thomas Rice recently found Yakima in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and invalidated the way city council members are elected. Under the current system, four council members run in districts for the primary but citywide in the general; three others are elected citywide. That system “routinely suffocates the voting preferences of the Latino minority,” Rice said and set an Oct. 3 hearing for redistricting plans.

Many jurisdictions in the state suffer from a lack of diversity in political leadership and representation, Inslee wrote in a letter to the council. “This is an opportunity for a show of civic leadership that I believe would be admired throughout Washington,” he wrote.


Today’s fun video: GOP has ‘mountain to climb’

Aug. 28, 2014 1:36 p.m. - Updated: 1:43 p.m.


Washington state Republican prospects for capturing the governor's mansion apparently are so bleak that state Chairwoman Sheryl Hutchison has taken to YouTube and likened it to climbing a mountain.

The analogy is somewhat strained, particularly where Hutchison talks about how both mountain climbers and political activists need tools, and for activists it's apparently a smart phone. Later on, there's sort of an uncomfortable moment when Hutchison says “I want to be roped up with you.”

But there hasn't been a Republican in the governor's mansion since January 1985, so maybe they need something like this to get the juices flowing.


Today’s fun video: How not to do the ALS ice bucket challenge

Aug. 27, 2014 11:22 a.m. - Updated: 11:31 a.m.


The ALS ice bucket challenge has, somewhat inexplicably, become a hot item for a wide variety of people, including politicians and — in some cases — newspaper columnists.

It's a pretty simple concept. You dump ice water over your head. But with its popularity, it was inevitable that someone would find a way to mess it up.

What are the odds that person would be an American flag vest and desert camo-wearing, Confederate flag-waving, hip-flask swilling yahoo? Come to think of it, probably pretty good.

Warning: Some of the language in here would be considered not safe for work or appropriate for children.


Court asked not to sanction Lege over school funding

Aug. 26, 2014 6:36 p.m. - Updated: Aug. 27, 9:55 a.m.

OLYMPIA – The Supreme Court should not go down a “slippery slope” and punish the Legislature because it didn’t come up with a complete plan earlier this year to improve public schools, the state attorney general’s office said.

Although the public education is the state’s “paramount” duty, it is not the only duty, and the Legislature still has to pay for programs for public health, safety and welfare, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and a group of senior assistants said this week in their last written argument before all sides in the case appear before the state’s highest court next Wednesday. . .

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