Washington State Journal - Building a stronger, more just & transparent democracy


Sorted by date  Results 1 - 33 of 33

 By Ian Haupt    Justice

Boule civil case goes to U.S. Supreme Court, could expand First Amendment rights

A civil case between Smuggler's Inn owner Bob Boule and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent has made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Boule sued border patrol agent Erik Egbert... — Updated 11/19/2021

 By Grace McCarthy    Justice

Seattle jury convicts Bellingham woman of attempted train shunt attack Grace McCarthy

A Seattle jury convicted a 28-year-old Bellingham woman charged with one count of violence against a railroad carrier for attempting to derail a train in north Bellingham almost a... — Updated 9/16/2021

 By Sara Thompson    Justice

Appeals Court Upends State Shellfish Farming

After a years-long battle, a ruling by the federal district court of Western Washington was unanimously upheld by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in February affirming that... — Updated 5/21/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Significant police reform on track in Legislature

Limits on the use of force by police and investigations of officers who have a pattern of misconduct continue to make their way through the Legislature, with some bills winning broad approval and with some passing only on party... — Updated 3/26/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

House approves ban on certain police use-of-force tactics

A ban on the use of chokeholds, military equipment, and most types of car chases by law enforcement passed the House of Representatives after lawmakers voted along party lines in a 54-43 vote Feb. 27. HB 1054 was the subject of... — Updated 3/10/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Juneteenth steps toward state holiday status

Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley, D-Seattle, often sees her grandmother’s features when she looks in the mirror. She thinks of how her grandmother, a woman of color, experienced systemic racism and fought for a better life despite... — Updated 3/10/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Justice

Bill that bans private prisons wins bipartisan support

Washington’s only private detention center is proposed for closure. House Bill 1090 prohibits any person, business or government from operating private, for-profit detention facilities. It recently passed in the House of... — Updated 3/8/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Justice

Measures looking to limit executive powers die in state legislature

It’s been one year since Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and calls for a special legislative session and cries of executive overreach have been constant ever since. A special... — Updated 3/3/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Free attorneys, extended ban on evictions considered

An extension of an eviction moratorium for another two years and free attorneys for tenants who face eviction are proposed in a new bill that landlords say would decimate their industry. “It’s our goal to balance the needs of... — Updated 3/3/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Police accountability bills push through Legislature

Outrage over deaths of citizens in police custody sparked efforts by lawmakers to address racial equity, hiring and training, and the use of force within law enforcement. Now, nearing the halfway point in the 2021 legislative... — Updated 2/26/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Justice

In wake of major data breach, cyber security office proposed

Reeling from a December breach that allowed hackers to access the personal information of roughly 1.6 million Washington residents, state lawmakers are working with Gov. Jay Inslee to establish a new office to protect state data.... — Updated 2/24/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Bill would ban open-carry weapons at state capitol protests

A proposed ban on open-carry weapons during public demonstrations sparked a heated debate on whether the bill unreasonably restricts the Second Amendment to secure the protections of the First. The Senate Law & Justice Committee... — Updated 2/10/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Justice

House approves bills on public access, tax exemptions, online training

A set of three bills designed to keep essential functions of the state running during the COVID pandemic and future emergencies passed unanimously on Jan. 22 in the first virtual roll call vote the House of Representatives held... — Updated 2/5/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Bill would establish office to investigate police use of force

Fred Thomas believes if an independent team had investigated his son’s death, the outcome would have been much different. In May 2013, 30-year-old Leonard Thomas was shot by Lakewood police sniper Brian Markert after a four-hour... — Updated 1/27/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Unlawful calls to police get scrutiny

A person who unlawfully summons the police on someone could face a civil action lawsuit under a proposed law that is gaining traction in the Legislature. Senate Bill 5135 would allow an individual to pursue civil action against a... — Updated 1/27/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

State patrol, National Guard will secure capitol campus ahead of inauguration

Hundreds of officers from the Washington State Patrol and the National Guard will continue to surround the Capitol Campus in Olympia through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. WSP spokesperson Chris Loftis said the... — Updated 1/22/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Bill promotes automatic right to vote for people released from prison

Formerly incarcerated people would automatically regain their right to vote if a proposed bill in the Washington State Legislature is approved. Rep. Tarra Simmons (D-Bremerton), the first formerly incarcerated person to serve in... — Updated 1/21/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Use of police force elicits emotional testimony

A proposed ban on the use of chokeholds, unleashed K-9 dogs and other use-of-force tactics by law enforcement is just the beginning of an effort by several state lawmakers to address police violence and its impact on marginalized... — Updated 1/19/2021

 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Policing, racial injustice, governor's power on Legislative agenda

This year's legislature won't just be about numbers and budgets: it will explore social inequities, the proper role of policing and just how much authority the governor is due. Gov. Jay Inslee said his budget proposal specifies... — Updated 1/14/2021


Security increased for Legislature's opening day

Increased security is now expected around the Capitol building in Olympia on Jan. 11 for the start of the 2021 Legislative session. The decision to add security follows the... — Updated 1/14/2021

 By Patrick Grubb    Justice

Memo documents official order for extreme vetting at border

In a bulletin issued by the tactical analytical unit (TAU) in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Seattle Field Office, officers were instructed to conduct vetting on all individuals who met certain criteria, including being... — Updated 1/8/2021

 By Patrick Grubb    Justice

Border crackdown on Iranians a local initiative, whistleblower says

A Blaine-area Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer says the recent "extreme vetting" of travelers with Iranian backgrounds occurred under the direction of Blaine port... — Updated 1/8/2021


Lawmakers move to limit companies that trade your data

Washington lawmakers have proposed groundbreaking legislation that aims to give consumers more control over their digitally-collected personal data and image. Senate Bill 6281, or the Washington Privacy Act, would allow consumers t... — Updated 1/8/2021


House passes bill to expand court-ordered gun confiscation

Courts could be one step closer to ordering people subject to vulnerable adult protection orders to surrender their firearms after the House voted 55 to 42 on Friday, Feb. 14 in favor of a bill that expands authority to do so.... — Updated 1/8/2021


ICE facility expansion gets thumbs down in the House

Expansion of an Immigration Customs Enforcement detention center in Tacoma is now in doubt following a vote in the state House of Representatives. House Bill 2640, which passed the House 85 to 12, asserts the privately owned... — Updated 1/8/2021

 By Leona Vaughn    Justice

Expanded protections for workers, minorities headed for approval

Several bills that expand protections for workers and minorities are headed for Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for approval. House Bill 2567, which would outlaw arrests for civil matters at court houses unless there is a warrant issued,... — Updated 1/8/2021


Attorney General Bob Ferguson Sues Vape Company Juul

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a consumer protection lawsuit Sept. 2 against the e-cigarette company Juul, asserting that the company's products and marketing... — Updated 12/9/2020


Proposed ban on for-profit detention facilities passes Senate

Washington prison inmates won’t be transferred to private out-of-state prisons under a proposal now under consideration by the state Legislature. Senate lawmakers voted 30 to 18 to move the bill along. Senator Rebecca Saldaña,... — Updated 2/20/2020

 By Leona Vaughn    Justice

Solitary confinement for juveniles called inhumane

Solitary confinement as a form of punishment in juvenile detention facilities is should be banned, lawmakers say. “Nationally, there’s a growing consensus that solitary confinement is both unconstitutional and inhumane, and in... — Updated 2/12/2020

 By Leona Vaughn    Justice

Lawmakers move to ban high-capacity magazines

Gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition would be outlawed under a proposed law moving through the state Senate. Supporters cite safety concerns, while opponents... — Updated 2/12/2020

 By Leona Vaughn    Justice

Senate moves to kill death penalty

The death penalty would no longer be a sentencing option in Washington state if lawmakers enact a bill passed by the Senate on Friday, Jan. 31. Senate Bill 5339 has bipartisan support to eliminate the death penalty — a... — Updated 2/12/2020

 By Leona Vaughn    Justice

More options for treatment proposed for drug offenders

More people convicted of some crimes would be eligible for treatment in lieu of prison sentences if bills moving throught the Legislature become law. Senate Bill 6211 was heard by the Law and Justice Committee in an executive sessi... — Updated 2/7/2020


Blaine crunches data for traffic infraction enforcement

The Blaine Police Department, with assistance from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), plans to use more data to target its traffic enforcement activities, in an... — Updated 1/1/2020


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