I-405 express lane tolling on ‘The Impact’

By | November 25, 2015 | Comments

On “The Impact” this week, state legislators look at the new Interstate 405 express toll lanes and whether they’re moving traffic faster — or slowing other cars down.

Host Anita Kissee interviews House Transportation Committee members Rep. Judy Clibborn and Rep. Ed Orcutt.

The show also has highlights from several hearings during Legislative Committee Days.

Plus, details about the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The public has until Jan. 22 to comment on the statement, either in person or online.

“The Impact” airs Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 7 & 10 p.m.

Categories: transportation, TVW

Legislature considering fantasy sports bill

By | November 20, 2015 | Comments

Washington lawmakers are considering legalizing fantasy sports games played with groups of friends or coworkers with bets of $50 or less.

Republican Sen. Pam Roach is seeking to classify fantasy sports leagues as games of skill — rather than luck or chance — which would make them exempt from the state’s Gambling Act.

Washington is one of five states that bans fantasy sports games.

“We have hundreds of thousands of people in Washington who participate in something that is just a fun, kind of a trash talk game,” Roach said. “It’s just a fun thing.”

Roach outlined her proposal at a hearing of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Friday. It would fall under a 50/50/50 structure, limiting games to 50 people who place bets under $50. Participants would have to engage in at least 50 percent of the games.

Several supporters testified at the hearing that fantasy sports leagues do require skill because it involves following the statistics of players and having a deeper understanding of the game.

However, those who provide programs to problem gamblers said there is still an element of chance and fantasy sports games can have uncertain outcomes.

Maureen Greeley, executive director of the Evergreen Council of Problem Gambling, said she believes any legislation should come with industry standards and consumer protections, such as age restrictions or a limit on the amount of money that can be wagered over a period of time.

TVW taped the hearing. Watch it here.

Categories: Uncategorized

Washington Supreme Court won’t reconsider charter school ruling

By | November 20, 2015 | Comments

The Washington Supreme Court released an order Thursday saying it will not reconsider its September ruling invalidating the state’s charter school law.

The court ruled Sept. 4 that charter schools are unconstitutional and cannot receive public money because they are not “common schools” governed by elected school boards. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and a number of other charter school advocates asked the court to reconsider.

Voters approved charter schools through a 2012 initiative. Nine charter schools are open in Washington.

Read the court order here.

Hours before the Supreme Court released its order on Thursday, dozens of charter school students, parents and administrators appeared before a state Senate committee asking for legislation that would allow the schools to continue operating in Washington.

Several students told legislators at a Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing that they are excelling in charter school.

Katie Wilton, a ninth grader at Summit Olympus in Tacoma, said she was “shocked and devastated” to learn her school could be shut down. “We must fix this mess,” she said.

Other students said they appreciate the racial and cultural diversity in charter schools, the flexible learning environment and supportive teachers. Administrators for Summit said they pay their teachers slightly above the public school rate for that district and provide annual four percent pay raises.

TVW taped the hearing. It will be posted at this link.

Ecology outlines new clean air, water rules raising questions from chair about authority

By | November 19, 2015 | Comments

The Department of Ecology outlined plans for new air and water pollution rules on Thursday at a Senate committee, drawing questions from the Republican chairman about whether the agency has the authority to act.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee directed the department in July to develop a cap for carbon emissions under the state’s Clean Air Act after his own proposed cap-and-trade plan did not advance in the Legislature during the 2015 session.

Ecology is also moving forward with a new fish consumption rule that determines the amount of pollutants allowed in the state’s waterways. Inslee directed Ecology to rewrite those rules in October to match federal recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, questioned why the rulemaking was being done through the executive branch instead of the legislative branch. “At what point is there no point in having a Legislature?” he asked.

Ecology director Maia Bellon acknowledged there is “jostling” between the legislative and executive branches, but said she believes the department is acting under existing environmental laws.

“I feel comfortable that we have that authority,” Bellon said.

Ecology representatives updated the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee on the agency’s proposed rules.

The proposed clean air rule sets a cap on carbon pollution that would affect 31 companies in Washington that emit more than 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, such as industrial plants, power plants and landfills. The program is expected to begin in 2017, with the first emission reduction deadline in 2020.

The clean water rule is tied to a fish consumption rate that assumes residents can safely eat fish that is caught in the state’s rivers, lakes and streams. The proposal would increase the state’s fish consumption rate from 6.5 grams of fish per day to 175 grams, or about one fish fillet a day. It assumes a cancer risk rate of one in a million, which is more protective than previous proposals.

Read Ecology’s documents here.

TVW taped the committee hearing. It will be posted at this link.

Categories: Environment

TVW coverage during committee week, Nov. 19 and 20

By | November 18, 2015 | Comments

TVW is undergoing a major equipment replacement project that is impacting coverage.

During the Interim Legislative Assembly on November 19th and 20th, TVW will have mobile camera units covering two hearing rooms: Senate Hearing Room 4 and House Hearing Room B. TVW will cover all hearings in those rooms with live webcasts at tvw.org. The hearings will not be broadcast on live television.

Here is the list of committees that TVW will webcast live:

Nov. 19th:
8 a.m.: Joint Select Cmte on Health Care Oversight
8 a.m.: House Task Force on Washington Waters
10 a.m.: Senate Energy Environment & Telecommunications
1:30 p.m.: Senate Ways & Means joint hearing with Senate Early Learning & K12 Education
1:30 p.m.: House Agriculture & Natural Resources
3:30 p.m.: Senate Health Care
3:30 p.m.: House Transportation

Nov. 20th
8 a.m.: Senate Law & Justice
8 a.m.: House Capital Budget
10 a.m.: Senate Commerce & Labor
10 a.m.: House Environment
1:30 p.m.: House Business & Financial Services

For all the hearings that happen in the other hearing rooms — SHRs 1, 2, 3, and HHRs A, C, D, E — we will post audio files of those hearings on our website after the hearings take place. Check leg.wa.gov for committees scheduled to meet in those rooms.

The equipment replacement project is on schedule to be complete for the 2016 Legislative Session beginning Jan. 11th.

Categories: TVW

Eyman files new anti-tax ballot measure

By | November 18, 2015 | Comments

EymaninitiativeInitiative activist Tim Eyman filed a new anti-tax measure with the Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday that he says is aimed at Gov. Jay Inslee and 58 Democratic legislators who do not support a supermajority requirement of the Legislature to raise taxes.

The new ballot measure requires tax increases to expire after one year, unless the increase was approved by two-thirds of the Legislature.

The petition he intends to circulate has pictures of dozens of Democratic lawmakers who represent districts where voters supported a two-thirds requirement.

“These Democratic politicians refuse to let the people vote,” Eyman said.

The effort comes on the heels of another Eyman effort, Initiative 1366, which passed in November with 52 percent of the vote. The initiative is being challenged in the courts. It would cut the state sales tax unless the Legislature passes a constitutional amendment requiring new taxes be approved by a two-thirds majority of lawmakers or voters.

After filing the initiative, Eyman took his press conference to the lobby of the governor’s office, where he got into a back-and-forth with the governor’s spokesman, David Postman. Eyman asked why the governor is not allowing people to vote. Postman replied that people can vote, but the initiative will end up in court with the other Eyman-backed initiative.

Read the full text of the initiative here.


Categories: Election

On ‘The Impact:’ Online fantasy sports games, digital privacy

By | November 10, 2015 | Comments

This week’s edition of “The Impact” looks at online fantasy sports games, which are banned in Washington.

Lawmakers will soon debate whether to lift the ban on all fantasy sports games offering prize money, or just the ones between friends and co-workers. Washington Gambling Commissioner Chris Stearns discusses a new study on fantasy sports being presented to the commission this week.

Plus, details about the state’s new digital privacy guide and what can be done to better protect personal information from hackers. Washington’s Chief Privacy Officer Alex Alben is a guest on the show.

The show will also cover the latest on the Grays Harbor oil export terminals.

“The Impact” airs Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 7 & 10 p.m.

Categories: TVW

Initiatives 1366, 1401 winning in early results; Republicans look to gain seat in House

By | November 4, 2015 | Comments

Here’s a round-up of early election results from Nov. 3rd:

Initiative 1366 is winning, 54 percent to 46 percent. The measure, backed by initiative activist Tim Eyman, would decrease the state’s 6.5 percent sales tax to 5.5 percent unless the Legislature makes it harder to raise taxes. To avoid the estimated $8 billion loss in sales tax, the Legislature must approve a constitutional amendment before April 15 requiring a two-thirds vote to increase taxes. Currently, raising taxes requires a simple majority vote of the Legislature.

Initiative 1401 is winning, 71 percent to 29 percent. The measure aims to fight poaching by outlawing the sale or purchase of items made from ten endangered animals, such as elephant ivory, shark fins and tiger products. The penalty for breaking the law ranges from $1,000 to $10,000 in fines and potentially up to five years in jail.

30th Legislative District: Republican Teri Hickel is ahead with 54 percent of the vote, while Democrat Carol Gregory has 46 percent. If Hickel maintains the lead, Democrats will have only a two-seat majority in the House, 50-48. The Senate is controlled by Republicans. The 30th district includes Federal Way, Auburn and Des Moines.

9th Legislative District: Republican Mary Dye has a 65 percent lead over fellow Republican Richard Lathim, who has 35 percent. Dye was appointed to the seat in May following the resignation of Rep. Susan Fagan, who left during an ethics probe.

Results will be updated at the Secretary of State’s website here.


Categories: Election

Ride the Ducks suspension expected to continue through next year

By | November 3, 2015 | Comments

Ride the Ducks has been suspended from operating in Washington since a deadly September crash and state officials on Tuesday said an investigation is ongoing, with the suspension expected to continue through early next year.

A Ride the Ducks vehicle was involved in a Sept. 24 crash with a charter bus that killed five college students on the Aurora Bridge in Seattle.

A final report on the investigation into the Ride the Ducks operations by the Utilities and Transportation Commission is expected to be completed by Dec. 15. The commission will hold a hearing on the report in January or later, and the company will be given a chance to respond. The suspension of Ride the Ducks will remain in place until the UTC issues an order lifting it.

UTC’s David Pratt updated the commission on the investigation at a hearing in Olympia on Tuesday. He said interviews with Ride the Ducks staff have been completed, as well as physical inspections of 10 Ride the Duck vehicles. Inspections of the company’s “stretch” vehicles will be completed in mid-November.

The vehicle involved in the crash has been impounded by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is conducting its own investigation. Pratt said the board is sharing records with the UTC.

A representative from Ride the Ducks said on Tuesday “urgency is a paramount concern” for the company. She said the company is concerned with getting its 130 employees back to work and putting the 10 inspected vehicles back on the road. The company is no longer planning to use the Aurora Bridge route in the future.

TVW taped Tuesday’s hearing — it will be posted online at this link.

On TVW this week: House Environment and state Supreme Court

By | October 26, 2015 | Comments

TVW has a reduced schedule as we undergo an equipment overhaul. See the full air schedule for the week of Oct. 26th here.

Monday, Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m.: The House Environment Committee is holding a work session to review environmental permitting requirements for traffic and parking. As part of the ongoing equipment upgrade, we can only stream live audio from this event at this link. However, we are taping the hearing and will broadcast it in its entirely at a later date.

TVW will live webcast this week’s arguments at the Washington Supreme Court at the following links:

Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 9 a.m.: Richard J. Millies vs. LandAmerica Transnation & Falcon

10 a.m.: Washington Department of Labor & Industries v. Bart A. Rowley, Sr.

1:30 p.m.: Heidi Kroeber v. Geico Insurance Company

Thursday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m.: State of Washington v. Michael Allen Budd

Categories: TVW