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On The Impact tonight: Health care reform – the people affected & Rob McKenna

By | March 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

On The Impact tonight, you’ll see updates from a couple people we interviewed just after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law.  The original interviews were part of our hour-long special report, Shock to the System: How national reform is changing your health care.  Tonight, we find out what’s happened to Liz Teisan, a woman who was denied insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions.  We also check in with Don Conant, a small business owner and skeptic of the law, who is now involved in the law’s implementation at the state level.  I also have a one-on-one interview with Attorney General Rob McKenna about Washington’s involvement in the legal challenge of the individual mandate and other provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  Due to time constraints, we had to cut short that interview on the show, so here it is in its entirety.

You can watch The Impact Wednesday nights at 7 & 10 p.m. on TVW.

Categories: Healthcare

Judge upholds liquor privatization initiative – watch the ruling here

By | March 19, 2012 | 0 Comments

A Cowlitz County judge reversed his previous ruling on a voter-approved liquor privatization initiative, allowing for implementation to continue.  Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning ruled the initiative had two subjects, rendering it unconstitutional.  On Monday, he changed his mind.

“While nobody likes to say that they are wrong, and I think judges least of all, I think I was previously,” said Warning.

Watch his entire ruling below.  Then, on Wednesday, tune into The Impact for my interview with the director of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, who updates us on progress toward implementing I-1183, even as this Cowlitz County case is appealed to the State Supreme Court.

You can watch The Impact Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. on TVW.


House budget chair offers new budget proposal

By | March 8, 2012 | 0 Comments

A new budget proposal, if passed by both chambers today, could get the legislature out of Olympia without a special session.  A summary of the proposal is posted here.  It’s an amendment to replace the details of the Senate Republican budget, which was passed last week when three Democrats crossed party lines to support the GOP plan.  I”m still reviewing the plan before heading up to the Capitol Rotunda for our daylong live coverage of sine die, but the proposal includes the controversial deferral of payments to school districts worth $340 million, down from the House Democrats’ original proposal to shift more than $400 million.  It’s something Senate Republicans have opposed, calling it an accounting “gimmick.”  If the House inserts this proposal into the Senate Republican budget today and pass it off their floor, the bill goes back to the Senate and that chamber can give it an up or down vote – the Senate would not be able to amend it.

The Impact’s special coverage of sine die begins at 8:45am with a press panel analysis of the legislative session.  We’re planning to be live with the governor at 9am – stay tuned for her comments on this latest budget proposal.

Categories: Uncategorized

No budget deal on the horizon, Zarelli and Kastama tell TVW

By | March 7, 2012 | 0 Comments

On The Impact set this morning, I interviewed two key figures in the Republican takeover of the Senate budget — Sens. Joe Zarelli (R-Ridgefield) and Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup).  Before the taped interview started, we talked about the negotiations process.  While the governor said she’d be pushing until midnight yesterday to hammer out a go-home deal, Zarelli said his last discussion with the governor was at 6 p.m., and he had yet to get a response to engage in formal negotiations with House Democrats, whose version of the budget was voted out of that chamber a week ago.  Kastama said during the interview that he wants the Senate Republican budget to be negotiated with the House Democrats’ budget — regardless of whether his priority reform measures are passed.

The entire episode of The Impact will air on TVW tonight at 7 p.m., unless it’s preempted by live floor action.  We’ll also be based in the Capitol Rotunda tomorrow for a full day of live and taped interviews.

Categories: Uncategorized

Fund Education First budget proposal is “more symbolism than substance,” according to Senate Majority Leader

By | February 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

Less than hour after the House Republicans unveiled their stand-alone education budget proposal, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown dismissed it as “more symbolism than substance.” Brown was responding to a reporter’s question at her weekly media availability. She said the state has a responsibility to fund not only basic education, but also a “broad spectrum” of programs from early learning to natural resources. The House Republican education budget would shave $46 million from education, leaving most of the $1.5 billion in likely cuts to come from other programs. Brown said “if you fund education first and pretend there aren’t tradeoffs, I think that’s a bait-and-switch.”

On transportation funding, Brown said the governor’s proposal to charge $1.50 per barrel of oil has “rolled away” and indicated transportation leaders are working on a smaller funding package through a number of fees.  On a question about possible threats from Wednesday night’s same-sex marriage vote, she said lawmakers get harassed over all sorts of issues.  She wasn’t aware of any threats that required police involvement.

On The Impact tonight: Congressman Adam Smith on defense spending cuts, a payroll tax extension and unemployment benefits

By | December 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

Congressman Adam Smith, D-9th District, is the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.  He joins me to talk about defense cuts, in the wake of the supercommittee’s failure to reach a grand deficit-reduction compromise.  He also explains his opposition to a payroll tax holiday extension and what he makes of the Occupy movement.  In my show tonight, I had to cut down the interview for time, so here it is in its entirety:

Also on tonight’s show, we take a look at cuts to addiction and mental health services.  On set are two key lawmakers on this topic:  Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, and Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood.  You can watch The Impact Wednesday nights at 7:00pm and 10:00pm on TVW.

Categories: Uncategorized

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s take on taxes, the budget, protests and more — exclusive interview from The Impact

By | November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

On tonight’s edition of The Impact, I talk with Gov. Chris Gregoire about her tax proposal, the state budget, special session, her thoughts on the Occupy protests at the capitol — and much more. We didn’t have time to air the entire interview on the show, so I’m posting the full, unedited version here.

But don’t miss tonigh’ts show: We’ve also got more on the protests, an on-set interview and news from the first week of this 30-day special session. You can watch at 7 and 10 p.m. on TVW.

Learn more about Elwha River dam removal on The Impact and through these links

By | September 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

theimpact_cropped150On The Impact on TVW at 7:00 pm tonight, you’ll see part of the big weekend ceremony, launching the removal of two dams on the Elwha River. When those dams come down, supporters say the free-flowing river will allow endangered salmon to return.  The National Park Service estimates 3,000 salmon were in the river before the dam removal.  When those dams went up in the early 1900s, it’s estimated that 300,000 salmon ran the river each year.

During the last scientific tour before demolition began, we interviewed two federal scientists who talk about the challenges of restoring salmon habitat, how this effort compares to other dam removals around the country, and how long it will take for abundant salmon runs to return. But there’s so much more to learn, so I’m providing you some links to the National Park Service, a site monitoring the removal through webcams, and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, which all have much more information.

Also on The Impact tonight, I’m interviewing Les Purce, president of The Evergreen State College in Olympia.  Students are returning to campus this week, amid new concerns of another round of budget cuts. You can watch The Impact on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm on TVW and at various times on our four PBS partners.

Working on The Impact special report: Ferries director David Moseley assures the bigger boats are coming

By | August 26, 2011 | 0 Comments

theimpact_cropped150The Washington State Ferry system has faced challenge after challenge over the past decade or so.  Among the major issues is its boat-building program.  With three new 64-car ferries nearly complete, the next step is to build boats that can carry about 144 cars – these boats are considered more versatile with the ability to serve larger routes throughout the system.  The legislature secured money for the first of two 144-car ferries, and ferry administrators are working toward a contract to start the first one.

Interview with WSF director David Moseley at Bainbridge Island church, where he addressed concerned citizens

Interview with WSF director David Moseley at a Bainbridge Island church, where he had just finished addressing a group of engaged citizens

In a 40-minute, in-depth interview with ferries director David Moseley, he talked about the importance of new boats to the aging fleet, as the three Evergreen State Class ferries near the end of their 60-year lifecycle.

Bidding issues have held up boat-building programs before, and it wasn’t until the 80-year-old Steel Electrics were suddenly pulled from the system in 2007 that the 64-car program was pushed through. With the 144s in the pipeline Moseley told me “we’ve got the money to build, and we’re going to start building the 144s next year.”

Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, has expressed concerns about the direction of the past and present boat procurement process (for background go here), and he’s asking the governor and state auditor’s office to investigate.

Will the state ferry system’s vessel replacement program continue to navigate rough waters in the future, as it has in the past?  It’s just one of the many questions we’re asking in our special report – Staying Afloat:  Challenges facing Washington State ferries.  Stay tuned for the premier on Tuesday, September 27th at 7:00 pm, on TVW.

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Working on The Impact Special Report: Washington’s Marine Highways

By | August 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

theimpact_cropped150While The Impact’s weekly show is on a two-month hiatus, I’m spending my time riding Washington State ferries to various Puget Sound islands:  Bainbridge, San Juans, Whidbey.  This is not a vacation; this is a plum, summer-long special assignment.  I’m exploring the current challenges of one of the world’s largest ferry systems, which transports 23 million riders a year through nine routes in the Puget Sound.  It’s a critical transportation link for commuters and commercial traffic, and it’s widely considered one of the biggest tourism draws for the state. And yet, ferry operations, maintenance and construction face persistent funding problems; fares have skyrocketed over the past decade while ridership has declined; and ferry administrators have been forced to fight off a series of public relations disasters.  In order to better understand these issues, Washington State Ferries managers have granted us unprecedented access to the boats and maintenance facilities.

ferry san juans

Riding on the MV Sealth, an inter-island ferry for the San Juan Islands

But before we can fully grasp today’s issues, we need to understand how the Puget Sound marine highway developed starting in the late 1800s.  From its origins as a disjointed fleet of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of boats known as the “Mosquito Fleet”, to the dominance of a single private ferry company known as the Black Ball Line, to the state’s decision to take over the ferry system in 1951, we’ll examine how the ferry system became what it is today.

And then we’ll look to the future and ask tough questions:  how can policymakers keep the ferry system afloat? Can they find funding to replace more than half the fleet over the next three decades? Should the state be in the ferry business at all or should private enterprise be brought in to modernize it? And if state leaders can’t provide more predictability over services and fares for customers or improve the ferry system’s public image, will ferry riders abandon the service all together?

We’re interviewing riders, ferry workers, the state ferry chief, state legislators, local elected leaders, transportation analysts, history buffs and more.  Stay tuned for The Impact special report on TVW, coming in September.

Categories: Uncategorized