Worry: the sixth ‘W’ of journalism

Stress is the bedfellow of serious journalism – and for good reason
As a young reporter I was taught about the five W’s of journalism: Who, what, where, when and why. Nearly 20 years into my career, I’ve realized that another “W” word is critical to doing my job: worry. Take, for example, the recent story I wrote for InvestigateWest, in partnership with The Nation. The story tries to answer the question of why the Goldwater Institute, a conservative Republican think tank in Arizona was trying to use a series of lawsuits to dismantle the Indian Child Welfare Act, a landmark law created to keep Indian families intact. The article follows the people involved, the lawyers who are bringing the lawsuits, and the tribal members who would feel its impact.

Turning the tide

Americans – along with Europeans – account for 2/3 of world imports of seafood. Here we describe America’s battleplan for keeping seafood legal in the U.S. and helping American consumers avoid being a driver of the $23 billion annual market for illegal seafood.

Will Washington State be first in taxing greenhouse gases?

OLYMPIA – Could 2017 be the year Washington emerges as the first state to tax emissions of a greenhouse gas? Barring some unusual turn of events as legislators finalize the state budget here, don’t count on it. But that assessment comes with an asterisk. There are signs that business opposition to the idea is softening. Meanwhile, environmentalists and their allies have made it clear that if the Legislature doesn’t act this spring, they’ll bring to issue to voters next year.

New report highlights foster care’s failings as legislators debate funding

A recent report by the Children’s Administration shows how many of the highest-needs foster children in its custody are falling through the cracks. This “placement crisis,” as agency leaders and lawmakers have taken to calling it, has largely been the result of insufficient and unpredictable state budgets. A bill that would have improved funding for the state’s foster care system has died in the Senate.

A Right-Wing Think Tank Is Trying to Bring Down the Indian Child Welfare Act. Why?

A Right-Wing Think Tank Is Trying to Bring Down the Indian Child Welfare Act: Evangelical and anti-Indian-sovereignty groups, adoption advocates, and conservative organizations like the Cato Institute have united behind the Goldwater Institute in attempts to dismantle aspects of a law intended to protect Native American children. Many tribal members fear that if Goldwater is successful, it could undermine the legal scaffolding of Native American self-determination.

Black riders face stiffest transit penalty at rates more than six times that of whites

Black riders face stiffest transit penalty: A study of fare enforcement on TriMet found no disparities last year. But that study didn’t take into account data that show police assigned exclusively to TriMet charge black transit riders with interfering with public transit – a misdemeanor on par with drunk driving – at rates at least 6.4 times those of white riders.

Six bills look to transform transparency in Oregon

Well, we’ve finally arrived. Transparency season in the Oregon Legislature. Hard to know where it all will lead, but the fact that we got here – and with more proposals in favor of transparency than against it – is at least a good sign for Oregon. Here’s my summary of what’s on the menu, along with the state of the union for each proposal:
Senate Bill 481: This is the offspring of the Attorney General’s Public Records Task Force. It’s potentially the heaviest hitting piece of legislation on the table.

House committee votes on extending tug escorts to oil barges

An expected expansion of Canada’s Kinder-Morgan pipeline could increase the number of oil-carrying vessels in the Salish Sea seven-fold. In preparation for that, Washington Democrats are trying to pass legislation that would improve oil transportation safety, particularly on the water. But it’s an uphill battle and the clock is ticking.

Trump is not the only one cutting Puget Sound funding

President Trump’s proposed $28 million cut of Puget Sound restoration funding has provoked an outcry. But loss of federal funding is not the only cause for concern. State funding, which pays for a much larger share of those restoration costs, also is facing cuts, leaving the fate of Puget Sound restoration funding up in the air.

Fish habitat protection program stirs controversy

The Washington Legislature is considering a bill on whether and how to strengthen one of the state’s oldest natural resource permits and the only one dedicated to protecting fish habitat. But the threat of lawsuits, potential budget cuts, and a decades old jurisdiction debate may prevent it from passing.