Legislature passes bills panned by growth-management watchdogs

Three bills that “substantially weaken” Washington state’s Growth Management Act were passed this year. Democrats largely went along with the concerns that traditionally have been embodied in Republican critiques of the law, in an attempt to close an extremely lenient loophole for developers. But Republicans refused to reciprocate.

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.