GOP hopes to end 40-year Oregon gubernatorial losing streak

It’s been 35 years since there was a GOP governor in Oregon, however there are 19 Republican candidate hopefuls on this year’s primary ballot. Although political experts say this year, the Republican party may have a rare opportunity to earn the state’s highest elected position. Oregonians are frustrated with the state of the state under Democratic leadership, a possible split in votes among the majority party as unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson makes a gubernatorial run in the fall and the noticeable absence of an incumbent this election as Gov. Kate Brown is term-limited.

Judge permanently blocks Oregon's ban on homebuyer ‘love letters’

Prospective homebuyers in Oregon can continue to send “love letters” to people selling homes. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez on Wednesday permanently blocked the ban. The Oregon Legislature approved the ban last year, saying such letters could aid sellers in illegally choosing buyers based on factors such as race, color, religion, sex or sexual orientation, which would violate federal fair housing laws. Conservative public interest law firm the Pacific Legal Foundation sued. Hernandez ruled that the ban, which would require a home seller to “reject any communication other than customary documents in a real estate transaction, including photographs, provided by a buyer,” was a violation of buyers’ First Amendment rights. 

Senate bid to save Roe v. Wade falls to GOP-led filibuster

The Senate has fallen far short in a vote toward enshrining Roe v. Wade abortion access into federal law. Wednesday's 51-49 negative vote almost along party lines provided a stark display of the nation’s partisan divide over the landmark court decision and the limits of legislative action. The afternoon roll call promised to be the first of several efforts in Congress to preserve the nearly 50-year-old court ruling. President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass legislation that would guarantee the constitutional right to abortion services after the disclosure of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. But Democrats in the split Senate lacked the votes to overcome a Republican-led filibuster.

Washington Democrats seek to host early presidential primary

Washington Democrats want the state to be one of the first five states to host an early presidential primary in 2024. A letter of intent was sent Thursday to the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, signed by party chair Tina Podlodowski, state Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins and state Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig. The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee oversees the application process and recommends a slate of proposed states for the full DNC’s approval, with a decision made sometime by early August.

‘Washington state is a pro-choice state’: Inslee, local leaders vow to support abortion rights

SEATTLE, Wash. — State and federal leaders ensured Washingtonians will not lose their access to safe abortion services during a pro-choice rally in Seattle Tuesday afternoon. “Washington state was a pro-choice state. Washington state is a pro-choice state and we’re going to fight like hell to keep Washington a pro-choice state,” Governor Jay Inslee said. The rally was held following news…

Washington political leaders react to Roe v. Wade draft opinion

Ted S. Warren – staff, APFILE – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks on Jan. 11, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a bill that creates a first-in-the-nation statewide alert system for missing Indigenous people. The law creates a system similar to Amber Alerts and so-called silver alerts, which are used respectively for…

Senator Murray, other U.S. Senators speak on International Workers’ Day

SEATTLE, Wash. — U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, issued the following statement on International Workers’ Day: “Washington state’s workers—including immigrant workers—are the backbone of our economy. They are what keeps our country moving—and they deserve their fair share of the economic growth they help drive, and to be treated with dignity…

Eastern WA council bans newspapers from City Hall

The Spokane Valley City Council in eastern Washington in an unusual move has banned newspapers from the City Hall lobby. The Spokesman-Review reports the council voted 4-2 this week to prohibit third-party publications from the lobbies of City Hall and the Spokane Valley Police Precinct. The decision most notably affects a free newspaper owned by a council member. Some City Council members argued the papers can’t be on city property because they contain campaign ads and election coverage. The state agency that oversees Washington disclosure laws and campaign finance says allowing newspapers in the lobby doesn’t violate state law.

Washington justices unanimously reject Inslee recall effort

The Washington Supreme Court has unanimously rejected an effort to recall Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In a ruling Thursday, the justices upheld a lower court decision that the charges made against Inslee do not provide factually or legally sufficient grounds to support a recall campaign. The recall petition was brought by a citizen group called Washingtonians to Recall Insleee. It alleged that the governor’s orders limiting activities and gatherings during the pandemic interfered with their rights to assemble, work freely, participate in religious activities and make their own personal medical decisions. The court found that Inslee's proclamations were well within his emergency powers.

Supreme Court: State law preempts city gun storage ordinance

The Washington state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a city ordinance that requires that guns be locked up and kept out of unauthorized hands is preempted by state law. The ruling affirmed a three-judge state of appeals ruling last year in the case sparked by a lawsuit filed by three residents against the city of Edmonds. In July 2018, the city approved an ordinance requiring residents to lock up their guns or else face fines. The court said that the state statute in question, adopted by the Legislature in 1985, specifies that the state “fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation.”

Biden sees quake-resistant runway to start Northwest swing

President Joe Biden opened a two-day visit to the Pacific Northwest by focusing more on the airport where he landed than on any of the region’s more traditional, natural attractions. The Portland International Airport, which lies on a tectonic plate fault line, is planning a new, earthquake-resistant runway. The trip is Biden’s first as president to the Northwest and comes as he has increased travel across the U.S. to tout the $1 trillion, bipartisan infrastructure bill his administration backed and Congress approved last fall. Biden has been to Iowa, North Carolina and New Hampshire, and will head to Seattle after Oregon. 

SCOTUS denies county's claim to portion of Yakama lands

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Klickitat County’s claim to a portion of the Yakama Indian Reservation, likely ending a dispute that has raged for more than a century. The court denied the county’s appeal on Monday without comment. Klickitat County had argued that 121,465 acres in the southwestern portion of the reservation, including the eastern half of Mount Adams and the Glenwood Valley, were not actually included when the reservation was created by the Treaty of 1855. The tribe said it had always understood that Mount Adams and a parcel known as Tract D was reservation land, and that position has been affirmed by numerous court cases in the past.