Bill seeks to criminalize use or sale of fake vaccine cards in WA

A lawmaker in Washington state wants to make it a crime to use or sell a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. The measure would make it a misdemeanor to use a forged or falsified COVID-19 vaccination document. It would also make it a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine to sell or transfer false COVID-19 vaccine cards. The state of New York has a similar law on the books.

Oregon residents decry proposed 'permanent' mask mandate

Hundreds of Oregon residents are crying government overreach as officials at the state’s health authority consider indefinitely extending the current indoor mask requirement. Currently there is no set expiration date or specific metrics outlining when the rule would be lifted. More than 350 people —  ranging from stay-at-home parents, registered nurses, a speech language pathologist, teachers, business owners and life-long residents, both in rural and urban areas — attended a virtual public hearing Thursday and vehemently opposed the rule.  

Lawsuit: Governor unlawfully commuting prison sentences

Two Oregon district attorneys and the relatives of three homicide victims have filed a lawsuit accusing Gov. Kate Brown of unlawfully freeing nearly 1,000 incarcerated people. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks to halt more than 70 proposed commutations. District attorneys Patricia Perlow of Lane County and Doug Marteeny of Linn County are among the parties alleging Brown has violated clemency procedures that require victim notification. The lawsuit also asks a judge to stop the governor from allowing those convicted of crimes as minors from applying for commutation. A spokeswoman for the governor said the office “generally does not comment on matters of pending litigation.”

WA House passes pause to long-term care program and tax

The Washington House has voted to delay the implementation of a long-term care program and tax amid concerns about long-term solvency of the program and criticism of the timing of the payroll tax that pays for it. Under the measure approved Wednesday, the tax that was set to start this month would be delayed until July 1, 2023 and any premiums that were collected before that date would be refunded. Collection of the benefit to pay for things like in-home care, home modifications like wheelchair ramps and rides to the doctor would be delayed from Jan. 1, 2025 until July 1, 2026. The measure now heads to the Senate.

Lawsuit says new majority Latino district in WA a 'facade'

A Latino civil rights organization and others have filed a federal lawsuit that says new political maps in Washington state approved by a bipartisan redistricting panel intentionally dilute Hispanic voters’ influence. The legal action filed Wednesday targets state Legislative District 15 in Yakima, which is majority Latino. The Redistricting Commission said the area has a Latino voter population of 50.02% and an overall minority voter population of 55.05%. But the lawsuit filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and others says the new voting area is a “facade” of a majority-minority district and violated the Voting Rights Act because it won’t allow Latinos the chance to elect candidates of their choice.

Washington bill proposes salary range be a requirement in job listings

Credit: Rep. Jenny GrahamOLYMPIA, Wash. – Should employers post a salary range on job listings?  It could become a requirement in Washington.  If passed, Senate Bill 5761, introduced by Senator Emily Randall (D – Port Orchard) would require employers to disclose an hourly or salary compensation or a range of that compensation in all job listings.  The bill suggests amending…

Governor’s decree delays Cheney woman’s gallbladder removal surgery

SPOKANE, Wash. — Many are left in pain after Governor Jay Inslee announced a pause for all non-essential surgeries. The decree, issued Thursday, states all operations that will not cause harm to a patient within 90 days be delayed. Many are infuriated with these delays, and for some, it causes physical pain. Margaret Gragert has been living with gallstones for…

Washington legislature priorities: police, health benefits, and more

Credit: Rachel La Corte, APThe Washington state Senate is seen on the first day of the 60-day legislative session on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 in Olympia, Wash. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a limited number of lawmakers are allowed on the chamber floor, with much of the chamber’s work being done in a hybrid remote fashion.SPOKANE, Wash. — While…

After Biden's first year, the virus and disunity rage on

President Joe Biden came to office seeing two sicknesses in his country. Neither has abated a year later. The coronavirus is rampaging like never before, though now from a different variant. The other malady he spoke about from the inaugural stage was one of disunity. It's only intensified since he implored Americans to “end this uncivil war.” He's found some of his lofty ambitions grounded by the unrelenting pandemic, a tough hand in Congress, a harrowing end to the Afghanistan war and rising fears for the future of democracy itself. Biden also has scored notable achievements. Among them is an enormous infrastructure plan to renew foundational elements of American life.

For Oath Keepers and founder, Jan. 6 was weeks in the making

For more than a year, federal prosecutors have been investigating the Capitol riot, and at least 700 people have been charged, mostly with lower-level crimes. So it was stunning when prosecutors last week charged the leader of the far-right militia group known as the Oath Keepers, along with 10 other members or associates, with seditious conspiracy, a rarely-used Civil War-era statute reserved for only the most serious of political criminals. But court documents show how long in the making it was that Donald Trump’s most fervent and dangerous supporters mobilized to subvert the 2020 election results through force and violence, even though there was no widespread election fraud.