In The News

04.19.17

Saving Endangered Data From Ancient Rome To Trump's America

by Sarah Bond

From San Francisco to New York City, groups of scientists, librarians, researchers and concerned Americans have rushed to preserve federal data and citations that have begun to disappear from government websites. Such efforts have culminated in a series of independently organized events across the country dubbed Endangered Data Week. Believe it or not, this isn't a new problem. Even in Ancient Rome, political leaders were fond of destroying records and documents that painted a picture of a real… Continue Reading


04.18.17

In Our View: Demand Open Government Recent developments remind us that we need to be diligent, ever vigilant

The quest for open government demands diligence. So it is that several recent developments lead us to once again emphasize the importance of transparency from elected officials and government agencies. In one example, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, has introduced House Bill 1770 to facilitate openness in the sharing of government documents. The OPEN Government Data Act - with the apparently mandatory acronym standing for Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary - would require the federal … Continue Reading


04.18.17

Lawmakers make another run at repealing DoD per diem cuts

by Jared Serbu

For the third year in a row, members of the House and Senate are trying to undo an unpopular 2014 Defense Department policy change that drastically cut reimbursement rates for military members and civilians on long-term travel. The legislation, introduced by Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), would prohibit the department from paying lower per-diem rates based solely on how long an employee or service member is on temporary duty. Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Walter Jone… Continue Reading


04.18.17

Pocket protectors in place: Scientists will march Saturday in Tacoma

by CRAIG SAILOR

Even the scientists are marching. The group, better known for academic papers drier than the Atacama Desert (1), will march Saturday in Tacoma as part of a national effort to defend the profession. March for Science Tacoma is to begin at 10 a.m. at Tollefson Plaza in the 1500 block of Pacific Avenue. It's one of more than 400 marches scheduled around the globe on Earth Day in associaition with the major March for Science in Washington, D.C. Organizers say the national march is to bring awa… Continue Reading


04.18.17

Any tax changes should ensure justice

by Diane Tyree-Eddy

On Tuesday tax season ends for tax-paying Americans of all stripes, but Congress is getting started on one of their own. Soon they will take on the enormous task of reforming our tax system. Our pledge of allegiance concludes "with liberty and justice for all." Let's be clear about one thing: "Tax reform" should never be code for "tax breaks for the wealthy." Cutting taxes for wealthy people, while slashing vital anti-poverty programs to pay for it, is immoral and unjust. In fact, it's just pla… Continue Reading


04.18.17

Australia to abolish 457 immigration work visa

by Asha McLean

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that he will be abolishing the existing 457 visa, which is currently used by temporary foreign workers to gain employment in the country. In a video shared online, Turnbull said the 457 visa will be replaced by a new visa that he said was specifically designed to recruit the "best and brightest" overseas talent, as long as it is in the best interests of Australia. The new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa will be introduced in March 201… Continue Reading


04.17.17

Joel Connelly: Inslee calls Trump budget cuts 'devastating'

by Joel Connelly

The proposed cuts in President Trump's budget blueprint are "draconian" and would have "devastating impacts on communities in Washington," Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday in a letter to the state's congressional delegation. "I ask for your support in sustaining crucial federal investments in our state," the governor told a delegation that consists of two Democratic senators, six Democratic House members and four Republicans. The governor singled out programs vital to coastal areas, where Trump won… Continue Reading


04.15.17

Will Congress Help Fund New State and Local Cyber Programs?

by DAN LOHRMANN

For the past several years, survey after survey of state and local government technology and security leaders have produced the same results. What's on their mind? Cybersecurity is the top priority, and security resources are an ongoing problem. The National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) and the National Governors Association (NGA) have consistently raised this cyberissue with their federal government counterparts, and it appears that the message may finally be getting through. The State … Continue Reading


04.14.17

Mad at Congress? Gerrymandering makes members tough to unseat

by Joel Connelly

Angry town meetings of Senate and House members, the latest Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., make excellent TV footage and are stoking liberals' hopes for sweeping Democratic victories in 2018. Not so fast. Because of pervasive gerrymandering, only about 10 percent of the 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives come from genuine, competitive "swing" districts. Not surprisingly, competition for these districts yields some of Congress' most competent me… Continue Reading


04.14.17

Push to Protect American Jobs: Round-up on Proposed Reforms to H-1B, L-1 Visas

Reforming the H-1B program "is an issue we are closely and carefully looking at," Donald Trump had said during the campaign. This sentiment is shared by Congress, as evidenced by the slew of legislation proposed across both sides of the aisle. Senator Dick Durbin (D. Ill.) first introduced a bill in 2007 to cure what he sees as the central problem - outsourcers abusing the system to obtain a very large portion of the limited number of H-1B visas. A decade later, in early March, Durbin reiterate… Continue Reading


04.13.17

Herrera Beutler tours Clark County Jail

by Lauren Dake

Not long after entering the Clark County Jail for a tour on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, peered through a small window and into a room with eight men, several sleeping on makeshift beds on the floor, in the jail's detox room. This is where you go if you come in "hot off the street," Ric Bishop, the chief corrections deputy with the sheriff's office, told the congresswoman. The tour wound past the room once used to take mug shots and now used as a nurse's station. Next, t… Continue Reading


04.13.17

Bipartisan Bill Would Restructure FEC to End Gridlock

by Kenneth P. Doyle

A measure reintroduced in the House last week seeks to reorganize the structure of the Federal Election Commission, such as by reducing the number of members from six to five and strengthening the role of the agency's chairman. Backers of the bill (H.R. 2034), which has gained bipartisan support in the House, say it's needed to restore respect for campaign finance laws that have been poorly enforced by the current FEC. "This rare, bipartisan legislation would change the design of the dysfuncti… Continue Reading


04.12.17

Members of Congress urge Tillerson to condemn gay Chechnya arrests

by Michael K. Lavers

Fifty members of Congress have asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to publicly criticize the arrest of gay men in Chechnya. They note in an April 7 letter to Tillerson that they are "greatly disturbed by reports of arrests, disappearances and extrajudicial murders of gay men in Chechnya." Novaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper, on April 1 reported authorities in the semi-autonomous Russian republic have arrested more than 100 men in "connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or … Continue Reading


04.11.17

Cross laminated timber and Grays Harbor County

by DAN HAMMOCK

Cross laminated timber is being touted by many as the next big deal in construction. Called CLT for short, it's a wood product that, according to proponents, is as structurally sound as more traditional materials such as steel and concrete, environmentally friendly and quicker and cheaper to construct. There is a small, but growing, market for the product, and only two CLT producers in the United States. That has led elected officials, economic development organizations and others here to explo… Continue Reading


04.11.17

Lawmakers launch bipartisan effort to break FEC stalemate

by Nicole Duran

A dozen House members from both parties have introduced legislation to restructure the Federal Election Commission to help break deadlocks over campaign finance law enforcement. The Restoring Integrity to America's Elections Act would make the FEC's structure similar to other independent federal agencies to "help ensure there is a cop on the beat of our nation's campaign finance system," the lawmakers stated. The six-member commission that enforces campaign la… Continue Reading


04.11.17

Scientists developing earthquake early warning system for entire West Coast

by Matt Markovich

SEATTLE - It's a link up that could lead to a more improved earthquake early warning system for the entire west coast. On Monday, seismic sensors at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) linked up with a network of sensors in California to form a unified Shake Alert system. "The milestone that we are passing is an important one," said Doug Given, Earthquake Early Warning Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey. For years, seismologists with the PNSN have been working on a … Continue Reading


04.10.17

Earthquake early-warning system comes to Washington — but it’s not for the public yet

by Sandi Doughton

Dan Ervin knew this day would come. He just didn't think it would be so soon. "I never thought I would actually see this in my career," said Ervin, chairman of the board of a Bothell engineering firm that's the first company in Washington to begin using earthquake early warning. The breakthrough came last week, when the prototype ShakeAlert system in California was fully extended to include Washington and Oregon. That means all three states are now operating with the same technology, said Dou… Continue Reading


04.07.17

3 days in Washington with 4 NFL players fighting for criminal justice reform

by Tyler Tynes

WASHINGTON - Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA.) waltzes into a room of lawmakers and assistants, patiently waiting for current and former NFL players Anquan Boldin, Donte Stallworth, Malcolm Jenkins, and Johnson Bademosi. He seems unbothered that they are late. "Morning," Kilmer says. "This should be a good day." It's 8 a.m., and the football quartet is scheduled to meet in the Rayburn House Office Building on a Tuesday to start a three-day tour of Washington, urging dozens of legislators and groups to… Continue Reading


04.07.17

Ballard signs Dominican Republic

by THEODORIC MEYER

BALLARD PARTNERS LANDS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Brian Ballard, a Florida lobbyist who served as a top fundraising lieutenant for Donald Trump's campaign and opened a Washington office after Trump won, has signed his first foreign client. Ballard's firm, Ballard Partners, will lobby for the Dominican Republic, providing "advocacy services relative to U.S.-Dominican bilateral relations," according to the filing, which was first spotted by The Hill's Megan Wilson. "Activities will include advising, coun… Continue Reading


04.05.17

Lawmakers make a pitch for salmon disaster funds

Washington's Congressional delegation submitted a letter Tuesday to leaders in both the House and Senate asking them to include emergency funding in the final federal fiscal year 2017 appropriations bill to provide relief for communities affected by the disastrous fishing seasons of 2014-16. Senators Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., along with 6th District Congressman Derek Kilmer, were among the delegation that put the pressure on U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker into … Continue Reading

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