In The News


Ballard signs Dominican Republic


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


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


Jewish Republican Introduces Bill To ‘Combat Anti-Semitism’

by Daniel J. Solomon

David Kustoff, one of two Republican Jews in the House, is pushing a bill to slap heavier penalties and an automatic hate crime designation on those who threaten religious buildings, following March's spate of bomb threats against Jewish community centers. "Frankly, it wouldn't matter what my religion is," Kustoff, a freshman congressman from western Tennessee, told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. "The government has to send a message that these threats and these actions won't be tolerated, and th… Continue Reading


Washington leaders urge budget support for Puget Sound

SEATTLE (AP) - Three dozen members of Congress are calling on President Donald Trump not to eliminate money for Puget Sound and other bodies of water. U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer, Denny Heck and Dave Reichert, all of Washington, are among those who signed a bipartisan letter to the president Tuesday. They are all part of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus. Trump's budget blueprint released last month eliminates the Environmental Protection Agency's geographic programs to clean up Puget Soun… Continue Reading


Kilmer questions Navy on Olympics testing, training

Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6th District) pressed the Navy last week for answers on the impacts of training and testing missions on the Olympic Peninsula and off the Washington coast. In a letter to Sean Stackley, acting Secretary of the Navy, Kilmer asked for further clarification on recent activity near Olympic National Park and surrounding communities. In a series of questions to the Navy, Kilmer asked how public comments were incorporated into the environmental review for projects like… Continue Reading


Transparency is good: Pass the Open Government Data Act

Rep. Derek Kilmer has proposed smart legislation to improve the federal government's sharing of data. The Gig Harbor congressman's Open Government Data Act has bipartisan support and should be approved by Congress. Then it should be closely reviewed by lawmakers in states such as Washington who are searching for better ways to share public records in the digital age. Over the last decade, a series of administrative moves put more federal data online. This inspired state and local governments t… Continue Reading


Freshman Congressman David Kustoff's first bill targets religious intolerance

by Michael Collins

WASHINGTON - Freshman Congressman David Kustoff is looking to send a message about the importance of religious freedom with the filing of his first piece of legislation. "Religious intolerance," he said, "is not accepted." Kustoff's bill, which the West Tennessee Republican introduced last week with Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wa., was inspired by the recent spate of bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers across the country, including one in Nashville. The Combating Anti-Semitism Act would increas… Continue Reading


A threat to a religious center should be a hate crime

by Rep. Derek Kilmer

A typical evening at the Stroum Jewish Community Center turned terrifying on Feb. 27. About 250 people at the Mercer Island center - including children - were busy taking classes, swimming laps, lifting weights and engaging with other folks in the neighborhood when a staff member picked up the phone. On the other end, a voice delivered a bomb threat that sent the center scrambling to evacuate everyone. This community religious center, which provides a safe space for family, friends, and neighbo… Continue Reading



Even though this week saw Congress roll back internet privacy rules, lawmakers more often tackled legislation that included the words "open" and "online" as if they were playing some kind of transparency bingo game. Open Gov 2.0 Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, along with Reps. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, and Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., reintroduced the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act in the Senate and House this week. Similar to the 2014 Digital Accou… Continue Reading


What's New in Civic Tech: Will USDS, 18F Be Charged with Helping Gov Agencies Limit Cyberthreats?

by Zack Quaintance

Grant Schneider, the acting federal chief information security officer (CISO) with the Office of Management and Budget, said the USDS and 18F should provide government agencies with the help they need to limit threats to cybersecurity, Meritalk reported Tuesday, March 28. Schneider made the comments at the Akamai Government Forum, saying the two groups could help combat data breaches and also develop cybersecurity tools for governmental agencies. The goal, Meritalk reported, should be to work w… Continue Reading


LIHEAP utility funds on the line with Trump budget


PORT ANGELES - Nearly 3,200 people across the North Olympic Peninsula could lose funding that helps pay utility bills if Congress adopts President Donald J. Trump's proposed budget. The majority of the 1,519 households that Olympic Community Action Programs provides Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding for have children, senior citizens or people with disabilities, said Dale Wilson, OlyCAP executive director. Wilson is concerned OlyCAP, which served 14,235 people last year, would … Continue Reading


Lawmakers look to modernize U.S. Code

by Chase Gunter

Two congressmen want to give the official record of U.S. laws a 21st century makeover. Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Dave Brat (R-Va.) have reintroduced the Statutes at Large Modernization Act, a legislation reform bill that would make all federal laws ever passed available and publicly searchable on in an open, non-proprietary data format. Currently, "if you want to go through and look up individual laws, you would have to pull them from each individual Congress" in which they… Continue Reading


Trump plan to cut AmeriCorps would hit South Sound nonprofits


AmeriCorps members in the South Sound tutor schoolchildren, fill backpacks with food for hungry families, help veterans navigate college and build homes for low-income families. Their supporters say those services would be lost or drastically curtailed as a result of budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration this month. As part of a $54 billion cut of non-defense programs, the proposed budget eliminates the Corporation for National Community Service, which provides $32 million to operat… Continue Reading


US lawmakers submit bill upping penalty for anti-Semitic bomb threats

Republican and Democratic members of the US House of Representatives on Monday introduced a bill that would increase the federal penalty for bomb threats and other threats against religious institutions and see such acts prosecuted as hate crimes. The bipartisan legislation, called the Combating Anti-Semitism Act of 2017, was submitted by Reps. David Kustoff, (R-Tenn.), and Derek Kilmer, (D-Wash.) and comes after over 150 hoax bomb threats were called into Jewish institutions across the US and … Continue Reading


State is part of the problem on Puget Sound cleanup

by Adiel Kaplan

President Donald Trump's proposed $28 million cut of Puget Sound restoration funding has provoked an outcry. But Gov. Jay Inslee himself is proposing a $29 million cut to the program, which receives more of its money from the state than the federal government. What's happening to Puget Sound funding is not an anomaly. In recent years, the state has been spending a smaller share of its budget on all of its natural resource protection and restoration programs. Over the past decade, the percentage… Continue Reading


Indian IT firms brace for rude jolt as US House introduces Keeping American Jobs Act

by Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

Two US politicians have reintroduced a Bill that seeks to curb misuse of H-1B visas and prevent outsourcing of jobs to foreign shores.The Keeping American Jobs Act was introduced by Derek Kilmer (Democrat) and Doug Collins (Republican) on Thursday.They said the legislation will prevent companies that have temporary visas from the H-1B visa programme from using them to train workers in the country and then moving those jobs to a foreign land.A Bill to this effect was first introduced in the last … Continue Reading


US reintroduces bill to put brakes on outsourcing

Two US Congressmen -- Doug Collins, a Republican, and Derek Kilmer, a Democrat -- have re-introduced a bill to prevent employers from making American workers train cheaper non-immigrant staff so that the imports can take away their jobs. The bill aims to curb companies in the US from "abusing" the H1-B programme by outsourcing jobs overseas. According to Collins, "The Keeping American Jobs Act protects American workers by preventing bad actors from abusing the system in order to offshore jobs."… Continue Reading


Congressman Kilmer: ‘I’m glad bill was stopped’

U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) said the Republican repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have left millions without health care coverage and would have escalated the cost for those who would still have health insurance. Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat who represents Washington's 6th District, spent part of Friday answering calls from worried Washingtonians. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan later announced that Friday's vote on the Republican legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act… Continue Reading


House panel takes on government transparency

by Chase Gunter

Government transparency can take many forms, and not all of them have bipartisan support. (Congressional Democrats' demands for President Donald Trump's tax returns are unlikely to get traction anytime soon, for example.) But at a March 23 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, one piece of legislation seemed to resonate on both sides of the aisle: the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Act. The open government bill, which also received bipartisan s… Continue Reading


OPEN Government Data Act to get another chance

by Samantha Ehlinger

Legislation setting a presumption that all government information should be published as open, machine-readable data is back with bipartisan support in the House. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, confirmed Thursday that he and Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., are preparing the OPEN Government Data Act for reintroduction. The legislation passed the Senate last year but the House never acted on its version. Farenthold made the announcement at an Oversight and Government Reform hearing on finding legis… Continue Reading

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