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AP - Oregon-Northwest

Here is the latest Washington news from The Associated Press at 9:40 p.m. PST

SEATTLE (AP) — Two of the 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump on Wednesday over the riot of his loyalists at the U.S. Capitol were from Washington state. U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, and Rep. Dan Newhouse, who represents central Washington’s 4th District, said Trump violated his oath of office by inflaming the insurrectionists and failing to defend the government from them. Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of the 5th District in eastern Washington voted against impeachment, calling it rushed, but she nevertheless condemned Trump’s actions.

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington state Department of Health says COVID-19 cases appear to be increasingly sharply in the most recent data. State officials said Wednesday the flat and declining case count trends in mid-to-late December may be due to fewer people seeking care or getting tested over the holidays. Officials also said Wednesday the state will move into its next phase of COVID-19 vaccination sooner than expected and will begin inoculating people aged 70 years and older, among others. The Seattle Times reports health secretary Dr. Umair Shah acknowledged the state’s rollout had been uneven and that the department needed to hasten the pace of vaccination. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — In a videotaped speech to a mostly remote meeting of the Washington Legislature, Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday told lawmakers that following the challenges of 2020, the state must move to a “new normal.” In his third inaugural address, he said lawmakers will need to address a multitude of issues, including equity, affordable housing and climate change. Lawmakers convened their 105-day legislative session Monday under tight security and with strict COVID-19 protocols in place, with legislators spread out between the Senate and House chamber floors, public galleries, chamber wings and offices as they approved rules to run a remote session for the remaining weeks.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Trump administration has slashed millions of acres of protected habitat for the imperiled northern spotted owl in Oregon, Washington and northern California. Much of the land is in prime timber locations in Oregon’s coastal ranges. Environmentalists on Wednesday accused the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Donald Trump of taking a parting shot at protections designed to help restore the species in favor of the timber industry. Timber groups have applauded the decision and say more logging in forests is necessary to prevent wildfires. The spotted owl is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and has lost nearly 4% of its population each year.

The Associated Press

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