WASHINGTON LEGISLATURE-SENATE BUDGET
Washington Senate passes first draft of budget plan
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Senate has passed its two-year budget spending proposal that lawmakers said focuses on helping those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. The budget passed the Democratic-led chamber on a 27-22 vote. The House, also led by Democrats, is expected to vote on its own similar plan Saturday. A final plan will then be negotiated and passed before the end of the 105-day legislative session April 25. Democratic budget leaders said that the approximately $59 billion spending plan responds to the needs that the pandemic highlighted, and includes millions for the state’s public health system, child care and early learning and efforts on affordable housing and efforts to reduce homelessness.
Review: Suspect in Portland killing likely fired at police
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Investigators say a fugitive wanted in the highly publicized killing last summer of a right-wing demonstrator in Portland, Oregon, last summer probably fired first at police in Washington state before they killed him. A task force was trying to arrest Michael Reinoehl near Olympia last September when four officers fired at him as he exited his car. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said that based on witness and officer statements and a spent shell casing found matching a gun Reinoehl was carrying, investigators believe Reinoehl fired first. A sheriff’s office spokesman told The Seattle Times he could not confirm that with 100% certainty because the bullet was not found.
KING COUNTY DETECTIVE FIRED
Sheriff fires detective over tactics that led to shooting
SEATTLE (AP) — King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht has fired a longtime detective after finding that his aggressive actions led to the death of a man wanted in the theft of a pickup truck and pet poodle. The Seattle Times reports former detective George Alvarez was one of two undercover deputies who confronted and fatally shot Anthony “Tony” Chilcott on Nov. 25, 2019, just outside Black Diamond, after ramming the stolen vehicle he was driving. In a termination letter dated March 25, Johanknecht said Alvarez made a series of questionable tactical decisions unacceptable to a deputy with his experience. A Seattle attorney representing Alvarez said Alvarez will challenge his termination.
PROSECUTOR MISCONDUCT-NEW TRIAL
Court grants new trial after prosecutorial misconduct
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — An appellate court in Washington state said this week that a man who was sentenced in a gruesome attack resulting in his mother’s death in 2017 will get a new trial because of prosecutorial misconduct. The News Tribune reported that Sebastian Levy-Aldrete was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2018 in the death of his 77-year-old mother Maria Aldrete-Levy. He was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison. Levy-Aldrete argued on appeal that he didn’t get a fair trial because of comments made by a prosecutor during closing arguments. The Washington State Court of Appeals agreed Tuesday.
Police ID Vancouver man as homicide victim at Portland store
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police have publicly identified a man shot to death at a North Portland convenience store as a 53-year-old Vancouver, Washington resident. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports police said they responded to reports of gunshots at a 7-Eleven store at about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday and found Michael Arrington shot. Medics tried to help Arrington, but police say he died shortly after arriving at a hospital. Police say Arrington had been shopping at the store when he was shot. Investigators have not said whether anyone has been arrested and haven’t released information about a suspect or suspects. Police asked anyone with information to contact them.
BC-WA-OIL SPILL SETTLEMENT
Everett manufacturer settles oil spill fines for $222K
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — An Everett plastic film manufacturer will pay more than $222,000 to settle fines for two oil spills that polluted a storm water pond and tainted local wildlife near an Everett creek. The Daily Herald reports in July 2018, an Achilles USA employee dropped a moving tote with lubricating oil at the company’s south Everett facility, causing the container to rupture and spill into the building’s storm water system. The oil was then flushed into a retention pond outside. While cleaning up that spill, responders found that an overflowing collection pit inside the facility was also draining into the retention pond. In all, 340 gallons of oil were dumped into the pond. It took three weeks to clean up.
Colorado is latest to weigh ban on Native American mascots
DENVER (AP) — Colorado lawmakers are considering a proposal to ban Native American mascots in public schools and colleges. The measure cleared the state Senate Education Committee on Thursday. It would impose a $25,000 monthly fine on public schools, colleges and universities that use American Indian-themed mascots after June 1, 2022. A database by the National Congress of American Indians says more than 1,900 schools across the U.S. have Native American-themed mascots. Tribal members testified in support of the bill. The Southern Ute tribal chairman said the “inaccurate and cruel portrayals” of Native Americans as mascots have been used as “strategic tools to marginalize Indigenous communities.”
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL-RECALL
Court: Recall against Seatttle councilwoman can proceed
The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that a recall effort against Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant can go forward. The Seattle Times reports the recall petition charges Sawant with four distinct offenses: She delegated her office’s employment decisions to her Socialist political party; she used city resources to promote a “Tax Amazon” ballot initiative; she let demonstrators into City Hall during a nighttime June protest; and she spoke at a protest in front of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s house (Durkan’s address is protected by a state confidentiality program because of her past work as a federal prosecutor). The Supreme Court made its decision Thursday. Recall petitioners now have 180 days to collect more than 10,000 signatures from residents of Sawant’s Council District.
Snow clearing on Hwy 20 over Cascades to begin next week
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — The state Department of Transportation is set to begin clearing Highway 20 over the North Cascades next week. If all goes as planned, the 37 miles of snow-covered highway from the Skagit Valley to the Methow Valley should be cleared in four to six weeks. Crews on both the east and west sides of the stretch of highway that is closed over the winter will work to remove about seven feet of snow from the highway. A year ago, the highway was reopened on May 12 while in 2019 the gates swung open April 18. The earliest opening was March 10, 2005.
CAPITOL RIOT-WASHINGTON STATE
Another Washington man accused of storming U.S. Capitol
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Federal agents have arrested a Washington state man who is accused of breaching the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6, pushing past police and entering the Senate gallery. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Marc Bru appeared in U.S. District Court in Portland on Wednesday after being arrested Tuesday in Vancouver. An arrest warrant affidavit contains images that appear to show Bru attending a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., marching to the Capitol and going inside. He has not yet entered a plea to charges including engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building. It wasn’t immediately known if he has a lawyer. Oregon’s U.S. Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You ordered Bru’s pretrial release with GPS monitoring.