State Government

State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles of the 36th District will participate in a panel at a forum hosted by Grammas for Ganja March 30 in Ballard.

Kohl-Welles sponsored Senate Bill 5789 this session to extend the ability to authorize medical use of marijuana to other licensed health professionals who are already authorized to prescribe controlled substances. These professionals include naturopathic doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Kohl-Welles also recently penned an op-ed for The Seattle Times about her plans to introduce legislation next session to provide full legal protection for medical marijuana patients and providers who work within the law.

The forum will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 30 at the Ballard House Community Room, located at 2445 N.W. 57th St.

Gramma’s for Ganja Executive Director Jeanne Black-Ferguson will host. Also expected to attend are Dr. Sunil Aggarwal of the University of Washington and Wallingford’s Terra Hemp Manager Jacqueline Meringer.

03/26/2010
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Courtesy of Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles will participate in a public marijuana forum March 30 at the Ballard House Community Room.

Dear Editor,
Martha Keoster (see her email and link to the State Bank article below) is another progressive friend of mine who keeps up on important political issues. She’s worked tirelessly for single payer health care. Another issue we’ve been talking about lately is this State Bank idea now being tossed about in the WA state legislature (among others). I first heard of it when I heard Bill Bradley, running for Governor of Oregon, discuss the idea with Thom Hartman on the radio several weeks ago.

03/20/2010

Crown Hill's Small Faces Child Development Center and the Phinney Neighborhood Center could receive tax relief if a bill passed by the Washington State Senate March 10 becomes law.

Senate Bill 6855 provides a property tax exemption to neighborhood community centers that are housed in a building that was determined to be no longer needed by school districts and is now owned by nonprofit organizations and used to deliver coordinated services for community members, according to a Senate Democrats press release.

The measure also applies the leasehold excise tax to the rental property within these community centers, making the measure revenue positive, according to the press release.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles from the 36th District is the bill's cosponsor. The bill will help organizations that provide vital services and relief to communities with only positive results on the state's budget, she said in the press release.

“Our focus this session has been on plugging our budget hole in a way that least harms our communities and our families," Kohl-Welles said in the press release.

03/11/2010
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Courtesy of Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles is the cosponsor of a bill that would give tax breaks to organizations like Small Faces and the Phinney Neighborhood Center.

With less than two weeks left in the current state legislative session, the 2010 budget is taking center stage.

The senate and the house of representatives released their supplemental operating budget proposals Feb. 23.

State legislators will spend the bulk of the rest of the session, which ends March 11, on passing the budget, 36th District Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles said.

The senate's proposal attempts to make up for the $2.6 billion revenue shortfall since the 2009 session with $1.1 billion in federal funds and fund transfers, Kohl-Welles said.

In addition, the proposal cuts services and public employee compensation by $838 million and raises $918 million in new revenue, she said.

Kohl-Welles said even if the senate's budget is passed as is, it would still bring the total to $5 billion in cuts, the most in state history, with only $918 million in new revenue over a two-year period.

"These cuts have a major impact on our students in our public schools and colleges and those in need of essential services," she said.

02/27/2010
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Courtesy of Rep. Dickerson and Sen. Kohl-Welles

The 36th District's Mary Lou Dickerson and Jeanne Kohl-Welles report on the state budget and their legislation at the midpoint of the current legislative session.

Citing her tireless efforts on the behalf of animals, the U.S. Humane Society named State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles from the 36th District its Legislator of the Year.

“I could not be more honored to receive this award, especially as it came from the national organization representing millions of members throughout the country,” Kohl-Welles said in a press release. “The Humane Society is an organization whose work I greatly admire.”

Kohl-Welles was recognized specifically for her 2009 legislation to curb puppy mills in our state.

Senate Bill 5561, as signed into law last year, prohibits an individual from possessing more than 50 non-neutered dogs older than 6 months at one time.

The bill also set standards for kennel size, exercise, sanitary conditions and basic care.

The basic standards included providing clean food and water, allowing dogs to leave their cages for at least an hour a day and having clean housing. Violators are guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

02/26/2010
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Courtesy of Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles

By State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 36th District

In 2007, 51 percent of Washington voters approved Tim Eyman’s Initiative 960.

The initiative has many provisions, but the provision that affects the legislature the most is a requirement that all tax increases must pass each chamber of the legislature by a two-thirds vote.

This is the same requirement to pass a constitutional amendment.

Last week, the senate approved Senate Bill 6130, which suspends I-960 until July 1, 2011.

The initiative as enacted makes it nearly impossible for the legislature to pass a fair and sustainable supplemental budget. And, not just because it reduces our ability to raise taxes.

This Eyman initiative is so broad that it severely limits our ability to close tax loopholes that no longer create the jobs they once did, limits our ability to end unfair tax breaks for out-of-state businesses that don’t apply to our in-state businesses, and even prevents us from transferring funds that could save vital government programs.

The simple truth is that the will of the people is about more than just reducing their tax bills:

02/14/2010
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Courtesy of Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles

The Green Party of Washington State will hold a convention Jan. 30 in Ballard to formally reconstitute the state party.

The convention will be a working assembly, grappling with many important questions facing our nation and the Green Party of Washington State.

Topics of immediate concern include growing local chapters, upcoming electoral work and outreach.

The convention will be held at 8:30 a.m at Trinity United Methodist Church, 6512 23rd Ave. N.W. Registration will begin promptly at 8:30.

Attendance is free with donations accepted. Coffee and tea will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch or visit locally-owned restaurants close by the convention site. Limited housing is available for those who wish to stay overnight.

Despite the best hopes in our first African-American president, we have an escalation in Afghanistan, a continuing war in Iraq, high unemployment, millions facing foreclosure, a health care plan written by insurance lobbyists, and billions in bailouts to Wall Street.

All of this is reflected in Washington state's massive budget deficit and shredding of the social safety net.

01/12/2010

By Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney

Ed. Note: This column originally appeared in the Jan. 10 edition of Dan Satterberg's "The Prosecutor's Post."

It was 20 years ago when the Washington State Legislature began deliberations on comprehensive recommendations to overhaul our state's sex offender laws. The calls for reform arose, as is often the case, from terrible tragedies.

As we begin the 2010 legislative session on Jan. 11, we should pause to look back at the positive outcomes achieved two decades ago. It is particularly important that we do so as we turn to face the new challenges arising from the tragic and outrageous attacks on this state's law enforcement officers.

The Community Protection Act, as it was known, was enacted in 1990 in response to two violent sex crimes that sparked widespread public outrage and concern throughout our state.

First, a young woman named Diane Ballasiotes was abducted and murdered in a downtown parking garage by a dangerous psychopath who had walked away from his work release bed.

01/12/2010
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Courtesy of King County Prosecutors Office

A handful of Ballard residents had their Saturday morning coffee with a side of politics courtesy of 36th District Rep. Reuven Carlyle, who hosted the first of four Jan. 9 coffee hours at Caffe Fiore in Crown Hill.

The attendance hovered around 10 as Carlyle and residents discussed issues facing Seattle and Washington.

As with most political meetings in the past year, the focus was heavily on the budget deficit – how to fix it and what can be done despite it.

One coffee hour attendee said now is the time for the state to start talking about new sources of revenue. She said she would rather see an income tax put in place than rely on the hope of receiving federal aid.

Carlyle said bad economic times are times for change, and the state needs to talk about installing an income tax in the same conversation as lowering other taxes, such as the property tax and the sales tax.

"That way no one gets crushed with an ineffective, unfair system," he said.

The goal is to frame the conversation about an income tax in terms of fairness, not generating additional revenue for the short term, Carlyle said.

01/09/2010
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Michael Harthorne

36th District Rep. Reuven Carlyle (left) talks politics with Ballard residents at an hour-long chat Jan. 9 at Caffe Fiore in Crown Hill.

Green Party of Washington State Convention

The Green Party of Washington State will hold a convention Jan. 30 in Ballard to formally reconstitute the state party.

For additional information call 360.683.0867. Mail may be addressed to GPoWS, PO Box #95575, Seattle, WA 98145.

Location

Trinity United Methodist Church
6512 23rd Ave. N.W.