News & Information       http://info.owt.com

Government

11/23/2022   Washington Attorney General News

Ferguson seeks funding to hire a 10-person unit, including prosecutors and investigators, to combat organized retail crime

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that he is pursuing funding from the Legislature to establish an Organized Retail Crime Unit in his office.

Organized Retail Crime involves a group of individuals that steal products not for their own personal use, but to resell them for a profit. This does not include general retail crimes like petty theft, shoplifting or poverty-driven crimes.  

11/23/2022   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Today Gov. Jay Inslee announced the appointment of Meng Li Che to the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division Two. She will replace Judge Lisa Worswick, who is retiring at the end of this month.

11/21/2022   Washington Attorney General News

WALLA WALLA — A Walla Walla County jury denied release to a sexually violent predator after prosecutors the Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Sexually Violent Predator Unit (SVP) proved that he remains mentally ill and sexually dangerous.

11/17/2022   Washington House Republicans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASENovember 17, 2022CONTACT: John Handy, Communications Director | 360-786-5758 Rep. J.T. Wilcox has been re-elected as Leader of the Washington State House Republicans. The 2nd Legislative District lawmaker from Yelm was chosen... Read more »

The post Rep. J.T. Wilcox re-elected as Leader of the Washington State House Republicans appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

11/15/2022   Washington State Senate Democrats

Olympia – A report on car tab payment options is available to the public now. The Joint Transportation Committee (JTC) received legislative direction to convene a Vehicle Registration Payment Options Workgroup to analyze payment options for vehicle fees and publish a report.

“I appreciate the approach we took to analyze this issue,” said Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), who spearheaded the effort during the 2020 legislative session in response to requests from her community. “We used surveys and focus groups to center community members and hear from those directly affected.”

The JTC contracted with BERK Consulting to study the issue and explore options. The study was guided by an eight-member stakeholder workgroup consisting of representatives from:

  • Department of Licensing,
  • County Auditors,
  • Vehicle Licensing Subagents,
  • Regional Transit Authority,
  • A city offering or considering a rebate program,
  • Vehicle owners subject to a motor vehicle excise tax,
  • Vehicle owners subject to an electric car or transportation electrification fee, ​and
  • An advocate for multimodal transportation options.

The study addressed the questions: “Could the State reduce the impact of registration tax and fee payment on households with low incomes by offering a payment plan? If so, how could that payment plan be structured?”

BERK Consulting found that 77% of survey respondents preferred annual registration payments rather than quarterly. They also identified high financial costs for State Department of Licensing (DOL) to develop and administer a payment plan — a cost that would require significant investment from the State. Additionally, a quarterly payment system would require a service fee, a key reason respondents preferred an annual payment plan.

“Community members are still experiencing hardship due to lasting effects from the pandemic, shortages, and overwhelmingly, inflation,” said Nobles. “What this means is that we need to continue assessing the most effective strategies to reduce the burden on lower-income families and community members. We’ll continue to analyze different strategies with experts and, of course, with community.”

BERK Consulting advised three recommendations:

  1. Do not pursue a payment plan.
  2. Enhance email reminders and launch text message reminders for vehicle registration renewals.
  3. Consider other ways of supporting households with low incomes.

The 2023 legislative session will reconvene in January to consider legislation and draft the state transportation budget for the coming biennium.

11/11/2022   Washington State Senate Democrats

Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane) was re-elected Senate Majority Leader on Friday, a position he has held since first being selected by his colleagues for the post in November 2018.

Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle) was selected Caucus Chair for the second time. Both were elected by acclamation.

Billig begins his third term as majority leader. During his tenure, the Spokane lawmaker has seen the Senate pass landmark legislation to improve childcare, K-12 education, voting access, tax reform, gun safety, climate action, health care and much more.

Under Billig’s leadership, the Legislature has adjourned on time five sessions in a row without a special session, marking the first time that’s happened since 1899.

“I feel particularly fortunate to continue this journey with such a dynamic and talented group of senators on behalf of the people of this great state,” Billig said. “Washington state is a wonderful place to live, play and work, and we have so many accomplishments to be proud of, but there is still a lot of work left to do. Housing, the economy, protecting access to reproductive health services, and the defense of our democracy are clearly top of mind for many Washingtonians. I am excited about the opportunity for continued progress on these and other important issues in 2023 and beyond. Let’s get to work!”

“I am honored that my colleagues have chosen me to serve as Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus for another term,” said Hasegawa. “In a time of so many converging crises, it is more important than ever that we continue to act and pass legislation that will support all Washingtonians. I look forward to another session of working with my colleagues on solutions to the issues that matter most to our neighbors.”

Billig has served in the Senate since 2013 and was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2010. Hasegawa was first elected to the House in 2004 and elected to the Senate in 2012.

11/09/2022   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt between Nov. 13 and Nov. 16.

11/08/2022   Washington Attorney General News

Auto insurance companies made investigation public by fighting to quash inquiry into use of credit history to choose customers and price car insurance

11/03/2022   Washington Attorney General News

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today issued the following statement after a King County Superior Court commissioner granted Ferguson’s motion for a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking Albertsons’ $4 billion dividend payment.

The order is available here.

11/03/2022   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Below is the monthly recap of board and commission appointments made by Gov. Jay Inslee during the month of October 2022.

11/02/2022   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

When he signed the updated state budget in March, Gov.

11/01/2022   Washington Attorney General News

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit today to block Albertson Companies Inc. from enriching its shareholders with a $4 billion payout before a proposed merger with The Kroger Co. can be reviewed by state and federal antitrust enforcers.

11/01/2022   Washington State Senate Democrats

Olympia– A recently published Washington State report found a significant gap in homeownership among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color compared to their white community members.

The report is a culmination of many months of findings from the Homeownership Disparities Work Group, which was funded by the Legislature in 2021. State Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Tacoma) was among the lawmakers advocating for the funding.

“In my years of experience in working with community, it has been clear that not everyone has the same access to homeownership,” said Nobles. “I’m thrilled to secure the funding that created this workgroup and furthermore for having tangible information we can use to direct our policy work going forward.”

The workgroup has put forward 27 recommendations to remove housing barriers for BIPOC community members. Twelve of these recommendations have been deemed actionable over the next several years. Further information can be found on the Department of Commerce’s page.

The Legislature is set to reconvene in January.

11/01/2022   Washington State Senate Democrats

Tacoma– After a 13-year-old boy died in a fatal biking accident amid an uptick in traffic fatalities, State Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest) hosted fellow transportation leaders for an advocate roundtable as part of a listening tour on improving road safety.

On July 19, Michael Weilert had entered the crosswalk near Pacific Avenue and 134th Street South after activating the crosswalk signal, but a motorist failed to yield to the signal.

“This death was a tragic loss to his family, and to our community,” said Nobles. “Michael did everything right. His death shouldn’t have happened, and it is our duty to ensure that our roads are safe so that it doesn’t happen again.”

Nobles initiated the opportunity for community engagement and invited other transportation leaders to consider options for legislative action. Leaders were briefed on potential safety improvements to the transportation corridor and met with advocates to hear how community members have been personally impacted and what improvements they would like to see.

“As a mother, my heart hurts for his family who have to deal with this turmoil,” Nobles said. “Parents, kids, community members should all be able to access multiple means of transportation safely and confidently.”

Nobles pledges to continue exploring strategies for improving road safety when the Legislature convenes in January to consider legislation and draft the state transportation budget for the coming biennium.

11/01/2022   Washington Attorney General News

Judge finds 15,000+ Washington businesses harmed by the schemes, estimated to be eligible for more than $1.27 million in restitution

SEATTLE — A King County Superior Court judge has ordered two companies and their owners to pay more than $24.8 million for their unlawful conduct targeting small business owners. The judge determined that both companies’ “entire business model was based upon deceiving small business owners.”

10/31/2022   Washington Attorney General News

Rhonda Sue Ackerman faces prison time, paying restitution following AG prosecution

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that former Spokane County worker Rhonda Sue Ackerman has pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree theft. Ackerman was employed as a liability claims technician and stole $1.38 million over the course of a decade from Spokane County by filing fake claims.