Washington State House Democrats


Wednesday, May 24

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (at podium) makes remarks prior to Gov. Jay Inslee (to the left of Ferguson) signing a package of gun legislation in April 2023. The legislation included a ban on the sale of firearms classified as “assault weapons.”

‘Not tools of self-defense’: Ferguson makes case for Washington’s new semiautomatic rifle ban
Courthouse sparring is ramping up in a case that could eventually decide whether Washington’s newly adopted ban on the sale of semiautomatic rifles is constitutional. Gun rights advocates filed the lawsuit in federal district court in Tacoma on April 25, the same day Gov. Jay Inslee signed the legislation. On Monday, Attorney General Bob Ferguson registered his opposition to the challengers’ request for a preliminary injunction to block the law’s enforcement while the litigation unfolds. “Just like bazookas, machine guns, and grenade launchers, assault weapons are not covered by the Second Amendment because they are not tools of self-defense; rather, they are designed to injure and kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” his brief says. “Moreover,” it adds, “Washington’s regulation of assault weapons fits comfortably within the long historical tradition of regulating dangerous and unusual weapons.”
Continue reading at WA State Standard. (Bill Lucia)

Vote-by-mail ballots are shown in sorting trays at the King County Elections headquarters in Renton on Aug. 5, 2020.

Editorial: New WA laws expand voting access and convenience
The state Legislature created new laws to help ensure the integrity of elections and increase access to the ballot. All were enacted at the request of Secretary of State Steve Hobbs. One measure allows for online voter registration with the last four digits of a Social Security number instead of a driver’s license or state ID number. Another makes voter registration automatic for people who have proved their citizenship while applying for an enhanced driver’s license or enhanced state ID card. Still another bill prohibits political campaigns from using false images, videos or audio without a disclosure that the material has been manipulated. All of these changes are reasonable and welcome, and come at a time when trust in our voting system has been challenged. These new measures help safeguard voting just in time for this year’s elections and beyond. Continue reading at Seattle Times. (Ted S. Warren)

Editorial: State’s mental health care office holds promise
In Washington, an Office of Behavioral Health Advocacy was launched in October as a result of House Bill 1086, which the Legislature unanimously passed in 2021. Sponsor Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton, said at the time that the idea was to “identify systemic issues that are going on in our behavioral health system.” The new office is part of a continuing strategy to rethink mental health services in Washington. The 2023-25 budget passed last month by the Legislature includes $957 million in behavioral health investments, including efforts to improve crisis response, prevent crises from occurring and increase the mental health workforce. It also increases funding for the 988 crisis line that was launched last year. Continue reading at Columbian.


Bellingham Herald
New Whatcom County Jail could cost over $200 million. Here’s where it may go

Shahala Middle School students protest schedule changes, budget cuts
Vancouver City Council awards $4.23M to organizations that support affordable housing
Editorial: State’s mental health care office holds promise (Simmons, Dhingra)

Everett Herald
$30M affordable housing project to start construction soon in Edmonds
Comment: What’s the health threat from wildfire season’s smoke

Future uncertain for the WA State Sunshine Committee’s oversight of public records (Springer)

Peninsula Daily News
LGBTQ care politicized, area health officer says
State funding for Simdars Road bypass moves up

Seattle Medium
Tacoma Takes Urgent Action Against Youth Violence
Tacoma Police Department Provides Mid-Year Analysis Of Crime Reduction Plan
Some King County Residents May Lose Health Coverage June 1

Seattle Times
Fentanyl has devastated King County’s homeless population, and the toll is getting worse
Snohomish County announces $8 million to boost mental and behavioral health treatment
Tribes ramp up pressure on WA over gas prices as climate laws’ effects take hold (Mullet, Nguyen)
Editorial: New WA laws expand voting access and convenience

Spokesman Review
Spokane police to get new full-body restraints to more safely detain suspects

Tri-City Herald
Safety record, leadership criticized for new $45B Hanford radioactive waste contractor
Opinion: Here’s how you can help a teen suffering with a mental health disorder

Washington Post
Trans kids crave acceptance at school in a nation that often resists it

WA State Standard
Ready for its close-up, Washington sees moviemaking rebound
Not tools of self-defense’: Ferguson makes case for Washington’s new semiautomatic rifle ban

Yakima Herald-Republic
More known about boarding school for Native students in what was North Yakima, but specific information is still scarce
Opinion: Higher reimbursement rates should sustain Toppenish hospital


First affordable high-rise in more than 50 years opens in Seattle
Tacoma City Council approves $3.1 million settlement for wrongful death of Bennie Branch
WSP sergeant reassigned after citing innocent driver in crash involving fellow trooper
‘The Super Bowl for the ferry system’: Washington State Ferries getting ready for summer season

Geologists mapping out Mount St. Helens mudslide to assess damage, needed repairs

Fentanyl crisis disproportionately impacting Native Americans in King County
Seattle police recruitment effort lagging, response to calls for service grows

KUOW Public Radio
Rail workers call for safety improvements in Washington state
Bellevue struggles to open safe parking lot for people living in cars
Seattle introduces legislation to protect gig workers from abrupt termination

New report details economic, mental health struggles facing women and girls in Spokane County
The State of Women in Spokane County: An inside look at the childcare crisis, impacts on working families


Cascadia Daily News
Is Northwest Washington prepared for a train disaster?
Whatcom flood recovery pushing forward 18 months later
Western breaks ground on new ‘zero energy’ building