Washington State House Democrats


Wednesday, May 15

A bag of evidence containing the synthetic opioid fentanyl disguised as Oxycodone in 2020 in California. Photo: Craig Kohlruss/The Fresno Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Overdose deaths in 2023 fell for the first time since the pandemic
Deadly drug overdoses in the United States declined last year for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic, new preliminary federal data show. But deaths from cocaine and stimulants like methamphetamine continued to tick up, as they are increasingly mixed with fentanyl, creating a new wave in the evolving drug epidemic. About 1 in 3 fatal overdoses last year involved stimulants, while just over 1 in 4 involved cocaine. Continue reading at Axios. (Getty Images)

Zaneta Billyzone-Jatta smiles at her two-year-old daughter, Zakiah Jatta, in her classroom at Akin’s Early Learning Center on March 26 in Auburn. Zakiah is enrolled in Washington’s ECEAP (Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program). (ellen m. banner/The Seattle Times)

Day care prices aren’t getting better; states step in
Across the country, the story for families is virtually the same: Child care is unaffordable for many, hard to find for those who can pay, and financially precarious for day care operators and their employees. The Biden administration and Congress tried to alleviate some of these problems when the pandemic crippled the child care industry. But as the record $52.5 billion in relief winds down, many states have stepped in with their own solutions. Continue reading at The Columbian. (Ellen Banner)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is among the specialized services available at the new UW Medicine Center for Behavioral Health and Learning, on the UW Medical Center-Northwest campus in North Seattle. (Ivy Ceballo / The Seattle Times)

New 150-bed UW psychiatric hospital opens to serve hard-to-treat patients
After more than four years of planning and construction, the UW Medicine Center for Behavioral Health and Learning — a teaching hospital that will primarily serve people in need of inpatient psychiatric care — officially opened Wednesday. The project, like many new builds, faced construction delays due to a recent concrete workers strike; it was initially supposed to open last August. By Wednesday’s scheduled ribbon-cutting, finishing touches were still underway. Employee training continues, furniture is being delivered and hospital administrators are working feverishly to recruit dozens of people to fill psychiatrist, psychologist, social work and nursing positions. Continue reading at The Seattle Times. (Ivy Ceballo)


Associated Press
Day care prices aren’t getting better; states step in
Local governments struggle to distribute their share of billions from opioid settlements

Aberdeen Daily World
Hoquiam pellet plant approved for air quality permit

UW student protesters refuse to leave encampment
Overdose deaths in 2023 fell for the first time since the pandemic

Bellingham Herald
Could a WA volcano erupt again in our lifetime? What would happen and how you can prepare
A proposed port rail connection could bring new industry to the Bellingham Shipping Terminal
Whatcom County home prices hit highest mark in years; WA remains third most expensive state
Gov. Inslee touts benefits of Climate Commitment Act in visit to Lake Whatcom preservation site

Capital Press
Cheese prices continue to rise
Shortage of healthcare worker, physicians hits rural America hardest

Washington road deaths jump 10%
Tacoma receives $4.95M for zero-emission trains

Everett Herald
Amazon to open new satellite internet manufacturing center in Everett
State: Marysville school plan ‘does not comply,’ must be fixed by Wednesday

The Inlander
Downtown Spokane’s Main Market is at risk of closing, increasing food insecurity in the city’s lowest income ZIP code

News Tribune
Will firefighters or fire stations disappear if these Pierce County agencies merge?
Tacoma ups penalties for littering. Some worry the law could hurt people already down
$18.9M project will close busy Pierce County thoroughfare for months. Here are details
Squirrels before the homeless? Opponents of micro village argue habitat might be at risk
Two studies ranked Washington among the top 10 best states for working moms, here’s why

Port Townsend Leader
Ferry system in crisis, officials say
Jefferson PUD to receive $4 million in broadband funds

Puget Sound Business Journal
Seattle emerging as a top climate tech funding hub
Seattle OKs new police contract with retroactive raises
Apartment project in downtown Redmond opens to residents
Amazon leases 2 warehouses on former Weyerhaeuser campus
Amazon confirms plans to open facility for satellite unit in Everett
Alaska Airlines and other carriers sue over federal fee-disclosure rules
Kaiser Permanente pulls plug on $500 million Yesler Terrace development
Greystar secures tax-exempt bond to acquire UW student housing buildings
How the symbiotic relationship between blue- and white-collar industries is making Seattle a top choice for businesses
Opinion: Regulatory barriers still block efforts to add affordable housing

Seattle Times
New 150-bed UW psychiatric hospital opens to serve hard-to-treat patients

Skagit Valley Herald
Preparations being made for wildfire season

Spokesman Review
Two weeks after strike, there is no contract between Providence and Sacred Heart technical workers
Some Mead parents, students frustrated with school district’s response to alleged football player assaults
Spokane considers $250,000 settlement with family of man killed by police while he held toddler, knife
Opinion: Even subsidized, Washington’s electric vehicle objectives won’t be met

Tri-City Herald
9 new bills filed to reverse Biden administration’s Snake River dams agreement
Opinion: Lives depend on keeping WA’ high-capacity magazine ban in place — like my sister’s

Walla Walla Union Bulletin
Former Walla Walla farmer, state legislator celebrates 100th birthday
Walla Walla superintendent details how district avoided financial crisis
Openings on city committees include roles with sustainability, housing efforts

Washington Post
Inflation eased slightly in April, with timing for rate cuts still uncertain

WA State Standard
Environmentalists seek protections for marmots on Olympic Peninsula
Tolls on existing I-5 bridge will help pay for the new span linking Oregon and Washington (Liias)

Wenatchee World
City of Wenatchee sells former Wenatchee Police station 
Wenatchee School Board votes to close Columbia Elementary
Chelan County PUD wraps up land deal, project funding; starts survey

Yakima Herald-Republic
In the Lower Yakima Valley, state agriculture department seeks to wipe out Japanese beetles


Seattle City Council approves new police contract in 8-1 vote
King County Council approves $20 per hour minimum wage for 2025
$11 million accounting error leads to 100 teacher layoffs in Moses Lake School District
Boeing violated deal made to avoid prosecution after deadly 737 Max crashes, DOJ says
‘I found out I had fewer options’: Work underway in Washington state to establish infertility insurance laws (Stonier)

Justice Department says Boeing violated deal that avoided prosecution after 737 Max crashes
King County Council votes to increase minimum wage starting in 2025
UW student employees strike for equal pay, set up city-wide picket lines
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up encampment at Western Washington University
Seattle police officer who hit, killed Jaahnavi Kandula misses deadline to pay infraction

KUOW Public Radio
Seattle is now an air conditioning town
Seattle cops get big raises in new union contract
King County Council raises minimum wage in unincorporated areas
University of Washington academic student employees strike for better pay
Yes, hiking. No, traffic. Trailhead Direct offers car-free travel from Seattle to the mountains

Spokane moving to new shelter system
Moses Lake School District places superintendent on administrative leave
FBI has seen an ‘alarming increase’ in online predators: Tips to keep your kids safe
$11 million accounting error contributing to major cuts in Moses Lake School District


Cascadia Daily News
WWU students set up pro-Palestine encampment 

The carbon cost of return-to-office mandates
What is an attorney general? They’re more attorney than general (Dhingra)
Seattle Council approves police union contract with 23% pay bump

Bellevue PD is teaching women to fight back with self-defense
Seattle passes contract with SPD amid concerns over lack of public comment
Privacy vs. finding stolen cars: Seattle considers expanding license plate readers
13 Western WA residents indicted for major drug ring, 350 pounds of drugs recovered

The Urbanist
Seattle Police Contract Passes Despite Limited Accountability Measures, Budget Hit