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Take time to sign petition limiting Legislature's backroom, 11th-hour tax deals

At work and at home, we all have to make ends meet. We look at how much money we have and decide what we can afford.
If our bank accounts are low, we hold off spending, ask for a raise or save money.
Unfortunately, given the outcome of this year’s legislative session, lawmakers in Olympia don’t think they have to do the same.
The biennial budget that came out of the session will hit the $52.4 billion mark for the first time in history.
The new tax increases that go with the budget are estimated to be $25 billion over the next 10 years.

Measles alert issued for travelers to Puget Sound region

The state Department of Health is cautioning travelers to Western Washington about the potential for exposure to measles.
Four new cases have diagnosed in three counties west of the Cascade Mountains, state health officials said today, May 15. Two cases were confirmed in King County and one each in Snohomish and Pierce counties.
The cases are in addition to a case diagnosed Sunday in the Tacoma area of Pierce County and 71 cases earlier this year in Vancouver and surrounding Clark County in Southwest Washington.

Carpetbaggers trying to dictate local forest management

With nearly 1,000 comments on a proposed new management plan for Colville National Forest, I’d expect forest officials to be extremely busy April 24-26 when they meet with those groups and individuals who objected to the plan.
Many of the comments are from people who live, work and recreate in Stevens, Ferry, Pend Oreille and Okanogan counties. Many comments are also from people who neither live here nor have recreated in the area. Then there are those who neither included their full name nor where they live.

'Buttons' transported to new home

CLE ELUM – Despite state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s efforts to give “Buttons” the elk a chance at a life with wild elk, she is now on the way to a new home at Woodland Park Zoo.
Habituated to humans from a young age, the elk was a common visitor to rural homes and ranches in Cle Elum, achieving celebrity status in the community.
“People petted her, hand fed her, put children on her back,” Fish and Wildlife Regional Wildlife Program Manager Scott McCorquodale said.

Guest Column: I-1639 infringes on right to bear arms

By Don Brockett

Recently Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Ferguson sent a letter to gun dealers about the provisions of Initiative 1639. Ferguson previously criticized sheriffs who are resisting the passage of the initiative. The sheriffs are correct, the governor and attorney general are wrong.

As state elected officials, Inslee and Ferguson take the following oath: " … I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the state of Washington,…"

On the Hot Seat: Firearms advocates target Ferguson

Since being elected state attorney general in 2012, Democrat Bob Ferguson has had the Second Amendment and firearms in his gun sights.
And this year, with his political party controlling all branches of state government, he's pushed even harder for gun-control measures — measures that many rural residents say infringe on the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed in both the state and national constitutions.

On the Hot Seat: State shouldn't meddle in H-2A guest worker program

How arrogant.
A group of Puget Sound lawmakers — all Democrats — believes the state can better administer and direct compliance of the federal H-2A foreign guest worker program while assisting farmers, orchardists, ranchers and vineyards find the labor they need to manage their crops.
At the request of the state Employment Securities Department, Sens. John McCoy, Rebecca Saldana, Bob Hasegawa, Steve Conway, Kevin Van De Wege, Karen Keiser, Christine Rolfes, Lisa Wellman, Manka Dhingra and Patty Kuderer have signed onto Senate Bill 5438.

Create a Livestock Protection Team

Last week, I had a visit from a resident who came to me to ask what could be done about two problems.
One problem was a cougar near her home that killed one of her animals; the second problem was the lack of response of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agency had done nothing about the first problem and stopped her from doing something about it herself.
County folks have a variety of animals. They have cattle, horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, chickens and others. They raise some to sell, some to eat, some to enjoy and some just to love.

On the Hot Seat: Bill targets Marcus Whitman's significance, and our heritage

A significant part of Eastern Washington's history — indeed all of Washington and Oregon history — is under fire in Olympia. And with all the controversy over gun-control , Gov. Jay Inslee’s stumping for president and myriad new taxes, the attack I’m referring to is flying mostly under the radar.
Let me back up a bit.
As a kid growing up in the greater Tri-Cities-area, I looked forward to school field trips. One field trip I still remember vividly. That was the day-trip to the Walla Walla area and an educational outing at Whitman Mission.