Arraignment in nightclub arson
Musab Musmari, the suspect accused of setting fire to Capitol Hill's Neighbours, a gay nightclub, on New Years Eve, pleaded innocent in a hearing today. During the arraignment, Judge Patrick Oishi barred Musmari from contact with the nightclub or any of its employees. Musmari is currently in jail in lieu of $1 million bail, according to Capitol Hill Seattle blog. The fire was quickly put out by a patron and an employee, but an estimated 700 people were in the club at the time. — J.C.
Today in Olympia
- It's called the "knockout game," and has been a staple on cable television news. One person smacks another at random on the street and runs away. Though some have called the supposed trend a hoax, the Senate passed a bill by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, Tuesday to make the "knockout game" a 3rd Degree Assault. Nine Democrats voted against the bill on the grounds that this type of assault is already a crime. — J.S.
Yesterday in Olympia
- The House voted in favor of a bill that would limit the amount of medical marijuana a patient could grow or possess, set up a registry of patients and require licenses for medical retailers. Two somewhat similar Senate bills are also in play, which means the Legislature may well try to reconcile the three bills this session.
- The House widely approved a bill by Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, to regulate the use of drones by state and local government agencies. With a few exceptions — emergency, training situations & wildlife monitoring, among them — the bill would require a court-issued warrant for legitimate drone use.
- The Senate unanimously passed a bill by Sen. Steve O'Ban, R-Pierce County, that would provide kids, including foster kids, with an attorney in family court matters after the child's parents have had their parental rights terminated. Currently, standards for providing attorneys for kids vary widely across the state, a problem Crosscut has covered through its Kids@Risk series.
- Pro wrestling ain't real, but it is theatrical. Which is perhaps why the House passed a bill introduced by Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, that would commission a study of whether theatrical wrestling should continue to be regulated and assessed fees as boxing and mixed martial arts events are. None of the 14 nay voters indicated whether they actually thought pro wrestling is real. — J.S.
FBI agent shuffle
A veteran agent will step in to run the FBI's Seattle office after special agent Laura M. Laughlin suddenly retired on Monday, a federal holiday. The Seattle Times reports that Carlos L. Mojica is serving as acting special agent in charge of the office, which oversees FBI operations throughout the state. Mojica, who joined the FBI in 1997, had been the senior assistant special agent for the Seattle office. Laughlin, who was approaching mandatory retirement later this year, has an ongoing sex discrimination suit against the bureau. — J.C.
Microsoft giving record
Microsoft employees gave a company-record of $113 million to non-profits in 2013, a total that includes the company's matching contributions, according to GeekWire. More than half of the money — $59 million — went to charitable organizations in Washington state, Executive Vice President Brad Smith said on a company blog. — J.C.
Electronic Ferry tolling
A new Department of Transportation study recommends using Good To Go passes to automate payments for ferry fares. The Good To Go system is already being used for automated tolling on the 520 floating bridge, Highway 167 and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, according to The Herald. Though the study said pre-paid Good To Go passes could be in use throughout the ferry system by 2018, the Legislature will determine whether to go ahead with the plan. — J.C.
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