Federal aid to help individuals
President Barack Obama has just declared the Oso mudslive a major disaster, opening up a host of assistance in the recovery. In particular, as Joel Connelly of seattlepi.com notes, it will make individuals eligible for assistance with some of their losses. The governor's office says there are also programs to assist businesses and households, with as much of 75 percent of losses covered by the feds. As The Herald notes, some of the coverage can be directed toward housing for those affected by the disaster. If this is handled like other disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be rolling out details on applications for assistance. The Obama administration has been quick with assistance so far, and this appears to be no exception. Inslee requested the declaration of a major disaster just Tuesday but representatives of his office said it could take weeks to get a decision. — J.C.
The King County Elections on Wednesday sent out most ballots for the April 22 special election. Countywide, there is one issue, but it's a biggie: Proposition 1 on transportation improvements. It would fund maintenance of Metro Transit service and help finance road and bridge repairs through a 0.1 percent sales tax hike and an increase in the annual car tab fee. There's also an important measure for the Lake Washington School District: a $404 million bond issue on school construction and remodeling. Details and ballot arguments are here for the transportation measure and here for the Lake Washington measure. Elections spokesperson Barbara Ramey said residents who fail to receive a ballot by late next week should check with the office at 206-296-VOTE. — J.C.
Challenging Pam Roach
Colorful Republican Sen. Pam Roach no longer has to worry about her main Democrat challenger. But that's because, as The Seattle Times reports, she may face an even bigger challenge from within her own party, state Rep. Cathy Dahlquist. Democrat Jonathon Dunn is switching from the Senate race to seeking the seat that Dahlquist is vacating. The Dahlquist challenge is surprising on one level: Intra-party fights are uncommon, especially where someone — in this case, Dahlquist — is risking a presumably safe re-election. But on another level, consider: This is Pam Roach, a sometimes-strident conservative who was banned from her own party's Senate caucus meetings until the Republicans needed her to take control of the Senate with two renegade Democrats. — J.C.
Legislative race in Kitsap
Update 5:12 p.m. Judy Arbogast, a former teacher and teachers union president in the South Kitsap School District, is running as a Democrat against Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, in the 26th Legislative District, the Kitsap Sun reported. Angel,a longtime state representative, defeated Nathan Schlicher last November in a special election. Schlicher was appointted to the seat in early 2013 after the Democratic incumbent Derek Kilmer was elected to Congress. — J.C.
Today in Olympia
- Among the bills that Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law today was a juvenile records bill by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle, to seal most of a juvenile's court records automatically at age 18 unless someone takes court action to stop that sealing. In 1977, Washington opened juvenile offender records up to the public. Since then, a person could seek to seal his or her juvenile file on a case-by-case basis, but the criteria for sealing have become stricter over the years. And many young people faced gbig difficulties finding jobs because of their records. Kagi's bill limits access to non-violent juvenile files to the court, the appropriate attorneys and the defendant. — J.S.
- Inslee also signed a bill by Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, that requires the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to run any new health insurance rules by the health care committees of the House and Senate. If either of those committees objects to the proposed regulation, an administrative procedure would resolve the conflict. This requirement does not apply to new regulations for other types of insurance. It is what is left of a bill that originally called for abolishing the elected position of insurance commissioner, and replacing that person with a legislatively nominated board to supervise all insurance matters in the state. — J.S.
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