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Victims' families angry with Inslee death penalty decision

Victims' families angry with Inslee death penalty decision

Washington Govenor Jay Inslee's decision to suspend executions of death row inmates has prompted a new senate bill, introduced by State Senator Steve O'Ban of Tacoma that has gained the support of the families of murder victims whose killers are on death row.

Three of the nine men on death row are from Spokane: Byron Scherf, who killed prison guard Jayme Biendl, Spokane serial killer Robert Yates, who killed 13 people, and Dwayne Woods, who beat two Spokane women to death.

Families of their victims are joining O'Ban to show Inslee his decision is not in favor of the victims. The bill will require Inslee to gather input from the state clemency and pardons board before signing a reprieve that would halt executions.

"Everyone here sees a name, but they don't get faces. This is Telisha," Sherry Shaver said.

Shaver is Telisha Shaver's mother; Telisha was one of two women beaten to death in 1997 by Dwayne Woods. She addressed the Senate Law and Justice Committee pleading on behalf of her daughter.

Spokane's LGBT business leaders react to Arizona bill veto

Local LGBT business leaders are applauding Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's decision to veto the bill that would have allowed businesses to turn away people based on their religious beliefs.

"It's a great day in the nation to know that this type of legislation was vetoed and this type of discrimination was not approved in Arizona," Marvo Reguindin said.

Reguindin is the General Manager for the region's LGBT chamber of commerce affiliate, Inland Northwest Business Alliance. He said although it was a state issue, it would have impacted people living in the Inland Northwest.

"If that bill would have passed, many residents, many LGBT and ally residents in Spokane would make decisions of boycotting Arizona," he said.

SB1062 would have provided businesses and individuals a cushion for discrimination lawsuits if they could prove that their acts were based on religious beliefs. In short, gays and other minorities could be turned away from places like restaurants. It's a move that local LGBT professionals call a "financial disaster."

House Ethics Committee looking at McMorris Rodgers

House Ethics Committee looking at McMorris Rodgers

The House Ethics Committee is considering an investigation of the No. 4 ranking member of the House Republican leadership, congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state.

Just last week McMorris Rodgers delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union address.

McMorris Rodgers serves as chair of the House GOP Conference and is the House GOP's highest-ranking woman. Her lawyer, Elliot Berke, says McMorris Rodgers is aware of the potential investigation and has cooperated with the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The OCE is an outside organization that can refer cases to the House Ethics Committee. The subject of the potential investigation isn't being disclosed.

The Ethics Committee chairman, Michael Conaway, and its ranking Democrat, Linda Sanchez, say they have received a referral from the OCE about McMorris Rodgers.

Local impact of the push to raise minimum wage

Local impact of the push to raise minimum wage

Minimum wage was a key topic in President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night. He wants to raise it from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour for federally contracted workers.

"The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all," President Obama said.

An Associated Press fact check shows it boost pay for about 200,000 employees. The president can issue the executive order, but would need congressional approval to raise minimum wage for all federal workers.

"Because if you cook our troops' meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn't have to live in poverty," President Obama said.

Some people we talked with agree.

"With what minimum wage is right now, a man cannot even pay his rent," taxi driver Larry Boyd said. "He must work a job and a half to do it."

"I think it gives you more incentive to work and it gives people a little more incentive to find those kind of jobs," Evander Cobbs said.

McMorris Rodgers to give GOP response to Obama

McMorris Rodgers to give GOP response to Obama

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress, will give the party's response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The Washington state congresswoman chairs the House Republican conference, is a mother with a new baby and two other children, and often speaks out on issues affecting families. She's in her fifth term representing an eastern Washington district.

She said she's looking forward to speaking to Americans in every corner of the country on Tuesday and to share the Republican vision for a better future.

The annual response is often awarded to promising politicians but can be tricky to give successfully since it's before a camera instead of a live audience.

The party's House and Senate leaders jointly announced the selection Thursday.

E. Washington lawmakers host telephone town hall meetings

E. Washington lawmakers host telephone town hall meetings

Eastern Washington lawmakers are back in Olympia and they want to hear your thoughts on the issues that impact you most. There will be two separate telephone town hall meetings hosted by different Senators and Representatives.


The first telephone town hall meeting will be on Wednesday, January 22nd, beginning at 6:15pm. Senator Andy Billig, and Representatives Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli will each give a brief overview of this legislative session and will then answer questions.

Spokane Valley swears in three City Council members

Spokane Valley swears in three City Council members

From the City of Spokane Valley:


In a brief ceremony on Monday, December 30, incumbents Chuck Hafner and Rod Higgins, along with newly-elected Bill Bates, took the oath of office as Spokane Valley City Council members. Each will serve a four-year term from 2014 through 2017.