Proposal Would Create Alert System For Missing Indigenous People

A bill proposed in Olympia would create an alert system for missing and murdered Indigenous women and people, the first of its kind in Washington and the United States.

House Bill 1725 would create an alert to help identify and locate missing Indigenous women and people. Similar to “silver alerts” for missing vulnerable adults, it would broadcast information about missing Indigenous people on message signs and in highway advisory radio messages when activated, as well as through news releases to local and regional media, according to a news release from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

It would be the first alert system specifically for missing and murdered Indigenous women and people in the country, the news release said.

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Puyallup Tribe And Community Organizations Challenge Decision Allowing Tacoma LNG Facility

Today, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and several community organizations filed an appeal with Pierce County Superior Court challenging a November decision by the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB). Despite misleading and inaccurate information used to evaluate the project, PCHB determined the Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) air permits, issued by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) and given to the Tacoma Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facility, were adequate.

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Peace Organizations Win Fight For Records On Explosives At Naval Base

Washington – On August 31, 2020, Judge Ronald B. Leighton ordered the release of eleven records that the  Navy had provided to Plaintiffs in 2012 in the course of a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) lawsuit that were sealed later in 2012 in a secret court hearing.  Judge Leighton also lifted a gag order imposed upon Plaintiffs over seven years ago.  

Following the ruling by Judge Leighton, on October 23, 2020, Judge Thomas S. Zilly in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma ordered the Navy to pay legal fees incurred by two peace…

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Washington State Law Puts Limits On Facial Recognition Technology

Olympia, WA – Last week, a Washington state law went into effect that requires a warrant for ongoing and realtime facial recognition surveillance. The new law will not only help protect privacy in Washington state; it will take a step toward hindering one aspect of the federal surveillance state.

A coalition of 10 Democrats introduced Senate Bill 6280 (SB6280) on Jan. 14. The new law requires law enforcement agencies to get a warrant “to engage in ongoing surveillance, to conduct real-time or near real-time identification, or to start persistent tracking” with just a few exceptions. This includes using facial recognition technology to scan crowds, streets or neighborhoods.

Police can utilize facial recognition without a warrant when exigent circumstances exist or with a court order authorizing the use of the service for the sole purpose of locating or identifying a missing person, or identifying a deceased person.

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Washington State Patrol Instructed Officers To Assault Protesters

In an alarming report the Washington State Patrol (WSP) has issued an apology after a command officer was caught on video telling fellow officers to assault protesters. The officer said: 

Don’t kill them, but hit them hard.

Seattle Times reports:

The Washington State Patrol has apologized after video surfaced of an officer telling his team, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard,” while preparing to clear protesters from the streets in Seattle’s Capitol Hill on Tuesday evening.

Newsweek reports:

A Washington State Patrol officer was recorded telling his officers to hit protestors hard ahead of a night on patrol in the Seattle area Tuesday.

The officer, who has not been identified, was filmed speaking to others in the patrol group, telling them, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard.” The video was later shared to social media.

The video, taken shortly before 7:45 p.m. Tuesday by Krystal Marx, executive director of Seattle Pride, and a Burien City Council member and deputy mayor, is alarming.

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Class War Violence: Centralia 1919

The Centralia American Legion and the leading businessmen of that city had more than a parade in mind when they gathered on November 11, 1919, to celebrate Armistice Day. Apparently believing that the spectacle of political violence would enhance the patriotic experience, they concocted a plan to raid the Centralia IWW Hall. IWW halls were of great practical and symbolic importance to workers. As Wobbly activist and historian Ralph Chaplin explains, the halls were loved by workers, but despised by employers.

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Victory: Trump Administration Backs Down, Withdraws Proposal To Restrict Protest

On October 28, 2019, the National Park Service said “In response to more than 140,000 comments received from the public and stakeholders, the National Park Service (NPS) today announced it is withdrawing its August 2018 proposal to revise the First Amendment and Special Use Permit regulations for the National Mall, President’s Park and other national parks in the Washington, D.C. area.” This victory shows once again that if we unite and act in solidarity we can win. Now that we have kept our right to protest, we urge people to exercise those rights in the coming years. The 2020s will be a decade of potential transformational change but it will only happen if people mobilize to demand the change we need. 

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Washington Court Upholds Climate Necessity Defense

Today climate activists in the U.S. celebrate a crucial victory. Yesterday the Washington Supreme Court denied the State’s petition for review in environmental activist Ken Ward’s case and set a Washington State precedent recognizing the necessity defense for direct action for the sake of preventing catastrophic climate change. “This victory upholds the right of a defendant to assert the necessity defense to the charges brought by the State and also strengthens the essential role that a jury of community members will play in determining whether the accused should be found guilty or not,” said Lauren Regan…

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How Linda Garcia Risked Everything To Keep Big Oil Out Of Her Community

Every time Linda Garcia’s cellphone pings, she wonders if it will be another death threat. The environmental activist has been targeted by anonymous callers for five years since taking on Big Oil to save her community from environmental devastation. Garcia lives in Fruit Valley, the kind of close-knit place where everybody knows everybody. The low-income community in Vancouver, Washington, sits just across the river from Portland, Oregon, and is home to a thousand households. It also has a severe air pollution problem.

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Washington State Senate Passes Missing And Murdered Indigenous People Bill

“This measure takes the important step of creating two liaison positions within the Washington State Patrol to increase trust between governmental organizations and native communities and to break the silence involved when an indigenous person goes missing,” said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale. Under the bill, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) is directed to develop a best practices protocol for law enforcement response to missing persons reports on and off reservations.

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Washington’s I-1631: A Chance To Choose Hope, Not Fear

It has been a tense and tragic time in the runup to the midterm election next week, and voters nationwide have reasons to feel fear about what may happen next, but we need to remember that there are also opportunities for great hope in the election next Tuesday. For example, few issues have generated as much excitement for climate action as the Washington State carbon pricing initiative, I-1631.   This initiative, developed after a painstaking and highly inclusive planning process that has  garnered enthusiastic support from a large, diverse coalition of constituencies, would create a groundbreaking carbon fee on polluters that would be reinvested in Washington’s communities, businesses, and clean energy industries.

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Washington Supreme Court Declares State’s Death Penalty Unconstitutional

Finding that the death penalty “is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner,” a unanimous Washington Supreme Court has struck down the state’s capital-punishment statute as violating Washington’s state constitutional prohibition against “cruel punishment.” The court’s ruling, authored by Chief Justice Mary E. Fairhurst and issued on October 11, 2018, declared: “The death penalty, as administered in our state, fails to serve any legitimate penological goal; thus, it violates article I, section 14 of our state constitution.” The decision also converted the sentences of all eight people on the state’s death row (pictured) to life imprisonment without possibility of release.

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Act Now To Protect Our Right To Protest

The radical attack on our constitutional right to protest in Washington, DC needs to be stopped. The National Park Service (NPS) has published proposed rules that would curtail First Amendment rights to assemble, petition the government and exercise free speech in the nation’s capital. Efforts to curtail protest are a sign that the movement is having an impact. We are building our power and are getting more organized. We have the power to stop these unconstitutional restrictions on our right to protest.

We urge you to join us in taking action today.

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Washington Walkouts Win Teachers Big Raises

Fifteen districts started the school year on strike in Washington state—the latest to ride the West Virginia wave. “For my whole life I thought this was just the way it was, that I would have to struggle to have a sustainable life,” said Anna Cockrum, a teacher in Evergreen, out on her first picket line. “I teach students to stand up for themselves, and it is so cool to be living that.” Evergreen teachers walked for almost two weeks before agreeing to raises averaging 11.5 percent, considerably more than the district’s initial 1.9 percent offer. Battle Ground and Tumwater were the last to settle, after more than two weeks out. Educators were demanding salary increases in line with the implementation of the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

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Thousands Of Rank-And-File US Steel Workers Cast Unanimous Votes To Strike

In a display of the growing militancy of the working class in the United States, rank-and-file workers at US Steel plants across the country cast a series of unanimous strike votes this week. The powerful strike votes take place as other workers, including teachers in the state of Washington, engage in a series of walkouts. The United Steelworkers (USW) union conducted the strike authorization votes after announcing last Saturday that it would to extend current labor agreements beyond their expiration dates while continuing contract talks with US Steel and ArcelorMittal. The contracts, which were due to expire September 1, cover 15,000 US Steel workers and 16,000 ArcelorMittal workers at mills and other facilities in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, Minnesota and other states.

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