Local leaders respond to Connecticut school massacre

December 14, 2012

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 2012

Issaquah School District and King County leaders urged action in the hours after a school shooting in Connecticut claimed 27 lives, including 20 children.

Officials sought to reassure parents about campus safety and offer advice about how parents can talk to children about the tragedy.

“On behalf of the Issaquah School District, our hearts go out to community of Newtown, Conn., and especially to the staff, students and families of Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Issaquah School District Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said in a message emailed to district parents Friday afternoon. “It’s difficult to comprehend the motivation for the horrific attack that took place this morning.

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Rush for same-sex weddings sets marriage license record

December 11, 2012

Dow Constantine

In a milestone just after midnight Dec. 6, King County started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a month after Washington voters legalized same-sex marriage.

The county issued a record 623 marriage licenses between midnight Dec. 6 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8. The initial day set a record at 489.

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the initial marriage license at 12:01 a.m. in a ceremony at the King County Recorder’s Office.

“Tonight you are making history,” he said to the initial group of 11 couples. “Not only our legislators, but the people of this state have said every person is entitled to equal treatment. This advances our law in the state of Washington, and brings us one step closer to that first ‘self-evident’ truth announced by our nation’s founders: that all are created equal.”

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King County issues marriage licenses to more than 300 same-sex couples

December 6, 2012

NEW — 9:05 a.m. Dec. 6, 2012

In a milestone just after midnight Thursday, King County started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a month after Washington voters legalized same-sex marriage.

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the initial marriage license at 12:01 a.m. in a ceremony at the King County Recorder’s Office. The county issued 345 marriage licenses by 9 a.m. — a record for the number of licenses issued in a single day.

“Tonight you are making history,” Constantine said to the initial group of 11 couples. “Not only our legislators but the people of this state have said every person is entitled to equal treatment. This advances our law in the state of Washington, and brings us one step closer to that first ‘self-evident’ truth announced by our nation’s founders: That all are created equal.”

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Governor urges Congress to pass sales tax bill

December 4, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire urged Congress on Nov. 26 — Cyber Monday, the largest online shopping day all year — to require online businesses to collect sales tax.

The governor said Washington businesses face unfair competition from online and mail-order retailers that fail to collect sales taxes.

The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act aims to give states the option to collect sales and use tax revenues from out-of-state sellers.

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Governor urges Congress to require online businesses to collect sales tax

November 27, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 27, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire urged Congress on Monday — Cyber Monday, the largest online shopping day all year — to require online businesses to collect sales tax.

The governor said Washington businesses face unfair competition from online and mail-order retailers that fail to collect sales taxes. Gregoire said Congress should address the issue by passing legislation to treat out-of-state sellers the same as local businesses.

The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act aims to give states the option to collect sales and use tax revenues from out-of-state sellers. U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced the bill a year ago.

Congress is now reconvening to address expiring tax provisions and the looming “fiscal cliff” crisis. Gregoire said the focus on taxation issues is a good opportunity to address the online sales tax legislation.

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State adds flexible start date to Discover Pass

November 23, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 23, 2012

State agencies encourage holiday shoppers to consider a Discover Pass as a gift for family and friends interested in the outdoors.

Officials added a feature recently to allow purchasers to choose the pass’ start date. The option is available to customers who purchasing the pass at www.discoverpass.wa.gov, or in person from authorized retailers through the Washington Interactive Licensing Database, or WILD, system.

The pass is available in Issaquah at Big 5 Sporting Goods, Fred Meyer and Sports Authority.

The buyer can activate the pass immediately or on any day within one year of purchase.

State legislators passed the option into law in 2012 to allow greater flexibility to outdoor recreation enthusiasts, including people interested in giving the pass as a gift.

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Mark Mullet elected to represent Issaquah in state Senate

November 13, 2012

Mark Mullet embraces wife Sabath at Zeeks Pizza on election night Nov. 6 moments after initial results give him a lead in the race against Brad Toft for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat. By Greg Farrar

The unexpectedly ugly race to represent Issaquah in the state Senate reached a coda in the days after the Nov. 6 election, but not before more public friction between the candidates.

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Sammamish couple hails same-sex marriage milestone

November 13, 2012

Washington voters’ groundbreaking decision to approve same-sex marriage elicited a simple — but heartfelt — response from a Sammamish couple: thank you.

Referendum 74, buoyed by strong support in King County, authorized same-sex marriage in Washington. Dana and Sage Alixander, longtime partners married in California before Proposition 8 outlawed same-sex marriage, hailed the historic decision in Washington.

Dana Alixander offered a “collective thank you” to R-74 supporters not long after the measure inched ahead in election night results.

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Department of Ecology seeks comments on emission rules

November 13, 2012

The public can review and comment on proposed routine updates to the state rule for low-emission vehicle standards before Nov. 14.

In 2005, Gov. Chris Gregoire and state legislators adopted California’s vehicle emissions standards. The controls limit emissions of greenhouse gases and common air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter.

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Brad Toft concedes state Senate race to Mark Mullet

November 9, 2012

NEW — 10:05 a.m. Nov. 9, 2012

Less than 24 hours after urging supporters to wait for more election results, Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft conceded a hard-fought state Senate race to Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet early Friday.

Toft could not overcome the lead Mullet, a Democrat, posted on election night, and then continued to maintain as subsequent results arrived. In the most recent results released Thursday by King County Elections, Toft trailed Mullet, 54 percent to 46 percent, out of 50,681 ballots tallied.

“There’s a disappointment in what happened, but the cause goes on,” Toft said in a message to campaign supporters Friday.

Mullet declared victory after the initial election results landed Tuesday, and then disputed Toft’s assertions about a possible turnaround in subsequent days.

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