Issaquah legislators top list on missed votes tally

April 24, 2012

NEW — 3 p.m. April 24, 2012

Local legislators missed the most votes in the Legislature during the 2012 regular and special sessions.

Glenn Anderson

The information, released Tuesday in a report from the nonpartisan organization WashingtonVotes.org, ranks state Rep. Glenn Anderson at the top for both chambers, followed by state Sen. Cheryl Pflug and state Rep. Jay Rodne.

Anderson missed 95 votes to top the list for Senate and House of Representatives members. Pflug did not participate in 64 votes and Rodne did not participate in 62.

The lawmakers represent Issaquah and the 5th Legislative District.

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Issaquah senator sponsors bill to reform Medicaid, recover dollars

April 10, 2012

Lawmakers — including local state Sen. Cheryl Pflug — passed legislation to crack down on Medicaid fraud and recover taxpayer funds.

The measure, Senate Bill 5978 or the Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act, aims to create additional tools for the state to pursue Medicaid fraud. Supporters said the effort could raise millions of dollars in fraud recoveries in the years ahead. The legislation is modeled on a longstanding federal program.

The measure relies on whistleblower tips to learn about fraud from health care companies out to defraud the state Medicaid system.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law March 30.

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Issaquah senator sponsors bill to reform Medicaid

March 12, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. March 12, 2012

Lawmakers — including local state Sen. Cheryl Pflug — passed legislative to crack down on Medicaid fraud and recover taxpayer funds.

The measure, Senate Bill 5978 or the Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act, aims to create additional tools for the state to pursue Medicaid fraud. Supporters said the effort could raise millions of dollars in fraud recoveries in the years ahead. The legislation is modeled on a longstanding federal program.

The measure relies on whistleblower tips to learn about fraud from health care companies out to defraud the state Medicaid system.

The act encourages health care company employees to alert state regulators to fraud. The legislation then awards a portion of funds recovered during a successful investigation.

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Officials consider plastic bag ban for Issaquah

February 14, 2012

Officials intend to use Seattle ordinance as model

Canvas bags could turn into a more common sight in Issaquah checkout lanes soon.

The city is poised to join Bellingham, Edmonds, Mukilteo and Seattle to ban plastic bags at local retailers — to limit garbage headed for the King County landfill and reduce pollution in Puget Sound.

Though a decision on a plastic bag ban is months distant, the Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee plans to start collecting input from businesses owners and residents Feb. 16.

“To me, the beauty of it is, you get to your end objective, which is getting rid of plastic bags, and you’re not putting an undue, negative impact on the businesses in your community,” said Councilman Mark Mullet, a local merchant and the committee chairman.

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Governor signs same-sex marriage bill with local legislators’ support

February 14, 2012

Issaquah legislators joined Gov. Chris Gregoire to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington — a decision supporters hailed as an “historic” milestone.

Gov. Chris Gregoire

The governor, a Democrat, signed the legislation Feb. 13 as local state Sen. Cheryl Pflug and other supporters looked on from the packed State Reception Room at the Capitol.

The landmark legislation put Washington among the half-dozen states and Washington, D.C., to allow same-sex marriage, but the measure could face a challenge on the November ballot before any weddings occur.

“It is a day historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights — a day when we did what was right, we did what was just, and we did what was fair,” Gregoire said. “We stood up for equality and we did it together — Republicans and Democrats, gay and straight, young and old, and a variety of religious faiths. I’m proud of who and what we are in this state.”

The legislation cleared the state House of Representatives in a 55-43 decision Feb. 8 — the last hurdle before the measure reached the governor. Republican Glenn Anderson joined local Democrats in the House to approve a landmark bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

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Who’s News

February 14, 2012

Renee Chaffin serves as Senate page

Sen. Cheryl Pflug and Renee Chaffin

Renee Chaffin, a sophomore at Skyline High School in Sammamish, recently participated in the Senate Page Program during the third week of the 2012 session. Chaffin was sponsored by Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-Maple Valley).

The Senate Page Program is an opportunity for Washington students to get firsthand experience working in the Legislature. Pages get a variety of experiences in their weeklong stay in Olympia, including running errands, delivering mail and paging in the Senate Chamber. Pages are also taught about parliamentary procedure and the legislative process.

Chaffin was one of 17 students chosen to participate last week.

“Renee was a delight this week,” Pflug said. “I am grateful for her passion, and it was exciting to see her passion for government.”

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Governor signs same-sex marriage into law after Issaquah legislators support bill

February 13, 2012

NEW — 5 p.m. Feb. 13, 2012

Issaquah legislators joined Gov. Chris Gregoire to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington — a decision supporters hailed as an “historic” milestone.

Gov. Chris Gregoire

The governor, a Democrat, signed the legislation Monday as local state Sen. Cheryl Pflug and other supporters looked on from the packed State Reception Room at the Capitol.

The landmark legislation put Washington among the half-dozen states and Washington, D.C., to allow same-sex marriage, but the measure could face a challenge on the November ballot before any weddings occur.

“It is a day historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights — a day when we did what was right, we did what was just, and we did what was fair,” Gregoire said. “We stood up for equality and we did it together — Republicans and Democrats, gay and straight, young and old, and a variety of religious faiths. I’m proud of who and what we are in this state.”

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Most Issaquah representatives support ‘historic’ same-sex marriage bill

February 9, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Feb. 9, 2012

Republican Glenn Anderson on Wednesday joined local Democrats in the state House of Representatives to approve a landmark bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington.

Glenn Anderson

The lawmakers representing Issaquah in the House joined the majority on the 55-43 decision. The delegation is comprised of Democrats, except for Anderson and state Rep. Jay Rodne.

The legislation heads to Gov. Chris Gregoire. The governor, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill in the days ahead.

In the Issaquah delegation, state Reps. Judy Clibborn, Marcie Maxwell, Deb Eddy and Ross Hunter supported the legislation.

Rodne opposed the measure to allow same-sex marriage. The legislator, a North Bend Republican, asked for a referendum clause to send the issue to voters in November; the proposed amendment failed.

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Senators offer key support for same-sex marriage bill

February 7, 2012

Issaquah legislators offered key Republican support for the same-sex marriage bill passed in the state Senate on Feb. 1.

Cheryl Pflug and Steve Litzow joined the 28-21 majority to endorse the legislation.

So far, a half-dozen states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — plus Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage. Washington state has had a domestic partnership law — or “everything but marriage” law — in place since 2009.

Cheryl Pflug

Steve Litzow

(Pflug, a former state representative from Maple Valley, represents the 5th Legislative District; Litzow, a freshman senator from Mercer Island, represents the 41st Legislative District.)

Issaquah’s other senator, Democrat Rodney Tom, also endorsed the legislation. (Tom represents the 48th Legislative District, including the Greenwood Point and South Cove neighborhoods.)

The measure heads next to the state House of Representatives. The bill is expected to easily pass the House and proceed to Gov. Chris Gregoire to be signed into law.

The governor, a Democrat, endorsed same-sex marriage legislation last month. Gregoire praised the Senate decision.

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Issaquah senators offer key Republican support for same-sex marriage bill

February 2, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 2, 2012

Issaquah legislators offered key Republican support for the same-sex marriage bill passed in the state Senate on Wednesday.

Cheryl Pflug

Steve Litzow

Cheryl Pflug and Steve Litzow joined the 28-21 majority to endorse the legislation.

So far, a half-dozen states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — plus Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage. Washington state has had a domestic partnership law — or “everything but marriage” law — in place since 2009.

(Pflug, a former state representative from Maple Valley, represents the 5th Legislative District; Litzow, a freshman senator from Mercer Island, represents the 41st legislative district.)

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