by Elizabeth Turnbull and Sarah Goh
Content Warning: This article discusses the topic of sexual violence and assault.
Washington leaders joined a growing national protest Tuesday, May 3, after news site Politico obtained and published a Supreme Court draft opinion showing the court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 decision ensuring a woman’s right to an abortion.
Continue reading Washington Leaders and Pro-Choice Advocates Protest Draft Opinion Overturning Roe v. Wade
by Megan Burbank
With Gov. Jay Inslee’s signoff, birth doulas in Washington State have established their work as a profession based on voluntary competency-based state certification, paving the way for reimbursement under Medicaid. ESHB 1881 passed both chambers in Olympia earlier this month, where it drew broad support, passing with a wide margin of 85–8, backing from both parties in the House, and unanimous support in the Senate, according to a media release from Surge Reproductive Justice, an organization backing the legislation. It was among a docket of bills Inslee signed into law on Wednesday, March 30, in a ceremony at the State Capitol streamed live on TVW.
Continue reading Washington Birth Doulas Advocated for a Pathway to Certification — and Won
by Ben Adlin and Sally James
Washington’s universal indoor mask mandate will remain in place for now, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon, but he added that he plans to announce next week a target date to lift the statewide restriction. Inslee did announce that the state’s current outdoor mask mandate, which applies to events with more than 500 people, would be lifted by Feb. 18.
If data — specifically admissions at hospitals across the state — suggest the indoor mandate can be safely removed without leading to a spike in cases, Inslee said, he expects that masks will be optional in a matter of “weeks rather than months.”
Continue reading Inslee: Indoor Mask Mandate Will Stay in Place for ‘Weeks Rather Than Months’
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Of late, King County councilmembers have called on Gov. Jay Inslee to get rid of an old governor directive that some activists have argued effectively banned affirmative action in the state — Seattle City leaders and others have also joined in the call.
Continue reading Citing Need for Affirmative Action, Local Leaders Urge Inslee to Rescind Old Directive
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a vaccination mandate for K–12 educators and workers, an expansion of the indoor mask mandate, and a vaccination requirement for individuals in the State’s higher education institutions and for most childcare providers.
Similar to Inslee’s Aug. 9, announcement, which dictates that most State workers need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 in order to maintain their employment, today the Governor expanded this requirement to K–12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers, and others working in school facilities, who will have until the same date to become fully vaccinated or lose their jobs.
“We have kids who are under the age of twelve who are unable to get vaccinated,” Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah said at a press conference Wednesday. “The challenge that we’ve had is when kids go to school and they are unvaccinated, then masking really is one of your tools, but the other tool we have is adults around those kids [being vaccinated].”
Continue reading State Mandates Vaccinations for School System Employees, Expands Mask-Wearing Indoors
by Jack Russillo
By the end of June, Washington state could see all of its restrictions lifted and be fully reopened, Governor Jay Inslee announced on Thursday.
Continue reading Washington’s Vaccination Efforts Enough to Fully Reopen State by End of June, Inslee Says
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that the state appears to be entering a fourth spike in coronavirus cases as mutations of the virus appear to be contributing to its spread.
“We have a situation that we’re dealing with right now, I wish it was otherwise,” Inslee said at a press briefing. “Unfortunately we now are seeing the beginnings of a fourth surge in the state of Washington.”
Continue reading State in Fourth Wave in COVID-19, Vaccination Sites Open in South King County
by Carolyn Bick
There appear to be a small, but growing number of COVID-19 outbreaks among youth sports teams in King County, most of which have occurred in the South End. As of this writing, there have been 10 outbreaks this year, sickening 34 youths and eight adults.
Continue reading County Faces Steep Decline in Available Vaccines, Youth Sports Teams See Outbreaks
by Carolyn Bick
At the 43:22 timestamp in a video of a nearly two-hour King County Council meeting regarding the shooting death of Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht gets up and walks out of the room, before any members of the community speak, and before Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens’s mother starts to read the last poem her son wrote before police shot and killed him in 2017.
“I have to get on to the next thing,” Johanknecht says, looking at the watch on her left wrist.
Continue reading ‘A Failed Leader’: Momentum Builds in Demands for Sheriff Johanknecht’s Resignation
by Ashley Archibald
Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that the State would open eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to all people over the age of 16 on April 15, a move that will allow another million Washingtonians to make appointments for the shot two weeks ahead of the standard set by the Biden administration.
There will not be enough supply to meet pent up demand from younger adults to get their vaccines immediately when eligibility opens in mid-April, cautioned Dr. Umair Shah, the secretary of the Washington State Department of Health. However, the federal government has increased the number of weekly vaccines delivered to the state and is likely to be able to further expand supply in May.
“While we are pleased and excited that we can open to everyone above the age of 16 on April 15, we also recognize that we have vaccine supply that continues to be a challenge for all of us,” Shah said. “That supply is something we’re continuing working with the federal administration on and the governor has done a lot from his seat to get more vaccine into the state of Washington.”
Continue reading Governor Announces Vaccine Eligibility for Ages 16 and Over Starting April 15