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Today's Headlines: July 2, 2024

Washington political and legal figures try to make sense of Supreme Court immunity ruling

Lawyers around the country – and here in Washington state – are still taking in the Supreme Court’s decision on Donald Trump’s immunity to charges brought against him for actions he took as president, and what it means for upcoming trials.

Democrats in Washington have decried the ruling, saying it sets presidents on par with kings acting with impunity.

But former Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, says the president is still limited by his constitutional powers.

"This will get clearer once the trial court has actually done its job of deciding which of the actions Trump has been charged criminally for are official acts, and which are unofficial acts,” McKenna said.

As an example, McKenna said the conservative Supreme Court justices who wrote the majority opinion imply it wouldn’t be an official act to pressure the Georgia Secretary of State to come up with votes, as Trump was caught on tape doing in 2020.

McKenna believes that phone call would’ve been the unofficial act of a candidate.

Spokane County burn restrictions begin

Local fire chiefs say the restrictions are being enacted to due to warmer and drier weather, which increases wildfire risk.

“What we’re seeing in this area now is the fuels are starting to dry out and risk is starting to increase with increased fire danger,” said Ken Johnson, Deputy Fire Marshal at the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Whether travelling for the Fourth of July or staying home, Johnson says reducing wildfires is everyone’s responsibility:

“We want people to enjoy the holidays in the safest way possible and they can do that by just thinking about and minimizing risk themselves,” he told SPR News. “Each of us should be responsible for fire safety.”

During the burn ban, nearly all fires are restricted in Spokane County. Campfires are allowed but only at improved campsites. Johnson said the safest bet is to use propane fired stoves or barbecues.

New app helps Spokane County residents find records, report safety concerns

A Spokane County agency has launched a new app that allows users to conduct several types of public safety-related business.

“We took a look around and said what do people want to know? What do we think would be helpful in a time of a major emergency? What would they want they want to see there?” said Lori Markham, executive director of Spokane Regional Emergency Communications. “Those are the items that we went to that would be easily accessible through their fingertips.”

People can request public records, file a Crime Check report and, of special interest this week, report a case of illegal fireworks.

“That’s a seasonal opportunity that we have to let folks go there instead of calling 911 and taking up time on the system,” Markham said. “They can go there, they can report the fireworks and we can gather the information and provide it to those that need it.”

The app also features an interactive map that allows you to determine if you should evacuate in case of wildfire. It also allows people to register for real-time safety alerts.

Residents can download the app through the Apple Store or Google Play.

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Reporting was contributed by Scott Greenstone, Doug Nadvornick and Tom Lee.