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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed into law a $52.4 billion, two-year state budget that he said "rises to the needs of our time," but that minority Republicans quickly criticized as a "tax-and-spend home run." 

Crew training deficiencies played a crucial role in the deadly 2017 Amtrak train derailment near DuPont, Washington, according to a final report from federal investigators accepted Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB board members also had sharp criticism for a quartet of entities involved in the Amtrak Cascades service: train operator Amtrak, track owner Sound Transit, rail service funder Washington State Department of Transportion and the regulatory agency Federal Rail Administration.

The practice of locking up people who are chronically sick, mentally ill or drug addicted in under-resourced city, county and regional jails in Washington is resulting in inmate deaths and a failure to “treat all people humanely, respectfully, and safely,” according to a new report by the statewide nonprofit law firm Columbia Legal Services.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane law and justice officials have begun a six-month process of evaluating the county’s criminal justice system as they decide whether the city and county should build a new jail.

Monday's forum at Spokane Valley City Hall was the first of two town hall facilitated this week by representatives from the Vera Institute of Justice.

After years of debate, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is scheduled to sign into law on Tuesday a new tax on vaping products to fund cancer research and tobacco cessation and prevention efforts. But critics say the tax measure could put individual vape shops out of business and amounts to a giveaway to big tobacco companies.

Spokane Criminal Justice Town Halls Scheduled This Week

May 20, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Spokane law and justice officials have begun another phase in their quest to decide whether the city and county should build a new jail.

On Monday and Tuesday they're holding two town hall meetings to give people a chance to offer opinions about the criminal justice system.

The first is at 5:30 today [Monday] at Spokane Valley City Hall. The second is tomorrow [Tuesday] at 5:30 at the Northeast Community Center.

Courtesy of Maryellen Cooley

Today on the Inland Journal podcast, we follow up on last week’s Washington state HIV conference in Spokane.

The treatment of HIV has come a long way in more than 30 years and the results of contracting the virus have changed considerably. Whereas at one time, HIV led to certain death, now it’s more of a chronic disease that can be managed.

A worker at the Hanford Nuclear Site was recently contaminated with a speck of radioactive material after work in a lab building scheduled for demolition. 

It’s all happening at what’s called the 324 Building at Hanford, not far from Richland, Wash., in a research lab that worked with radioactive materials. There’s been a large radioactive leak into the soil beneath the lab -- mostly cesium and strontium. The lab’s being prepped to get at that contaminated soil, and then demolish the building. 

Maryellen Cooley

HIV was once a death sentence for people who contracted the virus, but no more. In fact, many have lived with the virus for 35 years or longer. And there’s more to be optimistic about, as attendees at the Washington state HIV conference discussed Thursday and Friday in Spokane.

Center For Justice

Spokane city officials say special tanks designed to prevent sewer overflow into the Spokane River did their job during Thursday’s massive rain event.

Combined Sewer Overflow tanks, CSOs for short, are designed to prevent sewage from entering the Spokane River at overflow points during big rain storms or snowmelt.