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Laws And Litigation

 

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet. read more »

 

Just days after the first recreational marijuana license was issued in Washington, state senators passed a bill that would merge regulations for the medical marijuana and recreational marijuana markets. The measure was passed March 8 on a 34-15 vote.

The new regulations would shut down collective gardens and establish a patient registry. The amount of medical marijuana a patient could purchase would be reduced from 24 ounces to 3 ounces.

Current dispensaries would have until Sept. 1, 2015, to apply for a state license or be shut down. Patients can purchase medication at recreational shops authorized under Initiative 502. The bill, which underwent a series of amendments as a result of numerous public hearings, would allow for a tax break for qualifying patients. read more »

 

A bill to extend funding for homeless assistance programs is still in play this week in the Legislature, despite state Sen. Jan Angel’s controversial blocking of the bill in committee recently.

Last Friday was the cutoff for moving bills forward this session, but House and Senate leaders agreed they would continue working on House Bill 2368 this week. The legislative session ends Thursday.

Angel (R-Port Orchard) said in emails sent last weekend to the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal that she would have a new bill coming forward this week that would require an audit of state funds collected from a $40 fee paid on certain real estate transactions. That money is shared among counties and the state Department of Commerce to provide local homeless housing and assistance. read more »

 

State Sen. Jan AngelAfter a week in which state Sen. Jan Angel drew strong criticism for blocking action on a bill to extend a funding source for programs that help the homeless, the Port Orchard Republican issued a press release trying to change the focus.

The press release issued March 7 noted that Angel’s decision to “hold” the bill — HB 2368, which would extend a temporary $40 fee on real-estate transactions to fund homeless assistance - “has caused a flurry of controversy and inaccurate accusations, despite her good intentions.”

The Seattle Times published an editorial March 6 that began: “State Sen. Jan Angel’s willingness to kill a bill that would help the homeless is wrong read more »

 

Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is accusing Premera Blue Cross of using its political influence to gut a bill designed to protect the public from Ponzi schemes and financial meltdowns.

Premera sought and won an amendment last week to a bill known as the Holding Company Act that would give insurers a lengthy appeals process before the public release of financial information that they consider proprietary, such as reports on how they manage risk and other sensitive financial records.

When the change was made, Kreidler’s office fired off a press release saying the insurance company has too much influence in Olympia, and that the changes would harm consumers. read more »

 

Every day, startups and entrepreneurs across Washington develop exciting new products and services that might benefit consumers. Of course there are no guarantees. Any two-guys-in-a-garage idea could lead to brilliant commercial success or miserable failure, but there is no way to know until the new product or service is tested in the real-world marketplace. All these would-be profitable business owners face a basic problem (unless they are already wealthy) - raising enough money to get started.

The people behind any startup are usually untried and hold few assets, so they often can’t secure a bank loan, and their nascent project isn’t big enough to incorporate and launch a conventional IPO. One answer is crowdfunding, leveraging the connecting power of the internet to collect small contributions from a wide variety of people at very low transaction costs. The method can be used to finance nonprofit or for-profit projects. Either way, using crowdfunding to raise money is popular, simple and voluntary. read more »

 

OLYMPIA — The announcement this week by the Obama administration to allow non-compliant or previously cancelled health insurance plans to continue for another two years does not apply to Washington state.

The Obama administration first made the offer to extend non-complaint or cancelled plans for one year last November, but left the decision up to individual state insurance commissioners and the health insurers.

Washington state’s insurance commissioner decided that allowing cancelled health plans to continue would not be in the best interest of the health insurance market and would ultimately harm consumers. Since this announcement last fall, all of the health insurers in the state have confirmed that they support this decision. read more »

 

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday issued the state’s first licenses to produce and process recreational marijuana during a board meeting at its headquarters in Olympia. The licenses were issued to Sean Green, a Spokane entrepreneur who will operate his business under the name Kouchlock Productions.

“This is a historic day,” board chair Sharon Foster said. “The hard work and preparation this agency has done has laid the foundation to make this pioneering endeavor a success.” read more »

 

The City of Port Orchard will formally kick off its 2016 Comprehensive Plan update process with a public open house on March 8. The event will be held from from 9:30 a.m. until noon in Council Chambers at City Hall, 216 Prospect St.

The open house is being held for the purpose of gathering public input on key issues and challenges facing the city, as well as for expressing opinions on what opportunities there are for improvement of the city overall.

The city has partnered with a University of Washington class of masters degree students who will be there to facilitate the visioning process. read more »

 
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