Serving Franklin County, WA


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  • Elect Conroy to represent Eastern Washington

    Updated Apr 17, 2024

    Carmela Conroy gives Eastern Washington voters the unusual, important opportunity to elect a foreign policy expert as their U.S. Representative. As a foreign service officer for 24 years, she served in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Norway, New Zealand and Tom Foley’s Japan office. Voters must weigh foreign policy experience much more than usual in their 2024 voting decisions. Foreign policy expertise is also prerequisite for ending the tragic Israeli-Palestinian conflict that Trump has accepted uncaringly. Like retiring Rep. Cathy M...

  • Study: capping rent costs won't help

    Mark Harmsworth|Updated Apr 17, 2024

    In a backwards approach to helping tenants, the Federal Government is capping rent increases on subsidized housing at 10% in a bid to reduce the cost of rental properties. The result, should the measures be adopted, will be exactly the opposite and rents will go up. When you place caps on rent, instead of letting the market drive the pricing, the supply of rental property declines and the result is higher demand and higher prices for rent. There is a short-term impact to...

  • Lawmakers failed on WA Cares changes

    Elizabeth Hovde|Updated Apr 10, 2024

    A state public-relations campaign is underway suggesting that because the state Legislature passed a bill allowing people to use a WA Cares Fund benefit to receive long-term care outside of the state, it’s a sure thing you’ll benefit. That’s not a sure thing. I received an email from the state about the legislation Friday. It read, “Planning to leave Washington in the future? Now you can take your WA Cares benefit with you, thanks to a new law passed last month and signed...

  • Solar, wind parts fill up dumps

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Apr 10, 2024

    While wind and solar farms generate “greenhouse gas free” electricity, there are ongoing concerns over their impacts on our environment especially as a rapidly growing number of worn-out blades and panels are landing in landfills. Those blades, housed on giant wind towers reaching over 250-feet in the sky, are starting to reach the end of their useful lives (15 to 20 years) and are being taken down, cut up and hauled to burial sites. Even though over 90 percent of the dec...

  • Dams save environment while making power

    Updated Apr 5, 2024

    Let’s have a look at the benefits of dams to human life with a special focus on Grand Coulee Dam. It is the largest hydroelectric producing facility in the U.S. and provides enough electricity to power about 2 million households every year, 68% of all Washington state households. Please keep in mind too, that it is just one of 145 hydroelectric dams in the state. Grand Coulee dam prompted the creation of the “U.S. Bureau of Reclamations Columbia Basin Project” which converted 670,000 acres (over 1,000 square-miles) of forme...

  • Two bad bills signed into law

    Sen. Mark Schoesler|Updated Apr 5, 2024

    Each year, for a session lasting either 105 days (in odd-numbered years) or 60 days (in even-numbered years), legislators gather in Olympia to introduce, debate and vote on bills. While many people focus their attention on what the Legislature does each year, there is one final and crucial step in the legislative process that happens – the governor decides whether to veto part or all of a bill, or let it become law. Since this year’s legislative session ended March 7, Gov...

  • Small farms declining

    Madilynne Clark, Washington Policy Center|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    Farm numbers across the U.S. are dwindling and the mountain states are no exception. Our country lost 7% of farms from 2017-2022, and all of the mountain states were above the national average. As a farmer in the region, I understand the stress of this profession, and if our country continues on its current trajectory our region's agricultural future looks bleak – more consolidation and less food security. From 2017-2022, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming all experienced a decrease in the total number of farms. Wyoming s...

  • Polluters should pay for carbon

    Updated Mar 28, 2024

    “Polluters pay. People get a carbon cashback” sums up the impact that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would have. The EICDA was re-introduced in the House of Representatives last September and is currently languishing in committees. Briefly, the EICDA puts a price on carbon at the source of the fossil fuels – the well, mine, or imported tanker – therefore making it simple to administer and uniform across sources of greenhouse gases. It would take the revenue from the price on carbon and distribute it to every i...

  • Why no Easter lily tours?

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    Easter is when potted Easter Lily plants start showing up in nurseries and supermarkets like poinsettias during the Christmas season. They adorn the altars and pulpits of most churches on Easter Sunday, but why don’t sightseers flock to fields to enjoy the spectacular sea of white blooms? The answer is a small group of family lily farmers who are bulb producers. They need to clip the flowers to concentrate the plant’s nutrients on bulb development. Fields of white flowers on...

  • Lawmakers miss salmon opportunity

    Todd Myers, Washington Policy Center|Updated Mar 22, 2024

    The legislative session is over, and it had the potential to be very positive for salmon recovery. There was bipartisan support for habitat restoration. Legislators also had a huge amount of money to allocate because the tax on CO2 emissions generated far more money than anticipated. Despite that, the Legislature failed to make significant progress on salmon. It is one more wasted opportunity to protect an iconic state species. The most glaring example of the failure is in...

  • Mixed results as session ends

    Updated Mar 22, 2024

    The 2024 legislative session is now in the history books. After 60 days, in which 201 House bills and 180 Senate bills passed the Legislature, we can report a mix of great successes and disappointments. We fought hard for public hearings on all six citizens' initiatives to the Legislature. Closer to the end of the session, Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate reluctantly agreed to hear three of the measures but sent the other three initiatives to the November...

  • Letters to the Editor

    Updated Mar 22, 2024

    Congresswoman can influence Speaker Johnson Among Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’s negative legacies she leaves, her most impactful may be on immigration. However, she still has time to improve that. Donald Trump cares nothing about our country, just his election. Accordingly, he recently ordered all Republicans to scuttle the bipartisan, long-negotiated Senate deal supporting Ukraine and limiting immigration that would be a victory for President Joe Biden. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, an election-denier, o...

  • Letters to the Editor

    Updated Mar 13, 2024

    Congresswoman can try to influence Speaker Johnson Among Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’s negative legacies she leaves, her most impactful may be on immigration. However, she still has time to improve that. Donald Trump cares nothing about our country, just his election. Accordingly, he recently ordered all Republicans to scuttle the bipartisan, long-negotiated Senate deal supporting Ukraine and limiting immigration that would be a victory for President Joe Biden. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, an e...

  • Tree farms reduce greenhouse gases

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Mar 13, 2024

    As climate change concerns grow, researchers are turning to family tree farmers for assistance. They have been helping for a century, but their efforts go unrecognized. The American Tree Farm program has emphasized sustainability and managing lands for water quality, wildlife, wood and recreation. In recent years, it has included climate change. According to the American Forest Foundation, families and individuals collectively care for the largest portion of forests in the...

  • Keep public records open to the public

    Updated Feb 29, 2024

    Public records must remain open and accessible A special report urges the mobilization of civic leaders, organizations, businesses and all residents to work together to save the state’s Public Records Act. The report is available online for viewing and downloading at State lawmakers and the courts continue to whittle away at the landmark public records law, which was adopted overwhelmingly with a citizens’ initiative in 1972. Since then, state legislators have passed more than 650 exceptions and have tried repeat...

  • Dam compact words matter

    Roger Harnack, Whitman County Gazette|Updated Feb 29, 2024

    Let’s take a few words that should be on the minds of all Eastern Washingtonians concerned over efforts to breach Snake River dams — agreement, restoration and sovereign, to name a few. Last Thursday in the White House, President Joe Biden signed onto the “Commitments in Support of the Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative and in Partnership with the Six Sovereigns” agreement. The so-called “sovereigns” refers to the states of Washington and Oregon, and four tribes — th...

  • World's Worst Disasters

    Updated Feb 29, 2024

  • Air Quality

    Updated Feb 29, 2024

  • House Bill 2114, rent control, appears to have died in the Washington State Senate

    Mark Harmsworth, Washington Policy Center|Updated Feb 29, 2024

    House Bill 2114, otherwise known as rent control, that passed the Washington State House of Representatives February 13 on a party line vote, appears to have died in the Senate and failed to pass out of committee. HB 2114 would have limited rent and fee increases to 7% and would have increased the notification period to 180 days for increases over 3%. The tenant would have been able to terminate a lease within 20 days and if the increase is over 7%, the tenant would have...

  • Let Washingtonians be heard

    Rep. Joe Schmick, 9th Legislative District|Updated Feb 29, 2024

    It is with a mix of encouragement and disappointment that the Senate majority leader says four of the six citizen initiatives to the Legislature “might” have public hearings scheduled before the end of the 2024 session. But don’t hold your breath. We are now nearly two-thirds into a 60-day session, with only a handful of committee meetings remaining before adjournment March 8. Despite repeated efforts by Republicans asking for majority Democrats to hold hearings on the initiatives, we’ve seen no action on their part to let...

  • Cleansing sewage essential to water

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Feb 22, 2024

    In Washington, this year we hope to again escape the historic droughts plaguing other parts of the world. The Columbia River water system flowed at normal levels in recent years which is good for our agriculture, hydropower generation, barging, local water supplies, and fish and wildlife. However, 20 years ago we faced the same severe drought that is afflicting the world’s major river drainages including the Colorado River. That water scarcity forced factories to close, f...

  • Charting a Sustainable Energy Future

    Matt Boehnke|Updated Feb 14, 2024

    As Washington stands at a pivotal moment in shaping its energy future, it becomes increasingly clear that adopting sensible, forward-thinking solutions is crucial for a reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally sound power grid. It's time for our state to embrace energy policies that genuinely prioritize the well-being of its residents. The Power Washington plan, a comprehensive strategy I advocate for, is designed to confront and resolve critical issues within our energy...

  • Take 'Gotcha!' out of records requests

    Joe Schmick|Updated Feb 14, 2024

    When state voters adopted the state's Public Records Act in 1972, they wanted to make sure state, county and city governments operate openly and are transparent to the people. They recognized the best way to ensure transparency and accountability is to require most government records are made available to the public. The PRA, however, was never intended to help some make money at the expense of governments. Unfortunately, there are a few "vexatious requesters" who learned how...

  • Recycling EV batteries a huge effort

    Don C. Brunell|Updated Feb 8, 2024

    Each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries constituting 180,000 tons of hazardous material. The situation is likely to get worse as the world shifts to lithium batteries to power a massive influx of electric vehicles (EV). It needs immediate attention. reported more than 86,000 tons of single-use alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C and D) are thrown away yearly. They power electronic toys and games, portable audio equipment and flashlights a...

  • State parks failing at Palouse Falls, Lyons

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jan 31, 2024

    Two years ago, Washington State Parks bureaucrats in Tumwater hatched a plan to address so-called "overcrowding" at Palouse Falls. The plan was to close and relocate the campground to Lyons Ferry, require permits to visit Upper Palouse Falls and to end hiking and exploring in and around the main Palouse Falls basin. The effort also eliminated kayaking access on the upper Palouse River. And to make the effort sound legitimate, those city-dwelling bureaucrats called Palouse...

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