Latest Washington news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. PDT
CAPITOL RIOT-WASHINGTON STATE
Another Washington man accused of storming U.S. Capitol
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Federal agents have arrested a Washington state man who is accused of breaching the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6, pushing past police and entering the Senate gallery. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Marc Bru appeared in U.S. District Court in Portland on Wednesday after being arrested Tuesday in Vancouver. An arrest warrant affidavit contains images that appear to show Bru attending a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., marching to the Capitol and going inside. He has not yet entered a plea to charges including engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building. It wasn’t immediately known if he has a lawyer. Oregon’s U.S. Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You ordered Bru’s pretrial release with GPS monitoring.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINE ELIGIBILITY
WA vaccine eligibility expands to all age 16 and up April 15
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state is opening up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older starting on April 15. The federal government had directed states to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccination by May 1, but most states had earlier plans, with more than a dozen opening eligibility to all adults this week. Gov. Jay Inslee had previously resisted expanding eligibility too quickly, saying that he wanted to ensure those most at risk were vaccinated first and noting that eligibility didn’t guarantee vaccination right away and would depend on supply. But he said Wednesday the federal government’s assurances of increased allocations, plus concerns about rising cases in many parts of the state, led to the decision to open up eligibility sooner.
No prison time for transgender ex-neo-Nazi in threat case
SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge declined to impose prison time on a member of a neo-Nazi ring that threatened journalists. The judge found that the 21-year-old, who concealed his transgender identity from his co-conspirators, had already suffered enough. Taylor Parker-Dipeppe of Spring Hill, Florida, was arrested in early 2020 along with other members of the Atomwaffen Division after they sent posters threatening journalists in Florida, Arizona and Washington. His attorney said prison would be devastating for Parker-Dipeppe, who suffered abuse from an unaccepting father and from an alcoholic stepfather. U.S. District Judge John Coughenour in Seattle agreed Wednesday and sentenced him to time served.
Oregon Democrats decry legislative slowdown during COVID
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s House of Representatives returned to the Capitol this week after floor sessions had been cancelled due to multiple COVID-19 cases, but Republicans continue to use a stalling tactic that Democrats say are putting lawmakers’ health at risk. It’s the latest partisan flashpoint in a state where Democrats hold strong majorities in both the House and Senate in the Legislature but where the GOP has often used extreme means to thwart legislation it doesn’t like. For the past two years Republican state senators staged walkouts to deny the chamber a quorum. But this year Democrats say a slow-down strategy is dangerous because it prolongs people’s possible exposure to COVID-19.
Amazon to bring workers back to offices by fall
SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon plans to have its employees return to the office by fall as the tech giant transitions away from the remote work it implemented for many workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company had previously given its return-to-office date as June 30, but questions remained as to whether the company would allow some of its 60,000 Seattle-area office employees to continue working from home part time. The Seattle Times reports the company told employees Tuesday it is planning a “return to an office-centric culture as our baseline.” Amazon and Microsoft were among the first large companies to mostly shutter their main offices in the Seattle area during the first COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020.
‘My soul is lighter’: Serial killer’s death brings closure
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Serial killer Joseph Edward Duncan III died in federal prison recently, having admitted to killing seven people, including five children, in Idaho, Washington state, Montana and California. Some question whether Duncan killed even more people. Following his arrest in 2005 for the slayings of four members of an Idaho family, federal authorities reviewed missing children cases nationwide. The assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted him in Idaho believes all of Duncan’s killings were revealed in court. The 58-year-old died Sunday at a hospital in Indiana near the federal prison where he was on death row. The native of Tacoma, Washington, had recently been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
ESTATE TAX MAILER-BENTON
Ex-WA state senator/Trump ally behind mystery tax mailer
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — State officials say a former GOP Washington state senator and a Donald Trump appointee is responsible for a mailer last week criticizing Democratic lawmakers for a proposed change to the estate tax. The Seattle Times reports according to the state Public Disclosure Commission Don Benton was named as in a commission investigation into complaints alleging the mailer lacked disclosure information. The campaign-style mailer claimed the bill would impose a 40% estate tax for people and small businesses. The bill would raise the threshold of the existing estate tax, meaning fewer people would pay it, and expand the tax at the higher end, meaning wealthier people would pay more.
Scientists: Grizzlies expand turf but still need protection
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Grizzly bears are slowly expanding the turf they roam in the northern Rocky Mountains but scientists say they need continued protections, They have also concluded that no other areas of the country would be suitable for the fearsome animals. The Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday released its first assessment in nearly a decade on the status of grizzly bears in the contiguous U.S. The bruins are shielded from hunting as a threatened species except in Alaska. Grizzly populations grew over the last 10 years in the Yellowstone region and around Glacier National Park. Scientists are focusing on bolstering existing populations and not on reintroducing bears elsewhere.
Estate planning company to pay $14M for ‘scare tactics’
SEATTLE (AP) — A King County judge has ruled that a company that provides estate planning services must pay more than $6.1 million to 1,100 people in Washington state because it used “scare tactics” to pressure people to buy its products. Texas-based CLA Estate Services, Inc. and CLA USA must also pay $6.5 million in civil penalties and more than $1.8 million in attorney’s costs and fees. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson had sued the company in 2018. According to a news release from Ferguson, the company must make restitution payments ranging from $450 to approximately $80,000, plus interest.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINATION SITES
State’s 1st federal mass vaccination site opens in Yakima
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Just in time for the asparagus harvest that will employ large numbers of farm workers, the federal government has opened a mass COVID-19 vaccination center in Yakima, Washington. The state’s first federal mass vaccination center is located at the Central Washington State Fair Park. It opened Wednesday and will administer close to 1,200 doses of vaccine per day. That’s according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which operates the site along with state and local officials. Vaccine will come there directly from the federal government rather than from the state’s weekly allocation. The additional doses will help vaccinate more Washingtonians, including those in rural and agricultural communities that have been particularly hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.