State Senator To Look Into Apparent Port Slowdown

portseattleA Washington state senator says he will look into the apparent slowdown of cargo moving through West Coast ports. Spokane Republican Michael Baumgartner says Northwest growers of Christmas trees have been particularly hurt as goods have sat on docks in recent weeks. He plans a fact-finding hearing next year to understand its causes and find remedies. Baumgartner will lead the Commerce and Labor Committee.

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Long Jail Waits For Mentally Ill Illegal

A federal judge says Washington state's warehousing of mentally ill defendants in jail before trial is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle issued a ruling Monday in a class-action lawsuit challenging the practice. She said the state "has consistently and over a long period of time violated the constitutional rights of the mentally ill." She added: "This must stop." At issue is the state's practice of holding mentally ill defendants in jail pending mental health treatment or a determination on whether they're competent to stand trial. Defendants typically have to wait for at least two weeks, and up to nearly two months, before receiving services. Critics say the conditions of the defendants often get worse during those waits. The state has conceded that the length of the wait times is indefensible. SEATTLE (AP) – December 22, 2014

Olympia Man Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography

An Olympia man accused of trading child pornography that included some children as young as toddlers pleaded guilty Monday to possessing and dealing depictions of minors engaged in sexual explicit conduct. Prosecutors are recommending a three-year prison term when 72-year-old John Robert Franklin is sentenced Jan. 26 in Thurston County Superior Court. Franklin was arrested in July as part of a federal investigation. In December 2013, federal agents had arrested a Seattle man and discovered Franklin had exchanged sexually explicit images with him. According to court documents, the photos and videos included victims as young as toddlers. OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - December 22, 2014

2 Troopers Injured In Accidents On I-5

WSPcarpartialshotThe Washington State Patrol says two troopers who were injured Sunday night on Interstate 5 in north Seattle have been released from a hospital. The two were injured in separate crashes related to a racing incident. Trooper Chris Webb says one trooper was attempting to stop two racing cars about 9 p.m. when the trooper's car went out of control and hit a utility pole. About a half hour later, another trooper who had responded to the scene was hit by a car that plowed into the coned-off area and then left the scene.

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Woman Found Dead In University Place Fire

firedec2114Firefighters found the body of a woman at an apartment fire in University Place. West Pierce Fire and Rescue says a neighbor was burned Sunday evening in a rescue attempt. He ran outside when he smelled smoke, saw flames coming from his neighbor's unit and suffered burns kicking in the door. KOMO reports he was taken to a hospital with serious burns. Firefighters doused the flames and found the woman's body. A dog also died in the fire. UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. (AP) - December 22, 2014

Deputies To Wear Mourning Bands In Support Of NYPD

King County Sheriff John Urquhart has ordered deputies to wear mourning bands across their badges in support of the two New York police officers who were fatally shot Saturday. According to The Seattle Times, deputies generally don't wear mourning bands for line-of-duty deaths outside the Seattle region. But the sheriff says the ambush in Brooklyn was egregious. Urquhart instructed deputies to wear the bands until midnight on the day of the last funeral in New York. The killings escalated tensions that have simmered for months after grand juries declined to indict white police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. Officers in New York are now patrolling in two-person cars. Urquhart says he can't do that because of staffing restraints. SEATTLE (AP) - December 22, 2014

Background Check Blocks Gun Sale To Wanted Man

The organizer of a Spokane County gun show says Washington's new law requiring expanded background checks for firearms transfers blocked the sale of a rifle to a wanted man. The Northwest News Network reports that the man attempted to buy the weapon at the Lewis Clark Trader Gun Show at the Spokane County Fair and Expo on Dec. 6. Gun show organizer Paul Snider says he recruited three federally licensed firearms dealers to conduct background checks, in compliance with newly passed Initiative 594. The law requires background checks on all sales and transfers, including private transactions and many loans and gifts. There are some exceptions, including transfers between family members. Snider says the would-be buyer had a warrant out for his arrest. OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - December 22, 2014