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legislature appeals to state supreme court in public-records case


information from the seattle times archives is included in this report. joseph o'sullivan: 360-236-8268 or [email protected] on twitter @olympiajoe






minnesota supreme court to hear case against teacher tenure


the minnesota supreme court on tuesday agreed to hear the lawsuit contending that state laws make it too difficult to boot "chronically ineffective" teachers from classrooms.the state's highest court revives a case that was dismissed by lower courts. a state court of appeals ruling that said it was up to the legislature, not the courts, to make the rules on teacher tenure.in its order, the supreme court granted just one issue for review: whether the court can judge the parents' claims about tenure laws harming students' rights.parents brought the suit, forslund v. minnesota, last april. it claims the state's tenure laws violate students' rights to an adequate education. the parents said they think the seniority laws are unconstitutional.the court of appeals dismissed the suit in september,






minnesota supreme court to hear teacher tenure challenge


the minnesota supreme court on tuesday agreed to hear a lawsuit contending that state laws make it too difficult to boot “chronically ineffective” teachers from classrooms.the state’s highest court revives a case that was dismissed by lower courts.a state court of appeals ruling said it was up to the legislature, not the courts, to make the rules on teacher tenure.in its order, the supreme court granted just one issue for review: whether the court can judge the parents’ claims about tenure laws harming students’ rights.parents brought the suit, forslund v. minnesota, last april.it claims the state’s tenure laws violate students’ rights to an adequate education. the parents said they think the seniority laws are unconstitutional.the court of appeals dismissed the suit in september, in part






minnesota supreme court to hear case against teacher tenure


the minnesota supreme court on tuesday agreed to hear the lawsuit contending that state laws make it too difficult to boot “chronically ineffective” teachers from classrooms.the decision overturns a state court of appeals ruling that said it was up to the legislature, not the courts, to make the rules on teacher tenure.in its order, the supreme court granted just one issue for review: whether the court can judge the parents’ claims about tenure laws harming students’ rights.parents brought the suit, forslund v. minnesota, last april. it claims the state’s tenure laws violate students’ rights to an adequate education. the parents said they think the seniority laws are unconstitutional.the court of appeals dismissed the suit in september, in part because the court was not in a position to ju






public emails, private server: puyallup ex-councilman turns to high court


a former puyallup city councilman has asked the u.s. supreme court to review a decision that says he has to turn over public emails stored on a private server as public disclosure.having lost three attempts to persuade washington courts to protect city-related emails on his private server from public disclosure, a former puyallup city councilman is asking the nation’s highest court to consider his case.steve vermillion has petitioned the u.s. supreme court to review the decision of a pierce county judge to force him to reveal email communications on city business handled on his personal email address.the state’s appeals and supreme court have already decided to leave that opinion in place. ramsey ramerman, an everett attorney who represents vermillion, said his client has asked him to take






the future looks grim for voting rights, despite supreme court ruling


zach gibson, getty images filethe u.s. supreme court on monday refused to hear an appeal regarding north carolina’s strict voter id law.democrats got a victory in a voting rights case at the supreme court monday — but don’t get used to that headline. there are dark days ahead for voting rights.in monday’s decision, the court didn’t actually judge the case on its merits. it declined to hear a case involving north carolina’s vote suppression law, which had been struck down by a lower court. in the time since then, democrats have taken over as governor and attorney general in the state, and attempted to withdraw the case over the objection of the legislature, which is still in republican hands.there’s no question that this is a victory for democrats and anyone who cares about the right of all






judge: washington state lawmakers' emails, texts are public


olympia, wash. — the emails, text messages and other records held by washington state lawmakers are subject to public disclosure, a judge said friday in a ruling in favor of a media coalition led by the associated press.thurston county superior court judge chris lanese sided with the group that sued in september, challenging the washington legislature's assertion that lawmakers are excluded from stricter disclosure rules that apply to other elected officials and agencies.while lanese said the offices of individual lawmakers are subject to the public records act, the washington legislature, the house and senate were not.but regarding the individual lawmakers named, lanese said the statute was clear.the law "literally says that representatives and senators and their offices are agencies unde






supreme court sides with fired golf pros


madison, wis. — the wisconsin supreme court will allow four golf pros to sue the city of madison over their terminations.the decision released thursday reverses a state appeals ruling. the golf pros at odana hills, monona, yahara hill and glenway golf courses sued the city last october after they were fired and replaced with one golf pro, some assistants and unionized concession workers. the state journal (http://bit.ly/2sylafo ) says the four pros cited a state law covering unfair business practices.a dane county circuit court judge and an appeals court both ruled the law did not pertain to the four plaintiffs. the supreme court disagrees and has remanded the case back to the circuit court.






tuesday hearing may hold clues to whether supreme court thinks school-funding ca


during a one-hour hearing tuesday, the state supreme court could offer its first indication of whether it agrees that the legislature finally fixed washington’s broken school-finance system.minutes before midnight, on the last day of june, a throng of state lawmakers surrounded gov. jay inslee as he signed an 11th-hour budget deal that everyone in the room hoped would finally get the supreme court off the legislature’s back. the compromise budget, inslee declared, would for the first time in decades fully and fairly fund public schools in washington — a goal that has eluded the state’s political leaders for the last five years.in 2012, the washington supreme court ruled in its landmark mccleary decision that the state must reach that goal by 2018. lawmakers repeatedly worked toward satisfy






missouri’s high court won’t intervene in execution drug case


jefferson city, mo. (ap) — the missouri supreme court won’t review a lower court ruling that spares the state’s prison system from having to reveal where it gets drugs used in executions.missouri’s high court didn’t comment tuesday in rejecting a request to review the case from the american civil liberties union, the nonprofit reporters committee for freedom of the press and other plaintiffs.they say the state’s source of execution drugs should be disclosed under open-records laws. the missouri department of corrections has refused to divulge where it gets pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate.the missouri court of appeals ruled in february that any disclosure of the identities of “individuals essential to the execution process” could hinder the state’s ability to execute prisoners.most re






public officials can't shield government business by using personal email, state


california’s highest court decided unanimously thursday that government officials may be required to make public what they said about official business on their private telephones and personal computers.in a decision written by justice carol a. corrigan, the california supreme court said the state’s public records act requires public officials to disclose emails, texts and voicemails from private devices if the communications involved government affairs.“a city employee’s communications related to the conduct of public business do not cease to be public records just because they were sent or received using a personal account,” corrigan wrote. “sound public policy supports this result.”advocates for public access have long complained that government officials were deliberately using private






high court ends public officials' email secrecy


score one for transparency, for the public’s right of access to government communications.ruling in a case from san jose, the state supreme court in a unanimous and pointed decision thursday was unequivocal: government officials cannot use private email accounts to circumvent the disclosure requirements of the california public records act.“employees’ communications about official agency business may be subject to cpra regardless of the type of account used in the preparation or transmission,” the court ruled.it’s taken eight long years to get here. and the fight over these particular records is not over. but the high court’s decision rejects a growing and disturbing practice by government officials of using personal accounts to hide their emails and texts from public review.the san jose c






arkansas poised to carry out first execution since 2005


varner, ark. — arkansas was poised thursday to carry out its first execution since 2005 after officials scrapped the third of eight lethal injections that had been planned before the end of the month in the face of court challenges.a ruling from the state supreme court allowing officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says was obtained by misleading the company cleared the way for arkansas to proceed to execute ledell lee on thursday night, although he still had requests for stays pending with a federal appeals court and the u.s. supreme court. temporary stays from the 8th u.s. circuit court of appeals and the u.s. supreme court delayed lee's execution until 9:15 p.m. central time, to give them time to review his case.the u.s. supreme court by a 5-4 vote rejected appeals th






no hiccup: case of the disruptive burper goes to supreme court


washington — the latest on the supreme court's "burper" case (all times local):10:40 p.m.the case of the burping teenager is heading to neal gorsuch's court once again.when the newest supreme court justice was an appeals judge, he dissented in the case of a new mexico student accused of disrupting class with fake burps. now that case is coming before the supreme court.usually a justice steps aside when a previous case in which he's ruled reaches the high court. justices may decide as early as monday whether to deny the burping case a hearing.gorsuch sided with the seventh-grader, who was handcuffed and arrested. lawyers for the boy's mother are citing gorsuch's dissent, in which he wrote that arresting a "class clown" for burping was going "a step too far."the issue is whether the mother h






public officials can't shield government business by using personal email, state


california’s highest court decided unanimously thursday that government officials may be required to make public what they said about public business on their private telephones and personal computers.in a decision written by justice carol a. corrigan, the california supreme court said the state’s public records act requires public officials to disclose emails, texts and voicemails from private devices if the communications involved government affairs.advocates for public access have long complained that government officials were deliberately using private devices to shield their communications from public records requests. thursday’s decision is expected to end or at least stem the practice. the court ruled in a case brought by ted smith, a community activist who filed a public records re






utah residents ask supreme court to hear prairie dog case


salt lake city (ap) — southern utah residents who say federal safeguards for the utah prairie dog prevent them from doing what they want with their property are asking the u.s. supreme court to hear their case.attorneys for residents in cedar city say in a tuesday court filing that a march decision by an appeals court to strip utah state officials of control of the burrowing critters amounts to “untrammeled federal intrusion.”a state plan that went into place after a lower court judge in 2014 sided with the residents expanded where wildlife officials could remove prairie dogs and gave residents the option to seek permission to kill nuance prairie dogs.the u.s. fish and wildlife service appealed that decision and won at the appeals court level.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 f






us court hears case involving impersonation of ap journalist


washington — a federal appeals court heard arguments monday in a case that developed after an fbi agent pretended to be an associated press journalist as part of an investigation into bomb threats at a high school in washington state.when the ruse became public in 2014, the ap and a press freedom organization attempted to get government records about the case and any other times fbi agents have impersonated journalists. the lawsuit the appeals court heard monday was related to whether the fbi looked hard enough for records requested by the organizations.a lower court ruled in favor of the government, saying the fbi had "conducted a good faith, reasonable search." the organizations appealed.a three-judge panel of the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit hearing argumen






trump tabs minnesota justice stras for federal appeals court


minneapolis — president donald trump has nominated minnesota supreme court associate justice david stras to the 8th u.s. circuit court of appeals.stras formerly clerked for conservative u.s. supreme court justice clarence thomas and shares the belief in a limited role for the judiciary. the 42-year-old former university of minnesota law school professor was on trump's short list of possible u.s. supreme court nominees.republican former gov. tim pawlenty, who appointed stras to the state supreme court in 2010, says stras' keen intellect, deep respect for the constitution, and support for judicial restraint will serve him well.stras' nomination requires senate confirmation. it would give democratic gov. mark dayton another seat to fill on a state supreme court where his appointees already ho






fact check: trump's messy case that he inherited a mess


the 9th circuit is by far the largest of the 13 federal courts of appeals. in raw numbers, more cases are heard and reversed from the 9th circuit year in and year out. but as a percentage of cases the supreme court hears, the liberal-leaning circuit fares somewhat better, according to statistical compilations by scotusblog.most cases decided by appeals courts aren't appealed to the supreme court, and the high court only accepts a small percentage of those for review.but the very act of the supreme court's agreeing to hear a case means the odds are it will be overturned; the court reverses about two-thirds of the cases it hears.associated press writers robert burns, mark sherman and jim drinkard contributed to this report.






legislature's budget committee to vote on supreme court


madison, wis. — how much to increase judicial salaries and whether to give the state supreme court control of an independent commission that investigates judges were up for a votes monday in the legislature's budget-writing committee.the votes were among the first to be taken by the joint finance committee as it begins work on gov. scott walker's $76 billion two-year spending plan for the state. the republican-controlled committee was expected to complete its changes to the budget in about a month and then send it to the state senate and assembly, which both have gop majorities.the legislature can make further alterations to the budget, but it typically sticks close to what the committee proposes. walker also has the ability to further revise it with his extensive veto powers.walker has pr






ex-ny senate leader skelos gets new trial in corruption case


new york — a former state senate leader and his son were granted new trials tuesday in a corruption case that roiled a scandal-ridden statehouse. dean skelos is the latest in a series of powerful politicians whose convictions unraveled because of a recent supreme court decision.a federal appeals court found jurors in ex-sen. skelos and son adam's case were wrongly instructed, in light of a supreme court decision following their 2015 convictions. the high court ruling narrowed the definition of a corrupt act."because we cannot conclude that the (instruction) error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, we are obliged to vacate the convictions," the 2nd u.s. circuit court of appeals wrote, less than three months after reversing former state assembly speaker sheldon silver's separate corrupt






supreme court won't decide transgender bathroom case, vacates earlier ruling


closeskip in skipxembedxshare according to reuters, the u.s. supreme court avoided a ruling on transgender rights by sending a closely watched case involving bathroom access at a virginia high school back to a lower court. usa todaythe supreme court vacated an appeals court ruling in favor of gavin grimm's right to use the bathroom matching his gender identity.(photo: steve helber, ap) 11501 connectlinkedinemailmorewashington -- the supreme court will not decide the hot-button issue of transgender bathroom rights after all.the justices on monday vacated a lower court's ruling in favor of gavin grimm, a 17-year-old virginia high school senior seeking to use the bathroom corresponding to his gender identity. it did so because the trump administration withdrew guidance to schools that had ins






supreme court won't decide transgender bathroom case, vacates earlier ruling


closeskip in skipxembedxshare according to reuters, the u.s. supreme court avoided a ruling on transgender rights by sending a closely watched case involving bathroom access at a virginia high school back to a lower court. usa todaythe supreme court vacated an appeals court ruling in favor of gavin grimm's right to use the bathroom matching his gender identity.(photo: steve helber, ap) 10886 connectlinkedinemailmorewashington -- the supreme court will not decide the hot-button issue of transgender bathroom rights after all.the justices on monday vacated a lower court's ruling in favor of gavin grimm, a 17-year-old virginia high school senior seeking to use the bathroom corresponding to his gender identity. it did so because the trump administration withdrew guidance to schools that had ins






supreme court won't decide transgender bathroom case, vacates earlier ruling


closeskip in skipxembedxshare according to reuters, the u.s. supreme court avoided a ruling on transgender rights by sending a closely watched case involving bathroom access at a virginia high school back to a lower court. usa todaythe supreme court vacated an appeals court ruling in favor of gavin grimm's right to use the bathroom matching his gender identity.(photo: steve helber, ap) 11266 connectlinkedinemailmorewashington -- the supreme court will not decide the hot-button issue of transgender bathroom rights after all.the justices on monday vacated a lower court's ruling in favor of gavin grimm, a 17-year-old virginia high school senior seeking to use the bathroom corresponding to his gender identity. it did so because the trump administration withdrew guidance to schools that had ins






travel ban live updates: new version of ban expected today, white house says


several legal experts who weighed in on the u.s. 9th circuit court of appeals decision to not order a reinstatement of president trump's travel ban said they thought the administration had slim chances if it appealed to the u.s. supreme court. uc irvine law school dean erwin chemerinsky said it was difficult to predict whether the supreme court would review the decision. “they don’t want a 4-4 split, but they really like having the last word on high-profile cases,” the constitutional law expert said. john yoo, a law professor at uc berkeley who worked for president george w. bush’s administration and helped write a memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects, said the supreme court was unlikely to agree to review the decision. the inclusion of green-card holders in the travel ban doomed






lawmakers won’t reach a budget deal in 30 — or even 300 — more days


the supreme court should get more directly involved in the state’s necessary effort to reform the school-funding system.the legislature has failed again to fix the unconstitutional way the state pays for education. time for the state supreme court to get more directly involved.although the governor is expected to call a second 30-day overtime session when the first one ends on tuesday, he should refrain. that would delay the inevitable: the washington supreme court’s next ruling calling out the legislature for not following its orders to repair the inequities in washington public schools.this editorial board does not come to this position lightly. leaders in the legislature have shown they are incapable of cutting a deal on education funding and finishing the work required by the supreme c






the latest: 'burper' case returns to gorsuch's court


washington — the latest on the supreme court's "burper" case (all times local):10:40 p.m.the case of the burping teenager is heading to neal gorsuch's court once again.when the newest supreme court justice was an appeals judge, he dissented in the case of a new mexico student accused of disrupting class with fake burps. now that case is coming before the supreme court.usually a justice steps aside when a previous case in which he's ruled reaches the high court. justices may decide as early as monday whether to deny the burping case a hearing.gorsuch sided with the seventh-grader, who was handcuffed and arrested. lawyers for the boy's mother are citing gorsuch's dissent, in which he wrote that arresting a "class clown" for burping was going "a step too far."the issue is whether the mother h






travel ban live updates: trump signs new version of ban with restrictions on 6 m


several legal experts who weighed in on the u.s. 9th circuit court of appeals decision to not order a reinstatement of president trump's travel ban said they thought the administration had slim chances if it appealed to the u.s. supreme court. uc irvine law school dean erwin chemerinsky said it was difficult to predict whether the supreme court would review the decision. “they don’t want a 4-4 split, but they really like having the last word on high-profile cases,” the constitutional law expert said. john yoo, a law professor at uc berkeley who worked for president george w. bush’s administration and helped write a memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects, said the supreme court was unlikely to agree to review the decision. the inclusion of green-card holders in the travel ban doomed






the times recommends: judge michael spearman for court of appeals


judge spearman has been endorsed by more than 90 judges from around the state, including all nine justices of the washington state supreme court.judge michael spearman is an appeals court judge with an excellent reputation on the bench and a long history of service in washington’s legal system. his re-election to the court of appeals, division 1, position 2, should be a no-brainer. spearman has been rated “exceptionally well qualified” by the king county bar association and by five other legal associations, according to votingforjudges.org.in comparison, challenger nathan choi, a member of the bar, oddly refused to cooperate with the king county bar’s candidate rating process. neither did he seek ratings from the other associations. he has limited legal experience in washington.most read s






a final push needed to fully fund education


the washington supreme court is giving the legislature one more chance to fix the way the state pays for public schools. too bad the justices didn’t light a bigger fire under lawmakers with this week’s ruling.no big surprise in the latest mccleary ruling by the washington supreme court: the legislature has come up short in meeting requirements set forth by the court in its sweeping school-funding ruling. while ambitious, the legislative effort to pump billions more into public schools since the 2012 mccleary ruling is still about $1 billion shy of “ample funding” to meet a fall 2018 deadline.because the legislature’s work is not yet done, the court on wednesday said it will retain jurisdiction, continue to impose a daily fine of $100,000 and reserve all “enforcement options.” it ordered th






supreme court won’t review decision that found nc voting law discriminates again


by robert barnes, the washington postwashington – the supreme court will not review a decision that found north carolina’s 2013 voting law discriminated against african american voters, the justices said monday. a unanimous panel of the u.s. court of appeals for the 4th circuit had found in 2016 that north carolina legislators had acted “with almost surgical precision” to blunt the influence of african american voters.and last summer the supreme court had divided evenly on whether the law could be used in last fall’s election while the appeals continued.but the election resulted in a new democratic governor and a democratic attorney general, and they had told the court they did not want to defend the law enacted by the state’s republican-controlled legislature. the republicans had asked to






u.s. 9th circuit court of appeals rules against trump; travel ban will not go in


several legal experts who weighed in on the u.s. 9th circuit court of appeals decision to not order a reinstatement of president trump's travel ban said they thought the administration had slim chances if it appealed to the u.s. supreme court. uc irvine law school dean erwin chemerinsky said it was difficult to predict whether the supreme court would review the decision. “they don’t want a 4-4 split, but they really like having the last word on high-profile cases,” the constitutional law expert said. john yoo, a law professor at uc berkeley who worked for president george w. bush’s administration and helped write a memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects, said the supreme court was unlikely to agree to review the decision. the inclusion of green-card holders in the travel ban doo






school integration lawsuit heads to minn. supreme court


one of the state’s most closely watched education lawsuits in years is heading to the minnesota supreme court on tuesday, accusing state officials of shirking their responsibilities to educate poor and minority students.the case could prompt dramatic demographic changes in schools, including the first metrowide school desegregation plan in two decades. but before that, the supreme court has to weigh in on judicial authority: can the courts decide whether the state failed in its responsibility to adequately educate students?a court of appeals ruling in march said no, but a trial court judge in 2016 said parents had the right to sue, causing a courtroom ricochet since the seven minneapolis and st. paul families and community group first filed cruz-guzman v. state of minnesota in november 201






arkansas prepares to carry out first execution since 2005


little rock, ark. -- arkansas was poised thursday to conduct its first execution since 2005 after officials scrapped the third of eight lethal injections that had been planned before the end of the month amid court challenges.the u.s. supreme court by a 5-4 vote rejected appeals that would have halted ledell lee’s execution, but more were expected thursday night.playvideocbs evening newsarkansas seeks to execute 7 men in 11 days amid drug shortage seven death-row inmates in arkansas are slated for execution by the end of april because the state's execution drug is about to expire and the ma... a ruling from the state supreme court allowing officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says was obtained by misleading the company cleared the way for arkansas to proceed to execute






lawmakers, give the public back its sledgehammer


commentary: the state’s inspection of public records act is like a sledgehammer – a powerful tool designed to ensure you can break loose information about how your government is serving you.heath haussamenbut government is increasingly outsourcing its work to contractors. the uncertainty about how ipra applies when private companies are doing public work with your money sometimes reduces that tool to a tiny chisel.the legislature needs to update state law to give you back your sledgehammer.here’s the problem: it took a lawsuit to get a prison health company to release settlement agreements with state inmates who sued the company. it also took a lawsuit to force the town of truth or consequences to release video recordings of public meetings made by a government contractor.lawsuits consume






live updates: u.s. 9th circuit court of appeals rules against trump; travel ban


several legal experts who weighed in on the u.s. 9th circuit court of appeals decision to not order a reinstatement of president trump's travel ban said they thought the administration had slim chances if it appealed to the u.s. supreme court. uc irvine law school dean erwin chemerinsky said it was difficult to predict whether the supreme court would review the decision. “they don’t want a 4-4 split, but they really like having the last word on high-profile cases,” the constitutional law expert said. john yoo, a law professor at uc berkeley who worked for president george w. bush’s administration and helped write a memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects, said the supreme court was unlikely to agree to review the decision. the inclusion of green-card holders in the travel ban doo






appeals court rejects ohio's new lethal injection process


columbus, ohio — a federal appeals court has rejected ohio's new three-drug lethal injection process as the state struggles to resume executions.the 6th u.s. circuit court of appeals in cincinnati in a 2-1 decision thursday ruled the state's proposed use of a contested sedative called midazolam (mih-day'-zoh-lam) unconstitutional.the court also said the state's decision to use two other drugs in the process that ohio abandoned years ago prevents the reintroduction of their use.the ruling is a blow to the state, which hopes to execute several condemned killers beginning next month.a spokesman for the ohio attorney general's office says options include asking for a full appeals court review or an appeal to the u.s. supreme court.