John Stang

John Stang

John Stang is a longtime Pacific Northwest reporter. He is a jack-of-all-trades freelancer with expertise in a variety of topics, including the Hanford nuclear reservation, state government, the environment, science and crime.

rural versus urban counties

New jobs report outlines differences between rural, urban counties

State’s rural jobless rates historically lag behind urban counties Washington’s unemployment is hitting a major low, but the state’s rural counties — including Benton and Franklin — are not doing as well as their urban counterparts. That’s because rural counties, which have huge agricultural presences, have less diversified industrial economies than cities, said Asja Suljic, regional […]

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Mid-Columbians in lower-paying jobs earn less than urban counterparts

Mid-Columbians in lower-paying jobs tend to earn less than their counterparts across Washington. That’s what a breakdown of figures show in a state Employment Security Department report on employment and wages released in September. The report’s statistics came from statewide surveys with a 66 percent return rate, said Asja Suljic, a Kennewick-based regional labor economist for […]

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Mid-Columbia legislators ask attorney general to take on Seattle income tax

The Washington Attorney General’s office should help plaintiffs fighting a new Seattle income tax, according to a letter from 36 GOP state representatives. Five of the six Mid-Columbia state representatives signed the letter, voicing concern that a successful legal defense of a new Seattle income tax could lead to local income taxes elsewhere in the state. […]

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Capital budget impasse ties up several Mid-Columbia projects

Plans to speed up construction of a new Washington National Guard center in the Horn Rapids area have stalled because state lawmakers can’t resolve an unrelated water rights dispute. That water rights impasse also has slowed work on upgrading a Highway 395 interchange in south Kennewick, building a science center at the LIGO site, constructing […]

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Family Leave Act

New state law provides paid family leave

Employers, employees contribute to program through payroll tax Washington has become the fifth state to require paid family leave for employees. “It’s going to be the best paid family leave program the country. It has better weeks, better benefits, and we’ll be the model for the other states,” said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, one of […]

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CBC students continue to pay extra tuition as state grapples to fix software

Plans to install statewide software system at 34 community colleges delayed Each year, full-time Washington community college students pay an extra $115.56 to upgrade their school’s computer software. That includes students at Columbia Basin College. The fee was supposed to lapse this December, but delays and cost overruns will keep the extra charge on the […]

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Legislators still seeking compromise on Hirst ruling

Ruling affects rural development related to digging new wells The Washington Legislature had no solution as of press time on how to loosen up a strict state Supreme Court ruling on digging wells in rural areas. If no compromise bill is passed by July 20, the Supreme Court’s 2016 Hirst ruling will stand unchanged, and […]

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Washington State

Hirst, family leave bills remain stalled in Legislature

The Washington Legislature stayed in a holding pattern in early June on two bills that will affect Mid-Columbia businesses. Behind-the-scenes negotiations continued on legislation to simplify digging for new wells and to install a paid family leave law. The talks are dragging along with the sluggish talks on resolving the state budget and education impasses. The […]

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Trump’s budget proposal could negatively affect state ag budget

It’s too early to tell how the Trump administration will affect agriculture in Eastern Washington. But if the president’s budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Agriculture survives intact, it could chop a serious chunk out of the Washington Department of Agriculture’s budget. That’s what Derek Sandison, director of the state agriculture department, said in an […]

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