Governor Jay Inslee signs landmark bills, honors John McCoy

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News

A momentous day unfolded for the people of Tulalip and all Indigenous communities in Washington State as Governor Jay Inslee visited the Tulalip Resort Casino on March 19 to sign several new house bills. These bills not only enhance the recognition and education of the Native community but also allocate additional resources and aid to assist tribal communities grappling with the drug epidemic.

The occasion wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for one of Tulalip’s greatest champions of the people, the late John McCoy (lulilas). John loved his people and his country, and because of this, he served 20 years in the Air Force, became a computer programmer, and worked in U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s situation room in the white house. In 2002, he ran for Washington State Senate and won. There, he served ten years in the Washington House of Representatives after being appointed to the State Senate, representing the 38th Legislative District.  

One highlighted bill was No. 1879, Since Time Immemorial Curriculum, a testament to John’s dedication. This meticulously developed curriculum aims to teach about the Indigenous tribes of Washington State accurately. It marks the first instance of the Legislature incorporating Lushootseed language into State law. The bill explicitly acknowledges John McCoy’s tireless and visionary efforts in supporting student and educator learning about the history, culture, and government of federally recognized Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

In 2005, John sponsored Substitute House Bill No. 1495 to compile comprehensive information on tribal history, culture, and government statewide. This initiative sought to integrate these vital aspects into the social studies curriculum, particularly in courses covering the history of Washington and the United States. Due to McCoy’s diligent efforts, the Legislature will pay tribute to him by naming the curriculum the John McCoy (lulilas) Since Time Immemorial Curriculum.

“In Washington D.C, he broke down barriers, built bridges, and educated tribals and non-tribals alike about the challenges faced in Indian Country,” said Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman Teri Gobin. “He had national recognition for being an innovative and visionary leader and bringing the Legislature forward not only for the tribe but also for the state of Washington and all of Indian Country. Our children are benefiting from what he has fought to bring to this State.”

“John sponsored the foundational Legislation that led to the teaching of the curriculum on tribal history, government, and culture in our schools,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “This is also the first time the Legislature will incorporate the Lushootseed language into law in the history of the State of Washington.”

“My dad fought for everyone, not just the people in Washington State but for all Indian Country,” John McCoy’s daughter Sheila Hillarie said. “He worked that bill to help his grandchildren. There were mostly plains Indians, and that was talked about in school when I was growing up. There was nothing about the coastal Natives. So, I feel that this Bill John McCoy (lulilas) Since Time Immemorial Curriculum will help educate the people on the culture and knowledge of tribes.” 

The legacy of John McCoy is a beacon of advocacy and progress for the Tulalip community and all Indigenous peoples across Washington State. His tireless dedication to education, culture, and tribal sovereignty has left an indelible mark on Legislation and learning. As we move forward, let us continue to honor his memory by embracing the rich heritage and wisdom of our native communities, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.


  • House Bill No. 1879 – Relating to naming the curriculum used to inform students about tribal history, culture, and government after John McCoy (Lulilas). Primary Sponsor: Rep. Lekanoff
  • Third Substitute House Bill No. 1228 – Relating to building a multilingual, multiliterate Washington through dual and tribal language education. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Ortiz-Self
  • Engrossed Substitute House Bill No. 2019 – Relating to establishing a Native American apprentice assistance program. Primary Sponsor: Rep Steams
  • Substitute House Bill No. 2075 – Relating to licensing of Indian health care providers as establishments Primary Sponsor: Rep. Lekanoff
  • Substitute House Bill No. 2335 – Relating to state-tribal education compacts. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Santos
  • Substitute Senate Bill No. 6146 – Relating to tribal warrants. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Dhingra
  • Substitute Senate Bill No. 6186 – Relating to Disclosure of recipient information to the Washington state patrol for purposes of locating missing and murdered indigenous women and other missing and murdered indigenous persons. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Kauffman
  • Second Substitute House Bill No. 1877 – Relating to improving the Washington state behavioral health system for better coordination and recognition with the Indian behavioral health system. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Lekanoff
  • Substitute Senate Bill No. 6099 – Relating to creating tribal opioid prevention and treatment account. Primary Sponsor: Sen Dhingra

E-cigarette use outpacing cigarette use among teens

Governor Jay Inslee gives sobering statistics for Washington youth

Snohomish County Health District 


SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. At a press conference Thursday morning, Governor Jay Inslee released preliminary data from the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey in which 23 percent of Washington’s high school seniors reported using e-cigarettes. Furthermore, high school sophomores were vaping at twice the rate of regular cigarettes. This represents a significant increase in e-cigarette use since the 2012 survey.

“What we’re seeing is alarming,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director at the Snohomish Health District. “The companies marketing these products are zeroing in on youth with ads featuring celebrities and other social media campaigns telling them that vaping is cool and safe. These are dangerous messages to send to our kids.”

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or vaping devices, represent a market that has grown exponentially since they were first introduced in mid-2000s. They are typically equipped with a battery, an atomizer, and a cartridge for liquid nicotine. There are more than 400 different brands of e-cigarettes and the liquid nicotine comes in more than 7,000 flavors, all of which can be purchased online. The devices can also be used with marijuana, heroin, and other drugs.

The devices are not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration, so manufacturers are not required to disclose product ingredients. In addition to the nicotine, vaping may expose users and by-standers to harmful toxins like lead and formaldehyde. It will take decades to fully understand long-term effects of e-cigarettes and exposure to vaporized nicotine and other drugs. 

“Nicotine is nicotine, regardless if smoked or vaped.  We can’t afford to let years go by before acting to protect teens from a lifetime of health problems,” said Goldbaum. “This is a drug that the U.S. Surgeon General has noted is just as addictive as cocaine and heroin. We need to do more to protect our children–it’s critical that our legislators do what is in their power to keep these harmful devices off limits to Washington’s youth.”

A bill is currently under consideration during this legislative session. If approved, it would require retailers obtain licensing for the sale of vaping devices, prohibit internet sales, ensure child-safe packaging, and restrict marketing and sales activities targeted at youth. It would also impose a tax on vaping products that would be on par with other addictive substances like alcohol and tobacco. Taxing tobacco products has proven to be one of the most effective strategies to reduce the use of harmful and addicting substances, particularly among youth.

The final 2014 Healthy Youth Survey data and reports will be released by the Washington State Department of Health next month.

Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. To read more about the District and for important health information, visit

Whatcom’s new Superior Court judge has tribal background

Raquel Montoya-Lewis, shown in her office at Fairhaven College in 2011, was appointed to a new seat on the Whatcom County Superior Court by Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.RHYS LOGAN | WWU — Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald
Raquel Montoya-Lewis, shown in her office at Fairhaven College in 2011, was appointed to a new seat on the Whatcom County Superior Court by Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014.
RHYS LOGAN | WWU — Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald


By Ralph Schwartz, Bellingham Herald


Whatcom County will have its first Native American Superior Court judge in 2015.

When Raquel Montoya-Lewis begins her term in January, she also will be the only Superior Court judge of tribal descent in the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday, Dec. 15, he had appointed Montoya-Lewis to Whatcom County Superior Court. Montoya-Lewis, 46, is from the New Mexican tribes Pueblo of Laguna and Pueblo of Isleta. She is chief judge for the Nooksack and Upper Skagit tribes, and an associate professor at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College.

“I’m really excited and honored to serve Whatcom County in this role,” Montoya-Lewis said in a phone interview on Monday. “I also recognize the importance of the appointment in terms of the question of diversity. I think it’s really important that the state court system reflect the people that it serves.”

“Raquel’s 15 years of experience as a judge will be well appreciated on the Superior Court,” Inslee said in a statement. “She is wise and has a strong commitment to service and to promoting justice. I know she will serve the community and the court exceptionally well.”

Montoya-Lewis was named this year to the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice. She also is an appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System.

She was heartily endorsed by Bellingham City Council member Roxanne Murphy, a member of the Nooksack Indian Tribe.

“She has handled some of our most complex cultural, political and societal issues and managed these cases with the utmost care, intelligence, timeliness and fairness,” Murphy wrote in an email to the governor she sent on Wednesday, Dec. 10.

Montoya-Lewis has presided over the highly publicized “Nooksack 306” case in tribal court. The tribal council seeks to disenroll 306 members who the council says were mistakenly added to the rolls in the 1980s. The case has gone back and forth, but Montoya-Lewis has generally ruled in favor of the council, saying it has broad authority over membership decisions.

Montoya-Lewis remains the presiding judge in the case, and she said Monday she couldn’t comment on it.

The governor’s appointment stems from a bill passed by the 2013 Legislature authorizing a fourth Whatcom County Superior Court judge. Inslee’s selection comes two years after Deborra Garrett became the first woman to be elected to Whatcom County Superior Court. Besides gender balance, the appointment provides the court with another judge to take on the backlog of civil and felony criminal cases in the court.

“I think Raquel is going to be able to come in and hit the ground running,” Judge Charles Snyder said. “We’ll probably start giving her cases as soon as she gets in the door.”

Snyder sat with Montoya-Lewis on a panel discussing diversity in the legal system in 2012.

“I found her to be a very bright person who obviously has a good knowledge of the law,” Snyder said on Monday. “She will bring a new perspective, being the first Native American to come on the (Whatcom) bench.”

Montoya-Lewis emphasized her impartiality, regardless of who comes before her in the courtroom.

“There is certainly a large number of native people that come through the civil and criminal court in Whatcom County,” she said. “I think I will bring a unique perspective in serving that part of the community, but I see my role as serving the entire county. I see my role as being fair and neutral and unbiased.”


Inslee warns of ‘malarkey’ and ‘assault by polluting industries’

By Joel Connelly, Seattle PI

Washington is going to witness “an assault by polluting industries” against efforts to reduce carbon pollution and retool the state’s economy around growth of clean energy, Gov. Jay Inslee warned a supportive Seattle audience on Friday.



Inslee:  The polluters are coming, the polluters are coming


Inslee is preparing a four-day “agendathon” next week in which he will unveil education, transportation, pollution and tax proposals.  He previewed his proposal, in populist tones, to a Washington Budget and Policy Center Conference.

The polluters — he didn’t name names — will “try to convince low income people that asthma is not a problem, that ocean acidification is not a problem,” Inslee charged.  He warned that arguments by greenhouse gas emitters, perfected in California, will be deployed up the coast.

“The polluting industries are going to spend unlimited resources, unlimited dollars to convince you that unlimited pollution is a good idea,” Inslee exclaimed.  ”You’re going to read the op-eds. You’re going to see the television commercials. It’s a bunch of malarkey.”

The governor’s remarks offered a prelude to what might become the state’s second seminal public battle over pollution and protecting its environment.

Republican Gov. Dan Evans went on a statewide television hookup in 1970, appealing over the heads of Republican and Democratic legislators who were blocking a package of laws that created the Washington Department of Ecology.  Evans won the face off.

Four decades later, the state Republican Party is demonizing Inslee’s carbon-reduction program before it is even introduced.  The GOP has raised the prospect of $1-a-gallon gasoline price increases. Such a gas price hike “is not going to happen,” Inslee said Friday.

The governor said his carbon reduction/energy program, which he will outline at REI’s Seattle store next Wednesday, is not just “happy granola.”

He will, said Inslee,  present a program to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. “It is the law of this state that we reduce carbon pollution to 1990 levels by the year 2020,” Inslee said.

The program will include not-yet-specified incentives to “grow our economy, grow jobs and reduce economic inequality” in Inslee’s words.  He has, as candidate, book coauthor (“Apollo’s Fire”) and governor touted clean energy industries as the 21st century’s path to economic growth.

Inslee talked of a recent meeting with inner city school students who live along the Duwamish Waterway, next to an industrial Superfund site and close by a freeway.

“What these students were showing was that there is an incredible increase in asthma the closer you get to the freeway,” Inslee said.


The Duwamish River, pictured from the air. Due to industrial contamination, the lower five miles of the Duwamish was designated as a superfund site by the United States Environmental Agency. Photo: Paul Joseph Brown, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“We don’t find many high tech millionaires living next to freeways and large industrial areas” — Gov. Inslee. The Duwamish River, an EPA Superfund site, pictured from the air. Photo by Paul Joseph Brown, Seattle Post-Intelligencer


The governor argued that all forms of pollution hit hardest at low-income residents. “We don’t find many high tech millionaires living next to freeways and large industrial areas,” said Inslee.

The governor even evoked forest fires — increasing in scope and intensity with global warming — as a source of pollution that hurts the poor. He made specific reference to the 230,000-acre Carelton Complex fire in north-central Washington last summer.

“You know who is really suffering in the Okanogan Valley right now?  It’s the low-income folk,” said Inslee.

(Several of the governor’s most prominent “green” contributors have summer homes in the Methow Valley upriver from the scene of the fires.)

The passion in Inslee is genuine, a conservationist ethic that began when his biology teacher father took him to Carkeek Park and explained the life cycle of a clam.  The governor has warned of ocean acidification and its danger to the state’s $300 million-a-year shellfish industry.

At the same time, however, a Republican-controlled state Senate will have great influence over his agenda. The “green” color of Seattle-area technology firms is balanced by refineries, railroads, industrial ports and resource industries.



Republican State Sen. Baumgartner: Warns against tax, revenue proposals that would disrupt economic recovery.


Just before Inslee went on, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, warned the liberal audience that the state faces difficult choices and flagged opposition to any proposals that would hurt the state’s business climate.

Inslee can take hope in results of a new statewide business poll, conducted for Gallatin Public Affairs and the Downtown Seattle Association.

A majority of likely voters, at 53.7 percent, said it would support a tax on carbon if the levy is offset by lower sales and business taxes, with only 32.6 percent opposed.

A California-style cap and trade approach, a “free enterprise” solution once lauded by Republicans — but now decried as “cap and tax” by such figures as Sarah Palin — was favored by 51.4 percent of those surveyed.

Inslee is set on framing the statewide debate.

At one point Friday, he declared:  “What we can’t tell these (low-income) kids is they are going to have to swallow asthma.”

Washington Governor Wants More Done To Ensure Oil Train Safety

By Liz Jones, KUOW

SEATTLE — Oil trains moving through Washington state need upgrades, and slower speed limits. That’s part of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee response to a new state report released Wednesday about the risks of oil transport. The report also lays out some key recommendations for the Legislature

“Sobering” is how Inslee summed up this draft report. In it, the State Department of Ecology points out more oil is moving through Washington by pipeline and railways. And with that, comes a cascade of risks…to public health, safety, and the environment.

Inslee agreed more needs to be done to prevent a major spill or a tragic train derailment.

“When these things go, I don’t want to use the term bomb. But I don’t know what is a better metaphor,” he said.

The metaphor holds, considering the inferno caused by an oil train explosion last year in the Canadian province of Quebec. It killed 47 people.

“This shouldn’t be too difficult for legislators to understand that we don’t intend to allow this risk to continue of oil blowing up in railroads next to Qwest Field and Safeco Field,” Inslee said.

The report recommends that state lawmakers add funds for a whole host of things, including:

  • More train inspectors, with beefed up authority
  • More oil spill response plans, equipment and training
  • Additional fees for railroads to pay for more safety inspections

The recommendations add up to more than $13 million for the next two-year budget.

Inslee said the report will help guide his legislative proposal for the upcoming session.

Beyond that, Inslee noted the feds regulate rail transport. And he’s called on them to lower the speed limits on oil trains and to move faster on required upgrades for old rail cars.

The public will have a chance to weigh in on these recommendations at meetings later this month.

This was first reported for KUOW.

Inslee Predicts Washington Will Adopt Controversial Fuel Standard

File photo) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee looking at ways to enact a low-carbon fuel standard without legislative approval. | credit: TVW
File photo) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee looking at ways to enact a low-carbon fuel standard without legislative approval. | credit: TVW


Austin Jenkins, NW News Network

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington will likely adopt a California-style pollution limit on gasoline and other transportation fuels.

Inslee recently ordered a feasibility and cost study of a low-carbon fuel standard.

For months now, Washington Republicans have been predicting that Inslee will use his executive powers to enact a low-carbon fuel standard. Inslee acknowledges he’s looking at ways to do this without legislative approval. Either way he thinks Washington is poised to move forward.

“I think it’s a probability that we will be able to fashion a low-carbon fuel standard that will be effective for the state of Washington, both for carbon pollution and from a cost-containment standpoint,” Inslee said during an appearance on Seattle Channel’s “Civic Cocktail” program. “From what I know today, I think it’s a likelihood we will succeed in fashioning that, but I want reiterate we’re going to have a very sophisticated, thorough evaluation of that before I make that ultimate decision.”

A low-carbon fuel standard is basically a requirement that vehicle fuels be blended with less carbon-intensive alternative fuels. For instance, California’s standard requires a 10 percent reduction in carbon intensity of gas and diesel over 10 years.

Inslee has promised a “deliberative, public process” as he pursues carbon pollution reduction measures in Washington. Legislative Republicans oppose a fuel standard and say it could drive up the cost of gasoline.

This was first reported for the Northwest News Network.

Inslee: Ellensburg Area Stream Restoration Good for Salmon

Credit Anna KingGovernor Jay Inslee signs his name to some of the pipe that will put water back in Manastash Creek near Ellensburg, Wash.
Credit Anna King
Governor Jay Inslee signs his name to some of the pipe that will put water back in Manastash Creek near Ellensburg, Wash.

By Anna King, KPLU news

A dried-out 3-mile-stretch of creek in central Washington will soon swell again with water. It’s part of a project near Ellensburg to pipe irrigation water from the Yakima River to keep water in the creek for salmon and steelhead.

In June, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill passed by the Legislature that sets aside $132 million to improve water usage and sensitive habitat in the Yakima Basin. Inslee traveled to Manastash Creek to celebrate the start of one part of that work—construction of a 13-mile pipeline that will replace an unlined canal system. With more water back in the creek, it will once again free salmon and steelhead to spawn on 25 miles of habitat upstream. Inslee says this project stems from lawsuits, bitter fights and earlier failures.

“You know sometimes water projects have not been shall we say perfect in the West, because they’ve ignored one aspect of our culture or our values,” Inslee said. This combines all of them, it’s jobs, it’s farms, it’s fish, it’s forest.”

The Manastash Creek restoration project is expected to be finished next spring.