11-13-2019  5:03 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

GOP Mailer to Oregon Voters Mimics US Census Form

The mailers are labeled "2019 Congressional District Census" and solicit donations to Trump's campaign. Voters are reminded that official U.S. Census Bureau surveys will never ask respondents for money.

Veterans Day: Honoring Those Who Serve and Continue to Serve

On this Veterans Day, the staff at The Skanner News honors all who have served and continue to serve in our nation's armed forces

FBI Reports Cybercrimes are Rising Because of Sophisticated Scams

Oregon man offers warning after he was scammed into giving away his family's life savings to criminals

Worker Who Yelled Racist Slurs at Black Customer Gets Jail

Audio and video showed a disturbing scene, said Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hermann

NEWS BRIEFS

Noose Found at Oregon Health & Science University

Surveillance cameras did not capture the area; investigator are reviewing who had access ...

DEQ Extends Air Quality Advisory Due to Stagnation

DEQ expects the air quality advisory to last until at least Tuesday, Nov. 12 ...

Forest Service Waives Fees in Honor of Veterans Day

The USDA Forest Service will waive fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington on Monday, Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans...

Two Local Nonprofits Announced as Grant Recipients for Portland-Area Programs

Financial Beginnings Oregon and Portland Parks Foundation will receive a total of 0,000 plus leadership resources through Bank of...

State Seeks Volunteers to Rank Investments in Washington’s Outdoors

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is recruiting 50 volunteers to evaluate grant proposals for parks, boating...

College Football Picks: Auburn at center of all down stretch

Over the next three weeks, Auburn will be in the middle of the action even though the Tigers are outside the playoff race.No. 13 Auburn plays two top-five playoff contenders in No. 5 Georgia (No. 4 CFP) and No. 4 Alabama (No. 5 CFP) at home in November, and depending upon how the Tigers do their...

No. 11 Florida looks for different outcome against Missouri

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida linebacker David Reese insists things will be different against Missouri this week.He believes his team's preparation, focus, effort and intensity will change — along with the outcome. It's imperative if the Gators are going to make it to a New Year's...

OPINION

5 Ways Life Would be Better if it Were Always Daylight Saving Time

A Professor from the University of Washington says DST saves lives and energy and prevents crime ...

Importance of Educators of Color for Black and Brown Students

A new report examines the ways that school leaders of color’s experiences and perspectives influence how they build school culture ...

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

College Football Picks: Auburn at center of all down stretch

Over the next three weeks, Auburn will be in the middle of the action even though the Tigers are outside the playoff race.No. 13 Auburn plays two top-five playoff contenders in No. 5 Georgia (No. 4 CFP) and No. 4 Alabama (No. 5 CFP) at home in November, and depending upon how the Tigers do their...

No. 11 Florida looks for different outcome against Missouri

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida linebacker David Reese insists things will be different against Missouri this week.He believes his team's preparation, focus, effort and intensity will change — along with the outcome. It's imperative if the Gators are going to make it to a New Year's...

Junkyard Dawgs: No. 5 Georgia's stellar D a team effort

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Kirby Smart has coached some stellar defenses.This might be one of his best.Never mind the lack of star power."They've got some of those same traits as the good defenses I've been able to be around," the Georgia coach said Monday. "But this group probably doesn't have that...

ENTERTAINMENT

With success and offers, Sterling K. Brown learns to say no

NEW YORK (AP) — With a hit TV series, awards, plus film and TV opportunities, Sterling K. Brown admits he’s experienced “a lot of pinch me moments” in recent years. But, with all those possibilities and offers, the 43-year-old has also learned a very important...

Justices could return cable TV race bias suit to lower court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems likely to overturn a lower court ruling in favor of an African-American media mogul and comedian who’s suing cable giant Comcast for racial discrimination.The justices appeared to be in broad agreement Wednesday that an appeals court applied...

Maren Morris is set to have an epic night at the CMA Awards

Maren Morris is walking to the 2019 Country Music Association Awards with a lot of feelings.As the most-nominated act at an event for a music genre dominated by its male performers, Morris has become one of the key female faces of country music. She will pay tribute to her producer busbee, who died...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Astros sign stealing accusations latest tarnish reputation

HOUSTON (AP) — Not too long ago, the Houston Astros were the feel-good story of baseball. Led by their...

Bishop who investigated sex abuse accused of sex abuse

NEW YORK (AP) — A Roman Catholic bishop named by Pope Francis to investigate the church’s response...

Clashes rock Bolivia as new interim leader challenged

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Renewed clashes rocked Bolivia’s capital on Wednesday as the woman who...

Astros sign stealing accusations latest tarnish reputation

HOUSTON (AP) — Not too long ago, the Houston Astros were the feel-good story of baseball. Led by their...

Bishop who investigated sex abuse accused of sex abuse

NEW YORK (AP) — A Roman Catholic bishop named by Pope Francis to investigate the church’s response...

Clashes rock Bolivia as new interim leader challenged

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Renewed clashes rocked Bolivia’s capital on Wednesday as the woman who...

McMenamins
Rachel La Corte Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- About two dozen seriously ill prisoners in Washington state could soon be released from prison -- as long as their freedom is expected to save the cash-strapped state money.
A new state law, which takes effect Saturday, expands a current program to release chronically or terminally ill prisoners. Death row inmates, or those serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, are not eligible for early release.
Washington is among more than 30 states that have some form of early release program for seriously ill prisoners, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The move will save the Washington state Department of Corrections an estimated $800,000 over the next two years, mainly on things like prescription costs and transporting prisoners to off-prison medical treatment.
But the state Department of Social and Health Services estimates it could see significant increases in its budget if it has to place all of those released in state-paid nursing homes or provide additional mental health services -- offsetting any savings and possibly adding more costs to the already hampered state budget.
That frustrates some lawmakers like Rep. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup. He voted in favor of the bill twice while it was moving through legislative committees, but ultimately voted against it on the House floor because of concerns over costs. The state had to make major cuts this year to patch a $9 billion budget deficit.
"I was prepared to speak out in support of this bill in our caucus room, and then as I reviewed the fiscal note again, it had changed," Dammeier said. "It's not clear-cut, it's not easy to define, and it's not going to clearly result in savings."
The number of prisoners who would actually be released is unknown. Also unclear is how many of those released would end up relying on social safety net programs.
Even the state corrections chief admits the program expansion is a work in progress.
"We continue to think this will save the state money, but we won't know that for sure until we're down the road," said Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail. "Will it in every case? That's the goal. You can't know until they leave the system."
Under the law signed by Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire in May, the head of corrections can authorize early medical release only if certain conditions are met. The offender must have a serious medical condition that is expected "to require costly care or treatment." They must pose a low risk to the community because they are physically incapacitated or expected to be at the time of release. And the release must be expected to save the state money.
The department works to see if prisoners qualify for private or veteran's health coverage. Barring other options, they arrange for Medicaid, which is paid for partially by the state and partly with federal money.
Vail said some of the prisoners have such serious health problems that they are already in state nursing homes, with an armed guard paid to be with them. So under the program, not much changes except the lack of a guard, he said.
"The state is still paying for the hospital bed, but the state is no longer paying for the correctional officer to stand watch," Vail said.
The main change to the current early release program, which has been in place since 1999, is that it no longer requires the prisoner be incapacitated before being approved for release. Fifty-five offenders have been released since 1999 under the earlier program, and two more have been approved and are currently awaiting placement in the community.
Sherry Lynn Bradford, a 40-year-old prisoner at the Washington Corrections Center for Women near Gig Harbor, hopes that she will be one of the prisoners released under the new expanded law. Bradford, who has hepatitis C and has had two surgeries to address liver failure, was denied parole last year under the old program because she wasn't yet incapacitated.
She said that during her last surgery earlier this month, "my doctor didn't sugarcoat it."
"He said my liver is very sick and the only way I'm going to live is to get a new one," she said.
Bradford has been in and out of prison since 1997 on drug charges, with her most recent conviction in 2006 for possession of a controlled substance, with intent to manufacture or deliver cocaine. She is set to be released on probation in December. She said she hopes she can be out before then under medical parole in hopes that she can get on a transplant list sooner.
"I really can't do anything from behind bars," she said.
Her application hasn't yet been decided, and Vail said every request will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
"It's a balancing act between trying to make sure a person receives proper care in a way that is cost effective," he said. "It's not a black-and-white decision. It all depends on the individual."
The early medical parole bill is House Bill 2194.

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