Washington Legislature passes REAL ID bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington lawmakers have reached agreement on a two-tiered licensing system that seeks to bring Washington state into compliance with federal identification requirements.

The House passed the measure on a 55-41 vote Thursday, followed by the Senate, which passed it on a 36-13 vote. It now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

Thursday’s action came after both chambers reached agreement on a variety of issues, including the cost of the state’s current enhanced license.

With passage of the measure, lawmakers end a multiyear struggle over how to best comply with the REAL ID Act, a 2005 federal law that requires state driver’s licenses and ID cards to have security enhancements and be issued to people who can prove they are legally in the United States.

Russian hacker faces decades in prison

SEATTLE (AP) — Federal prosecutors want the Russian man convicted of hacking into U.S. businesses to steal credit card data to be sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay $170 million in restitution.

But Roman Seleznev’s lawyers say his troubled history, poor health and willingness to help the government catch other cybercriminals should be considered when deciding his sentence.

Friday’s sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Seattle is expected to last several hours.

Seleznev, the son of a member of the Russian Parliament, was first indicted in 2011 on 29 felony charges and was captured in 2014 in the Maldives.

The indictment grew to 40 counts in October 2014 and his trial was held in August 2016. A jury found him guilty on 38 charges, including nine counts of hacking and 10 counts of wire fraud.

Small earthquake hits off Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. (AP) — A small earthquake struck near Port Townsend in Admiralty Bay.

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network says the earthquake happened shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday between Port Townsend and Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island.

The 3.1-magnitude quake occurred at a depth of about 14 miles.

No damage was reported.

The Seattle Times reports more than 100 residents in nearby areas reported feeling the shake.

Yakima council member arrested on DUI charge after crash

(Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, http://www.yakimaherald.com)

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Police records say a Yakima City Council member’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit for driving when she hit a vehicle injuring two people Sunday.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported Thursday that 29-year-old Carmen Mendez agreed to breath tests Sunday which showed blood-alcohol levels from 0.179 to 0.185 – all more than double the legal limit of 0.08.

She was arrested Sunday on a DUI charge and released later that evening.

Two people in the Chevrolet Suburban that was struck by Mendez’s car suffered what were described as minor injuries.

The Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is reviewing reports to make a determination on charges.

Mendez declined comment when contacted by the newspaper Thursday.

Drivers to face new distracted driving penalties in Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Holding a phone while driving in Washington state could become illegal in 2019 if Gov. Jay Inslee signs a distracted driving measure passed by the Legislature.

The bill cleared both chambers Wednesday and now heads to the governor’s desk. If approved by Inslee as expected, the measure would go into effect January 2019.

It would make it illegal to hold a phone or other electronic device while driving a car or when stopped at a traffic light. Some exceptions include contacting emergency services, amateur radio operators or messaging from transit system dispatch services.

Under the measure, the standard traffic fine of $136 would apply to a first offense, but would increase to about $235 on a second offense within five years. The first distracted driving offense would also be reportable to insurance companies, which could raise rates like any other moving violation.

Washington unemployment rate drops to 4.7 percent

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in nearly 10 years, dropping to 4.7 percent last month.

The latest numbers released by the Employment Security Department Wednesday show that March’s rate dropped from February’s rate of 4.9 percent. March’s rate is the lowest the state has seen since August 2007.

The state also added 10,700 nonfarm jobs last month.

The national unemployment rate was 4.5 percent last month. The unemployment rate in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area was 3.3 percent.

The industries that saw the greatest job growth last month were leisure and hospitality up 2,700, education and health services up 2,500 and professional and businesses services, which gained 2,300 new jobs. Wholesale trade saw the biggest reduction in March, losing 1,400 jobs.

Man in King County Jail dies in Seattle hospital

SEATTLE (AP) — Jail officials say a Seattle man who had been in custody at the King County Jail has died at Harborview Medical Center.

King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention Captain Troy Bacon said in a news release that the 56-year-old man died Wednesday, five days after he was transferred there.

Bacon says the man was booked into jail July 3 and charged with felony assault.

The King County Medical Examiner’s office will determine the cause and manner of death. The man’s name wasn’t released.

The Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention will work with Public Health – Seattle & King County to conduct an investigation as is standard.

The Seattle Police Department will also conduct an investigation.