Entries in Chris Gregoire (3)


Washington State Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill

Office of Gov. Chris Gregoire(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- Under threat of the federal government, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed key pieces of a medical marijuana law, saying she doesn't want to put state employees at risk of federal criminal charges.

"I will not subject my state employees to federal prosecution -- period," said Gregoire, who worries what would happen if the state started licensing medical marijuana dispensaries and growing operations, which are legal under state law, but not federal law.

The legislation in question, Senate Bill 5073, would create a system of state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, patient registries and cooperative growing gardens.

But the U.S. attorneys for Washington state, Mike Orsmby and Jenny Durkan, said in a letter to the governor on April 14 that marijuana use is still a federal crime and anyone helping make that use possible, such as a state employee at a patient registry, could be prosecuted.

"Growing, distributing and possessing marijuana in any capacity, other than as part of a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law regardless of state laws permitting such activities," Ormsby and Durkan wrote. "State employees who conducted activities mandated by the Washington legislative proposals would not be immune from liability under the Controlled Substance Act."

A union that represents thousands of state employees asked Gregoire to veto the bill.

Medical marijuana user Rob White, a paraplegic from being gunned down during a robbery 15 years ago, favors state control of dispensaries and growing operations, and better protection against arrest.

"I think as people who are sick and dying, (we) should not have to live in fear of losing our freedom for using something that helps make life a little more bearable," White said.

A medical marijuana bill was approved in Washington in 1998, making it legal for patients to grow the the plant themselves or designate a caregiver to grow it for them. But since then, even though the state law does not allow for the sale of marijuana, marijuana dispensaries have been established across the state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Governor vs. Attorney General In Health Care Royal Rumble

Photos Courtesy - governor(dot)wa(dot)gov atg(dot)wa(dot)gov(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- So what do you do if you are the governor of a state and you support the Obama administration's health care law, but the attorney general of your state is fighting it like cats and dogs in federal court?

Ask Washington State. Late Monday night Gov. Chris Gregoire aired her state's dirty laundry in a federal court filing, arguing that Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna is pursuing a lawsuit that will be “extremely disruptive” to the state government.

Gregoire, a Democrat, supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while McKenna, a Republican, has joined other states seeking to have the law overturned. McKenna prevailed in federal court in January when one federal judge, Roger Vinson, struck down the health care law. Vinson is currently considering whether to rule that the provisions of the law that are now in effect must be immediately halted.

In a legal brief filed with Judge Vinson, Gov. Gregoire says that she, not McKenna, is in charge of the administration of state government. Gregoire argues that her state would be “severely harmed” if the federal government was forced to immediately stop implementing provisions of ACA that are currently in effect. Attorney General McKenna “does not represent the governor or other state officials," Gregoire argues.

McKenna is reportedly considering a run for governor in 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NGA Chair: States Are 'Fragile,' Can't Afford a 'Hiccup' in Recovery

Photo Courtesy - Office of Gov. Chris Gregoire(WASHINGTON) -- Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, chair of the National Governor’s Association, labeled states across the country “fragile” and warned Congress that a government shutdown or cuts would further undermine their economic recovery.

“We are fragile, so anything Congress does, whether it’s a shutdown or cuts, that will directly impact the states can be of considerable concern to us because we don’t need a hiccup right now in our recovery,” Gregoire said Saturday morning. “We can ill afford to have any government shutdown and cuts that will dramatically impact the states.”  

Nearly 50 governors are gathering in Washington, D.C., for a three-day National Governor’s Association Conference to discuss job creation, education and global competitiveness. They will examine ways to fix the budget gaps and to streamline state governments to increase efficiency.

“We are still faced with an unprecedented fiscal crisis, and we have to make very tough choices and decisions in our homes,” Gregoire said.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick echoed a sentiment resonating from many of the governors, saying many state economies are “recovering, not recovered.”

Saturday’s sessions were to focus on improving education and job creation, which the governors believe hold the key to emerging from the recession.

“Governors do not have the luxury of waiting for solutions to present themselves,” Gregoire said. “There’s a need for us to create jobs, to find steady employment, and a promising future for our children.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio