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Tuesday morning's headlines

Some of the top news stories around the Northwest this morning:

  • New Plan to Target Sea Lions
  • State House Lays Out a Budget Plan
  • Bellevue Tackles Steep Rise in Burglaries

Legislators Driving Toward Budget Showdown

Democrats in the state House of Representatives presented their budget plan for the next two years, slashing nearly $5 billion in spending. Cuts come from many areas, including K-4 education spending, and care for the developmentally disabled. Spared? Enrollment for 25,000 slots in children's health insurance program, Apple Health for Kids.

Democrat budget leaders tell KPLU's Austin Jenkins their budget is sustainable and responsible. Minority Republicans, including Gary Alexander of Olympia, argue the cuts aren't tough enough, according to The Olympian's Brad Shannon and Katie Schmidt:

“The can continues to be kicked down the road,” Alexander, ranking GOP member on the House budget committee, said in a statement. “Programs the state can no longer afford remain on life support, and the footprint of government continues to be larger than our taxpayers and economy can support.”

Gov. Chris Gregoire told The Trib the House budget resembles many of her own proposals. The state Senate will be coming out with its budget plan soon, allowing final negotiations to begin in earnest.


Sea Lions Under the Gun

A powerful coalition of Northwest congress members wants to ease the red tape to manage California Sea Lion populations on the Columbia River through lethal means.

The News Tribune's Rob Hotakainan reports the number of salmon-eating sea lions at Bonneville Dam have increased since they were given a court-mandated reprieve from being euthanized a few months ago.

“With all other methods exhausted, lethal removal of the most aggressive sea lions is often the only option left,” (Washington Rep. Doc) Hastings said.

Hastings and fellow Republicans Jayme Herrera-Beutler (WA-3rd) and Greg Walden (OR), and Democrat Norm Dicks (WA-6th) want to give states and Indian tribes a faster means of eliminating the salmon predators to protect fish stocks. Bonneville Dam is about fifty miles east of Portland on the Columbia.


Bellevue Burglary Rates Jump 60%

The spike in burglariesis taking everyone by surprise, including Bellevue councilman Grant Degginger, according to KING-TV's Kyle Moore:

"It’s troubling to hear we have a spike in burglaries because we have had a safe city,” said Degginger.

The stats come from Bellevue Police. There have been 108 burglaries reported since January 1st. The majority, Moore reports, were committed in the Lake Hills and Lakemont areas of the city.  Last year, property crimes were down 4% in Bellevue.

Bellevue Patch's Venice Buhain reports the majority of the property crimes this year have been carried out by juveniles.