Laurel Demkovich

Laurel Demkovich

Laurel Demkovich joined States Newsroom in 2023 after almost three years as a statehouse reporter for the Spokesman-Review. She covers state government, the Legislature and all other Olympia news.

a gray wolf in the woods

Conservationists fail in push to tighten Washington wolf killing rules

By: - October 31, 2023

Washington fish and wildlife officials have declined a request from conservation groups to tighten restrictions around when wolves that attack livestock can be killed. A petition the groups filed in September with the state Fish and Wildlife Commission described Washington’s system for dealing with wolf-livestock conflicts as “ineffective.” It asked the panel to reopen rulemaking […]

Washington state's Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz

WA lands chief: State just had one of its ‘most challenging’ fire seasons ever

By: - October 28, 2023

After an abnormally hot and dry summer in Washington, some in the state may say it was good fortune there weren’t more large wildfires or that the fire season wasn’t that bad. But fire officials don’t see it that way. In fact, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said this year was one of Washington’s […]

Ponderosa pines in a field with wildflowers

Plans take shape for eastern Washington tribute on state Capitol grounds

By: - October 17, 2023

A ponderosa pine and a western larch, snowberry and camas, basalt rock columns and a bench made out of aspen wood. These elements are all part of a soon-to-be-installed landscape feature on the Washington state Capitol Campus in Olympia commemorating eastern Washington. The State Capitol Committee on Monday received an update on the new site, […]

a gray wolf

The latest clash over managing Washington’s wolves

By: - September 22, 2023

Eleven conservation groups are asking Washington state to tighten its guidelines for when wolves that attack livestock can be killed. The groups are concerned too many wolves are dying needlessly under the current system. Their petition to Washington’s Fish and Wildlife Commission describes the existing standards the state uses to authorize lethal action against the […]

Volunteer Firefighters Train To Fight Wildfires In Washington State

On Washington’s public lands, a rise in fires caused by people

By: - August 17, 2023

Fires have more than doubled so far this year on state-managed public land in Washington compared to 2022, and people are mostly to blame for the blazes. On Washington state lands, there have been 49 human-caused fires through Aug. 1, compared to 27 during that same time frame last year, according to the Department of […]

A seagull on the beach

Bird flu outbreak stokes fears for Washington’s wild birds

By: - August 15, 2023

The spread of bird flu has left Washington wildlife officials scrambling to test suspected cases and cleaning up hundreds of tern and gull carcasses along the coast of an island in northern Puget Sound. Avian flu has historically affected mostly poultry, but a new strain – H5N1 – is proving deadly for wild birds as […]

Planned Parenthood clinic

Washington weighs in against Idaho law restricting out-of-state abortions

By: - August 2, 2023

Washington joined nearly 20 other states this week in arguing against Idaho’s new law that makes it a crime to assist minors in seeking abortions outside the state. Attorney General Bob Ferguson, along with attorneys general from 18 other states and the District of Columbia, filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday in support of several advocacy […]

Gas prices at a station in Washington state

Washington’s high gas prices fuel talk of anti-gouging measures, cap-and-trade tweaks

By: - July 17, 2023

With an average price of around $4.95 for a gallon of regular unleaded – the highest anywhere in the country – gas in Washington is expensive. That’s not in dispute. But when it comes to the reasons for the spike, what to do about it, and how much the state’s new cap-and-trade program is to […]