Political Story: SB 5849 Electric Vehicle Charging Station Guidelines

I). Introduction/Scope of the bill

II). Issue at hand/What the bill is doing

III). Quotes/EV sustainability

IV). Closing

Story: The Impact of SB 5849

PULLMAN, WASH. Owners and operators of electric vehicles (EVs) in the state of Washington can rejoice knowing that progressive action is finally being made on their behalf.

With the passing of WA SB 5849 in March, EV charging stations will soon feature more mandated signage indicating proper usage and functioning procedures.

The most significant aspect of the bill is the introduction of stiff fines to be handed out to violators who treat designated charging stations as parking spots for their non-electric vehicles.

This process, notoriously referred to by the EV community as ICE’ing (Internal Combustion Engine) has become an all too common occurrence according to Dan Davids, board chair at Plug In America, a non-profit coalition of EV drivers.

“It has unfortunately been a huge obstacle for EV drivers to overcome,” said Davids.

“People need to realize that this is just like parking your car in front of a conventional gas pump and then leaving it there overnight.”

Prior to the adoption of SB 5849, Davids and other EV owners feared that the abuse of charging stations would inhibit state legislators from recognizing their preferred methods of travel as a legitimate investment.

“We were making strides but EV operators desperately needed the law on our side in order to protect our rights to charge on the road,” said Davids.

Jeff Finn, the legislative issues coordinator for the Seattle Electric Vehicles Association (SEVA) said that state government officials fully supported the original SB 5849 proposal because they saw the positive environmental and economic impact of EV travel.

“EVs are beneficial to the state because they are clean and emission-free whilst using a resource we are more abundant in, electricity,” said Finn.

“I like to think of their use as a mini-boost to local economies because my wife and I spend money in whatever town we stop to charge in while traveling.”

One of the events commonly referred to as being a catalyst to the growth of the EV industry is National Plug In Day.

Tonia Buell, a project development and communications manager at WSDOT and three-time National Plug In Day participant says that the event raises awareness of electric vehicle availability and simplicity.

“It has been really exciting to see the growth of EVs turn into something more mainstream at this event,” said Buell.

“People from all over come to check out what EVs are all bout and I think they can see the benefits right away.”

Washington is one of the leading states in electric vehicle sales in the nation thanks to the low cost of hydroelectric power and a rise in the relative number of charging stations regionally.

This more easily allows EV users to travel from station to station on one four-hour charge including the trip from Pullman to Spokane, Bellingham to Pullman, etc.

In addition to National Plug In Day, the work grassroots organizations such as SEVA, Plug In America, and West Coast Green Highway have been instrumental in giving EV owners a collective voice and getting SB 5849 to come to fruition.

“The EV community is really shaping up to be a strong one and something more than just a fad,” said John Dorscher, a WSU student and Seattle EV owner.

“I hope to see this country continue to turn to more efficient means of living.”

Finn wants all Americans to know that operating an EV would help to reduce their carbon footprint on the world with less gas meaning less pollution.

“Its about five times cheaper to fuel electric cars and it can be done conveniently at home, or on the road,” said Finn.

With over 100,000 sold, EVs are growing in popularity as new technology arises and that only spells good things for the sustainability of our planet and natural environment.


-Jeff Finn

-Dan Davids

-Tonia Buell

-John Dorscher


Political Story Pitch

ESSB 5849 Electric vehicle charging C 60 L 13 4/23/2013 7/28/2013

Two-Sentence Explanation:

Electric vehicles utilize electrical energy to operate and require this from the grid or an off-board source. According to the Municipal Research Center, 16 local governments have adopted ordinances related to electric vehicle charging.

Why Now: According to public testimony,the bill is being supported because of the desire to adopt of electric vehicle technology. The bill would make sure charging stations are utilized for charging purposes only. Tickets would be handed out to violators (not charging while in a charging designated spot) and would allow easy access to electric vehicle operators. The bill is said to protect the financial investments that have been made in the charging station network. The bill offers education to the public on the proper use of charging stations and designated charging areas wherein the level of the fine provides a significant deterrent to blocking a
charging station.

Interviews:Electric car owners,Electric charging station operators, Jill Satran OCIO, Alan Griffing WA State Federation of State Employees

Format and Length: 500 words, news story

Meeting Exercise

1. Washington Department of Transportation Aviation Division
2. Authorizes Pullman to participate in a joint self-insurance health and welfare benefit program as well as the execution of the “Interlocal Agreement”
3. Incorporating fresh herbs and vegetables into the gardens for food services.
4. Not to allow pot-bellied pigs in Pullman.
a. The Planning Commission
b. Sue Herdering
5. October 1, 2013
6. In Pullman: 3 In Whitman County: 1

Technology Beat Update

WSU tapped as center of research hub on biojet fuel


WSU has been named a co-leader in a national study to discover new ways for commercial airlines to reduce their environmental footprint in biojet fuel.

Science and detective work: Brucellosis microbe infects, performs like giant

WSU micobiologist Jean Celli is using magnify research to uncover exciting new evidence and learning more about an infectious disease that attacks both humans and livestock.

Public Disclosure Commission Exercise

Who raised the most money in 2012? How much?

Robert M. McKenna: $13,828,000.97

About how much money was raised in the race for the governor’s office?


What was Rob McKenna’s single-largest expenditure?

$5,046,825.00 to Our Washington on 9/13/2012

Closer to home, how much did Mark Schoesler, a state senator, raise in his 2012 race?

How much did he spend?

What was the description of his biggest expense?
Koch Industries Inc.

Enterprise Story: WSU extension scientists working to pair robots with humans for better harvest

Brief Outline:

I). Introduction/Scope of the Developments/Labor Concerns

II). WSU Scientists Goals/Quotes

III). Concern Over Cut Jobs

IV). What’s to Come/Funding Wrap-Up/Closing Quote

WSU extension scientists working to pair robots with humans for better harvest

By: Zack Menchel

PROSSER, Wash. Apples mean big business in the state of Washington, an estimated $2.5 billion business annually to be exact.

In fact, over half the world’s supply of fresh apples intended for consumption are picked in Washington orchards.

Therefore it should come as no surprise that leading scientists at Washington State University are teaming up to research and develop innovative new technologies that will provide growers with a more cost and labor efficient strategy to harvest their bumper crop, apples.

“As yields go up, we need to figure out different ways to harvest this fruit because labor is not only unreliable but the cost of it is going up,” said Karen Lewis, a WSU extension tree fruit specialist.

“Growers are looking at all kinds of ways to increase the efficiencies of a very large harvest.”

In conjunction with Lewis, Changki Mo, and Qin Zhang, Dr. Manoj Karkee, an assistant professor with the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS) at WSU is working on creating various robotic systems that will collaborate with humans in the process of picking tree fruit from orchards.

“This is the best place in the world to grow apples, its what we do best and what we strive to continue to do,” said Kate Evans, associate professor at the WSU Tree Fruit Research Center.

“We just need to figure out ways to stay profitable while doing it.”

Karkee’s team was recently awarded a $548,000 grant towards funding the research and eventual release of a prototype robotic hand that features force and pressure measuring sensors intended to enhance the delicate process of picking apples and other fruit from trees.

The potential mobile fruit identifier unit with a touch-screen interface also will see humans and robots in cahoots during harvest.

“Within the scope of this project, my associates and I are striving to create innovative new technologies commercially available to the growers for the long-term sustainability of their businesses and agriculture in the community as a whole,” Karkee said.

“We hope our work can in time make a lasting impact on this industry through economic and environmental growth and profit.”

Although the development of the prototype hand is still in the early stages, the team of scientists has begun the meticulous process of collecting data relating to the growth patterns of apples as well as conducting a study of the most effective hand motion utilized when collecting tree fruit be it rotating, twisting, pulling, etc.

One thing that observers are worrying about regarding the gradual advancement of tree picking robot technology is backlash due to the elimination of jobs within the agricultural workforce.

“While that is possibility, the upside is that there will be a lot of new high-tech equipment that will need to be serviced and monitored in the field,” said Brian Clark, a director of agricultural education at WSU.

“Leading researchers have long been searching for ways to automate and mechanize some of these agricultural tasks due to a crisis of labor shortage.”

According to Karkee, we should be viewing the technology as eliminating the problem of not having enough workers, rather than wiping out workers completely.

This is because there is already a lack of workers available for labor-intensive, seasonal operation such as tree fruit picking.

“We’d create higher-paying, employment job opportunities for workers to operate and maintain the technology,” said Karkee.

“This will in turn lead to a better economic, social, and cultural environment in these rural communities in Washington as well as around the country.”

Karkee made it known theat growers are very interested in applying his team’s technology to their operations.

“We hope to see a prototype field test within the next three years and if we can secure continuous funding for another 5-10 years, our goal would be to make it commercially available worldwide,” Karkee said.

The grant currently providing funding for Karkee and his team is being issued by the National Robot Initiative, and USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture among other programs.

“Our technology has been relatively successful and that makes for an industry that is willing to fund and engage in the process of experimenting with and validating new technology,” said Lewis.

“This is most certainly a great time to introduce new technology to this industry, it’s truly very exciting.”


-Brian Clark, WSU Associate Executive Director of University Communications/Agricultural Research Writer
Interviewed in person (on video)

Interview with Brian Clark:

-Kate Evans, Extension Associate Professor/Scientist at WSU Tree Fruit Research Center
(509)663-8181 Ext. 245
Interviewed via phone

-Manoj Karkee, Ph.D., WSU Assistant professor with the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS)
Interviewed via phone

-Karen Lewis, WSU Extension Tree Fruit Specialist
(509)754-2011 Ext. 413
Interviewed via phone