Washington State Legislature http://kplu.org en Ethics Board To Consider Crackdown On Lobbyist-Paid Meals http://kplu.org/post/ethics-board-consider-crackdown-lobbyist-paid-meals <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">By next January, Washington state lawmakers should have clearer guidance on when it’s OK to accept free meals from lobbyists. The state’s Legislative Ethics Board decided Tuesday to clarify the rules governing gifts in the form of food and beverage. The board’s action follows <a href="http://www.kplu.org/post/influence-game-lobbyists-wine-dine-lawmakers-after-hours">our investigation last year</a> into lobbyist-paid meals.</span></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:37:46 +0000 Austin Jenkins 16053 at http://kplu.org Ethics Board To Consider Crackdown On Lobbyist-Paid Meals Wash. Senate Majority Leader Tom Announces He Won’t Run For Re-Election http://kplu.org/post/wash-senate-majority-leader-tom-announces-he-won-t-run-re-election <iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/144714753&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe><p>One of the most influential and controversial members of the Washington state Legislature made a bombshell announcement Monday.</p><p>Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, announced he is dropping his bid for re-election. Tom is one of two Democrats who joined with Republicans last year to help them take control of the state Senate.</p><p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 21:45:41 +0000 Austin Jenkins 16018 at http://kplu.org Wash. Senate Majority Leader Tom Announces He Won’t Run For Re-Election Grieving Widow Helps Spearhead First-Of-Its-Kind State Law On Suicide Prevention http://kplu.org/post/grieving-widow-helps-spearhead-first-its-kind-state-law-suicide-prevention <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/144249830&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Depression is one of the biggest <a href="http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/learn/riskfactors.aspx" target="_blank">risk factors</a> for suicide, and people who seek help for it tend to go to their regular doctor. But, as one Seattle family discovered, doctors aren’t always prepared to deal with a patient who has thoughts of suicide. A <a href="http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2315" target="_blank">new law&nbsp;in Washington state</a>, the first of its kind nationwide, seeks to change that. &nbsp;</p><p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Monica Spain 15946 at http://kplu.org Grieving Widow Helps Spearhead First-Of-Its-Kind State Law On Suicide Prevention Wash. Senate Panel OKs $30 Per Diem Pay Hike http://kplu.org/post/wash-senate-panel-oks-30-diem-pay-hike <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/141415818&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin-bottom: 1.5em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 12px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: 18.001800537109375px;">Washington state senators are giving themselves a pay raise. Senators will get $120 a day in per diem when they are in session – up from the current rate of $90 a day.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-bottom: 1.5em; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 12px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); line-height: 18.001800537109375px;">The Senate facilities and operations committee approved the increase &nbsp;Tuesday in a split vote.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 22:09:22 +0000 Austin Jenkins 15296 at http://kplu.org Wash. Senate Panel OKs $30 Per Diem Pay Hike Washington Legislature Adjourns Without Action On Medical Marijuana, Gas Tax http://kplu.org/post/washington-legislature-adjourns-without-action-medical-marijuana-gas-tax <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Washington Legislature adjourned its 60-day session just before midnight Thursday night.</span></p><p>In the final hours, lawmakers passed a bipartisan update to the state’s two-year budget. They also sent the governor a bill to give military veterans in-state tuition to attend college, and reauthorized a fee that pays for homeless housing.</p><p>But it’s what lawmakers did not do this Legislative session that may stand out most for voters.</p><p> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:31:45 +0000 Austin Jenkins 14845 at http://kplu.org Washington Legislature Adjourns Without Action On Medical Marijuana, Gas Tax Budget Deal Struck In Washington Legislature http://kplu.org/post/budget-deal-struck-washington-legislature <p>Washington public schools will get an additional nearly $60 million, but teachers will not get a cost of living raise this year. That’s the upshot of a budget deal that’s being announced at the Capitol in Olympia.</p><p> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 19:31:01 +0000 Austin Jenkins 14796 at http://kplu.org Budget Deal Struck In Washington Legislature PCB Product Bill On Wash. Governor’s Desk http://kplu.org/post/pcb-product-bill-wash-governor-s-desk <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A state bill to limit the purchase of PCB-containing products is heading to the Washington governor’s desk. The state Senate on Tuesday approved final changes to the bill, which the sponsor says could lower river pollution levels.</span></p><p> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:12:56 +0000 Paige Browning 14733 at http://kplu.org PCB Product Bill On Wash. Governor’s Desk Senator's Bill Calls For Annual UW-Gonzaga Basketball Game http://kplu.org/post/senators-bill-calls-annual-uw-gonzaga-basketball-game <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, Geneva; font-size: 15.454545021057129px; line-height: 15px;">State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, wants to rekindle one of the state's best basketball rivalries.</p><div style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, Geneva; font-size: 15.454545021057129px; line-height: 15px;"><p>Baumgartner has introduced a bill that would require the University of Washington and Gonzaga University of Spokane to play at least once each season.</p> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 20:19:01 +0000 The Associated Press 14707 at http://kplu.org Lobbyist-Paid Meals Legislation Appears To Die In Washington Statehouse http://kplu.org/post/lobbyist-paid-meals-legislation-appears-die-washington-statehouse <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It looks like Washington lawmakers may adjourn their 60-day legislative session without addressing the issue of lobbyist-paid entertainment. Free meals for lawmakers became an issue last year after <a href="http://www.kplu.org/post/influence-game-lobbyists-wine-dine-lawmakers-after-hours">we reported </a>on several state senators who regularly allowed lobbyists to pick up the tab.</span></p><p> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 00:31:56 +0000 Austin Jenkins 14661 at http://kplu.org Lobbyist-Paid Meals Legislation Appears To Die In Washington Statehouse End In Sight For Washington Legislature, Still Plenty Of Work To Do http://kplu.org/post/end-sight-washington-legislature-still-plenty-work-do <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Washington lawmakers are in the home stretch — or at least they hope they are.</span></p><p>The current 60-day session is supposed to adjourn this coming Thursday. But the House and Senate still have to agree on an update to the two-year budget. And that’s not the only major issue that remains unresolved.</p><p> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 23:23:39 +0000 Austin Jenkins 14569 at http://kplu.org End In Sight For Washington Legislature, Still Plenty Of Work To Do Washington Insurance Commissioner: Premera ‘Guts’ Consumer Protection Bill http://kplu.org/post/washington-insurance-commissioner-premera-guts-consumer-protection-bill <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Washington’s Insurance Commissioner wants to notify consumers if their insurance company is on the verge of bankruptcy. But Democrat Mike </span>Kreidler<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> says lobbying by health insurance giant </span>Premera<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Blue Cross has “gutted” his consumer protection measure in the Washington Legislature.</span></p><p>After the collapse of AIG in 2008, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners developed something called the Holding Company Act. It basically gives state regulators additional oversight of insurance carriers that are held by a parent company.</p><p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 23:29:46 +0000 Austin Jenkins 14430 at http://kplu.org Washington Insurance Commissioner: Premera ‘Guts’ Consumer Protection Bill ‘Heavy Lift’ Gas Tax Vote In Washington Legislature Breeds Partisan Mistrust http://kplu.org/post/heavy-lift-gas-tax-vote-washington-legislature-breeds-partisan-mistrust <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The debate over a gas tax hike has revved up again in the state Legislature. A key Senate Republican formally introduced legislation Monday to raise the gas tax by 11.5 cents to fund road projects. But Democrats are reacting warily.</span></p><p>The latest plan Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, still spends about $12 billion to maintain and preserve existing roads, build and complete new projects and pay for other transportation priorities. But it includes some concessions to Democrats, including more money for transit.</p><p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 00:11:02 +0000 Austin Jenkins 14378 at http://kplu.org ‘Heavy Lift’ Gas Tax Vote In Washington Legislature Breeds Partisan Mistrust Washington Legislature On Collision Course Over Tax Breaks http://kplu.org/post/washington-legislature-collision-course-over-tax-breaks <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The final two weeks of the Washington legislative session may come down to a battle over tax breaks.</span></p><p>Democrats want to eliminate a series of tax exemptions to fund teacher cost-of-living raises and other education priorities. Republicans propose just the opposite; they want to renew several tax incentives with the goal of creating or preserving jobs.</p><p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 23:28:37 +0000 Austin Jenkins 14167 at http://kplu.org Washington Legislature On Collision Course Over Tax Breaks Bill Would Gradually Lower Liquor Taxes http://kplu.org/post/bill-would-gradually-lower-liquor-taxes <p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, Geneva; font-size: 15.454545021057129px; line-height: 15px;">Republican and Democrat lawmakers are introducing a measure on Wednesday that would gradually lower liquor taxes.</p><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, Geneva; font-size: 15.454545021057129px; line-height: 15px;">Backers say lowering taxes would spur more purchases in Washington state and the revenue to the state would eventually be at the same levels prior to privatization.</p><p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 19:12:02 +0000 Manuel Valdes 14143 at http://kplu.org Bill Would Gradually Lower Liquor Taxes Washington Senate Democrats Target Tax Exemptions To Fund Schools http://kplu.org/post/washington-senate-democrats-target-tax-exemptions-fund-schools <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Minority Democrats in the Washington Senate want to tax oil refineries, bottled water, prescription drug resellers and out-of-state shoppers. The proposal released Tuesday could generate $100 million per year for public schools.</span></p><p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 00:04:15 +0000 Austin Jenkins 14103 at http://kplu.org Washington Senate Democrats Target Tax Exemptions To Fund Schools