Politics

Toxic Chemicals
9:12 am
Wed March 12, 2014

PCB Product Bill On Wash. Governor’s Desk

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AP Photo

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.

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Politics
1:19 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Senator's Bill Calls For Annual UW-Gonzaga Basketball Game

State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, wants to rekindle one of the state's best basketball rivalries.

Baumgartner has introduced a bill that would require the University of Washington and Gonzaga University of Spokane to play at least once each season.

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Lobbyists & Legislators
5:31 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Lobbyist-Paid Meals Legislation Appears To Die In Washington Statehouse

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Elaine Thompson AP Photo

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 we reported on several state senators who regularly allowed lobbyists to pick up the tab.

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Legislative Session
3:23 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

End In Sight For Washington Legislature, Still Plenty Of Work To Do

A few of the first daffodils of the season begin to bloom in view of the Capitol building Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Olympia, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington lawmakers are in the home stretch — or at least they hope they are.

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.

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Consumer Protection
3:29 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Washington Insurance Commissioner: Premera ‘Guts’ Consumer Protection Bill

FILE - Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is interviewed in his office Friday, Jan. 11, 2008, at the Capitol in Olympia.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Washington’s Insurance Commissioner wants to notify consumers if their insurance company is on the verge of bankruptcy. But Democrat Mike Kreidler says lobbying by health insurance giant Premera Blue Cross has “gutted” his consumer protection measure in the Washington Legislature.

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.

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Gas Tax
4:11 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

‘Heavy Lift’ Gas Tax Vote In Washington Legislature Breeds Partisan Mistrust

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AP Photo

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.

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.

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Climate Change
12:16 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Inslee Prepares To Make Moral Case For Carbon Reduction

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AP Photo

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is preparing to take action on an issue that could secure his legacy, or complicate his re-election chances.

He wants to cap carbon, the biggest culprit in greenhouse gas emissions in Washington. It’s a controversial and potentially costly idea. But the Democrat believes it’s an economic and even moral imperative in the long term.

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Minimum Wage
11:50 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Washington House Speaker: Minimum Wage Hike Wasn’t Ready For Vote

FILE - House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, speaks to the House on the first day of the 2014 session of the Washington state Legislature, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Washington Speaker of the House Frank Chopp supports a minimum wage hike. But he says the issue wasn’t ready for a vote on the House floor this year. The Democrat made his comments Friday in a rare meeting with the Capitol press corps.

“I think it was important to start the conversation and have a good discussion, and figure out where there’s consensus over moving forward. Because if you’re working, you shouldn’t be poor,” Chopp said.

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Politics
11:38 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Tribal Leader To Challenge McMorris Rodgers For Congressional Seat

A Native American is the newest challenger in the race for the Congressional seat currently held by Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Joe Pakootas, CEO for the Colville Federal Tribal Corporation and former tribal chairman, has announced his intention to run as a Democrat in the race against Republican Rep. Rodgers.

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Tax Breaks
3:28 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Washington Legislature On Collision Course Over Tax Breaks

FILE - From left, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, and Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, talk about the supplemental budget proposal by the House Democrats, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

The final two weeks of the Washington legislative session may come down to a battle over tax breaks.

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.

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Liquor Tax
11:12 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Bill Would Gradually Lower Liquor Taxes

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AP Photo

Republican and Democrat lawmakers are introducing a measure on Wednesday that would gradually lower liquor taxes.

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.

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Politics
4:12 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

'David Versus Goliath Race' For McMorris Rodgers' Congressional Seat

FILE - Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., speaks at the Washington state Republican party convention, Friday, May 30, 2008, in Spokane, Wash.
Young Kwak AP Photo

The race has begun for candidates vying to oust Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Congress. A Spokane businessman on Tuesday announced his candidacy for the seat that represents eastern Washington.

More than 30 years ago, Dave Wilson founded the computer training school Interface College. This year, he’s running as an independent for U.S. Congress.

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Education Funding
4:04 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Washington Senate Democrats Target Tax Exemptions To Fund Schools

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AP Photo

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.

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Tax Breaks
9:43 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Washington Senate Includes Nearly Two Dozen Tax Breaks In Budget Plan

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AP Photo

The Washington Senate is proposing the creation or extension of nearly two dozen tax breaks, mostly for businesses.

Gov. Jay Inslee supports the largest of those tax incentives. But overall, the Senate package unveiled Monday runs counter to the Democratic governor’s push to eliminate several tax exemptions to pay for education.

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Agriculture & Animals
10:46 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Idaho Bill Banning Secret Video Of Farms Moves Ahead

U.S. Agricultural Research Service

A measure that seeks to bar animal rights activists from making undercover video in Idaho dairies is moving ahead in the state House.

What critics call the "ag gag" bill is a reaction to a 2012 video that showed workers abusing cows at a farm near Twin Falls. Farmers say they need protection from what they call "vigilante" tactics.

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