Politics

Lobbyists & Legislators
12:09 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

The influence game: Lobbyists wine, dine lawmakers after hours

Longtime business lobbyist Steve Gano and his wife often host Washington lawmakers at the house they own across from the Capitol campus.
Austin Jenkins

In the first three months of this year, lobbyists in Washington state spent more than $200,000 on entertainment. Much of that money was spent to wine and dine state lawmakers during the just-concluded 105-day session.

The spending begs the question: What are lobbyists and their clients getting in exchange for picking up the tab?

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It's All Politics
11:30 am
Sun April 28, 2013

Plan would force public companies to reveal political giving

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 8:07 am

The 2012 election was the most expensive in history, but there remain some gaping holes in our knowledge about who paid for what. The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering a proposal to add more transparency in future elections, but it won't happen without a fight.

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special session
6:18 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

State lawmakers heading to extended session

With just one day before the end of session, Washington lawmakers appear to be making little progress toward the ultimate goal of a final budget agreement.

Leaders in both the House and Senate seemed to resign themselves Saturday to the prospect of an overtime session, with the regular 105-day period coming to an end Sunday night. A spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee said that no decision had been made on when a special session may start.

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Politics
11:19 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Britain's Thatcher an unlikely icon for American conservatives

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1987.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 12:47 pm

As an icon of the American conservative movement in the 1980s, it would have been difficult to find a more unlikely figure than Britain's Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday following a stroke.

Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, a full year and a half before Ronald Reagan became president. She hailed from a country seen as a hopeless bastion of socialism by conservatives, many of whom, like Reagan himself, were strongly invested in the idea of American exceptionalism.

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State Legislature
12:20 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Inslee proposes to end several tax breaks to fund schools

Oregon shoppers in Washington would pay sales tax and bottled water would be taxed under a proposal from Governor Jay Inslee to raise $1.2 billion in additional money for public schools.

Inslee, a Democrat, proposed Thursday to end or modify a dozen tax exemptions, extend two expiring tax hikes, and cut back by 25-percent a favorable tax rate that many businesses enjoy.

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State Legislature
12:26 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

False IDs for cops? Unauthorized state program faces scrutiny

Mitch Barker of the Washington Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Assoc. used a state-issued fictitious driver’s license as an undercover street cop.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

For decades, police officers in Washington have been able to obtain false driver licenses for undercover work. But this quasi-secret program inside the Department of Licensing only recently came to light.

It turns out the confidential ID program was never approved by the Legislature. Now two state lawmakers are calling for more oversight to prevent possible abuses.

As a street cop in the early 1980s, Mitch Barker went undercover to work drugs and vice. The Washington Department of Licensing helped him assume a fake identity.

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Politics
1:41 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Obama names first woman Secret Service head

President Barack Obama has named veteran Secret Service agent Julia Pierson as the agency's first female director.

Pierson, a 30-year veteran of the agency, currently is its chief of staff.

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Politics
3:09 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Inslee promoting new I-5 Columbia River bridge

Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday that Washington has a closing window of opportunity to replace the bridge carrying Interstate 5 over the Columbia River, warning that failure to act would "start that erosion process in our economic competitiveness."

Speaking with Southwest Washington business and government leaders, the governor said the opportunity for more than $1 billion in federal funding won't be available for at least another decade.

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Politics
8:10 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Inslee: Transportation package a must for 2013

Gov. Jay Inslee says that passing a transportation funding package this year must be a priority for the Legislature.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Inslee said he is concerned that momentum for passing such a plan has been dissipating.

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Politics
1:01 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Assault weapons ban is gun debate's first casualty

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been told that her assault weapons ban will not be included in the Democratic gun bill to be introduced on the Senate floor in the coming weeks.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 1:48 pm

The prospects of an assault weapons ban emerging as part of any post-Newtown gun control law looks highly unlikely after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opted not to include it in a Democratic proposal to be offered on the Senate floor in coming weeks.

"My understanding is it will not be [part of the base bill]" to be introduced on the Senate floor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said after meeting with Reid on Monday, according to Politico. "The leader has decided not to do it."

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Politics
11:50 am
Tue March 19, 2013

State Senate leaders vow to up higher ed funding

A coalition that controls the Washington state Senate is vowing to increase funding for higher education by $300 million.

Senate leaders declined Tuesday to explain how they would pay for the proposal. Lawmakers already face more than a $1 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget cycle and are separately under court order to expand funding for K-12 education.

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State Legislature
12:49 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Gov. Inslee eyes tax 'loopholes' for elimination, but feasible?

Hopes for a rosier budget outlook in Washington are dimming. Expected savings in Medicaid haven’t materialized. And many state lawmakers expect this week’s quarterly revenue forecast to show a downward slide. Add to that, a Supreme Court ruling that requires more funding for schools.

In response, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to announce soon a list of tax “loopholes” ­— as he calls them — he wants to eliminate to fund schools. But closing tax exemptions is easier said than done.

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Politics
7:00 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

House OKs 'Washington Dream Act'

Alan Cordova Flickr

The Washington House of Representatives has approved a measure giving young illegal immigrants eligibility to state college financial aid.

The House approved the so-called "Washington Dream Act" on a bipartisan 77-20 vote. They amended the bill on the floor to open college aid to all young illegal immigrants.

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Politics
4:04 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

State Senate seeks to safeguard workers' Facebook passwords

Timur Emek DAPD

Washington state senators are looking to safeguard the social media passwords of workers and job applicants.

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Politics
11:08 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Seattle Port Commission gives itself sevenfold pay raise

The heavy lift ship Zhenhua 23 delivers three 267-foot tall cranes to a Port of Seattle terminal Wednesday, July 25, 2012.
Chris Grygiel Associated Press

Port of Seattle commissioners voted Tuesday for a sevenfold pay raise to $42,000 a year, about the same as a Washington state legislator.

Port spokesman Jason Kelly says Commission President Tom Albro proposed the pay hike to make the job more attractive to applicants. The vote ties commission salaries to the pay of state lawmakers.

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