Politics

Real Hope Act
9:10 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Wash. State Lawmakers Send ‘Real Hope’ Act To Governor

In this photo taken Jan. 9, 2014, the Legislative Building at the Washington state Capitol in Olympia, Wash., is shown as rain falls on the sundial in the foreground.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

A late vote in the Washington Legislature has the children of immigrants cheering, literally. On Tuesday night, the state House overwhelmingly approved a measure to allow high school graduates who came to this country illegally with their parents to apply for state financial aid.

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Minimum Wage
1:10 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Why Democrats Are Suddenly Talking About Minimum Wage

Spectators look in from outside the House chambers as Gov. Jay Inslee waves during the annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Legisture Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Olympia, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

 

We’re hearing a lot these days about raising the minimum wage.

President Obama talked about it in his State of the Union address last month. SeaTac voters approved a $15 per hour base wage last fall. And there’s a push now to adopt the same in Seattle. Even in Idaho, there’s a minimum wage campaign afoot.

It turns out this is no accident; it's part of a national effort to put the issue before politicians and voters.

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Gay Rights
7:28 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Bill To Prevent Gay Conversion Passes Wash. State House, Headed To Senate

tswartz Flickr

A bill intended to prevent health care providers from trying to convert gay people under age 18 has passed the state House.

House Bill 2451, which passed on a 94-4 vote, would make it an act of unprofessional conduct to try to change the sexual orientation of a patient under 18. That would include efforts to change behaviors, gender expressions or to reduce sexual or romantic attractions toward people of the same sex. 

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Gas Tax Package
5:16 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Washington Senate Majority Unveils New Gas Tax Package, Votes Lacking

mathteacherguy Flickr

The members of the mostly-Republican majority in the Washington Senate say they want to jumpstart negotiations on a gas tax package to fund roads and transit in Washington state.

They unveiled a revised funding proposal Thursday, but also acknowledged they don’t have the votes to pass it.

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Politics
10:59 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Veteran U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings To Retire; Who'll Be Tapped?

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., speaks during a joint hearing with the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013.
Susan Walsh AP Photo

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings will retire at the end of the year, he announced Thursday.

Political watchers are already speculating on who might run to replace the long-time representative. The district is considered strongly Republican, so a Democratic upset is unlikely.

Hastings served two decades as south-central Washington’s Republican congressman. 

“I turned 73 last Friday, and one more term, I would have been nearly 76, so I just thought this was the right time,” he said.

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Columbia River Crossing
9:30 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Oregon Lawmakers Try To Resurrect Columbia River Crossing Plan

File image
AP Photo

 

Oregon lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday on the latest version of a plan to fund a new Interstate 5 bridge across the Columbia River.

The hearing even drew testimony from lawmakers on the Washington side of the river.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber says if the Legislature doesn't act by mid-March, he'll pull the plug on the project for the foreseeable future.

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Politics
4:55 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Audit: Wash. State Can Do More To Help Families Who Adopt Foster Kids

Washington state could do a better job when it comes to assisting families who’ve adopted children from foster care, according to a report by the state auditor's office. 

That’s especially the case for families who’ve adopted children with special needs or those who have been diagnosed with emotional or physical problems, the office found.

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Dream Act
11:32 am
Mon February 10, 2014

State Lawmakers Underfund Promise Of ‘Real Hope’ And ‘Dreams’

Dulce Siguenza is a 19-year old student at South Seattle Community College who had to drop out of the University of Washington because it was too expensive.
Austin Jenkins

The state of Washington could soon become the fourth in the nation after California, Texas and New Mexico to allow the children of illegal immigrants to qualify for state-funded college financial aid.

The idea has now passed both the Washington House and Senate. But allowing undocumented students to compete for these limited dollars is still a thorny issue for some, especially since the program is already seriously underfunded.

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Immigrant and Refugee Rights
5:01 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Advocates: Washington Must Ensure 'Basics Are Met' For Refugees And Immigrants

This photo shows a mother and child who participated in the 2013 rally.
James Hall Photography

Advocates plan to rally in Olympia Tuesday in what’s become an annual push for immigrant and refugee rights.

More than a dozen groups plans to make some noise on the Capitol steps and meet with lawmakers on several key issues: restoring previously-cut funds to food aid and job training, and investing in better English-language learner services in public schools.

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Troublesome Static
5:01 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Dead Air, Garbled Transmissions Trouble Washington State Troopers

This is one of the Washington State Patrol’s new portable radios by Motorola.

Dead air, garbled transmissions and poor reception are just some of the problems with the Washington State Patrol’s new state-of-the art radio system. The $40 million conversion to digital technology is behind schedule, and having technical problems.

For most of us, our smartphones have become our figurative lifelines. For state troopers, their literal lifeline is still the two-way radio. When the radio doesn’t work that’s a problem. We first reported on doubts about this project in March of 2012.

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Supreme Court Vs. Legislature
1:18 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Senator Chides High Court For 'Overreach,' Sponsors Bill To Reduce Court Size

Michael Baumgartner's website

Washington lawmakers may be tired of the state Supreme Court telling them how to do their job. At least one bill targeting the court is in front of lawmakers this session. 

The Legislature is under mandate by the State Supreme Court to increase state funding for education. Last year, the court told lawmakers to spend more, and lawmakers responded by upping education funding by $1 billion. Then a month ago, the court gave them even more specifics where the spending should go.

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State Of The Union
8:14 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Decrying Washington Stalemate, Obama Calls For 'Year Of Action'

A woman bundled against the cold walks past the U.S. Capitol dome prior to President Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 11:00 am

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Gun Initiatives
3:13 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Gabby Giffords Urges Lawmakers To ‘Fight, Fight, Fight’ For Background Checks

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords pumps her fist as she testifies before a Washington state House panel Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, in Olympia, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head during a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, testified in support of Initiative 594 in Olympia on Tuesday. The initiative would require background checks for most gun sales and transfers, even those between individuals.

“Now is the time to come together, be responsible, Democrats, Republicans, everyone. We must never stop fighting; fight, fight, fight” Giffords said.

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Social Services
9:48 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Washington Considers Private Investment Bonds To Address Social Problems

File image
AP Photo

Someday in the not-too-distant future, social service programs here in the Northwest could get funding from Wall Street.

The idea is gaining traction across the nation. Goldman Sachs already funds preschool slots in Utah and a youth intervention program in New York.

A proposal to pilot “pay-for-success” bonds in Washington got a hearing Monday before a legislative committee.

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Lobbyists & Legislators
3:31 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

State Senators Want Ethics Boards — Not Lawmakers — To Define ‘Infrequent’ Meals

mathteacherguy Flickr

Washington’s ethics boards should define how often lawmakers can dine out at lobbyist expense, according to nearly a dozen state senators who’ve signed onto a proposal that would direct legislative and executive ethics panels to clarify the rules for lobbyist-paid meals.

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