Politics

Politics
2:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

In Attempt To Resurrect Anti-Tax Rule, Eyman Files Measure With Costly Caveat

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2012, file photo, professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman shakes hands with a supporter in Bellevue, Wash.
Stephen Brashear AP Photo

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman is kicking off the new year with a new initiative. 

Eyman's new ballot proposal aims to resurrect the requirement that tax hikes get a two-thirds majority in the Legislature or be referred to the people. And this time, Eyman has designed a hammer to get the Legislature to act.

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Inauguration Day
5:00 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Seattle's New Gay Mayor, Socialist Council Member To Be Sworn In

File image
AP Photo

As many as 2,000 people are expected to attend the inauguration of the city's first gay mayor and its first modern-day socialist council member at City Hall today.

Both candidates were officially sworn in during a private ceremony on Jan. 1. Today's ceremonial event is open to the public, and takes place in the City Hall lobby at 3:30 p.m.

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Lobbyists & Legislators
12:39 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Free Meal Complaint Against Lawmakers Dismissed, ‘Serious Concerns’ Remain

mathteacherguy Flickr

Five Republican state senators did not violate Washington ethics law when they accepted dozens of free meals from lobbyists earlier this year, according to a ruling made public Friday by Washington’s Legislative Ethics Board.

However, the board added the situation raises “serious questions” and an “enforceable” rule is needed.

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Minimum Wage
5:18 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Governor Inslee Says It's Time For Statewide Minimum Wage Discussion

In this Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 photo, wheelchair attendant Erick Conley, left, assists an elderly passenger heading overseas at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee says it’s time for a discussion on raising the state’s already highest-in-the-nation minimum wage. The Democrat’s comments Thursday come in the wake of a vote in the city of SeaTac and a new push by Seattle Mayor-Elect Ed Murray to raise the local minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The governor stopped short of calling for a $15 statewide minimum wage.

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Minimum Wage
1:29 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Seattle Mayor-Elect Murray Pulls Sawant Into His Minimum Wage Task Force

FILE - Mayoral candidate state Sen. Ed Murray smiles during a news conference Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Seattle’s incoming mayor has convened a task force to study boosting the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, and he has asked incoming socialist city council member Kshama Sawant to join.

Mayor-Elect Ed Murray said he believes it is a necessary step toward tackling economic inequality, but he also insists he is not prejudicing the outcome of the committee. In addition to Sawant, his 23-member task force includes business interests, organized labor and community groups.

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Transportation Package
9:53 am
Thu December 19, 2013

No Deal On Gas Tax Package, Talks To Resume In January

Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee’s hopes for a gas tax package agreement before the end of the year have been dashed. The Democrat announced  Wednesday evening that with no deal at hand, talks are over for now, but will resume in January.

Inslee made his announcement flanked by House and Senate transportation leaders. It follows a dozen negotiating sessions in recent weeks. Among the roadblocks to agreement: a dispute over whether to put sales tax proceeds from transportation projects back into transportation instead of the state’s general fund.

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State Budget
1:13 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Inslee Proposes More Prison Beds, But No Teacher COLAs In Budget Update

Members of the Washington Education Association wore these buttons to the governor's supplemental budget rollout to signify five years without voter-approved cost-of-living increases.
Austin Jenkins

More prison beds, but no cost-of-living raises for school teachers were the two takeaways after Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday proposed a modest update to the state’s two-year budget.

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Eminent Domain
5:00 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Seattle Mulls Controversial Foreclosure Fix

Associated Press

The Seattle City Council could move one step closer to using its power of eminent domain as a way to curb foreclosures. 

The council is looking to create a committee to explore eminent domain and two other principal reduction programs, namely lease swapping and setting up a municipal land bank, as tools for struggling homeowners.

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Marijuana Tourism
5:11 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Seattle City Attorney Seeks Ways to Accomodate Marijuana Tourists

Associated Press

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holes said he is working on ways to accommodate “marijuana tourists” who might face barriers to partaking in legal pot.

Holmes pointed out to a Seattle City Council committee that rules banning consumption in public, which he supports, could make it harder for out-of-towners to participate. Most of those people would presumable stay in hotels, where smoking is banned.

“We need to recognize that tourists coming to this state to sample wines, to sample Washington marijuana, to sample any of the attributes of this destination city, that we accommodate them somehow,” he said.

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lobbyists & legislators
5:00 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

State Lawmakers to Get Clearer Guidance on Lobbyist-Paid Meals

Associated Press

Washington lawmakers will soon get clearer guidance on when it’s appropriate to accept free meals from lobbyists.

The state’s Legislative Ethics Board on Tuesday wrapped up a months-long review of lobbyist-paid meals. The move followed our investigation earlier this year into lawmakers who regularly dine out at lobbyist expense.

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budget negotiations
3:33 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Murray, Ryan Reach Modest Bipartisan Budget Pact

J. Scott Applewhite Associated Press

Congressional negotiators reached a modest budget agreement Tuesday to restore about $63 billion in automatic spending cuts from programs ranging from parks to the Pentagon, with votes expected in both houses in the next several days.

Officials said the increases would be offset by a variety of spending reductions and increased fees elsewhere in the budget totaling about $85 billion over a decade, leaving enough for a largely symbolic cut of more than $20 billion in the nation's $17 trillion debt.

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Politics
3:39 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Frosty Politics on Display at Wash. State Capitol

This sign at the steps to the Washington statehouse captures more than just the weather conditions.

Like the weather, political relations in the Washington state Capitol have taken a frosty turn.

With split control of the Legislature, grueling negotiations have become the norm, first on the budget earlier this year and now on transportation funding. And the partisan divide cuts against a refrain you hear a lot in Olympia: “We’re not Washington, D.C.”

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climate change
4:57 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Testy Exchanges, No Consensus on Governor’s Climate Change Panel

Gov. Jay Inslee has been dealt a setback in his campaign to reduce carbon emissions. The governor’s climate change workgroup quickly adjourned Friday with no consensus and after some testy exchanges.

Inslee wanted the workgroup to adopt five recommendations to the Legislature, including a proposal for the state to enact a market-based cap on carbon pollution. But when it came time for the Republicans on the panel to weigh in, they made it clear all of the governor’s proposals were non-starters—at least without more information on the cost.

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Same-Sex Marriages
11:50 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Gay Weddings Make Up 17 Percent of Wash. State Marriages

Retired U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Nancy Monahan, right, wears her dress uniform as she leans to kiss her soon-to-be bride Deb Needham while they wait at Seattle City Hall to become among the first gay couples to legally wed in Washington.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

It’s been a year since the first same-sex couples married in Washington State, and since then about one marriage in six has joined partners of the same sex.

New data from the Washington Department of Health begins to fill out what has changed since December 5, 2012. Some 7,071 same-sex couples have been married in Washington through September 30th, according to the most recent data available from the state Department of Health.

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Military Families
9:34 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Patty Murray Twists Arms Over Military Families' Health Coverage

Josie and Teagan Fort were both prescribed Applied Behavior Analysis, but only one is covered by military insurance.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Some military families can’t get treatment for their children with developmental disabilities, even if it’s prescribed by a doctor. Washington’s senior senator hopes to force a change, even though her efforts have fallen short once before.

The controversy revolves around a therapy called Applied Behavior Analysis, which is widely used to treat children with autism by reinforcing desired behaviors. Tricare, the military insurance provider, does cover it for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. But the therapy is being prescribed more and more to children with other disabilities, and those populations are not covered.

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