Washington State Legislature

Tax Breaks
9:43 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Washington Senate Includes Nearly Two Dozen Tax Breaks In Budget Plan

File image
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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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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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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Faith Healing
1:57 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Faith Healing Exemption Gets Scrutiny In Wash. Legislature

<< Jonny Boy >> Flickr

Christian Scientists who treat their sick children with faith healing instead of medical care have special protection under Washington law. But that could soon change.

Lawmakers are considering whether to repeal the Christian Science exemption following the death of a teenager in north-central Washington.

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Environment
3:18 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Crude Oil Train Oversight Divides Lawmakers

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2013 file photo is a warning placard on a tank car carrying crude oil near a loading terminal in Trenton, N.D. U.S.
Matthew Brown AP Photo

State lawmakers in Olympia are going down divergent tracks in how to respond to the rapid increase of crude oil trains crossing the region. Timely public disclosure of train cargoes and safety risks is one point of contention.

Four recent derailments and explosions of crude oil trains in other parts of North America have raised alarm in city halls and state capitols in the Northwest. But state and local officials soon discovered their hands are largely tied because the feds have sole jurisdiction in this arena.

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Mental Health
3:59 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Mental Health Patients' Families Seek Right To Challenge Forced Commitment

More than 10,000 mental health patients were involuntarily hospitalized last year in Washington. But not every patient qualifies for forced hospitalization under the law.

Now some families want the right to appeal when a mental health professional says their loved one is not sick enough to be committed. They told their emotional stories to Washington lawmakers Monday.

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Boeing Incentives
2:01 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Boeing To Throw Party To Thank Lawmakers For Tax Incentives

File - In this Nov. 11, 2013 file photo Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, center, adjusts his glasses as he prepares to sign legislation in Seattle to help keep production of Boeing's new 777X in Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Boeing lobbyists are throwing a "thank you" party for lawmakers who helped provide the company with billions in tax breaks.

An invitation obtained by The Associated Press shows Boeing executives will host a reception for lawmakers on Tuesday evening. The event will take place at a house across the street from the Capitol campus and is slated to thank lawmakers for their efforts on the 777X airplane talks.

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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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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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Gun Marketplace
5:01 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Online Gun Exchange Launches On Eve Of Gun Measure Hearings

File image
AP Photo

Starting today, Washington gun owners will have a new place to sell their firearm online at the Washington Gun Exchange.

The arrival of this online marketplace comes as Washington lawmakers prepare to hold contentious hearings on dueling gun measures.

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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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Gay Rights
4:24 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

State Lawmakers Mull Ban On Gay-Conversion Therapy

A man walks in front of the Washington State Capitol on a foggy day Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 in Olympia, Wash. Foggy weather is in the forecast until the weekend.
Rachel La Corte AP Photo

A bill that would ban gay-conversion therapy was the subject of a hearing in Olympia Wednesday.

Psychologists and gay rights advocates testified in favor of a ban on therapies designed to convert gay patients younger than 18. The limit would apply to all health care providers in Washington.

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Legal Marijuana
12:06 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

State Lawmakers: No Tax Breaks For Pot Production

File image
AP Photo

Some lawmakers in Washington state want to prevent marijuana producers from qualifying for agriculture tax breaks.

A state House committee heard a bill Tuesday that would block the new marijuana industry from tax breaks for 10 years. Officials estimate that the industry could otherwise qualify for three dozen different tax breaks, largely surrounding the agriculture industry.

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Dream Act
7:15 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Muslim-American Communities Rally, Urge Senate To Pass Dream Act

More than 500 Muslim Americans lobbied for the Washington Dream Act in Olympia, Wash.
Taylor Winkel

More than 500 members of Washington’s Muslim-American community marched at the state Capitol Monday to urge senators to pass the Dream Act.

The rally in support of the bill, which would make undocumented students eligible for financial aid, also marked the fifth annual Muslim Lobby Day.

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