Washington State Legislature

Washington State Legislature
11:59 am
Wed April 4, 2012

GOP staffer wants $1.75 million because of Sen. Pam Roach

Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, was banned from the Republican caucus two years ago after an investigation determined that she had mistreated staff.
The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Senate Republican senior attorney is seeking to settle with the state for $1.75 million, arguing Senate Republicans have created a hostile work environment by allowing Sen. Pam Roach back into the caucus in exchange for a vital vote on their budget plan last month.

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Washington State Legislature
4:31 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

No budget deal in Washington, House plans action

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 3:50 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire’s deadline for a bipartisan budget deal has come and gone. Lawmakers Tuesday failed to agree on a plan to rebalance the state budget and implement so-called government reforms.

Now, House Democrats say they will pass their own budget in hopes of breaking the logjam.

The clock runs out next Tuesday on the current 30-day overtime session. Gregoire has been unable to broker a deal between House Democrats and the Republican-led philosophical majority that emerged in the state Senate.

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Washington State Legislature
3:26 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Age verification for 'sex-ads' now the law in Washington; first in nation

New law is "the first time in the nation criminalizing those who advertize minors online if they have not done the verification of age,” said Rose Gundersen is co-founder and Executive Director at Washington Engage, a non-profit.
The Associated Press

Washington state has become the first in the nation to require verification of age for online ads that promote sex-related services, such as the escort ads that appear in backpage.com.

The bill, Senate Bill 6251, was among a dozen anti-trafficking bills signed into law by Washington Governor Chris Gregoire today.

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Washington State Legislature
4:24 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Gregoire wants tax on 'roll-your-own' cigarettes

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 4:44 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire would like to see a tax on roll-your-own cigarettes included in any final budget deal.

Gregoire’s comments Monday come at the start of week two of the legislature’s special session. Lawmakers are trying to hammer out a deal to close a roughly $500 million shortfall.

The tax on self-rolled smokes would only raise $12 million toward rebalancing the budget. But Gregoire still thinks it’s worthwhile.

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Washington State Legislature
5:22 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Angry Gregoire refuses to sign bills, wants budget

State Sen. Rodney Tom, one of three break-away Democrats, speaks about a new budget proposal from the Senate’s “philosophical majority. Photo by Austin Jenkins

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 5:12 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Nearly a week into Washington’s special session and there’s no sign of a budget deal. Now, an angry Governor Chris Gregoire is refusing to sign dozens of bills in protest over the pace of negotiations.

“If they don’t get something done here I’m going to start trickling out vetoes," Gregoire said. "Maybe that’ll get their attention.”

Gregoire is furious that Senate Republicans Thursday unveiled a new budget proposal without getting buy-in from all the negotiators. She says the move undermines trust.

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Wash. special session
3:17 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

New senate budget could jumpstart talks

State Sen. Rodney Tom, one of three break-away Democrats, speaks about a new budget proposal from the Senate’s “philosophical majority.” Photo by Austin Jenkins

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 12:00 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s special session got off to a slow start. But now there are signs that stalled budget negotiations are inching forward. Senate Republicans Thursday rolled out a fresh budget proposal – one that would not cut education.

The coalition that took over the Washington state Senate a couple of weeks ago and passed a budget is back. This time the 22 Republicans and 3 break-away Democrats have a new plan to re-balance the books. One that would restore more than $70 million in cuts to K-12 and higher education.

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Washington State Legislature
11:17 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Wash. Legislature adjourns; special session starts Monday

Legislators and staff celebrate on the Senate floor after adjournment. By Austin Jenkins.

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 12:00 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington legislature has adjourned. But not for long. Late Thursday night, Senate Democrats failed to muster the votes for a plan to re-balance the state budget. That means Washington lawmakers will return to the Capitol to finish their work.

Before there was disharmony at the Capitol, there was actually a little harmony.

Four House Republicans serenaded Governor Chris Gregoire and her staff with a barbershop rendition of "I'll Fly Away."

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Washington State Legislature
1:00 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Governor signs bill revamping teacher evaluations

The governor has signed a measure that will add improvement in student test scores to the list of things principals use to evaluate teachers.

The new law signed Thursday also changes the way principals are evaluated, adding teacher feedback as an element of their reviews.

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Washington State Legislature
10:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Gregoire confirms need for special session

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 12:00 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire acknowledged Wednesday afternoon that a special session of the legislature will be necessary to re-balance the state budget. But Gregoire says she’s still trying to keep the pressure on lawmakers to come to an agreement.

“The minute I say special session, they’ll go to sleep. They’ll stop working. And the public expects more.”

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Politics
3:02 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Wenatchee-area default results in new reform law

A view of the Toyota Town Center in Wentachee, Wash. Photo by Austin Jenkins

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 12:00 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A follow-up now to a story we first brought you in December. It was about the default of an under-performing hockey and concert arena in Wenatchee, Washington. Governor Chris Gregoire recently signed into law a rescue plan for that project. But the new law also aims to prevent future municipal defaults.

Here’s the quick back story. On December 1st of last year, the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee went into default. This happened after the two counties and seven small cities that backed the events center missed a $42 million balloon payment.

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Washington State Legislature
4:16 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Tension lingers after budget coup in Washington senate

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 12:00 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Tension lingers in Olympia as Washington legislators head into what is supposed to be the last week of session. The task of re-balancing the state budget was put into disarray on Friday when Republicans and centrist Democrats took over the state Senate.

Senate Republican Leader Joseph Zarelli says he doubts a compromise budget can happen before the scheduled adjournment on Thursday.

“I don’t know how we’ll get a budget done by the end of this so we’re pretty much assured, I think, we’re going to see a special session,” Zarelli says.

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Politics
10:45 am
Sun March 4, 2012

Minority Republicans force budget to floor of Wash. Senate

It was standing room only in the Senate galleries for the GOP take-over of the floor. Photo by Austin Jenkins

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 12:00 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – There was high drama on the floor of the Washington state Senate last Friday. Three Democrats broke ranks to join minority Republicans. It was a coup of sorts. This newly formed “philosophical majority” took control of the Senate and forced four bills to the floor -– including an alternate budget-balancing proposal.

Senate Republican leader Mike Hewitt said the GOP “unlocked the gridlock” over the budget. Senator Rodney Tom was one of the Democratic defectors.

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Washington State Legislature
5:33 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

GOP senators take control of Washington Senate

The Senate gallery was packed as Republican Senators took over the chamber from Democrats. Photo by Austin Jenkins.

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 12:00 am

GOP Senators Take Control Of Washington Senate

copy for now March 2, 2012 Austin Jenkins/cf

OLYMPIA, Wash. - It's been a day of high drama in the Washington state Senate. Republicans took control of the chamber with the help of three Democratic colleagues. Senate Republican Leader Mike Hewitt told reporters that GOP Senators, in his words, "unlocked the gridlock" over the state budget. Earlier, Democratic budget writers said they were one vote shy of passing their proposal to plug a gap in the state's two year spending plan.

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Washington State Legislature
9:45 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Wash. Legislature passes teacher evaluation bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington state Legislature has approved a bill that uses improvement in student test scores as a factor in hiring, firing and tenure decisions for teachers.

The measure passed on an 82-16 bipartisan vote late Wednesday night. The Senate already had passed the bill, so it now goes to the governor for her signature.

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Washington State Legislature
5:04 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Wash. House passes bill pressuring sex ad sellers

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington state Legislature has passed a bill going after classified advertising companies that don't demand ID before allowing sex-related ads to be posted online. The measure is primarily targeted at Backpage.com.

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