Washington State Legislature

Budget crisis
4:43 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Two credit rating agencies warn Washington state over budget

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Two credit rating agencies have delivered a warning to the State of Washington to get its financial house in order. The ratings agencies lowered the outlook for Washington state debt, citing the magnitude of the budget shortfall.

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Death penalty
10:17 am
Thu January 26, 2012

End of death penalty in Washington eyed to save money

Annie Capestany, of Walla Walla, Wash., showed her opposition to the death penalty outside the Washington State Penitentiary in 2010 just prior to the execution of Cal Coburn Brown, the state's most recent execution.
The Associated Press

"I clearly wanted him dead. But I got smart."

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are considering a plan to save money by abolishing the death penalty in the state. That idea got a hearing in Olympia.

Karil Klingbeil testified in support of the ban. Her sister, Candy Hemmig, was murdered 30 years ago in Olympia. The killer, Mitchell Rupe was dubbed “the man too fat to hang.” He initially got the death penalty, but after 20 years of appeals, received a life sentence instead.

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Washington State Legislature
1:23 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Wash. eyes $1B stimulus plan to aid construction

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington lawmakers are looking at a $1 billion stimulus package to help create construction jobs.

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Washington State Legislature
4:26 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Gay marriage one vote shy in Washington State Senate

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Supporters and opponents of gay marriage plan to descend on Washington’s capitol on Monday when House and Senate committees are scheduled to take public testimony on legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry.

It now appears sponsors in the state Senate are just one vote shy of passage.

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Washington State Legislature
4:13 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Bills would increase Washington fines for prostitution

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are considering a pair of bills that target Johns who solicit prostitutes. Proposals to increase state fines for prostitution and human trafficking had a hearing Tuesday in Olympia.

Supporters say some Washington speeding tickets cost more than the current fine for buying sex.

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Washington State Legislature
9:34 am
Tue January 17, 2012

State Senator Wants Ban On Tax Dollars For Out-Of-State Artists

Karen Fusco served on the committee that selected an Arizona artist to create this publicly-funded sculpture at Olympic College in Bremerton. Photo by Austin Jenkins

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 5:45 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In Washington, it's the law that ferry boats be built in-state. But when it comes to taxpayer-funded art, the world is the palette. There's no requirement that public art contracts go to Washington artists. Now a Democratic state senator wants to change that. But his proposal is meeting resistance from Washington's art community.

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Washington State Legislature
8:55 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Olympia hearing Wednesday on medical marijuana

Some Washington lawmakers are trying to pass a new medical marijuana law that would legalize nonprofit dispensaries.

Supporters hope it will clear up the uncertainty that followed Gov. Chris Gregoire's partial veto last year of a medical marijuana law.

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Washington State Legislature
11:40 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Democrats abandon teachers' union over health benefits fight

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 4:43 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Democrats in the Washington Senate have endorsed a state takeover of K-12 employee health benefits similar to what Oregon did in 2007. The goal is to save money, but it angers a key Democratic constituency — Washington's teachers' union.

For decades, the Washington Education Association in partnership with Premera Blue Cross has provided health coverage to school employees. This is big business. We're talking about nearly 300 school districts in Washington, some 200,000 staff and their dependents and $1 billion a year in public funds.

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Washington State Legislature
4:12 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Senate Democrats unveil government reform ideas

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Senate Democrats are unveiling a series of reform ideas that won't bank much money for the state's immediate budget problem, but which they say will save hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years.

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Washington State Legislature
2:25 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Bill would allow 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote in Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington 16 and 17-year-olds could preregister to vote while getting their first driver’s license under a bill in Olympia. That idea got a hearing Thursday. But those teens still won’t be able to vote until they turn 18.

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Washington State Legislature
1:27 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

AP: Gay marriage within reach in Wash. Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington's Legislature is on the verge of having enough support to approve gay marriage, with votes continuing to realign in the state Senate.

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Washington State Legislature
3:50 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

With no budget solutions in sight, Wash. lawmakers begin session

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington state lawmakers begin their 2012 session with no agreement in sight for how to solve major budget shortfall.

In the House of Representatives Monday, leaders from both parties laid out different visions for how they would balance the budget.

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Washington state legislature
9:06 am
Sun January 8, 2012

Budget crisis, gay marriage shake up next Wash. Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A one billion dollar budget shortfall, taxes and gay marriage are all on the agenda as the Washington legislature convenes Monday. But the timeframe is short – just 60 days – and already the Governor’s push for gay marriage is setting off partisan tension.

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Washington legislature
9:36 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Abortion insurance to be considered in Wash. Legislature

In the session that begins next week in Olympia, the Washington Legislature will consider a bill that would require private insurance companies the cover maternity care to also pay for abortions.

The Seattle Times reports abortion rights groups will announce details at a news conference Sunday in Seattle.

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Budget crisis
3:53 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Gregoire proposes state-run business tax system

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire wants the state to handle local business tax collections, saying a streamlined system would save small businesses time and money.

Gregoire's proposal on Thursday would take the duties away from local jurisdictions, similar to how the state currently collects and distributes sales tax money.

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