Washington State Legislature

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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Equity Crowdfunding
11:03 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Olympia Mulls Crowdfunding Of Equity Shares In Biz Startups

FILE - Here are some examples of funding portals that could connect entrepreneurs with small investors.

Federal securities regulators recently cleared the way for small, Kickerstarter-style campaigns for startups to sell shares. But many entrepreneurs view the federal process as too cumbersome. Now, Washington state lawmakers are contemplating a state-only version to help small businesses raise capital more easily.

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Breed Ban
3:18 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Wash. Lawmakers Mull Banning Pit Bull Bans

Zak Thatcher and her bull terrier, Ozzy, drove four hours to show their support for breed-neutral legislation.
Taylor Winkel

Payette County, Idaho bans pit bulls. Medford, Oregon is considering a ban of its own. But some Washington state representatives want to ban the bans.

Dog lovers dominated a Thursday hearing on a measure that would block local ordinances that prohibit specific breeds.

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Environment
11:27 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Environmental Coalition Pushing Bill To Protect Residents From Risk Of Oil Spills

A train carrying crude oil heads west through the small town of Shelby, Mont. on Nov. 7, 2013.
Matthew Brown AP Photo

Last year’s fires aboard oil-carrying trains in Quebec and North Dakota have spurred environmentalists into action here in Washington state.

Figuring out how to keep Washington families safe from oil spills is one of two top-line issues backed by more than 20 groups in the Environmental Priorities Coalition this legislative session.

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Tribal Fishermen
10:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Clean Slate For Tribal Fishing Rights Protestors?

Billy Frank, a veteran of the fish wars, Hank Adams, a tribal advocate, and Shawn Yanity, chairman of the Stillaguamish Tribe confer in Olympia.
Taylor Winkel

Some 40 to 50 years ago, American Indians in Western Washington were repeatedly arrested during protests over treaty fishing rights.

Now, convicted tribal fishermen may gain the opportunity to clear their records of misdemeanors and felonies from before 1975.

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Legal Marijuana
4:01 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

No Pot-Shop Freeze-Out? Bill Would Ban Moratoriums

In this Dec. 6, 2013 photo, different strains of marijuana are displayed for sale at The Clinic, a Denver-based dispensary with several outlets, in Denver.
Brennan Linsley AP Photo

Some Washington lawmakers concerned about a possible pot-business freeze-out want to keep cities and towns from adopting marijuana-business bans.

Ten representatives in the House on Tuesday introduced a bill that would require cities and counties to cooperate with the state Liquor Control Board in terms of allowing licensed recreational marijuana gardens, processing facilities and stores within their jurisdictions. Local governments would have to treat those enterprises the same as any other business that attempts to locate within their boundaries.

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State Of The State
12:51 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Gov. Inslee Calls For Minimum Wage Hike, More Education Funding, Teacher COLAs

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

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling for a hike in the minimum wage as well as cost-of-living increases for teachers. Those were two of the Democrat’s key policy proposals in his State of the State speech Tuesday.

But Republicans lawmakers quickly shot down the ideas.

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Dream Act
4:43 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

State House Again Passes College Aid For Immigrant Students

A sidewalk outside the Legislative building is bustling with people on the first day of the 2014 session of the Washington state Legislature, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

It wasn’t all pomp and circumstance. The opening day of the Washington Legislature included something rare for the first day of session: a floor vote.

The Washington House voted Monday to give college grant money to low-income high school graduates who are in the country illegally. 

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Politics
12:08 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

2014 Elections Will Loom Over Wash. Legislative Session

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

Washington lawmakers convened Monday for what could prove to be the most partisan session in a decade. Control of the Washington Senate is up for grabs this fall, and both sides will be looking for political advantage over the next 60 days.

Currently, a coalition of 24 Republicans and two breakaway Democrats hold a three-seat advantage. Democrats think they have a shot at winning back the majority in November.

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Transportation Package
5:00 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Inslee’s Optimism May Not Be Enough For Gas Tax Package

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks about the upcoming legislative session, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at the AP Legislative Preview in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Gov.  Jay Inslee says he will continue to push for a gas tax package in the 60-day session that starts Monday. But a key transportation leader in the State Senate signaled last Thursday that prospects for a deal may be dimming.

Nearly a decade has passed since the last gas tax increase passed in Washington. Now leaders on both sides of the aisle agree another multi-billion dollar roads and transit package is needed.

But the details are the topic of heated debate in the state Capitol. A dozen negotiating sessions this fall ended with promises to resume talks this month.

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Education
3:25 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

State Supreme Court: Lawmakers Must Expedite Education Funding

Washington State Supreme Court

 

The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered lawmakers to submit a complete plan by the end of April to detail how the state will fully pay for basic education.

The 8-1 ruling said that while the state made progress in last year's budget to increase funding for K-12 education, it was "not on target" to hit the constitutionally required funding level by the 2017-18 school year.

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