Washington State Legislature

Drunk-driving laws
5:01 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Lawmaker wants more ignition locks for DUI drivers

New Mexico Department of Public Safety

In the wake of several fatal crashes in which alcohol likely played a role, state lawmakers are debating stricter DUI penalties.

Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, has proposed a bill to that would require suspected drunk drivers to use the ignition interlock device.

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State Legislature
4:10 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Senate budget: More money for education, no 'loophole' closures

The mostly Republican majority in the Washington state Senate has unveiled its budget proposal. It would put $1 billion more into basic education without raising taxes. The spending blueprint released Wednesday contrasts sharply with what Gov. Jay Inslee proposed last week.

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State Legislature
11:37 am
Wed April 3, 2013

State senators release 'bare bones' transportation budget plan

A bipartisan group of Washington state senators has released a transportation budget proposal that both sides call "bare bones."

The $8.7 billion proposal, released Wednesday, puts $4.1 billion into maintaining and improving roads, banks $200 million in projected toll revenue toward the Alaskan Way Viaduct project and puts $1.2 billion toward servicing bonding debt.

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State Legislature
2:47 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Republicans declare victory on Inslee's climate bill

In the coming months, Washington state will embark on a study of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The research is one provision of a measure Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Tuesday. It’s a key legislative win for the Democrat. So why are Republicans declaring victory?

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State Legislature
6:01 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Even with enough votes, abortion coverage mandate may fail

Abortion-rights supporters say they have enough votes to pass a controversial insurance mandate measure in the Washington state Senate. But it appears unlikely to clear a Republican-led health care committee before a Wednesday deadline.

Things got testy Monday at a public hearing on the measure. Democrat Karen Keiser urged Republican Chair Randi Becker to allow a committee vote on the bill.

“It’s the right thing to do and I would really ask you to consider my request,” Keiser said. To which Becker responded, “Thank you. We’ll consider it.”

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transportation planning
5:11 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Metro warns of major cuts to bus service unless lawmakers act

King County Metro

Facing a $75 million shortfall, Metro Transit says it will have to slash its bus service by 17 percent next fall unless the Legislature intervenes.

The cuts would mean the elimination of 65 bus lines; another 86 would have to run on reduced schedules.

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State Legislature
4:27 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Dozens dance on Capitol steps in protest of dance tax

Dozens of people danced salsa, swing and blues on the steps of the Capitol in Olympia to protest the taxing of dance venues.

The dancers were showing support for repealing a tax that targets venues that provide the opportunity to dance.

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State Legislature
3:15 pm
Sat March 30, 2013

Gov. Inslee tax plans stretch campaign promises

Gov. Jay Inslee says he's following through on his "no new taxes" campaign pledge. Others disagree.

In unveiling a budget plan this week that would increase government spending by 10 percent, Inslee proposed to make temporary taxes permanent and to limit tax exemptions on everything from automobile trade-ins to bottled water. 

"I am doing today exactly - exactly - what I said I was going to do," Inslee said in his news conference. 

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State Legislature
12:26 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

False IDs for cops? Unauthorized state program faces scrutiny

Mitch Barker of the Washington Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Assoc. used a state-issued fictitious driver’s license as an undercover street cop.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

For decades, police officers in Washington have been able to obtain false driver licenses for undercover work. But this quasi-secret program inside the Department of Licensing only recently came to light.

It turns out the confidential ID program was never approved by the Legislature. Now two state lawmakers are calling for more oversight to prevent possible abuses.

As a street cop in the early 1980s, Mitch Barker went undercover to work drugs and vice. The Washington Department of Licensing helped him assume a fake identity.

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State Legislature
4:24 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

State Senate majority could be imperiled by sick member

The serious illness of a Washington state Senator could threaten to alter the balance of power in that legislative chamber. The majority is now potentially short a critical vote.

Republican Mike Carrell is home battling a blood disease and is a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. His condition is serious enough he was recently hospitalized. With Carrell gone, the mostly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus has just 24 members – one shy of an actual majority.

In a statement, Democratic leader Ed Murray sent wishes for a “speedy recovery.”

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legislature
9:03 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Teachers' union tops lobbying spending in Olympia so far

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 4:45 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – New disclosure reports are out on money spent for lobbying in Olympia. Who tops the list? So far Washington’s teachers’ union is spending the most to influence state lawmakers this legislative session.

The Washington Education Association has five top priorities for the 2013 legislature. The list includes more money for schools as directed by the Washington Supreme Court. The union is also pushing for competitive salaries and benefits for teachers and support staff.

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Politics
8:10 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Inslee: Transportation package a must for 2013

Gov. Jay Inslee says that passing a transportation funding package this year must be a priority for the Legislature.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Inslee said he is concerned that momentum for passing such a plan has been dissipating.

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Politics
11:50 am
Tue March 19, 2013

State Senate leaders vow to up higher ed funding

A coalition that controls the Washington state Senate is vowing to increase funding for higher education by $300 million.

Senate leaders declined Tuesday to explain how they would pay for the proposal. Lawmakers already face more than a $1 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget cycle and are separately under court order to expand funding for K-12 education.

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transportation
5:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Bill calls for reports to lawmakers on costly WSDOT errors

Big mistakes made on the design and construction of pontoons for the new 520 floating bridge could lead to tougher reporting requirements for the Washington state Department of Transportation.

Lawmakers want more transparency and accountability when it comes to costly mistakes. Repairs to cracks in the new 520 pontoons, for example, are expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.

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State Legislature
12:49 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Gov. Inslee eyes tax 'loopholes' for elimination, but feasible?

Hopes for a rosier budget outlook in Washington are dimming. Expected savings in Medicaid haven’t materialized. And many state lawmakers expect this week’s quarterly revenue forecast to show a downward slide. Add to that, a Supreme Court ruling that requires more funding for schools.

In response, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to announce soon a list of tax “loopholes” ­— as he calls them — he wants to eliminate to fund schools. But closing tax exemptions is easier said than done.

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