Washington State Legislature

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.

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
State Legislature
5:51 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Bill would excuse religious students during holidays

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 5:23 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Students would be able to take up to two days off per year for religious holidays under a proposal in Olympia. A hearing is scheduled Monday on a bill that would benefit Muslim students celebrating Ramadan.

Read more
Politics
4:04 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

State Senate seeks to safeguard workers' Facebook passwords

Timur Emek DAPD

Washington state senators are looking to safeguard the social media passwords of workers and job applicants.

Read more
Politics
10:04 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Gov. Inslee disappointed with fate of gun bill

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks to a joint session of the Washington Legislature, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, shortly after being sworn in as Governor, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren Associated Press

Gov. Inslee disappointed with fate of gun bill Gov. Jay Inslee says he is disappointed that a proposal to expand background checks on Washington state gun sales has stalled, but says he'll continue making phone calls on the issue.

After the issue locked up the House for much of the day Tuesday, the bill ultimately was not brought out for a vote and its sponsors conceded they could not get majority support for the measure, even with a proposed referendum clause that would have allowed the public to vote on the measure.

Read more
Politics
9:06 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Bill to expand background checks for gun sales fail in House

M Glasgow Flickr

A proposal to expand background checks on Washington state gun sales has failed in the state House.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Pedersen of Seattle said Tuesday night he was unable to corral the 50 votes necessary to pass the bill through the chamber. Pedersen says he was disappointed by the result, coming even after he agreed to add a referendum clause to the bill.

Read more
Transportation
4:34 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Local leaders to state: Let us tax ourselves for transportation

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn joins area business, labor and elected leaders to push for "local options" for funding roads and transit.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Local leaders from across King County want to tax themselves to pay for bus service, ferries, roads and bridges, but even local measures would need approval from the state.

The coalition, which includes the mayor of Seattle and more than 40 other cities, want to be able to tack on fees to car tab renewals and vehicle transfers, among others. That requires approval from state legislators.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said local governments should be free to invest in their own infrastructure.

Read more
Washington State Government
10:31 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Inside the world of business lobbying in Olympia

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 4:27 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In the world of state legislatures, there’s a powerful breed of players who normally shun the spotlight. They prefer to work behind the scenes to influence policy outcomes. We’re talking about business lobbyists. Inside this often hidden world, you’ll meet two of the most successful corporate contract lobbyists in the Washington state capitol. And learn some of their tricks of the trade.

Read more

Pages