Mike Baker

The Associated Press

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Boeing lobbyists are throwing a "thank you" party for lawmakers who helped provide the company with billions in tax breaks.

An invitation obtained by The Associated Press shows Boeing executives will host a reception for lawmakers on Tuesday evening. The event will take place at a house across the street from the Capitol campus and is slated to thank lawmakers for their efforts on the 777X airplane talks.


Crews have found a hard object more than 3 feet wide lodged in the tunneling machine that's currently stalled 60 feet under the city of Seattle, officials said Wednesday.

The large object is either a boulder or piece of concrete that got stuck within the massive spokes of the machine called Bertha, said state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Laura Newborn. Crews have also found metal and plastic piping in the machine but have not concluded what exactly has been causing problems for the machine.

"None of these things in and of themselves is enough to slow the machine down," Newborn said.

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.

Washington retirement officials have identified dozens of pensioners who may have received excessive retirement payments.

The Department of Retirement Systems said Friday it is in the process of reviewing 98 cases in which someone may have improperly received pension payments while working in another government job. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wishes states weren't in constant competition to provide financial incentives in order secure jobs from big companies.


State officials say they need $170 million more to complete a replacement of the Highway 520 floating bridge on Lake Washington.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said Wednesday that an agency error on pontoon design error is consuming most of the project's reserve funds. Lawmakers had capped the project budget at $2.72 billion, but state transportation officials are now asking the Legislature to raise that to $2.89 billion.

Alex Garland

A gay woman hired to choreograph a Catholic school musical says she recently got engaged to her partner and is nervous about how school leaders will handle the news.

Stephanie Merrow is working on her second musical for Eastside Catholic School in Sammamish, where vice principal Mark Zmuda was recently forced out of his job for marrying his partner.

Ashley Gross

Several hundred Boeing machinists and supporters gathered in a Seattle union hall Thursday to urge members to reject Boeing’s contract offer.

The rally came on the eve of a crucial vote on what Boeing has called its best and final offer. Acceptance of the labor deal by some 30,000 local machinists would guarantee 777 assembly work for the Puget Sound area.

But local union leaders are urging members to reject the offer, saying the workers are asked to make concessions even though the company is having a profitable run.

AP Photo

Boeing's contract proposal to machinists in the Puget Sound region would likely increase some workers' annual base salaries to more than $100,000 in the coming years.

The offer going to a vote this week would slow the growth of machinists' wages starting in 2016, but workers would still get regular cost-of-living adjustments and an additional 1 percent raise every other year.

AP Photo

The international president of the machinists union says Boeing's revised contract offer is an improvement of more than $1 billion.

In a letter to union members, Tom Buffenbarger said the offer that workers will consider next week is a significant improvement over a contract the union rejected last month.

Bob Edme / Associated Press

Even as they try desperately to hang on to Boeing Co., officials in Washington state have been courting the main competitor of the aerospace giant.

During the past several months, state officials have traveled to the U.S. headquarters of Airbus SAS in Virginia, moved to connect Airbus with Washington state suppliers, and signed a five-year confidentiality agreement with the company to allow further exploration of business opportunities, according to records obtained by The Associated Press under public disclosure laws.

The Boeing Co.

A machinists union is mulling the logistics of having its members in the Puget Sound vote on a proposed contract from Boeing Co., even after local union leaders said they couldn't recommend it to their members.

International Association of Machinists spokesman Frank Larkin said the union has been hearing from hundreds of members demanding an opportunity to vote on the contract to secure work on the 777X airplane.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

A campaign to set a $15 minimum wage in the city of SeaTac is poised for victory.

King County officials are expected to certify the election Tuesday after counting some straggling votes that likely won't change the outcome. The measure involving workers in and around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has steadily expanded its lead in recent days and held a 77-vote advantage on Monday afternoon.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing Co. is soliciting bids from more than a dozen locations that want to build the new 777X airplane.

Company spokesman Doug Alder said Saturday that requests for bids began going out Friday. Boeing wants the proposals returned in a few weeks, and the company hopes to make a final decision early next year.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Dozens of problematic ballots may determine the fate of an initiative to establish a $15 minimum wage for many workers in SeaTac.

The ballot measure was winning by just 43 votes Tuesday as officials in King County resumed counting ballots. There are likely hundreds more votes to count due to the lengthy ballot-collection process caused by the state's vote-by-mail system.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

Washington lawmakers have moved swiftly to extend aerospace tax breaks in a bid to satisfy Boeing Co.

The Legislature gave final approval Saturday of a bill to extend the tax incentives all the way to 2040. The benefits have a projected value of $9 billion.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

An initiative to create a $15 minimum wage for many workers in SeaTac is winning.

An early vote count Tuesday showed the measure carrying 54 percent of the vote. Because Washington state votes entirely by mail, more ballots are left to count.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press


Seattle may soon have a new mayor.

State Sen. Ed Murray carried 56 percent of the vote in the first round of ballot counting Tuesday night, building a lead over incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn. Because Washington state votes entirely by mail, many ballots were not counted Tuesday.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Seattle mayoral candidate Ed Murray accepted free meals from lobbying firms who work with Comcast on 12 occasions over the first four months of this year—with a total estimated benefit of $250.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A $2 million bail has been set for a soldier accused of fatally stabbing a fellow serviceman near a large Army base in Washington state.

Prosecutors charged Jeremiah Hill, 23, with first-degree murder, saying he approached 20-year-old Spc. Tevin Geike and attacked him just as a verbal confrontation between two groups was calming down. The bail was set at a Tuesday afternoon court hearing.

Hugh E. Gentry / AP Photo

A judge is requiring federal regulators to reassess permits that allow the Navy's expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the West Coast.

LM Otero / Associated Press

Researchers say more than 8 percent of drivers in Washington state are distracted by electronic devices, including many who are actively texting on the roadway.

A study released Monday by the University of Washington found that nearly half of distracted drivers were observed texting. Researchers compiled their numbers after observing 7,800 motorists at intersections in six counties.


Gov. Jay Inslee is ratcheting up the pressure on legislators to pass a transportation package. He said he’ll call the state Legislature into special session to approve money for transportation investments and repairs, but only if he’s sure he has the votes to pass it.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Student test scores in Washington state are relatively flat this year.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn said Monday that some grades and subjects showed small improvements while others saw small declines. He said the achievement gap between kids of different ethnic and economic groups remained persistent.

Washington auditors have determined that pre-retirement salary increases led to more than $30,000 in excess pension payments for three former firefighters, and the state projects it will save the system more than $140,000 by permanently reducing their combined pension values.

A delegation of 250 people from a prefecture in Japan is visiting Washington to celebrate 50 years of a sister-state relationship.

Leaders from Washington state and the Hyogo Prefecture will renew their relationship in a joint agreement Monday afternoon. They will then gather to celebrate with food and entertainment that honors both regions.

Washington retirement officials said Tuesday they have identified four people that received improper raises shortly before retirement, but several other workers that got late pay bumps may be allowed to keep their larger pensions.

Associated Press

State lawmakers extended a lifeline this year to small liquor stores who had struggled under the new privatization rules, but that change has also opened the door for large retailers to ask for the same break next year.

In one of the final votes taken by the Legislature before adjournment last month, lawmakers agreed to limit the fees paid by the smaller stores that used to handle liquor sales when the state controlled the market. Those outlets will no longer have to pay a 17 percent fee for sales to bars and restaurants.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Leaders in the Washington state Senate are declining to vote on a $10 billion Washington state transportation package that has passed the House.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said Saturday that he and his colleagues are unified in their opposition to the plan this session. He says they plan to work over the coming months to help develop a proposal that lawmakers could consider next year.

Senate leaders say state budget deal reached

Jun 26, 2013
<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Leaders in the Washington state Senate say lawmakers have agreed to the framework of a new budget to avert a government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said Wednesday that negotiators have settled on the major components of the budget, allowing staff to go through the process of officially writing it. He expects lawmakers will be able to vote on the spending plan Thursday or early Friday.