Governor Jay Inslee

There were dramatic developments in Olympia overnight. Governor Jay Inslee held a midnight bill signing to amend Washington’s estate tax. The move means the Department of Revenue will not begin to issue refund checks Friday morning to the heirs of some multi-million dollar estates.

The state of Washington was about to embark on a months-long process of refunding an estimated $140 million to more than 100 estates. This was the result of a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year. The money would have come out of a fund dedicated to public schools.

Washington’s overtime legislative session ends at midnight on Tuesday. But there’s still no agreement on a state budget for the next two years.

Over the weekend, the mostly Republican senate majority passed a revised version of its own spending plan, along with a trio of controversial policy measures.

The three policy bills are not new, the Senate passed them during the regular session. The difference is two of them now have referendum clauses, meaning voters would get the final say.

Bellamy Pailthorp Photo / KPLU News

As the special legislative session gets underway in Olympia, Gov. Jay Inslee says some of the most important parts of his two-year budget proposal are investments in clean energy.

During a fundraiser for the nonprofit group Climate Solutions on Monday, the governor said he is pushing for a state budget that includes funds to start a new research center at the University of Washington.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

With the state Legislature back in session for a 30-day extra inning, Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday narrowed his agenda to three key items: the budget, a roads-and-transit funding package, and a crackdown on impaired drivers.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

  Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants to streamline government permitting and review aerospace incentives in order to help convince Boeing Co. to build its 777X jetliner in the state.

Inslee said Thursday that other strategies that lawmakers need to implement include improving the state's transportation corridors and investing in education and workforce training programs. He added those efforts can help preserve thousands of jobs.

"Today what we are doing is starting for the competition not just for the 777x but for the replacement of the 737. We’re getting ready for that today. We’re thinking long-term," the governor said.

Washington’s special session begins next Monday. But at this point, it seems unlikely House and Senate budget negotiators will be close to a deal. Gov. Jay Inslee said both sides agreed Tuesday on some common assumptions about the next two year budget.

Washington state is making changes in state law to deal with a legal ambiguity related to the proper handling of marijuana inadvertently left at stores that have pharmacies.

Gov. Jay Inslee gave final approval to the bill Friday. Supporters of the measure say it was prompted by incidents where marijuana was found at stores after it was apparently dropped. There was concern that having marijuana in the store could impact the licensing of pharmacies in the stores.

With just one day before the end of session, Washington lawmakers appear to be making little progress toward the ultimate goal of a final budget agreement.

Leaders in both the House and Senate seemed to resign themselves Saturday to the prospect of an overtime session, with the regular 105-day period coming to an end Sunday night. A spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee said that no decision had been made on when a special session may start.

Gov. Jay Inslee is like the gambler. He says it would take an “inside straight” for the Legislature to complete its work by Sunday’s deadline. 

A nearly $1 billion tax vote in the Washington House Wednesday has cleared the way for budget negotiations to begin in earnest at the Capitol. But an overtime session still appears likely. 

U.S. Department of Transportation

Gov. Jay Inslee and lawmakers want to move swiftly to crack down on repeat drunk drivers. This after two recent high profile tragedies in Seattle. But on Thursday, they got some pushback from judges, prosecutors, civil libertarians and even the restaurant industry.

It’s a classic case of the devil’s in the details. Take ignition interlock devices. There’s a proposal to install them at the impound lot after a drunk driver is arrested. But the installers say that isn’t technically feasible and lawyers question whether it’s legal prior to a conviction.

Gov. Jay Inslee says he would apply a “broad” interpretation to the term “law enforcement” when issuing fictitious driver’s licenses to undercover agents. The governor’s comment follows our report that the CIA has obtained nearly 300 so-called confidential Washington driver’s licenses since 2007.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Repeat drunk drivers in Washington may soon carry a scarlet letter driver’s license and have to wear an alcohol detection bracelet. Those are just two of the requirements contained in DUI legislation proposed Tuesday in Olympia.

The bipartisan plan follows two recent drunk driving tragedies in the Seattle area. 

House Public Safety Chair Roger Goodman says the ankle bracelet detects alcohol consumption and alerts authorities.

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.

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?

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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