Political news

Don Ryan / AP Photo


Oregon's House speaker and Senate president have both asked Gov. John Kitzhaber to resign. The request comes as the governor is under intense pressure as part of an ongoing ethics scandal.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Three Washington state senators received a boost in their per diem last month, despite previously saying they wouldn’t take a raise in their daily allowance.

In March 2014, a Washington Senate committee narrowly voted to increase the reimbursement senators get when they’re in session to $120 a day, a $30 increase.

Don Ryan / AP Photo

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown launched a wave of speculation in the state capitol Wednesday by abruptly leaving a conference she was attending in Washington, D.C. Brown is first in line of succession to the governor’s office.

Gov. John Kitzhaber and his fiancée Cylvia Hayes are facing criminal investigations over allegations they used his office for personal gain.

Keenen Brown / Flickr


Washington lawmakers are considering whether to exempt amateur athletes from state labor laws.

The move comes as Washington’s four Western Hockey League teams remain under investigation for possible child labor violations.

Wikimedia Commons


The state of Oregon now has a third major political party, according to the secretary of state. The Independent Party has achieved the status that, until now, was enjoyed by only Democrats and Republicans.

M Glasgow / Flickr


We’ve seen rallies and demonstrations against Washington’s new voter-approved background check law. But now a gun rights group is planning a “we will not comply” gun show.

It’s dubbed the Arms Expo. It’s scheduled for the weekend of June 20 in the Yakima area at a location yet to be announced. A website bills the event as a gun show and “patriot campout for the whole family.” And it promises “no background checks, no paperwork, no infringement.”

Kristen Wyatt / AP Photo


The Washington state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to make hemp farming legal. The measure now goes to the state House for further consideration.

State Sen. Brian Hatfield said the plant cousin of marijuana has "tremendous potential" as a crop.

A McLin / Flickr

Residents of tent cities in Seattle are speaking out against a proposal from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to allow more such encampments.

Colin Fogarty


Paid sick leave and a boost in the minimum wage are among the top priorities of organized labor in Washington state this year.

Democrats in the legislature have embraced both ideas. But Republicans and business interests remain wary. Adding to the politics is the fact Seattle has already adopted these policies.



On the eve of the Super Bowl, Washington state lawmakers are considering whether to legalize fantasy sports contests.

This is where sports fans build an imaginary team based on the stats of real players. They then compete in a league with other participants.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo


Nearly two years after public radio and the Associated Press investigated lobbyist-paid meals for Washington lawmakers, the issue is still a topic of discussion in the legislature.

A Senate panel Thursday took testimony on two proposals related to gifts of food and beverage.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo


Gas prices have plummeted, but Washington’s gas tax could soon go up.

Republican Curtis King, the chair of the Senate Transportation committee, is looking at an 11.5-cent per gallon increase phased in over three years. It would help fund a $14 billion transportation package with projects on both sides of the Cascades.

Jessica Robinson


A committee in the Idaho House Thursday rejected a gay rights measure known as the “Add the Words bill” on a 13-4 party line vote.

Austin Jenkins


Public utility districts in Washington have the right to place power lines through state trust lands, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

This ends a years-long legal fight between Washington’s elected lands commissioner and the Okanogan PUD.

Robert Pittman / Flickr


SeaWorld is famous for its choreographed dolphin and Orca whale performances. Now a Washington state lawmaker wants to make sure what happens at SeaWorld stays at SeaWorld.

Washington state Sen. Kevin Ranker introduced legislation to prohibit marine mammal shows in Washington.

Intel Free Press / Flickr


It’s long been against the law to text and drive in Washington, but the rules would get much stricter under a proposal introduced Wednesday in the legislature.

The sponsors believe it’s time to update state law to keep up with technology. 

Brianhe / Wikimedia Commons


When police are called to a report of domestic abuse, often someone goes to jail.

In Washington state, the mandatory arrest law applies to suspects 16 and older when the officer believes a serious assault has occurred within the last four hours.

A proposal before the Washington legislature would increase the age of mandatory arrest to 18. Police could still arrest 16 and 17-year-olds, but it wouldn’t be required.

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

City Of Seattle



Longtime Seattle City Councilman, Tom Rasmussen, says he is not running for reelection. Rasmussen was first elected to Seattle City Council in 2003 when he defeated Margaret Pageler. His announcement not to run again comes on the heels of councilman Nick Licata,  saying he’s not seeking reelection either.


Rasmussen is the chair of the city coucil's transportation committee. He was an early supporter of building the tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct and was a critic of former mayor Mike McGinn.

The Washington and Oregon employment departments have closed the book on 2014 with the release of their December jobs numbers.

Mandel Ngan / AP Photo, Pool

Refusing to bend to the new Republican Congress, President Barack Obama unveiled Tuesday night an ambitious State of the Union agenda steeped in Democratic priorities, including tax increases on the wealthy, education and child care help for the middle class and a torrent of veto threats for the GOP's own plans.

Courtesy of Sol Bockelie

What if you could go to medical school and study with some of the most respected doctors in the world for free?

Such a program exists in Cuba.

A McLin / Flickr

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has revived an idea to expand the number of authorized homeless encampments, calling it a short-term fix for a growing crisis. 

It's hard to ignore the problem if you walk in downtown Seattle early in the morning. You'll pass lots of people sleeping in doorways or under store awnings. Some use cardboard boxes to create a semblance of private space.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo


Washington state is at a crossroads, according to Gov. Jay Inslee.

Those were key themes Tuesday as Inslee delivered his State of the State address before a joint session of the state legislature.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo


Republicans control the Washington Senate, but Monday’s start of the 2015 session featured a Democratic insurgency.

It happened when Republicans tried to re-elect Sen. Tim Sheldon as president pro tem of the Senate. Sheldon is a Democrat who in 2012 joined with Republicans to help them take control of the Washington Senate.

Austin Jenkins

Gov. Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax to help fund schools and other priorities. But Republicans in the state Senate voted Monday to make it harder to get a tax proposal like that through the legislature.

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School funding, a roads-and-transit package and medical marijuana are among the hot topics as the Washington legislature convenes Monday. Lawmakers plan to meet for 105 days.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo


Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is defending his call for higher taxes in 2015. The Democrat reacted Thursday to criticism from Republican lawmakers.

Washington Republicans said higher taxes should be a last resort and accused Inslee of making taxes his default position.

Elway Research


Washington voters would prefer no new taxes and no deep cuts to state services. But if that’s not possible, they’re open to some new taxes.

That’s the finding of a new non-partisan poll from Stuart Elway released Tuesday.

Brianhe / Wikimedia Commons


The Washington legislature convenes next Monday for a 105-day session. Transportation funding is one of the top agenda items.

Lawmakers failed to move a roads and transit package last year and pressure continues to build for the legislature to act. But there are also sharp partisan differences.