Politics

Gun Initiatives
7:19 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Dueling Gun Control Measures: 1 Initiative Certified, 2nd Under Review

Supporters Zach Silk, left, and Cheryl Stumbo deliver boxes of petitions for Initiative 594 to the Secretary of State's office Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in Olympia, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

The secretary of state's office has officially certified one gun-related initiative to the Legislature and is starting review of signatures on another.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman certified the results for Initiative 594 on Wednesday. That measure would require universal background checks on all firearm sales in Washington. Nearly 347,000 signatures were submitted for the initiative, far more than the minimum requirement of 246,372.

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Dream Act
7:15 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Muslim-American Communities Rally, Urge Senate To Pass Dream Act

More than 500 Muslim Americans lobbied for the Washington Dream Act in Olympia, Wash.
Taylor Winkel

More than 500 members of Washington’s Muslim-American community marched at the state Capitol Monday to urge senators to pass the Dream Act.

The rally in support of the bill, which would make undocumented students eligible for financial aid, also marked the fifth annual Muslim Lobby Day.

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Breed Ban
3:18 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Wash. Lawmakers Mull Banning Pit Bull Bans

Zak Thatcher and her bull terrier, Ozzy, drove four hours to show their support for breed-neutral legislation.
Taylor Winkel

Payette County, Idaho bans pit bulls. Medford, Oregon is considering a ban of its own. But some Washington state representatives want to ban the bans.

Dog lovers dominated a Thursday hearing on a measure that would block local ordinances that prohibit specific breeds.

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Tax Loophole
4:54 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Enviro Groups Urge Lawmakers To Close Tax Loophole Benefiting Oil Companies

File image
AP Photo

More than 20 environmental groups have joined together with a common priority this short legislative session: close what they say is a huge loophole benefiting big oil companies.

The Environmental Priorities Coalition includes big names like the Sierra Club, American Rivers, Fuse and the Cascade Bicycle Club. They don’t always see eye to eye on things, but when it comes to oil companies and the state tax structure, they’re all sure something’s not quite right.

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Medicaid
3:38 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Glitches Put Tens of Thousands In Danger Of Losing Medicaid

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Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Glitches that kept tens of thousands of Medicaid recipients from re-enrolling this fall continued to trip people up in December, though the state agency that runs Medicaid said the problems are being fixed.

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State Of The State
12:51 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Gov. Inslee Calls For Minimum Wage Hike, More Education Funding, Teacher COLAs

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during the annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Legisture in the House chambers Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Olympia, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling for a hike in the minimum wage as well as cost-of-living increases for teachers. Those were two of the Democrat’s key policy proposals in his State of the State speech Tuesday.

But Republicans lawmakers quickly shot down the ideas.

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Dream Act
4:43 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

State House Again Passes College Aid For Immigrant Students

A sidewalk outside the Legislative building is bustling with people on the first day of the 2014 session of the Washington state Legislature, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

It wasn’t all pomp and circumstance. The opening day of the Washington Legislature included something rare for the first day of session: a floor vote.

The Washington House voted Monday to give college grant money to low-income high school graduates who are in the country illegally. 

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Politics
12:08 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

2014 Elections Will Loom Over Wash. Legislative Session

In this photo taken Jan. 9, 2014, the Legislative Building at the Washington state Capitol in Olympia, Wash., is shown as rain falls on the sundial in the foreground.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Washington lawmakers convened Monday for what could prove to be the most partisan session in a decade. Control of the Washington Senate is up for grabs this fall, and both sides will be looking for political advantage over the next 60 days.

Currently, a coalition of 24 Republicans and two breakaway Democrats hold a three-seat advantage. Democrats think they have a shot at winning back the majority in November.

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Transportation Package
5:00 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Inslee’s Optimism May Not Be Enough For Gas Tax Package

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks about the upcoming legislative session, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at the AP Legislative Preview in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Gov.  Jay Inslee says he will continue to push for a gas tax package in the 60-day session that starts Monday. But a key transportation leader in the State Senate signaled last Thursday that prospects for a deal may be dimming.

Nearly a decade has passed since the last gas tax increase passed in Washington. Now leaders on both sides of the aisle agree another multi-billion dollar roads and transit package is needed.

But the details are the topic of heated debate in the state Capitol. A dozen negotiating sessions this fall ended with promises to resume talks this month.

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Affordable Care Act
5:01 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Wash. Health Exchange Looking To Skew Younger

Elaine Thompson AP Photo

A diverse group of people have signed up for private health insurance on Washington's state-run exchange, but officials say they still need more young people on board. 

As of Jan. 2, some 71,205 people had enrolled in private plans on Washington's health insurance exchange, a good deal less than the goal of 130,000. But Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka said it’s still on the low end of the expected range.

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Pension Funds
4:49 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

State Senator Proposes End To Pensions For Elected Officials

File image
AP Photo

A Washington state senator says if 401(k) plans are good enough for Boeing machinists, they should be good enough for those who hold elected office.

Republican John Braun on Wednesday said he will introduce legislation to end pensions for all elected officials in Washington.

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Politics
4:20 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Sen. Paull Shin Retires From State Senate

FILE - Washington state Sen. Paull Shin, D-Mukilteo, listens to debate on the Senate floor in Olympia, Wash., Friday, March 12, 1999.
Louie Balukoff AP Photo

Sen. Paull Shin has announced his immediate resignation from the Senate following a recent diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

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Inauguration Day
4:33 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Seattle's New Gay Mayor, Socialist Council Member Sworn Into Office

New Seattle Seattle Council member Kshama Sawant, left, holds up a clenched fist as she stands with Nicole Grant, who assisted in a ceremonial swearing-in, at an inaugural event Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Seattle’s new Mayor Ed Murray and city council member Kshama Sawant promised to work to improve the city as they took their oaths of office on Monday.

Hundreds gathered to watch the city’s first gay mayor and first modern-day Socialist council member, who were among several city leaders sworn into office during a public ceremony.

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Politics
2:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

In Attempt To Resurrect Anti-Tax Rule, Eyman Files Measure With Costly Caveat

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2012, file photo, professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman shakes hands with a supporter in Bellevue, Wash.
Stephen Brashear AP Photo

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman is kicking off the new year with a new initiative. 

Eyman's new ballot proposal aims to resurrect the requirement that tax hikes get a two-thirds majority in the Legislature or be referred to the people. And this time, Eyman has designed a hammer to get the Legislature to act.

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Inauguration Day
5:00 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Seattle's New Gay Mayor, Socialist Council Member To Be Sworn In

File image
AP Photo

As many as 2,000 people are expected to attend the inauguration of the city's first gay mayor and its first modern-day socialist council member at City Hall today.

Both candidates were officially sworn in during a private ceremony on Jan. 1. Today's ceremonial event is open to the public, and takes place in the City Hall lobby at 3:30 p.m.

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