Political news

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

It’s been a year since the first same-sex couples married in Washington State, and since then about one marriage in six has joined partners of the same sex.

New data from the Washington Department of Health begins to fill out what has changed since December 5, 2012. Some 7,071 same-sex couples have been married in Washington through September 30th, according to the most recent data available from the state Department of Health.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Some military families can’t get treatment for their children with developmental disabilities, even if it’s prescribed by a doctor. Washington’s senior senator hopes to force a change, even though her efforts have fallen short once before.

The controversy revolves around a therapy called Applied Behavior Analysis, which is widely used to treat children with autism by reinforcing desired behaviors. Tricare, the military insurance provider, does cover it for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. But the therapy is being prescribed more and more to children with other disabilities, and those populations are not covered.

Associated Press

The issue of tax transparency in Washington is getting fresh attention on the heels of a major tax deal for Boeing. The message Friday at a legislative hearing was that the public deserves to know how much publicly-traded companies pay in state taxes.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to agree on a multi-billion dollar roads and transit package. If they don’t act soon, a vote could be delayed for another year, said two key transportation leaders on Thursday.

Senators Tracey Eide, a Democrat, and Curtis King, a Republican, co-chair the Senate transportation committee.

“I’m worried that if we don’t do it in December, I don’t know if we’re going to see it next session,” said Eide, D-Federal Way.

Austin Jenkins / KPLU

Washington voters can expect dueling gun-related measures on next fall’s ballot. Sponsors of a gun rights initiative submitted nearly 350,000 signatures Thursday. 

Thirteen boxes labeled “Save Your Gun: Yes on 591” were loaded onto a cart and trucked into the Washington Secretary of State’s Office. Initiative 591 would prohibit the state from confiscating a gun without due process. It would also bar state background checks that go beyond federal standards.

Andy Wong / AP Photo

The American ambassador to China says he will step down from his post early next year to rejoin his family in Seattle.

Gary Locke says he informed President Barack Obama of his decision when they met earlier this month.

There’s the possibility of another election turnaround.

First there was Kshama Sawant’s dramatic post-election night come-from-behind win over Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin. Now, supporters of Seattle Proposition 1 hope it’s their turn.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

State lawmakers are negotiating a proposed gas tax package, a top priority of Gov. Jay Inslee and the Boeing company as it decides where to site the 777X assembly line.

Now that Boeing machinists have rejected a company contract offer, Washington will have to compete with other states to land the 777X. Inslee says approval of a transportation funding measure is essential to positioning the state well.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

Senate leaders are proposing a $12.3 billion transportation revenue package that includes a gas tax increase of 11.5 cents.

The proposal was put forth by Senate Transportation Committee co-chair Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and is part of ongoing negotiations between the House and the Senate. 

Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

Bill and Melinda Gates have each contributed $25,000 to the campaign to require background checks for most gun sales in Washington. The couple’s personal contributions late last month helped push the Yes on Initiative 594 campaign over the $1 million mark.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Several races have swung wildly since the first vote count on Election Day, and it may be because campaigns are getting the hang of Washington’s all-mail elections.

University of Washington political scientist Matt Barreto said it’s not uncommon for races to swing a percentage point or two in the days after election night, but not much more than that.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has conceded his run for re-election, and called his successor, Ed Murray.

McGinn’s tone was relaxed and candid at the press conference held at his campaign headquarters Thursday.He offered few regrets, but acknowledged he’d made missteps in office and on the campaign trail.

“I may have to question my tactics and how I played it,” said McGinn. “To use a basketball analogy I probably dribbled the ball off my foot a couple of times when I could have made a good pass instead.”

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Happy Election Day! Here's a quick reference guide if you're still holding on to a ballot.

Your ballot must be postmarked today (Tuesday, Nov. 5). Before you drop your ballot into the nearest blue mailbox, look at the sticker on that mailbox to see what time mail is collected. If you've missed that deadline you'll need to head to the post office to make sure your ballot is accepted in time.

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.

Associated Press

Voters are about to decide whether Washington becomes the first state in the nation to label some genetically engineered foods.

A poll last month showed Initiative 522 with a 4-point lead and 12-percent of voters still undecided.

The funeral for Former House Speaker Tom Foley in Spokane Friday may get disrupted by a well-known group of publicity seekers. 

The Westboro Baptist Church, long known for protesting military funerals, has posted information on its website that members plan to attend the service. 

Gov. Jay Inslee has said he wants a transportation funding package on his desk by the Apple Cup at the end of November. Key lawmakers met with the Democratic governor Wednesday on this topic.

Afterward, Sen. Tracey Eide, co-chair of the Senate Tranportation Committee, was noncommittal when asked whether there will be a special session of the Legislature in November.

Some advice from Sherril Huff, the director of King County's Department of Elections:

Protip No. 1: "Make sure you look at both sides because often, people think it’s all on the front side of the ballot.” In busy election years, some races and questions get printed on the back of the ballot. Use only black ink.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

About half of the state’s nearly 4 million registered voters are predicted to cast ballots in this year’s election. In King County, officials say the number of registered voters keeps climbing. If you're a newcomer to Washington state, you have until Monday to get your name on the voter rolls.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Washington Sen. Patty Murray is the top Democrat on a conference committee charged with hashing out a budget by mid-December, and she’s well aware many pundits and citizens have low expectations.

“I don’t blame anybody for being pessimistic about this,” Murray said at an appearance in Seattle. “Our country’s been through a lot.”

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle’s next mayor will face the challenge of balancing the city’s growth with affordability. 

“Because our city’s popular, because we’re adding jobs, because more people want to live in our walkable urban places, the competition for existing housing is driving up the rent, driving up housing prices,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Both McGinn and challenger Ed Murray shared their ideas, many of them similar, on ways to create affordable housing for people of all income.

It isn't always easy to pin down a politician. Most would prefer to list a range of issues they plan to address than choose just one top priority. But Tuesday night, during a debate on KCTS-TV, the candidates for mayor of Seattle, incumbent Mike McGinn and challenger state Senator Ed Murray, were forced to list everything, from housing to education in the order of importance.

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

Have you ever been stuck in traffic or tried to get on an overcrowded bus, or had to dodge potholes in the bike lanes?

Sometimes, just getting from point A to point B can be an exercise in frustration, even if you live and work within the city limits of Seattle. The candidates for mayor of Seattle, incumbent Mike McGinn and challenger state Sen. Ed Murray both say they’ve experienced problems in getting around the city.

Not surprisingly, each candidate also says he is the best candidate to improve transportation in the city.

Alan Cordova / Flickr

The ongoing power struggle in the Washington state Senate has made one upper chamber race in an off-year election the most expensive legislative contest in state history.

The 26th District race between Democrat Nathan Schlicher and Republican challenger Jan Angel has already seen a combined spending of $1.9 million, with about half of that money being spent by third-party groups.

Sea_Turtle / Flickr

The race for mayor of Seattle has put public safety downtown front and center, and at first it might seem to be following a familiar storyline: a polarized fight between the get-tough camp and the services-oriented approach. 

"There are hotspots, and we’ve been very, very slow to act,” said challenger Ed Murray, advocating the hiring of 100 new police officers. 

"You know, that's political grandstanding," said Mayor Mike McGinn, arguing we "can't arrest our way out of the problem."

Why should you care about the Seattle School Board race? Consider these three reasons:

1. Unstable Board = Bad for Students

Research has shown that a chaotic board "will repel all people of quality," thereby negatively impacting student achievement, according to Thomas Alsbury, professor of educational administration and supervision at Seattle Pacific University. 

“When boards and central office leaders are viewed as unstable or chaotic, excellent principals and teachers choose to go elsewhere,” Alsbury said.

Photos provided by their campaigns.

Two first-time candidates are facing off in a tight race for a seat on the Seattle School Board. Suzanne Dale Estey and Sue Peters are both vying to represent District 4, which covers Queen Anne, Magnolia, and parts of Ballard.

What We Have Now

Seattle has nine at-large city council positions. The council members are responsible to all 600,000+ city residents.

Pros: Council members try to solve problems in ways that benefit all taxpayers. Supporters say it's a more holistic approach that lays a strong foundation for future growth.

Cons: Voters say they don’t have a voice and don’t know who to go to when they have a problem in their neighborhood.

AP Photo


Former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley has died of complications from strokes. He was 84.

The Democrat served nearly 30 years in Congress before being defeated in the Gingrich Revolution of 1994.

Foley had the distinction of becoming the first, and so far only, Speaker of the House from the Northwest. He was also the first Speaker defeated at the polls since the Civil War.

Foley grew up on Spokane’s South Hill, the son of a prominent judge. As a politician, he described himself as a “peace maker, not street fighter.” It might have been his Achilles heel.