Washington legislature

You might assume that if you go to court and secure a civil sexual assault protection order against an assailant the protection order will be permanent. But, that's not the case in Washington even though protection orders in domestic violence, harassment and stalking cases in the state are. Advocates for victims have been trying to change the law that says sexual assault protection orders are only good for two years.

The Washington Legislature has adjourned. And now the campaign season has begun. Within hours of the final gavels falling Tuesday night, fundraising pleas went out.

A 30-day special session of the Washington Legislature is about half over. But there’s still no agreement between Senate Republicans and House Democrats on an update to the state’s two-year budget. Sharp moments of election-year partisan tensions have been on display since lawmakers convened in January.

The clock is running out on Washington’s 60-day legislative session. House Democrats and Senate Republicans have until Thursday at midnight to approve an update to the state’s two-year budget. But first they need to agree on the details.

A fight over the state budget could send Washington lawmakers into overtime. Or, the legislature could adjourn without updating the state’s current two-year spending plan. The lead budget writer in the Washington House raised both of those scenarios Thursday.

Washington state government workers would be forbidden to travel to Victoria, British Columbia, on business under a budget proviso passed by the Washington House of Representatives. The proposed travel ban is meant to pressure Victoria to stop dumping raw sewage into shared border waters.

The stage is set in Olympia for a fight over eliminating tax breaks and whether to dip into the state’s rainy day fund. House Democrats say ‘yes’ to both. Senate Republicans say ‘no’.

Oregon and Washington state lawmakers are making another try at introducing a new crop to the Northwest: Industrial hemp, the non-drug cousin of marijuana.

Washington lawmakers plan to tap the state’s rainy day fund to pay for last summer’s devastating wildfires. But legislative Democrats said several other crises also deserve immediate funding.

Some school children say the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. Now Washington lawmakers are making a pledge: to end the reliance on local school district levies to fund basic education -- by next year.

In the aftermath of last Friday's vote by the Republican-led Washington Senate not to confirm Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson, essentially firing her on the spot, an email went out to all staff at the Department of Transportation.

Three-strikes offenders serving life in prison without the possibility of parole should get a “second look.” That’s the position of Washington’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

It was a Donald Trump moment straight out of The Apprentice.

Last Friday, the Republican-led Washington state Senate effectively said, "You're fired" to Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson.

A few short months from now, federal and state foresters around the West will purposely set controlled burns to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires later. This is a regular practice in Oregon, Idaho and California, but much less common in Washington state.

You’ve heard of sex offender registries. The state of Washington also has a registry for people convicted of gun-related felonies. But it’s hardly used.

September’s deadly Aurora Bridge accident in Seattle and the 2015 fire season are on the agenda as Washington lawmakers return to the Capitol on Thursday and Friday.

Ted S. Warren / AP

A Washington State Representative who has been trying to make paid family leave available to all workers says a new federal grant will be a big help. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $247,000 to Washington state to research how paid family leave might be implemented.

King County Sheriff's Department

Who speaks for the murder victim when there’s no family left to tell their story?  That's a question the Washington state legislature is considering.

A bill in the legislature, Senate Bill 6099, would make it possible for law enforcement officers to be appointed to speak on behalf of deceased victims.

The impetus is a 38 year old murder case and a  Washington Supreme Court ruling that came down in 2010.

Christos Tsoumplekas / Flickr

Seeing what's on the white board in front of the classroom doesn't mean you can read the textbook in front of your nose, so say lawmakers who are pushing a bill to have more comprehensive eye exams for students in Washington public schools.

The problem, as those supporting the bill see it, is that school eye exams are only required to measure distance vision, not near vision.

Although there’s a law on the books in Washington that allows child victims of sexual abuse to testify remotely, a state lawmaker says the option isn’t being used often enough.

State Rep. Lilian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, is also a mental health counselor. For years, she’s worked with child victims of sexual abuse.

Mel Evans / AP Photo

If you’re caught with cocaine, meth or heroin, you can be charged with a felony and face up to five years in prison. But there’s a proposal in Washington, prefiled HB 2116, to make possession of hard drugs a misdemeanor if they are for the defendant's personal use. It would also reduce the penalty for the possession of more than 40 grams of cannabis from a felony to a misdemeanor.