Washington State Government

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In the world of state legislatures, there’s a powerful breed of players who normally shun the spotlight. They prefer to work behind the scenes to influence policy outcomes. We’re talking about business lobbyists. Inside this often hidden world, you’ll meet two of the most successful corporate contract lobbyists in the Washington state capitol. And learn some of their tricks of the trade.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The massive snow and freezing rain storm that pummeled the Pacific Northwest has caused a power outage at Gov. Chris Gregoire's office, legislative buildings and other state agencies in Olympia.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The head of Washington's largest state agency has announced her resignation. Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Susan Dreyfus announced Wednesday she will leave at the end of the year to take a job in her home state of Wisconsin. Her departure comes as the agency prepares for another round of budget cuts.

Aeter / Flickr

While it's a good idea to be prepared, sometimes it's good not to move too fast. 

Apparently there are glitches in the state's new "Good to Go" tolling system.  The State Department of Transportation says it will revamp the sign-up process after complaints by frustrated motorists trying to buy transponders online.  As Mike Lindblom reports in The Seattle Times:

WSDOT

When you visit the Washington State Ferries website in 2011, you'll find something new:  banner advertising.   It's a one year pilot project.  The state is looking for new ways to increase revenue, and that could include advertising on its websites.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has unveiled a two-year budget plan that uses a mix of cuts to state programs, suspension of voter initiatives and use of the state's "rainy day" reserve to patch a projected $4.6 billion deficit.

Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing to consolidate 12 state agencies and in the process eliminate 125 jobs. It’s part of her plan to reduce the size and, what she calls, “complexity” of Washington state government. The state faces  a $4.6 billion gap between anticipated revenues and spending in the next two year budget.

Gary Davis/KPLU

Washington gets a top grade for being ready to handle disasters. A new study ranks the state among the most adept a wide variety of public health threats, from flood response, handling disease outbreak, and reacting to chemical spills, among other emergencies. But the report warns gains in emergency preparedness could be lost to budget cuts. 

About 90,000 Washington state retirees have been getting annual cost of living increases during the great recession. Now Governor Chris Gregoire says it’s time to halt to those automatic raises. The proposal is already generating an angry response. 

Governor Chris Gregoire says she will call a budget-cutting special session of the legislature before the year is out. As the state’s budget crisis worsens, the governor and lawmakers are looking to save money anywhere they can. One target in the crosshairs: lobbyists for state agencies.