Washington State Legislature

Legislators & Lobbyists
5:15 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Wash. Ethics Panel Gets Earful On Lobbyist-Paid Meals For Lawmakers

mathteacherguy Flickr

How often is “infrequent” when it comes to state lawmakers accepting free meals from lobbyists? Washington’s Legislative Ethics Board spent nearly two hours Tuesday taking testimony on that issue and then grappling with the answer. 

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Balance of Power
9:31 am
Tue June 17, 2014

School Funding Lawsuit Prompts Hearing On Separation Of Powers

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Elaine Thompson AP Photo

The Washington Supreme Court could hold state lawmakers in contempt over school funding. But is the high court overstepping its bounds? A Republican-led legislative panel held a hearing Monday on separation of powers.

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Workplace Safety
9:43 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Washington Capitol Employees Train For Active Shooter Scenarios

Austin Jenkins

Get out. Hide out. Take out. That’s the lesson employees at the Washington state Capitol got Wednesday in a class on active shooters. The refresher course comes in the wake of recent high profile shootings in the Northwest.

The sign on the door to the legislative hearing room said it all: “Workplace Violence Prevention and Active Shooter Survival.” About 50 state legislative and executive branch employees showed up for the lunch-hour training.

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New Laws
5:00 am
Wed June 11, 2014

New Washington Laws Cover College Aid, Guns And Tanning

AP Photo

This is the week undocumented students in Washington will become eligible for state college tuition aid. The “Real Hope Act” is just one of dozens of new state laws that take effect Thursday, 90 days after the Washington legislature adjourned.

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Development
5:00 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Pacific Tower Expected To Fill With Tenants; Long-Term Funding An Issue

Joe Mabel Wikimedia

After a slow start, the state of Washington says it’s on track to fill the former headquarters of Amazon.com with tenants. But long-term costs remain a concern.

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Lobbyists & Legislators
3:37 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Ethics Board To Consider Crackdown On Lobbyist-Paid Meals

Richard Hodgin of Seattle testified in favor of stricter free meal rules for Washington state lawmakers.
Austin Jenkins

By next January, Washington state lawmakers should have clearer guidance on when it’s OK to accept free meals from lobbyists. The state’s Legislative Ethics Board decided Tuesday to clarify the rules governing gifts in the form of food and beverage. The board’s action follows our investigation last year into lobbyist-paid meals.

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Politics
2:45 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Wash. Senate Majority Leader Tom Announces He Won’t Run For Re-Election

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, looks over a document 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

One of the most influential and controversial members of the Washington state Legislature made a bombshell announcement Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, announced he is dropping his bid for re-election. Tom is one of two Democrats who joined with Republicans last year to help them take control of the state Senate.

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Suicide Prevention
5:00 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Grieving Widow Helps Spearhead First-Of-Its-Kind State Law On Suicide Prevention

Jennifer Stuber, 8-year-old Jake and 4-year-old Zoe take comfort in the rainbow reflections on the walls of their home because, Jennifer says, they show “Daddy’s spirit.”
University of Washington

Depression is one of the biggest risk factors for suicide, and people who seek help for it tend to go to their regular doctor. But, as one Seattle family discovered, doctors aren’t always prepared to deal with a patient who has thoughts of suicide. A new law in Washington state, the first of its kind nationwide, seeks to change that.  

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Politics
3:09 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Wash. Senate Panel OKs $30 Per Diem Pay Hike

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Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington state senators are giving themselves a pay raise. Senators will get $120 a day in per diem when they are in session – up from the current rate of $90 a day. 

The Senate facilities and operations committee approved the increase  Tuesday in a split vote. 

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Legislative Session
9:31 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Washington Legislature Adjourns Without Action On Medical Marijuana, Gas Tax

Legislative staff and others line up outside of the House chamber in advance of the Legislature adjourning its 60-day session, on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Olympia, Wash.
Rachel La Corte AP Photo

The Washington Legislature adjourned its 60-day session just before midnight Thursday night.

In the final hours, lawmakers passed a bipartisan update to the state’s two-year budget. They also sent the governor a bill to give military veterans in-state tuition to attend college, and reauthorized a fee that pays for homeless housing.

But it’s what lawmakers did not do this Legislative session that may stand out most for voters.

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Budget Negotiations
12:31 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Budget Deal Struck In Washington Legislature

Austin Jenkins

Washington public schools will get an additional nearly $60 million, but teachers will not get a cost of living raise this year. That’s the upshot of a budget deal that’s being announced at the Capitol in Olympia.

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Toxic Chemicals
9:12 am
Wed March 12, 2014

PCB Product Bill On Wash. Governor’s Desk

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AP Photo

A state bill to limit the purchase of PCB-containing products is heading to the Washington governor’s desk. The state Senate on Tuesday approved final changes to the bill, which the sponsor says could lower river pollution levels.

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Politics
1:19 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Senator's Bill Calls For Annual UW-Gonzaga Basketball Game

State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, wants to rekindle one of the state's best basketball rivalries.

Baumgartner has introduced a bill that would require the University of Washington and Gonzaga University of Spokane to play at least once each season.

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Lobbyists & Legislators
5:31 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Lobbyist-Paid Meals Legislation Appears To Die In Washington Statehouse

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Elaine Thompson AP Photo

It looks like Washington lawmakers may adjourn their 60-day legislative session without addressing the issue of lobbyist-paid entertainment. Free meals for lawmakers became an issue last year after we reported on several state senators who regularly allowed lobbyists to pick up the tab.

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Legislative Session
3:23 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

End In Sight For Washington Legislature, Still Plenty Of Work To Do

A few of the first daffodils of the season begin to bloom in view of the Capitol building Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Olympia, Wash.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington lawmakers are in the home stretch — or at least they hope they are.

The current 60-day session is supposed to adjourn this coming Thursday. But the House and Senate still have to agree on an update to the two-year budget. And that’s not the only major issue that remains unresolved.

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