Washington State Legislature

Environment
5:14 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

WA Toxics Coalition again seeking ban on flame retardant Tris

Five years ago, Washington became the first state in the nation to ban a class of toxic flame retardants known as PBDEs.

Now, evidence is mounting that a widely-used alternative is just as toxic.

A new bill before lawmakers in Olympia would ban the flame retardant called Tris from children’s products and household furniture.

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Gun Control
7:27 am
Thu January 31, 2013

State lawmakers eye universal background checks for gun sales

Robert Nelson Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:33 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Democratic lawmakers in both Washington and Oregon are working on measures to require background checks for all gun sales. A universal check proposal was introduced Wednesday in the Washington House. A similar bill is expected in the Oregon Senate soon.

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Government Spending
10:53 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Washington lawmakers rack up hefty cellphone bills

During last year's legislative session that focused on budget troubles, Washington state Sen. Jerome Delvin racked up a cellphone bill that would make most users recoil: $309.21 in one month alone.

It wasn't out of the norm for Delvin, who submitted his costs for taxpayers to cover.

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Government Spending
9:47 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Washington tax dollars go to dry cleaning, artwork

A few days after Washington lawmakers approved a budget deal to lower state spending last year, small-government Rep. Gary Alexander got $40.60 worth of dry cleaning done.

Then he made sure taxpayers paid the bill.

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Politics
3:41 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Fight brewing over College Bound scholarship

Colin Fogarty

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 10:04 am

OLYMPIA, Wash. – First it was Washington’s guaranteed tuition program. Now the new Majority Leader of the state senate has another college access program in his budget-cutting sights: College Bound. Democrat Rodney Tom says this higher education scholarship program is an unfunded state liability.

“It’s a great promise and it’s a promise that I think we should have as a state, Tom said.  "But, you know, it could be a $1 billion to $2 billion liability out there that we haven’t even recognized yet.”

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2013 legislative session
10:50 am
Tue January 15, 2013

New political dynamics, budget challenges face state lawmakers

Washington legislative leaders at a pre-session forum for reporters and editors.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington lawmakers convene for the start of the 2013 session. They face a $2B budget problem, an unusual political dynamic in the state senate and hot button issues like gun control.

It’s like Downton Abbey. A new season of the legislature begins with plenty of intrigue and tensions between powerful personalities. There are familiar faces and new ones. Chief among them Governor-elect Jay Inslee.

Jay Inslee: “We’ve got fiscal challenges, we have some creative and different situations in the state senate, we have ideas that are contentious.”

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Washington State Legislature
4:24 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Practicality of 'No new taxes' pledge debated in Olympia

Washington state Rep. Ross Hunter.

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 3:14 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - In Olympia, a new revenue outlook shows a shortfall in the next state budget cycle. That is putting renewed attention on promises not to raise taxes.

Washington's Democratic governor-elect Jay Inslee made such a pledge during the recent campaign. So did many Republicans elected to the Legislature.

The chief budget writer for House Democrats, Ross Hunter, says he's working on a no-new-taxes spending blueprint for the next two years. But Hunter Wednesday predicted the product will include so many unpalatable cuts, he doubts it could pass.

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Politics
10:19 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Gregoire appointed state senator to post despite staff concerns

Governor Chris Gregoire appointed Cheryl Pflug applied to fill a Republican vacancy on Washington’s Growth Management Hearings Board in May.

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 3:29 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Republicans have released documents that show Governor Chris Gregoire appointed a state senator to a $92,000 a year job –- despite concerns that the senator wasn’t qualified for the position. This is just the latest development in a political drama touched off by the appointment.

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Washington State Legislature
12:39 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

New Washington laws impact film, teachers, universities

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The film industry is getting incentives reinstated. Teachers are getting a new evaluation system. Universities are getting new rules on how to handle abuse allegations.

Dozens of new laws approved by Washington lawmakers earlier this year took effect on Thursday, though two of the most contentious proposals were not implemented as planned.

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Washington State Legislature
1:17 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Judge says Supermajority tax rule violates constitution

A judge has ruled the two-thirds majority initiative violates the simple majority provision of the state constitution.

Initiative 1053 was approved by Washington voters in November 2010 and has made it difficult for lawmakers to adopt tax increases since then.

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Education
4:07 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Key Washington lawmaker calls for K-12 pay raises next year

Wash. House Ways and Means Chairman Ross Hunter says teachers and other school employees deserve a raise.

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 5:05 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington teachers are woefully underpaid. That’s the conclusion of a draft legislative task force report. Now a key Washington state lawmaker says teachers and other school employees deserve at least a cost-of-living pay raise next year.

Twelve years ago, Washington voters approved Initiative 732. It requires annual pay increases for K-12 employees. The initiative didn’t come with any funding.

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Washington State Legislature
11:18 am
Tue April 17, 2012

'Hollow victory' for proponents of taxing banks in Wash.

File photo of anti-poverty protesters rallying outside the Association Of Washington Business summit at Suncadia Resort in September. Photo by Austin Jenkins

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 5:04 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – For liberal activists in Washington, it has become the Holy Grail of tax breaks. We’re talking about a deduction banks can claim on some mortgages. Last week, the Washington legislature voted to end this tax exemption for large, out-of-state banks. But now some on the left are calling it a “hollow” victory.

This was the scene last September outside a meeting of business leaders in central Washington.

Advocates for the poor protested JPMorgan Chase and the tax break it –- and other banks -– get on interest earnings from first mortgages.

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Washington State Legislature
6:48 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Tort claim filed over state Sen. Pam Roach

The complainant, who has been on leave since last week, says he was subjected to a hostile and abusive workplace because of Sen. Pam Roach.
The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Senate Republican senior attorney is a step closer to filing a lawsuit against the state in response to what he says was a hostile work environment that increased when a controversial senator was allowed back into the GOP caucus.

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Washington state legislature
8:06 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Wash. Legislature passes budget proposal, adjourns

State employee and local union president Thornton Alberg watches House floor action on the 30th day of the special session.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Gregoire played the role of negotiator-in-chief. Her shuttle diplomacy finally brought the Washington House and Senate to a bipartisan go-home deal. Lawmakers needed some extra time on the clock. But they were able to pass a budget that closes a half-billion dollar budget shortfall.

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Washington State Legislature
8:26 am
Fri April 6, 2012

One month later, Democrats' defection still raw in Wash.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The three Washington Senate Democrats who broke from their caucus last month to vote with Republicans face renewed criticism - from their fellow Democrats. At issue is whether to link a series of government reforms to a plan to rebalance the state budget.

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