Washington State Legislature

Politics
5:05 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Washington Supreme Court tosses out supermajority tax vote requirement

Cacophony Wikipedia

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:05 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Democrats say it’s a victory for democracy. Republicans call it a defeat for taxpayers. In a major decision Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out the state’s two-thirds supermajority requirement for raising taxes. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the voter-approved law violates a provision of the Washington state constitution that requires a simple majority vote in the state legislature to approve bills.

Read more
Law
10:29 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Fate of abortion coverage bill uncertain in Olympia

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 3:37 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. − A bill to require insurance companies to offer plans that cover maternity services and abortions passed the Washington House Friday. It is unclear, however, whether the legislation will make it through the Senate’s Republican-majority caucus. Majority Leader Rodney Tom has said he doesn’t want to vote on divisive social issues.

In the House debate, Rep. Laurie Jinkins said this bill would provide options for abortion coverage after the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.

Read more
Gun Control
4:06 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Bill Regulating Private Gun Sales Passes Committee

M Glasgow Flickr

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 3:46 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A bill to require background checks for private gun sales is one step closer to a final vote. Tuesday, members of a Washington House committee voted seven to six.

Republican Rep. Jay Rodne opposed the bill, saying it would not be enforceable.

“We’re going to drain precious law enforcement resources to policing this measure,” he says.

But, Republican Rep. Mike Hope, a police officer, said this measure could help prevent shootings like what happened in Newtown, Conn.

Read more
Law
11:27 am
Wed February 13, 2013

State senate targets Seattle's sick leave policy with two new bills

Seattle's sick leave law is being targeted in by two new bills introduced in the Senate.

The city's law requires businesses with at least five employees operating in Seattle to provide paid sick leave to workers. It took effect in September.

Two bills introduced Tuesday by Senate Republicans would directly impact that law. One would take Seattle's law off the books completely by declaring that the Legislature has the sole responsibility for sick-leave requirements.

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages