Washington State Legislature

Washington State Legislature
1:22 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

House transportation budget proposes leaner service cuts, smaller rate hikes for ferry riders

House lawmakers have released their proposed 2011-2013 transportation budget, and it includes less service cuts and a smaller rate hike to Washington's ferry system than Gov. Chris Gregoire's earlier bid.

The House proposal cuts ferry services by $3.1 million, compared to Gregoire's $20 million reduction in her December budget. Gregoire also had proposed a rate hike of 10%. The House proposal puts it at 7.5% in 2011 and 2.5% in 2012.

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State Budget Crisis
8:12 am
Fri March 18, 2011

Partisan divide flares as state budget worsens

Washington's budget shortfall has grown to more than $5 billion. That's after Thursday's state revenue forecast. Advocates on the left immediately intensified their calls for lawmakers to end corporate tax exemptions. The Governor warned the legislature to avoid budget gimmicks.

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State Budget Crisis
3:33 pm
Thu March 17, 2011

Forecast: State revenue projections take another big hit

Washington’s budget shortfall has now grown to $5.1 billion over the next two years. That’s the estimate from the Governor’s office after Thursday’s state revenue forecast. 

The state's chief economist, Arun Raha, predicts the state will collect nearly $800 million dollars less than previously forecast for a variety of reasons.

“First we had the volatility in oil prices, because of the political unrest in the Middle East. Now we have the tragedy in Japan the world’s third largest economy and one of the state’s leading trade partners," says Raha.

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Washington State Legislature
11:01 am
Thu March 17, 2011

Marijuana legalization debate produces unusual alliances

The debate over legalizing marijuana in Washington is producing some unusual alliances. At a legislative hearing Wednesday, lawmakers heard from the wife of Canada's so-called "Prince of Pot." And from the former federal prosecutor who indicted him.

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News Roundup
7:07 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Wednesday morning's headlines

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Going Back to College Could Get More Expensive
  • Higher Ed Bills Drawing Fresh Faces to Olympia
  • Arson Attempt at Olympia Police Station
  • Sounders Drop MLS Opener

 

Bill Would Hike Fees For College Returnees

If you plan to go back to college you could end up paying a lot more in tuition. A budget-saving proposal in Olympia would apply to people who already have a degree and then go for extra training at a community college, reports The Seattle Times' Queenie Wong:

SB5868 would require students with a bachelor's degree who attend a community or technical college to bear the entire cost of instruction - the price of regular tuition plus the share that the state pays.

That means it could affect current university students who take extra time and credits to get their degree.  State Senator Rodney Tom of Bellevue tells Wong that during a tight economy, government has to prioritize. It’s important to help students attend college, he says, but not for extra training.

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Shark Fin Soup
10:51 am
Tue March 8, 2011

Lawmakers want to take shark fin soup off menus

West Coast lawmakers want to take shark fin soup off restaurant menus. The Washington, Oregon and California Legislatures are all considering measures to criminalize the trade in shark fins.

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Washington State Legislature
8:24 am
Tue March 8, 2011

Immigration check for driver’s licenses appears unlikely

Washington could soon be the last state in the nation to issue driver’s licenses without an immigration check. A controversial proposal in Olympia to create a two-tier license system appears to have died. Senate Republicans failed to force a vote just before a key legislative cut-off.

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Washington State Legislature
8:15 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Audit on K-12 health benefits runs afoul of unions

Majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature are working to close a multi-billion dollar budget gap. But they're not likely to implement a change the State Auditor says could save $180 million over the two-year budget cycle, as the idea runs afoul of the powerful teacher's union.

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Shellfish Harvesting
7:48 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Washington poised to get tougher with shellfish operators

This story has been updated to correct the dollar amount the state believes to have been poached.

Last summer, we brought you a story about gaps in the system that's supposed to keep Washington shellfish safe to eat. Now state lawmakers appear ready to get tougher with shellfish operators who violate food safety laws.

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News Roundup
6:57 am
Thu February 10, 2011

Thursday morning's headlines

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Business Unemployment Tax Breaks on Horizon
  • Seattle Considers Garbage Collection Reductions
  • UW Accused in Animal Welfare Complaint

 

 

State House OK's Business Tax Cuts, Benefit Boost for Unemployed

Washington businesses will get a break on unemployment taxes in a deal unanimously approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. 

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Washington Legislature
12:45 am
Thu February 10, 2011

Immigrants' rally in Olympia against driver's license bills

Immigrant rights groups are pushing back against efforts to deny driver's licenses to illegal immigrants in Washington. They rallied at the Capitol Wednesday in opposition to several legislative proposals. 

In the Capitol Rotunda, the chant was:

Safety first, driver's licenses for all.

Members of the group OneAmerica voiced opposition to the half-dozen proposals in the Washington legislature to require proof – or at least evidence of – lawful presence in the United States in order to get a driver's license.

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Education
3:21 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Gregoire makes rare appearance before legislature to tout education system reforms

Christine Gregoire says she had an "aha moment" last summer about why Washington's education system isn't getting any better.

The governor made a rare appearance before a legislative committee Wednesday to talk about her proposal to create a new cabinet-level Department of Education that would oversee all the state's education efforts, committees and boards, from early learning to college.

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Juvenile crime
5:32 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Teens with illegal guns get off easy

A teenager caught with an illegal gun in Washington gets little more than a slap on the wrist.  That’s the complaint of prosecutors who are trying to stiffen the penalty.

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News Roundup
7:47 am
Wed January 26, 2011

Wednesday morning's headlines

Making headlines this morning:

  • A Little Pot With Your Booze?
  • Boeing Announces 2011 Profit Projections
  • State Parks Facing Tough Budget

 

Should the state legalize marijuana sales?

The idea has the backing of some state legislators who filed legislation Tuesday. It would allow state liquor stores to sell pot. KING-TV reports the bill's chief backer is Seattle Democrat Mary Lou Dickerson:

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Washington State Legislature
8:07 am
Mon January 24, 2011

"Off limits" skiers could be fined

Every winter we hear about skiers and snow boarders at nearby ski resorts who end up in dangerous situations after wandering into areas marked “off limits."  That often triggers expensive search and rescue operations.

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