Washington State Legislature

In the new year, Washington state is raising taxes. But you'll need sharp eyes to notice where.  Lawmakers have hiked and expanded a telephone tax to support 911 service.

A hue and cry has erupted in response to Washington Governor Chris Gregoire’s proposal to slash billions more in anticipated state spending. The Democrat Wednesday unveiled her plan to close a $4.6 billion budget shortfall.

Ten-dollar gate fees at state parks and 100,000 more Washingtonians without health insurance. Those are just two examples of how Governor Christine Gregoire proposes to close a $4.6 billion budget shortfall with her budget released Wednesday.

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.

Lawmakers hope they’ve taken a sizeable bite out of the state’s one-point-one billion dollar budget shortfall. The legislature met Saturday in what’s been called an unprecedented December special session. Governor Chris Gregoire demanded the lame-duck meeting saying she couldn’t solve the problem alone.

It was short and bittersweet. Washington lawmakers convened Saturday in a rare, lame duck special session. Their job: take a bite out of the billion dollar hole in the current two-year budget. Lawmakers passed three pieces of legislation. 

Washington's lawmakers will meet in special session on Saturday to start chopping away at a billion-dollar budget shortfall. The governor and legislative leaders emerged from a closed door meeting yesterday with a budget deal. 

The plan is for a one-day special session. Legislative leaders from both parties and Governor Chris Gregoire have agreed to an immediate round of fresh cuts. The goal is to reduce the current $1.1 billion budget shortfall by about half. 

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.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says she will call a special session of the legislature to address the ballooning budget crisis. The Democrat made the announcement Monday afternoon following a meeting with legislative leaders from both parties. 

Washington lawmakers return to Olympia this week, but not for a special session. They're getting organized for the regular session in January. That will bring out advocates who plan to stage protests over looming budget cuts.

Governor Chris Gregoire wants an agreement from Republican and Democratic lawmakers on a package of immediate cuts to the state's budget by the end of this week.

In the coming days, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire will provide lawmakers with a list of budget-cutting options. It’s a first step in what could lead to a special session of the legislature before the year is out.

The latest count of election ballots show both propositions to get Washington state out of the liquor business have failed. But the issue is not going away. A new privatization proposal has surfaced in Olympia on the heels of those defeats.

A state senator from Mason County says he wants to take another run at ending Washington state's monopoly on liquor distribution and sales. Democrat Tim Sheldon claims the election defeat of both liquor initiatives was not a vote for the status quo.

The nation is watching the northwest, with earthquakes - political and real - in mind.

One That Didn’t Happen

What on Tuesday looked like a looming shake-up of the political landscape in Washington subsided.  State voters did not rebuke the Democrats in power. Instead, they returned Patty Murray to the US Senate, and gave the ‘D’s’ the majority in both chambers of the state legislature. 

New batches of mail-in ballots show Republicans are gaining seats in the Washington state House and Senate but it's not known yet which party will control the Legislature.    

Since the initial vote counts from Tuesday's election, Republicans have been optimistic they can seize the state Senate

More ballots were counted Wednesday.  Democrats have been soundly defeated in three districts.: east King County's 45th and 47th districts, and Spokane's 6th district.