Washington State Legislature

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to agree on a multi-billion dollar roads and transit package. If they don’t act soon, a vote could be delayed for another year, said two key transportation leaders on Thursday.

Senators Tracey Eide, a Democrat, and Curtis King, a Republican, co-chair the Senate transportation committee.

“I’m worried that if we don’t do it in December, I don’t know if we’re going to see it next session,” said Eide, D-Federal Way.

King County Metro Transit's Facebook Page

King County will take its own measures to save Metro Transit services if the state Legislature fails to pass a transportation package in time, said King County Executive Dow Constantine on Thursday.

“Let me be clear: this is not our first choice,” Constantine said of taking local measures.

But time is running out for state lawmakers to act, he said; the Legislature on Thursday missed its target day to take up a statewide transportation package. 

"It's not happening," Constantine said. 

Washington lawmakers recently rushed into special session to pass $8.7 billion in aerospace tax breaks in an attempt to land assembly work of Boeing’s next generation 777 airplane.

But how much does Boeing, or any other major company in Washington, pay in taxes? That’s actually a closely-guarded secret. Now, one state lawmaker wants to change that, and a hearing is scheduled for this Friday.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

State lawmakers are negotiating a proposed gas tax package, a top priority of Gov. Jay Inslee and the Boeing company as it decides where to site the 777X assembly line.

Now that Boeing machinists have rejected a company contract offer, Washington will have to compete with other states to land the 777X. Inslee says approval of a transportation funding measure is essential to positioning the state well.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

Senate leaders are proposing a $12.3 billion transportation revenue package that includes a gas tax increase of 11.5 cents.

The proposal was put forth by Senate Transportation Committee co-chair Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and is part of ongoing negotiations between the House and the Senate. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

It’s official: Boeing will get nearly $9 billion in tax incentives from the state of Washington in a deal aimed to guarantee Boeing will build its 777X and carbon-fiber wings in the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed his name to the tax breaks Monday morning after legislators approved the deal over the weekend. Inslee told reporters that the state has a lot to gain.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

Washington lawmakers have moved swiftly to extend aerospace tax breaks in a bid to satisfy Boeing Co.

The Legislature gave final approval Saturday of a bill to extend the tax incentives all the way to 2040. The benefits have a projected value of $9 billion.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Washington state has everything to lose with its aerospace industry and therefore must move fast to appease Boeing, said Gov. Jay Inslee during a news conference Friday morning.

“We have been fortunate like few other states, communities on the planet in having a vigorous aerospace industry here. There are 49 governors that will be calling Boeing if, in fact, this deal doesn’t go through,” Inslee said.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The state Legislature is plowing ahead with a package of tax breaks and incentives to convince the Boeing Company to build its next big jet in Washington. But this is happening against a backdrop of new doubts about Boeing's willingness to commit given labor turmoil.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

As Washington lawmakers convene in an effort to win production of the next Boeing 777x, there’s already a dispute over whether one of the must-haves is a gas tax package for transportation improvements.

Gov. Jay Inslee insists the time is now, but some lawmakers say road funding can wait.

Ashley Gross

 

Boeing Co. has proposed an eight-year labor agreement that would guarantee construction of the new 777X in the Puget Sound.

In response, Gov. Jay Inslee said he would call a special legislative session on Thursday in hopes of swiftly approving a package of bills to appease Boeing.

Gov. Jay Inslee has said he wants a transportation funding package on his desk by the Apple Cup at the end of November. Key lawmakers met with the Democratic governor Wednesday on this topic.

Afterward, Sen. Tracey Eide, co-chair of the Senate Tranportation Committee, was noncommittal when asked whether there will be a special session of the Legislature in November.

Cacophony / Wikipedia

The state Supreme Court on Thursday heard oral arguments in a pair of pension cases involving billions of dollars at stake. Unions for teachers and state employees want the high court to restore two benefits that were nixed due to their cost.

Alan Cordova / Flickr

The ongoing power struggle in the Washington state Senate has made one upper chamber race in an off-year election the most expensive legislative contest in state history.

The 26th District race between Democrat Nathan Schlicher and Republican challenger Jan Angel has already seen a combined spending of $1.9 million, with about half of that money being spent by third-party groups.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

The secretary of state's office says that advocates seeking to expand the use of background checks on gun sales plan to submit their petition signatures for an initiative to the Legislature next week.

David Ammons, a spokesman for Secretary of State Kim Wyman, said Friday that supporters of Initiative 594 have made an appointment to turn in their signatures at 9 a.m. Wednesday, nearly three months before the Jan. 3 deadline.

Susan Walsh / AP Photo

Six members of Washington state's 12-member congressional delegation have promised to give up their pay during the federal government shutdown that began Tuesday.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Washington Senate Democrats say the misuse of campaign funds last year may have cost them a key race, and consequently, control of the state Senate. The acknowledgement on Wednesday came as prosecutors filed theft charges against a former top campaign committee staffer.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

The staff at Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission has recommended changes to how lobbyists report their meals out with lawmakers. The move follows our investigation last spring with the Associated Press into lobbyist-paid entertainment.

There are nearly 900 registered lobbyists in Washington state. These are the paid professionals who try to influence the outcome of the legislative process.

But this year, a determined dad proved even outsiders can play the legislative game with a bit of help.

Variety of New State Laws Take Effect Sunday

Jul 27, 2013
<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

A variety of new laws take effect Sunday in Washington state, ranging from measures that make it easier for certain businesses to serve alcohol to a plan that compensates people who have been wrongfully convicted.

Lawmakers passed more than 300 bills this year, most of which take effect this weekend, though a handful of others will hit the books in September.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Washington’s Legislative Ethics Board has launched an investigation into lobbyist paid meals for lawmakers.

The inquiry follows our reporting with the Associated Press on lawmakers who dine out the most with lobbyists.

tiff_Seattle / Flickr

It was the legislative equivalent of a buzzer beater.

Just as the Washington Legislature was about to adjourn last month, the House and Senate quickly passed a series of tax breaks mostly for businesses. They included exemptions for dance clubs, mint growers, dairy products and digital data used by international investment firms. That last one will largely benefit a single global firm—Seattle-based Russell Investments.

Morgan Garvin / Flickr

Washington lawmakers have departed the Capitol and are getting back to their normal lives. For most of them, that means going back to their regular jobs as farmers, lawyers, nurses, business owners. It’s the essence of a citizen Legislature. But this dual existence—one job as a lawmaker and another job back home—can invite conflicts of interest.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Boeing has sent a technical team to assist in the investigation of the Asiana Airlines 777 crash in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the company is on the brink of making major business decisions about where the newest 777 will be built. Some aerospace observers, speaking off the record, say Washington state's recent legislative session may have damaged our chances of landing the assembly here. They say lawmakers failed to show Boeing the state is serious about competing with lower-wage states like South Carolina. 

Inslee to sign budget with just hours to spare

Jun 30, 2013
<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is set to sign a new state budget with just hours to spare.

Inslee was scheduled to formally adopt the spending plan Sunday afternoon after giving staff time to give a final review of the bill. Much of state government would have to shut down Monday if a new spending plan wasn't formally adopted by the end of the weekend.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Leaders in the Washington state Senate are declining to vote on a $10 billion Washington state transportation package that has passed the House.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said Saturday that he and his colleagues are unified in their opposition to the plan this session. He says they plan to work over the coming months to help develop a proposal that lawmakers could consider next year.

Wash. lawmakers approve budget to avert shutdown

Jun 28, 2013
<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Washington lawmakers have finalized a new state budget, moving swiftly to avert a looming government shutdown.

The House and Senate both voted by wide margins Friday to approve the $33.6 billion spending plan, just hours after making the 483-page bill available for public review. The measure now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to take time to review the budget and sign it by the end of Sunday.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

The House has approved a measure that indefinitely delays implementation of an as-of-yet unfunded law giving Washington state parents five weeks of paid time off to be with a new child until the Legislature finds a way to pay for it.

The bill was approved Friday on a 70-19 vote and now heads to the Senate.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

The Washington House has approved a $10 billion transportation package that includes a 10.5 cent gas tax increase over two years. The vote Thursday followed a failed effort Wednesday to approve the same measure. 

It was a rare do-over vote on the House floor. And State Representative Marko Liias, a Democrat, acknowledged as much.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says a government shutdown on Monday has been averted. The Democrat announced a budget deal Thursday that comes just in the nick of time. Monday is the start of a new fiscal year and without a signed budget much of state government would have been shuttered.

“The deal reached today makes it clear that state government will continue to operate. We will be notifying all state employees to be at work on Monday, July 1. Government operations will not be interrupted," the governor said. 

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