Washington State Legislature

Washington Supreme Court
2:58 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Billions at Stake as State Supreme Court Hears Pension Cases

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.

Read more
Election 2013
12:36 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Big Money Pouring into Wash. Senate Race

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.

Read more
Background Checks On Gun Sales
12:36 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

I-594 Signatures to be Turned in Next Week

File image
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.

Read more
government shutdown
10:05 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Some Members of Wash. State Delegation to Forgo Pay

Dark clouds pass over the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013.
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.

Read more
misuse of funds
10:20 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Sen. Dems: Misuse of Campaign Funds Might Have Cost Key Race

<> 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.

Read more
lobbyists & legislators
1:15 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

New Lobbyist Meal Form to Distinguish ‘Chowder’ from ‘Steak’

<> 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.

Read more
citizen lobbyist
5:01 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Determined Father Learns the Ropes in Olympia, Advances Bill

Citizen lobbyist Jeff Schwartz with his wife Cathy and sons Jacob (on couch) and Sam at their home in Kirkland, Washington.

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.

Read more
new state laws
12:20 pm
Sat July 27, 2013

Variety of New State Laws Take Effect Sunday

<> 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.

Read more
lobbyists & legislators
11:57 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Legislative Ethics Board to Investigate Lobbyist Paid Meals

<> 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.

Read more
Corporate tax break
9:28 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Tax Break for Russell Investments Riles House Finance Chair

Russell Investment Center
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.

Read more
balancing interests
1:17 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

In citizen Legislature, conflict of interest lines blurred

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.

Read more
Business
8:13 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Did Washington lawmakers hurt efforts to win the Boeing 777x?

Boeing's 777 assembly line in Everett
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. 

Read more
state budget
9:32 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Inslee to sign budget with just hours to spare

<> 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.

Read more
transportation package
5:20 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

State Senate leaders decline $10B transportation plan

<> 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.

Read more
state budget
4:42 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Wash. lawmakers approve budget to avert shutdown

<> 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.

Read more

Pages