Washington State Legislature

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. 

Senate leaders say state budget deal reached

Jun 26, 2013
<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Leaders in the Washington state Senate say lawmakers have agreed to the framework of a new budget to avert a government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said Wednesday that negotiators have settled on the major components of the budget, allowing staff to go through the process of officially writing it. He expects lawmakers will be able to vote on the spending plan Thursday or early Friday.

<< Jonny Boy >> / Flickr

Negotiators in Olympia have agreed to the large components of a new state budget and are now working through the smaller details.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday there have been no setbacks in the talks and that lawmakers are close to agreement on a final deal. Inslee had said Monday that a deal was imminent and hoped it would have been finalized within hours.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says he is confident that a budget deal is imminent.

Inslee said Monday afternoon that he has seen "very significant breakthroughs" in recent budget talks. He says lawmakers should be able to reach a final agreement very quickly.

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