Washington State Legislature

Gun Control
11:29 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Wash. gun control advocates turn to initiative

Gun control advocates in Washington are launching an initiative campaign after state lawmakers declined to expand background checks on gun sales.

The group Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility announced its plans Monday. Supporters will need to collect nearly 250,000 valid signatures, with state officials recommending the submission of more than 300,000 to account for duplicates and invalid signatures.

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5:51 pm
Sun April 28, 2013

Colleges wait out state Legislature for tuition plan

Students heading off to college in Washington state next fall will have to wait awhile to find out how much tuition they'll be paying.

Since the Legislature hasn't finished the state budget, no one is sure whether lawmakers will recommend a tuition increase, or cut, or neither. All three ideas have been proposed this year.

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special session
6:18 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

State lawmakers heading to extended session

With just one day before the end of session, Washington lawmakers appear to be making little progress toward the ultimate goal of a final budget agreement.

Leaders in both the House and Senate seemed to resign themselves Saturday to the prospect of an overtime session, with the regular 105-day period coming to an end Sunday night. A spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee said that no decision had been made on when a special session may start.

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defining marijuana
5:15 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

House approves fix to state marijuana law

The House has approved a measure prosecutors and crime lab scientists say is needed because of concerns that a provision in Washington's new legal marijuana law jeopardizes their ability to go after any pot crimes at all.

The measure, passed on a 95-1 vote Friday, defines marijuana as part of the cannabis plant containing more than 0.3 percent of delta-9 THC and THC acid. Supporters said the change was a technical fix needed to help police and prosecutors distinguish marijuana from industrial hemp, which is grown for its fiber.

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State Legislature
4:46 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Deal on state transportation budget reached

State lawmakers have reached an apparent deal on a transportation budget.

The state House is expected to vote on the compromise $8.8 billion budget over the weekend, with the Senate likely to follow suit before the regular session ends on Sunday.

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special session
1:35 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Special legislative session will have political implications

Democratic State Senator Tim Sheldon, at podium, says he smells “a rat” when it comes to the timing of a special session of the Legislature.
Austin Jenkins

An expected special session of the Washington state Legislature would mean another freeze on political fundraising.

State law prohibits lawmakers from soliciting contributions while they are in session. For most members, that’s probably not a huge concern since this is an off-election year. But a few legislators will be on this year’s ballot.

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State Legislature
10:56 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Inslee: It would take 'inside straight' to avoid special session

Gov. Jay Inslee says an overtime session is likely.

Gov. Jay Inslee is like the gambler. He says it would take an “inside straight” for the Legislature to complete its work by Sunday’s deadline. 

A nearly $1 billion tax vote in the Washington House Wednesday has cleared the way for budget negotiations to begin in earnest at the Capitol. But an overtime session still appears likely. 

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State Legislature
4:38 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

House Democrats approve Wash. tax package

Democrats in the Washington state House are moving ahead with a tax plan valued at $900 million over the next two years.

The House narrowly approved a variety of tax changes Wednesday, including the permanent extension of business taxes to raise more than half a billion dollars. The plan would also repeal tax breaks for travel agents, bottled water and fuel.

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state budget
1:30 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Inslee proposes cutting oil industry tax break

The search for ways to reduce Washington’s more than $1 billion budget shortfall has led Gov. Jay Inslee to suggest eliminating some little-known tax breaks long enjoyed by various industries.

One of these loopholes saves millions each year for an industry that didn’t even exist in the state when the tax break was created.

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DUI legislation
8:01 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Proposed DUI crackdown gets pushback on multiple fronts

An ignition interlock is a breath test device linked to a vehicle’s ignition system.
U.S. Department of Transportation

Gov. Jay Inslee and lawmakers want to move swiftly to crack down on repeat drunk drivers. This after two recent high profile tragedies in Seattle. But on Thursday, they got some pushback from judges, prosecutors, civil libertarians and even the restaurant industry.

It’s a classic case of the devil’s in the details. Take ignition interlock devices. There’s a proposal to install them at the impound lot after a drunk driver is arrested. But the installers say that isn’t technically feasible and lawyers question whether it’s legal prior to a conviction.

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Fake Wash. IDs for CIA
10:11 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Inslee: 'Broad' definition of law enforcement for false IDs

Gov. Jay Inslee says he would apply a “broad” interpretation to the term “law enforcement” when issuing fictitious driver’s licenses to undercover agents. The governor’s comment follows our report that the CIA has obtained nearly 300 so-called confidential Washington driver’s licenses since 2007.

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State Legislature
1:34 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

DeBolt says he's stepping down as minority leader

House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt is stepping down as minority leader because of recent health issues.

DeBolt, a Republican from Chehalis, announced to his colleagues on the House floor Wednesday that he would be leaving his role, but would still serve out his two-year term.

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Fake Wash. IDs for CIA
10:54 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

House authorizes fake driver’s license program over objections

The Washington House has voted to allow the Department of Licensing to continue to issue fictitious driver’s licenses to undercover police officers. But with new safeguards. Even so, the vote late Tuesday came over the objections of some Republicans.

The Department of Licensing has issued so-called confidential driver’s licenses for decades. But it never had direct authorization from the Legislature to do so. 

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6:05 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Lawmakers consider special DUI driver license, alcohol bracelet

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, flanked by lawmakers, announces new proposed DUI legislation.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Repeat drunk drivers in Washington may soon carry a scarlet letter driver’s license and have to wear an alcohol detection bracelet. Those are just two of the requirements contained in DUI legislation proposed Tuesday in Olympia.

The bipartisan plan follows two recent drunk driving tragedies in the Seattle area. 

House Public Safety Chair Roger Goodman says the ankle bracelet detects alcohol consumption and alerts authorities.

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State Legislature
4:05 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

State House OKs transportation budget

The Washington state House has approved a transportation budget that would allocate $8.4 billion over the next two years.

Under the proposal passed Tuesday, the money would go toward maintenance and preservation of infrastructure and toward existing big-ticket projects like the State Route 520 floating bridge across Lake Washington and the Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel replacement.

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