Washington State Legislature

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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Law
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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State Legislature
4:21 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

State Senate OKs removal of marital rape exception

The Senate has approved a measure that would no longer allow marriage to remain an absolute defense against allegations of some forms of rape and sexual assault.

The measure that was passed on an unanimous vote on Monday would remove the spousal exemption from both rape in the third degree — in which no physical force is used — and from taking indecent liberties.

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State Legislature
11:26 am
Sat April 13, 2013

66 Wash. lobbyists get warning letters for lack of transparency

 

More than 60 lobbyists in Washington have been sent warning letters for failing to submit monthly reports that detail how much they earned and how much they spent to lobby state lawmakers. 

“This letter is the only formal warning you will receive from PDC staff for not filing timely lobbying reports during 2013," said Lori Anderson of the Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission, which issued the letters.

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state budget
1:03 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

State House leaders target tax breaks in budget

Democrats in the state House are proposing a budget plan that would eliminate a variety of tax breaks to help pay for education in the state.

Similar to a budget proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee, the plan by House Democrats unveiled Wednesday would increase government spending by more than 10 percent. The two-year budget would spend $34.5 billion, more than $1 billion beyond a plan approved by the Senate.

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State Legislature
9:00 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Fictitious driver license program may get more safeguards

Stricter guidelines may come to a program that lets undercover police officers in Washington obtain fictitious driver licenses. The Washington House could vote soon on a measure that would require additional safeguards to ensure the false IDs are not misused.

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state budget
3:58 am
Sat April 6, 2013

State Senate approves budget, with bipartisan vote

A bipartisan group of state senators is advancing a budget plan that balances spending without new taxes, relying on cuts to social programs and fund transfers that irked some Democrats.

Budget writers from both parties said the spending proposal was developed with input from both sides, and the final vote included support from 21 Republicans and nine Democrats. Republican Sen. Andy Hill said the measure includes some tough decisions but helps reprioritize state spending without relying on taxes.

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