Washington State Legislature

Washington’s 30-day special session of the legislature ends Tuesday. But there’s still no sign of a budget deal or a plan to fully fund education. That means Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to call a second overtime session.

The halfway mark has come and gone in Washington’s 30-day special session of the legislature. But there’s still no deal on a budget or a school funding solution.

It’s a bold move by Washington Realtors and other business groups. They’re taking on the number two Democrat in the Washington House with a TV ad that accuses him of “squeezing” taxpayers.

When there is money left over from political campaigns, what do elected officials do with it? Records show that since Election Day more than a dozen Washington state lawmakers have dipped into leftover campaign cash for pay for everything from cellphones to meals out to travel.

And this “surplus campaign spending” gets little scrutiny.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Legislature has approved a measure that would make a fourth driving under the influence offense a felony in Washington state.

The Democratic-controlled House passed the measure on an 85-11 vote Thursday. It now awaits Gov. Jay Inslee's approval to be signed into law.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will likely call lawmakers back into special session on Monday. This comes as the clock runs out on the 105-day regular session without a budget deal--or agreement on school funding.

That’s led to plenty of finger-pointing at the Capitol.  

In what has become the new normal, Washington state lawmakers are expected to go into an overtime session because they’ve been unable to agree on a state operating budget or a plan to fully fund public schools.

The regular 105-day session ends Sunday, April 23.

A measure to crack down on prohibited gun buyers in Washington has unexpectedly died in the Republican-led state Senate. The bipartisan proposal failed to get a vote before a key deadline this week.

One casualty of the looming end of Washington state’s legislative session is a bill on police use of deadly force.

Washington has one of the highest bars in the nation for charging police officers who use deadly force. They are protected as long as they act in good faith and without malice.

It’s taken five years, but injured railroad worker Dwight Hauck sees victory at hand. Washington lawmakers are on the verge of requiring new safety standards for private transport companies that shuttle rail crews between trains. 


On March 23, 2011, union railroader Hauck nearly lost his life. He was the lone survivor of a crash in a rail yard in Kelso, Washington. 


“I don’t remember anything at all,” Hauck said. 

 


Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to negotiate a state budget that complies with a Supreme Court ruling to fully fund schools.

Democrats in the Washington state House have proposed a $3 billion tax package to help fund schools and social services over the next two years. The budget and tax plan unveiled Monday includes a new tax on capital gains.

Washington Senate Republicans are looking for ways to save money on state subsidized child care for low-income families. And they think they’ve found a way.

Washington Senate Republicans have proposed a $5 billion increase in state spending over the next two years, including $1.8 billion more for public schools in an attempt to satisfy a Supreme Court ruling that found the state is not adequately funding K-12 education.

Washington’s 105-day legislative session is more than half over. But the big job of negotiating a new two-year state budget has yet to begin. Senate Republicans are expected to unveil their budget proposal early this week, followed by House Democrats.

President Donald Trump has made it clear climate change is not a priority for his administration, but it is still a top issue for Democratic governors and lawmakers in Washington and Oregon.

In Oregon, there’s talk of a cap-and-trade system. And in Washington, the idea of a carbon tax keeps popping up as Democrats and Republicans face off over the budget.

The next generation of cell technology will feature smaller antennas in more places and will eventually lead to 5G connectivity. Wireless carriers are pushing legislation in Washington state to give them access to power poles, street lights and other public infrastructure for placement of the small antennas.

But this has created a fight with cities.

Gun rights advocates are declaring victory after several firearms-related measures failed to advance in the Washington Legislature. But gun control advocates say they see momentum on their side.

No matter how frustrated you might be with any given election, don’t batter the ballot drop boxes in Washington state. Lawmakers in both chambers of the legislature passed bills Wednesday with hopes of protecting the boxes many voters use to submit their ballots.

Washington state school districts will not go over the so-called “levy cliff.” At least not next year. The state House Thursday sent the governor a bipartisan measure to extend current levy capacity for another year.

The Washington state House has voted to give added protections to sick workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Washington state’s 105-day legislative session is almost at the halfway point. But a final, bipartisan deal on school funding could still be months away.

Education Plans Move Forward In Washington Legislature

Feb 23, 2017

The Washington Legislature has reached a milestone in its court-ordered quest to amply fund schools. Both chambers have now passed education funding plans.

The House vote happened Wednesday. But negotiating a final compromise could take months.

Washington lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers from .08 to .05. That would make the limit one of the lowest in the nation. The House Transportation Committee heard the bill Tuesday

There’s a movement sweeping states across the nation, known as the “Right to Work.” State Senators in Olympia heard a bill Wednesday that would bring it to Washington.

You may think the existence of climate change is settled. But at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia Tuesday, a climate denier was given a prominent platform.

Eye-rolling and harrumphing ensued.

The idea of giving workers paid time off to care for a new baby or an elderly parent has long been a priority of the left. But now the idea is gaining traction with some Republicans in the Washington Legislature.

Workers in Washington state are already eligible for up to 24 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave under state and federal law. A decade ago the Washington Legislature passed a paid family leave program, but never funded it. Now Washington Democrats and their labor allies are making a hard push to finally fund and expand that program.

In Washington state, there’s no law to keep you from checking Facebook while you drive. But that could change during this year’s legislative session. Lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that could force you to cut down your phone use on the road -- or pay a hefty fine if you get caught.

Some lawmakers in Olympia want public university athletic departments to face closer scrutiny when they overspend. A bill was introduced Thursday that would make universities accountable to the legislature for deficits in those budgets.

The Consumer Technology Association estimates about 1.2 million drones were sold during the just-completed holiday shopping season. Now one state lawmaker from western Washington wants to give you the legal right to tell a drone operator to buzz off.

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