Oregon lawmakers kicked off a five-week legislative session Monday with a long "to do" list. But some at the Capitol think the legislature is overstepping its authority.

Democrats in the Washington state House have passed a $12 per hour minimum wage measure. The increase would phase-in over four years.

Some Northwest lawmakers want you to be able to drive faster. Bills in both Oregon and Washington would increase the speed limit on some sections of highway.

The Republican-led Washington Senate Monday approved a nearly 12-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase phased in over three years.

In January, the Washington state Senate adopted a rule requiring that new taxes pass the Senate by a two-thirds vote. Monday Lt. Governor Brad Owen tossed it out.

Owen said the super majority threshold runs afoul of the state constitution. Owen pointed to a 2013 Washington Supreme Court ruling that overturned a voter-approved super majority requirement for tax hikes.

Tara Schmidt / Flickr

People who've undergone 'conversion therapy' to try to change their sexual orientation told lawmakers Monday that the therapy doesn't work and is emotionally damaging. 

Lawmakers are considering a bill to stop therapists from performing 'conversion therapy' on minors. The therapy covers a range of treatments aimed at changing sexual orientation.

Back in 1987, Jason Zenobia said his parents sent him to conversion therapy when he told them he was gay.

Aspaschen / Wikimedia

The Republican-controlled Washington Senate has voted to make it harder to approve new forms of taxation.

The Senate Monday narrowly adopted a rule that requires a two-thirds vote to bring proposals for new taxes to the floor for a final vote. Republican Joe Fain defended the rule change.

"It only would impact things like a capital gains tax or an income tax or a radical change to our tax structure in this state which I think, reasonably, should require a higher threshold from this chamber if we’re going to do so,” Fain said.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the legislature has not “acted appropriately” in the face of the McCleary decision on school funding. But he cautioned the state Supreme Court Thursday not to impose sanctions that would penalize other areas of state government. The governor’s comments came one day after the high court held a hearing to consider whether to hold the state in contempt. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Wednesday in a historic hearing that could result in sanctions against the state legislature.

Clint Didier campaign

Washington’s August primary appears to have delivered an historic first. Two Republicans are likely to advance to the November election in central Washington’s Fourth Congressional District. Never before has the state’s top-two primary produced two contenders of the same party for a Congressional seat. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Cacophony / Creative Commons

Washington’s August primary is less than a month away. It’s a midterm election year with no statewide offices on the ballot. Even so, already nearly $33 million has been contributed to campaigns. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins takes a look at who’s giving.

Adam Cotterell / Northwest News Network

Unlike Washington and Oregon, Idaho doesn’t have any form of legal marijuana. In fact in 2013 Idaho lawmakers passed a resolution saying they would never support legalizing marijuana for any reason. But one year later, during the 2014 legislative session many of those same lawmakers held closed door discussions about creating an exception to the state’s strict anti-pot laws. As Adam Cotterell reports it was because of a Boise girl and her mom.

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Oregon lawmakers are wading into the debate on the balance between personal privacy and public safety. Advocates on both sides weighed in on the issue before an Oregon Senate panel Thursday.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

The Oregon Legislature has the right to ban protestors from using the capitol steps overnight. That's the upshot of a ruling Thursday by the Oregon Supreme Court. The case involved anti-war protesters speaking out against the deployment of Oregon National Guard troops to Iraq and Afghanistan back in 2009.

Austin Jenkins

The Washington legislature is trending a bit younger these day.  Nine of the 147 members are under-34 year olds. 

Tradnor / Wikimedia

It’s no grand pact for beefing up Washington’s education budget, but a legislative committee did deliver a report on the subject to the state’s high court. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Cleanup efforts are underway at the Washington State Archives in Olympia after a newly installed kitchen sink line caused a flood overnight. 

Among the historic records that got wet: marriage and birth records from the late 1800s. But the damage could have been much worse. 

Washington Legislature

One of the most influential and controversial members of the Washington legislature made a bombshell announcement Monday.

Austin Jenkins

The Washington legislature adjourned its 60-day session just before midnight Thursday night. This was Senate Floor Leader Joe Fain.

Budget Deal Struck In Washington Legislature

Mar 13, 2014
Tradnor / Wikimedia Commons

Washington public schools will get an additional nearly $60 million, but teachers will not get a cost of living raise this year. That’s the upshot of a budget deal that’s being announced at this hour at the Capitol in Olympia.

Idaho university students are making a last-minute attempt to stop a measure that would allow people to carry concealed weapons on campus.

It looks like Washington lawmakers may adjourn their 60-day legislative session without addressing the issue of lobbyist-paid entertainment.

The Oregon legislature has wrapped up its 2014 legislative session. The final gavel fell Friday afternoon as lawmakers wrapped up the loose ends on a handful of bills.

Oregon lawmakers are struggling to finish their work before this weekend's deadline to adjourn.

They supported his campaign, but now some unionized teachers in Washington have stern words for Governor Jay Inslee.

The debate over a gas tax hike has revved up again in the Washington legislature.

Amber Trillo / Flickr

Washington Speaker of the House Frank Chopp supports a minimum wage hike. But he says the issue wasn’t ready for a vote on the House floor this year. The Democrat made his comments Friday in a rare meeting with the capitol press corps.

Proposal Would End Idaho Sales Tax on Groceries

Feb 28, 2014
Michael Pendergrass / Wikimedia Commons

An Idaho state senator and gubernatorial candidate has introduced a bill that would repeal the sales tax on groceries.

Republican State Senator Russ Fulcher says it’s time Idahoans were able to take advantage of the same savings that neighboring states like Washington, Oregon, and Montana have, by not having to pay sales tax on most grocery items.

Chantal Andrea

Amidst the debate over the now-vetoed Arizona bill that would have protected businesses that refuse to serve gays and others for religious reasons, gay rights groups in the Northwest say similar legislation could surface here.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

State colleges and universities across Idaho are appealing to state lawmakers' fiscally conservative side in an attempt to sideline a proposal to allow guns on campuses. A House committee is scheduled to consider the bill Friday morning. But schools say it could cost hundreds of thousands – even millions – of dollars a year.