Budget Deal
3:15 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Washington Governor Announces Budget Deal, No Shutdown

Christina Salerno TVW

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:19 pm

The Washington legislature hopes to deliver a budget to Governor Jay Inslee by the end of business Friday. This after the House and Senate reached a handshake deal on a $33.6 billion state budget for the next two years. The agreement – after weeks of negotiations – should avert a government shutdown on Monday.

The official announcement came from Governor Inslee who was flanked by legislative leaders. “We are happy," he said. "And I know we are all relieved, to report to you that lawmakers have reached agreement on an operating budget for the next biennium.”

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Legislative Trips
4:52 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Lawmaker Travel: Was A Trip To Turkey Legislative Business?

Washington State Senator Pam Roach appears on Azerbaijani television during a trip in May to strengthen relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan.
Credit Pam Roach

It can be one of the perks of elected office: free trips to foreign lands. Recently, several Washington state lawmakers were invited on a 10-day tour of Turkey and Azerbaijan. This particular overseas excursion has raised questions in the Capitol about when a foreign trip is legitimate legislative business and when it’s a junket.

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Washington Budget
4:22 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

As Washington Budget Negotiations Heat Up, Shutdown Details Emerge

Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 3:45 pm

The push is on to get a final budget deal in Olympia. Top legislative leaders met Thursday to see if they could bridge their final differences. Meanwhile, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what a July 1 government shutdown would look like if there’s no agreement.

The governor’s office says without a new budget, 34 state agencies and commissions would completely shut down on July 1st. Another 24 would partially shutter. On the closure list: state parks, the lottery, and some mental health services.

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Public Pensions
6:42 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Local Governments Watch Oregon Public Pension Debate

The City of Salem shows off its public works equipment each June.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Oregon lawmakers are locked in a stalemate over whether to make additional cuts to the state's pension system for public employees. The debate will affect every unit of government in Oregon. Most of the conversation at the capitol has surrounded the impact to state agencies and schools. But city and county governments are also watching the pension battle closely.

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Revenue Forecast
5:20 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Washington Lawmakers Hope For Positive Revenue Forecast

As budget negotiations drag on, an empty hallway and a “No Meetings Scheduled” message board greet visitors to the House office building in Olympia.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Protracted budget talks in Olympia could see a breakthrough after Tuesday’s release of an updated revenue forecast. That’s the quarterly report that projects how much money will flow into state tax coffers in the coming months.

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Washington Revenue Debate
7:45 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Washington Revenue Debate Not Over With Estate Tax “Fix”

The checks will not be in the mail Friday morning. Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation late Thursday night to halt the issuance of refunds to the heirs of some multi-million dollar estates. At a midnight bill signing, Inslee – a Democrat – praised the legislature for voting to fund schools in lieu of refunds for wealthy families. But he also said he wants lawmakers to find additional sources of revenue for the next budget.

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Estate Tax
4:01 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Deal Struck To Prevent Washington Estate Tax Refunds

Washington Legislature

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:48 pm

The Washington House and Senate have struck a deal that would forestall having to issue estate tax refunds starting Friday morning. House Democrats quickly passed the tax rewrite in response to an unfavorable court decision.

But the mostly Republican-controlled Senate has not yet voted. House Finance Chair Reuven Carlyle portrays it as a choice between money for school kids or refunds for wealthy estates.

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Second Special Session
4:04 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Washington Legislature Convenes Second Special Session

The electronic reader board in the Washington Senate announced the first day of the second special session.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The opening gavel has once again fallen in the Washington legislature.

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Oregon Lawmakers
5:00 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Some Bills Left Behind As Oregon Lawmakers Press For Adjournment

M.O. Stevens Wikimedia

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:39 pm

Oregon lawmakers are pressing to clear a backlog of legislation. The House is planning morning and afternoon sessions to try to reach a hoped-for adjournment by the end of the month. But some measures appear to have fallen by the wayside.

A few examples:

• The bill to require daily flag salutes in Oregon public schools. It passed the House. But lawmakers in the Senate objected, and changed it to simply extend the current once-a-week flag salute to charter schools.

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Oregon Budget
3:59 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Still No Agreement On Revenue, Pensions In Oregon Legislature

M.O. Stevens Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 3:54 pm

Oregon lawmakers could vote as soon as Tuesday on money for K-12 education. But final approval of the spending plan likely won't happen until later this month.

On the table right now is $6.75 billion for Oregon schools. That's a sizable jump over the current spending plan. But some of the state's largest districts say even with that increase, they'd still need to cut teachers or school days.

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