Washington lawmakers

Efforts to turnaround Washington’s troubled Western State Hospital are taking longer than expected. The federal government this week granted yet another extension to give the state’s largest mental hospital more time to fix systemic problems.

It seems so simple. Equip police officers with body cameras to record their interactions with the public. But it turns out it’s actually quite complicated.

A legislative task force meets Tuesday in an ongoing effort to try to figure it out.

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Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has released a letter sent by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In it, Sessions suggests Washington is not adequately regulating its legal marijuana market. He reiterates that Congress considers marijuana a dangerous drug and that it’s a federal crime to distribute it.

The sewage system is crumbling in Carbonado, Washington, near Mt. Rainier. And if Washington lawmakers fail to pass a capital construction budget before they adjourn Thursday, a plan to replace it—and many other projects around the state—will be put on hold.

There’s still no word of a budget deal in the Washington state Capitol. And a partial government shutdown is just days away. Yet lawmakers remain optimistic.

After weeks of deadlock, Washington lawmakers could be close to reaching an agreement in principle on a state budget, House and Senate budget writers said on Friday.

Efforts to change Washington’s police deadly force law have been dealt a setback in the state legislature. Friday a compromise measure failed to make it out of committee before a key deadline. But the sponsor remains hopeful.

Washington prosecutors say state law makes it nearly impossible to criminally charge a police officer who uses deadly force. Now a key state lawmaker predicts that law will change this year.

Ted S. Warren / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Washington state legislature has a lot on its plate this year, from funding K-12 education to dealing with the state’s mental health system. Lawmakers spoke in Seattle this morning about some of the coming challenges. 

If you thought the battle over pornography ended with The People vs. Larry Flynt, think again. Utah has taken the step of declaring pornography a public health threat much like tobacco. And now it’s on the agenda in Washington state.

Supporters wore blue. Opponents wore red.

Hundreds of people from Oregon and Washington gathered at a public hearing in Longview Tuesday to offer their views on the proposed Millennium Coal Terminal.

The Washington legislature adjourned its special session late Tuesday night after approving an update to the state’s two-year budget. But before the final gavels fell there were some fiery moments on the floor of the state Senate.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has a blunt warning for state lawmakers:

“Your bills are going to get vetoed if you don’t do your job and pass a budget.”

The stage is set in Olympia for a fight over eliminating tax breaks and whether to dip into the state’s rainy day fund. House Democrats say ‘yes’ to both. Senate Republicans say ‘no’.

Washington lawmakers plan to tap the state’s rainy day fund to pay for last summer’s devastating wildfires. But legislative Democrats said several other crises also deserve immediate funding.

A few short months from now, federal and state foresters around the West will purposely set controlled burns to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires later. This is a regular practice in Oregon, Idaho and California, but much less common in Washington state.

Washington lawmakers are meeting at the state Capitol this week to get ready for the 2016 legislative session. If lawmakers are back in town, that means lobbyists are too. So why squander the moment?