Washington Ledge

5:38 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Republican Transportation Leader Eyeing 11.5 Cent Gas Tax Increase

Kristen Steele Flickr

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 5:34 pm

Gas prices have plummeted, but Washington’s gas tax could soon go up.

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Lobbyist-Paid Meals
4:56 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Washington Senator: It's Not Just Lobbyist-Paid Meals But 'Free Cigars, Free Booze'

Washington lawmakers may accept 12 free meals per year from lobbyists.
Robert S. Donovan Flickr

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 4:51 pm

Nearly two years after public radio and the Associated Press investigated lobbyist-paid meals for Washington lawmakers, the issue is still a topic of discussion in the legislature.

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Utility Districts
4:20 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Washington Lands Commissioner Loses PUD Right-Of-Way Battle

The washington Supreme Court ruled that public utility districts can string power lines through state trust lands.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 3:51 pm

Public utility districts in Washington have the right to place power lines through state trust lands. That was the decision from the Washington Supreme Court.

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Minimum Wage
5:28 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Oregon, Washington Propose $12 State Minimum Wages

File photo. Activists rally in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage on the steps of the Washington capitol building in Olympia.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 9:00 pm

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

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Government And Politics
4:50 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Lawmakers Proposed The Darndest Things


Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:47 pm

It’s the end of week two of Washington’s legislative session. Already more than 1,200 bills have been introduced.

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WSU Medical School
4:57 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Bill Would Change 100 Year Old Med School Law

Skeptics wonder if the legislature is prepared, or willing, to fund two Spokane med schools.
Credit Washington State University

Two Spokane lawmakers submitted bill’s Wednesday to change a nearly century-old state law regarding medical schools.

Republican Senator Michael Baumgartner and Democratic Representative Marcus Riccelli introduced the bills to help Washington State University create its own medical school. The bills would amend a 1917 state law that allows only University of Washington to operate a medical school, and caps the amount of students at 120.

Riccelli’s measure has 60 co-sponsors from the House, which makes a super-majority.

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Class Size Initiative
4:56 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Class Size Campaign Prepares To Do Battle With Washington Legislature

Credit Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Washington voters barely approved it in November. Now backers of an initiative to reduce class sizes are preparing to mount a new campaign. They have to convince lawmakers to fund the new law.

Initiative 1351 orders the state to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through 12th grade. The specific class size targets come from the state’s Quality Education Council.

But achieving them could require 25,000 new teachers and support staff over the next four years. Some lawmakers have called the initiative a “budget buster.”

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3:17 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Respect Thy Neighbors: Privacy Invasion By Hobby Drones Targeted In Olympia

Legislation in Washington state could set privacy rules for hobbyists flying drones such as this DJI Phantom drone, which has a Go Pro camera mounted underneath.
Don McCullough Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 3:32 pm

Sales of small, camera-equipped drones are soaring. Aside from air safety issues, these remotely-piloted aircraft can raise privacy concerns if they fly uninvited over your backyard or past your bedroom windows.

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Marijuana Misdemeanors
5:16 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Legalization Passed, But Should Old Marijuana Convictions Stay?


Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 10:06 am

In the years before Washington and Oregon legalized recreational pot for adults, thousands of people were convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

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Gun Rights
3:58 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Tense Moments As Gun Rights Rally Spills Into Washington House Gallery

Jason McMillon was threatened with removal and arrest from the Washington House gallery for the ''tactical'' manner he was carrying his military-style pistol.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 5:04 pm

Guns are allowed in the Washington state Capitol, but state law makes it illegal to carry a firearm in a manner designed to intimidate.

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