washington legislature

Historic forest fires. The Oso landslide. Global warming. These are among the issues in the race for Washington Commissioner of Public Lands. The position oversees state trust lands that generate money for schools.

The commissioner must also navigate a constant tension between the timber industry and environmentalists.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg wants to make his office nonpartisan. The Republican said he will ask the county council to send a charter amendment to voters this fall.

The Washington Legislature has adjourned. And now the campaign season has begun. Within hours of the final gavels falling Tuesday night, fundraising pleas went out.

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.

Fifty private gun sales have been blocked since Washington voters approved a background check law in 2014. That’s according to FBI data released in response to a public records request by public radio and KING-TV in Seattle.

A fresh budget proposal and some partisan sparks. That’s how a special session of the Washington legislature kicked off Friday. Senate Republicans went public with their latest budget offer and House Democrats quickly cried foul.

Washington lawmakers adjourned their 60-day session Thursday night after failing to reach agreement on an update to the state’s two-year budget. In response, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee followed through on a threat to veto several bills. He also immediately called a special session of the legislature to finish its work.

The clock is running out on Washington’s 60-day legislative session. House Democrats and Senate Republicans have until Thursday at midnight to approve an update to the state’s two-year budget. But first they need to agree on the details.

Orin Blomberg / FLICKR Creative Commons

Washington state representatives introduced new legislation into the U.S. House to advance a water plan for Washington’s Yakima Valley. The bill, H.R. 4686, would authorize federal funding for a lengthy list of water projects in the central part of the state.

A warming climate could make water more scarce for places that depend on runoff from mountain snowpack, which could be especially troublesome for agricultural hubs like the Yakima Valley.

A fight over the state budget could send Washington lawmakers into overtime. Or, the legislature could adjourn without updating the state’s current two-year spending plan. The lead budget writer in the Washington House raised both of those scenarios Thursday.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Should Washington’s Constitution be amended to require a two-thirds vote for tax hikes? The Republican-led state Senate voted “yes” to that Friday. But supporters failed to muster the supermajority vote required to send the question to voters.

Republican budget writer Andy Hill of Redmond made the case for the higher threshold.

“I think it forces everybody to come together and make sure that when we do raise a tax it’s for a very, very good reason,” Hill said.

Democrat Reuven Carlyle of Seattle opposed the constitutional amendment.

Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson is out of a job. The Republican-led Washington Senate voted Friday afternoon not to confirm Peterson three years after she was appointed by Democratic Governor Jay Inslee.

Police agencies in Washington state would not be allowed to rate officers by how many traffic tickets they hand out under a proposal put forward by a former Spokane police officer.

Is the tax on legal marijuana in Washington too high?

Washington lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday for a short election-year session. They say getting bipartisan agreement on a school funding plan is a top priority.

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Another candidate has joined the 2016 race for Washington State auditor. It’s a Seattle attorney who’s never run for public office.

The auditor’s job is to shine a light on how public dollars are spent…or misspent.

Democrat Jeff Sprung said he’s had a similar career focus - fighting for taxpayers. And he wants to bring that experience, and a fresh perspective, to state government.

“I’m an outsider to Olympia and I have no stake in fighting old battles," Sprung said. "For the job of the people’s watchdog, I think that’s exactly what’s needed.”

September’s deadly Aurora Bridge accident in Seattle and the 2015 fire season are on the agenda as Washington lawmakers return to the Capitol on Thursday and Friday.

Money is pouring into a highly competitive special election to fill an open seat in the Washington state House. But tracing where that money comes from is no easy task.

Washington State House of Representatives

Most voters in Washington should have their November ballots in hand by the end of this week. It’s an off election year. But there’s one hot legislative race that has implications for future control of the Washington state House.

After a record-long session, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and legislative leaders still aren’t done. They’ll resume talks on schools funding on Monday afternoon in SeaTac after an unprecedented ruling from the state Supreme Court.

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The State Supreme Court has again ruled the legislature’s efforts to fully fund public schools are falling short.  But this time, they’re adding a penalty to their ruling.  

Harvey Barrison / Flickr

The State Supreme Court is ratcheting up pressure on the legislature to fix problems with how the state funds public schools.  Justices have announced they’ll fine the state $100,000 a day until lawmakers lay out a complete plan to close the McCleary school funding case. 

State lawmakers from around the country will descend on Seattle the week of August 3 for a national legislative summit.

It was a record-long legislative session in Washington. But the number of bills that actually became law was quite few – comparatively.

Before they left town, Washington lawmakers approved a nearly $4 billion capital construction budget. That includes $130 million in member-requested projects – what you might call pork.

The Washington Legislature finally adjourned its 2015 session Friday. The last piece of business was for the state House to approve $508 million in new spending on roads, ferries and transit.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington state Senate has voted to delay a voter-approved class size measure and a biology test high school graduation requirement. The votes Thursday afternoon pave the way for the legislature to adjourn its third special session Friday. 

Typically, the Washington legislature is done long before Oregon because of how the legislative calendars work in each state. But not this year.

Washington lawmakers have until the 30-day special session runs out on June 27 to reach a budget deal. If they fail to do so, a partial government shutdown would begin on July 1.

Former Washington state Rep. Susan Fagan has agreed to reimburse taxpayers after filing false expense reports.

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