washington legislature

Acrimony and gridlock. That’s the state of affairs at the Washington state Capitol where  lawmakers Monday began a 30-day overtime session. Gov.Jay Inslee called lawmakers back after they failed to reach agreement on a state budget and school funding package. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will call state lawmakers back into special session starting Monday. The Democrat’s announcement Friday came as budget negotiations remained stalled with the regular session scheduled to end on Sunday.

Washington state lawmakers sent a distracted driving crackdown to the governor's desk late Wednesday. And lawmakers in Oregon are steadily steering their own version of this through legislative committees.

Washington state Senate Republicans and House Democrats are at loggerheads over how to fund schools. Republicans want to replace local school levies with a new state property tax levy. Democrats want a new capital gains tax to generate more money for schools.

In what has become the new normal, Washington state lawmakers are expected to go into an overtime session because they’ve been unable to agree on a state operating budget or a plan to fully fund public schools.

The regular 105-day session ends Sunday, April 23.

A measure to crack down on prohibited gun buyers in Washington has unexpectedly died in the Republican-led state Senate. The bipartisan proposal failed to get a vote before a key deadline this week.

One casualty of the looming end of Washington state’s legislative session is a bill on police use of deadly force.

Washington has one of the highest bars in the nation for charging police officers who use deadly force. They are protected as long as they act in good faith and without malice.

Put down your phone and drive. That’s the message from Washington lawmakers.

The Washington House passed a new distracted driving law Wednesday and it needs one more vote in the Senate before it goes to the governor.

Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to negotiate a state budget that complies with a Supreme Court ruling to fully fund schools.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington lawmakers are working this year to craft a solution to the state’s school funding crisis. Much of their work is happening behind the scenes and in closed door meetings. So who’s in those meetings and who’s trying to influence the outcome? The top four leaders of the legislature denied a public records request to see their emails and calendars. 

Washington Senate Republicans have proposed a $5 billion increase in state spending over the next two years, including $1.8 billion more for public schools in an attempt to satisfy a Supreme Court ruling that found the state is not adequately funding K-12 education.

Washington state school districts will not go over the so-called “levy cliff.” At least not next year. The state House Thursday sent the governor a bipartisan measure to extend current levy capacity for another year.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Washington school districts are breathing a collective sigh of relief. The state Senate voted Wednesday night to delay the so-called "levy cliff" for another year. Democrat Andy Billig of Spokane said the move would bring certainty to school districts planning next year's budget.

On International Women’s Day, some women walked out of their workspaces or wore the color red in solidarity. Women in the Washington Senate showed off their scarlet themed wardrobes, but didn’t travel too far. Instead, they helped pass legislation supporting pregnant working women in Washington.

WSDOT / FLICKR

Last year, gun violence shook communities in Marysville and on Whidbey Island, Washington. Some lawmakers in Olympia said it was the result of inadequate mental health resources.

Lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are debating measures intended to crack down on distracted driving.

The Washington state House has voted to give added protections to sick workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Last fall, the Washington Supreme Court made a decision many home builders and landowners call harmful. The ruling, known as the Hirst decision, requires counties to ensure adequate water supply before granting a permit to build.

Washington state’s 105-day legislative session is almost at the halfway point. But a final, bipartisan deal on school funding could still be months away.

President Donald Trump’s immigration policies created a sense of urgency at the annual Latino Legislative Day the Washington state Capitol Monday. Several hundred activists converged in Olympia, Washington, with a message for state lawmakers.

Education Plans Move Forward In Washington Legislature

Feb 22, 2017

The Washington Legislature has reached a milestone in its court-ordered quest to amply fund schools. Both chambers have now passed education funding plans.

The House vote happened Wednesday. But negotiating a final compromise could take months.

Washington lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers from .08 to .05. That would make the limit one of the lowest in the nation. The House Transportation Committee heard the bill Tuesday

Washington’s Legislative Ethics Board has fined state Rep. Melanie Stambaugh $5,000 for posting taxpayer funded videos and photos to a campaign-related Facebook page. The Republican from Puyallup said she will challenge the ethics ruling.

A bipartisan proposal to repeal the death penalty in Washington state will get a hearing Wednesday morning. But the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee said there’s no plan to hold a vote on the measure.

AP Images / Associated Press

Drivers and professional lobbyists for the ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft are urging state lawmakers to replace what they call a "patchwork" of city regulations with uniform statewide rules for their industry. They testified Wednesday that this would expand the availability of the smartphone-based ride-booking services.

Whether it’s a drive from Bellingham or a flight from Washington D.C., a long commute to Olympia for Washington state lawmakers is normal. That’s what Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen told press at a briefing Thursday while he discussed his new role under the Trump administration.

Jeanie Lindsay / Northwest News Network

It’s too hard to keep cops accountable when it comes to using deadly force in Washington state. That’s what citizens supporting a pair of bills said at a hearing in Olympia Tuesday. But some officers who showed up to testify said a change of training, not legal language, is needed.

Washington lawmakers are under a court order to fully fund K-12 education. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that it’s their top priority. But a measure to officially “fund education first” in the state budget failed Wednesday.

TVW

 

The idea of giving workers paid time off to care for a new baby or an elderly parent has long been a priority of the left, but now the idea is gaining traction with some Republicans in the Washington Legislature.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was sworn in Wednesday for a second term. In his inaugural address to a joint session of the Washington Legislature, the Democrat said his top priority this year is to fully fund education.

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