Washington Senate

Longtime Washington U.S. Senator Patty Murray has drawn a Republican challenger. Former GOP Chair Chris Vance formally announced his 2016 run Tuesday.

The Republican-led Washington Senate Monday approved a nearly 12-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase phased in over three years.

In January, the Washington state Senate adopted a rule requiring that new taxes pass the Senate by a two-thirds vote. Monday Lt. Governor Brad Owen tossed it out.

Owen said the super majority threshold runs afoul of the state constitution. Owen pointed to a 2013 Washington Supreme Court ruling that overturned a voter-approved super majority requirement for tax hikes.

When temperatures rise this spring, you're bound to hear the occasional sad tale of a dog locked in a hot car in the sun.

A bipartisan group of Washington state senators is backing an 11.7 cent gas tax increase over three years.

Three Washington state senators received a boost in their per diem last month, despite previously saying they wouldn’t take a raise in their daily allowance.

The Washington House has joined the state Senate in banning openly carried guns in the public viewing galleries.

Umbrellas, strollers and backpacks were already banned from the public viewing galleries in the Washington House and Senate.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Republicans control the Washington Senate. But  Monday’s start of the 2015 session featured a Democratic insurgency. It happened when Republicans tried to re-elect Senator Tim Sheldon as President Pro Tem of the Senate.

Sheldon is a Democrat who in 2012 joined with Republicans to help them take control of the Washington Senate.

Majority Republicans wanted to re-elect Sheldon to the position when suddenly minority Democrats nominated a Republican. And not just any Republican: Senator Pam Roach who’s been a lightning rod over the years.

In the end Roach won.

Aspaschen / Wikimedia

The Republican-controlled Washington Senate has voted to make it harder to approve new forms of taxation.

The Senate Monday narrowly adopted a rule that requires a two-thirds vote to bring proposals for new taxes to the floor for a final vote. Republican Joe Fain defended the rule change.

"It only would impact things like a capital gains tax or an income tax or a radical change to our tax structure in this state which I think, reasonably, should require a higher threshold from this chamber if we’re going to do so,” Fain said.