Laurel Demkovich

Laurel Demkovich

Laurel joined States Newsroom in 2023 after almost three years as a statehouse reporter for the Spokesman-Review. She covers state government, the Legislature and all other Olympia news.

State hauls in over $550M from second cap-and-trade auction

By: - June 7, 2023

Washington’s second quarterly auction for pollution allowances will likely bring in more than $557 million, a higher-than-expected jump in revenue that the state can put toward programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. That cash infusion is on top of the nearly $300 million the state made from its first auction in […]

Why Hilary Franz sees a path to victory in the 2024 governor’s race

By: - June 7, 2023

Olympia may be the center of government power in Washington but when Hilary Franz talks about why voters next year should send her to the governor’s office there, she points to credentials she’s gained in other parts of the state. Now in her second term as state public lands commissioner, Franz says the job has […]

Early fire conditions mark start of ‘a very long’ season

By: - June 6, 2023

Hot and dry conditions in western Washington have already prompted a fire risk warning, brush fires in Vancouver, burn bans in some counties and strict admonishments from officials to watch for sparks and extinguish campfires properly. And the hottest months of the year are still ahead. The early fire risk west of the Cascades is […]

State Republican party will see leadership change ahead of 2024

By: - June 5, 2023

Washington state’s Republican party chairman is stepping down after more than five years in the role and as a major round of elections approaches in 2024. Caleb Heimlich announced the move in a statement on Monday saying he was leaving to be more present for his family. Heimlich, the longest serving GOP state party chair […]

Preparing for an invasive insect that is destructive to crops

By: - June 2, 2023

The spotted lanternfly might not be here yet, but Washington officials are beginning to take steps to prevent the spread of the crop-damaging bugs.  Since first appearing in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in 2014, the invasive pest has quickly spread west, harming wine grapes, other crops and trees in its path. It’s now known to […]

House lawmaker announces run for Mullet’s Senate seat

By: - June 1, 2023

State Rep. Bill Ramos, D-Issaquah, will run for state Sen. Mark Mullet’s seat, following Mullet’s announcement Thursday that he would run for governor in 2024. Ramos since 2019 has represented the 5th Legislative District, which sprawls east of Seattle, toward Snoqualmie Pass and to the south stopping just shy of Enumclaw. He said in a […]

At State Parks, revenue is up and staffing levels are down

By: - May 31, 2023

Washington State Parks took in more money than expected during the past two years as the pandemic drove a boom in outdoor recreation.  State Parks collected almost $123 million between July 2021 and April of this year, $12 million more than anticipated. That’s according to a financial report delivered at a State Parks and Recreation […]

There’s still time to receive an exemption from Washington’s long-term care tax

By: - May 30, 2023

A deadline to apply for exemptions from Washington’s controversial long-term care tax is one day away.  People who live outside of Washington but work in the state, spouses of active-duty military service members, those with non-immigrant work visas and veterans with at least a 70% service-connected disability are all eligible for exemptions from the new […]

How new Washington laws aim to lower out-of-pocket health care costs

By: - May 30, 2023

Insulin, abortions, hearing aids and cancer screenings are among the medical expenses that may soon cost less for Washington residents with health insurance. In a session when addressing rising costs and making the state more affordable was top of mind, the Legislature this year passed a number of bills to lower out-of-pocket costs for routine […]

State looks to dump leased real estate as remote work leaves offices empty

By: - May 24, 2023

The state wants to slash nearly a third of its office footprint over the next four years, as government workers stick with remote work arrangements begun during the pandemic and cubicles they once occupied are now often shared or deserted.  Take the Health Care Authority, where 98% of the staff are eligible to work remotely. […]

‘There is NO lahar’: Volcano warning was false alarm

By: - May 24, 2023

Mount Rainier did not erupt on Wednesday morning, but Puyallup residents might have thought it did when a lahar siren rang out downtown around 10 a.m. Thirty minutes after the siren went off, officials took to Twitter to let residents know it was a false alarm. A destructive slurry of mountain debris was not rushing […]

$121 million awarded to broadband projects across Washington

By: - May 22, 2023

Nineteen construction projects that will expand access to broadband internet in Washington are set to receive federal funding from the State Broadband Office.  The office announced more than $121 million in grants to projects that will help deliver high-speed internet to communities across the state where it’s nonexistent or lacking. Washington Commerce Director Mike Fong […]