Washington state Legislature

Washington lawmakers begin to drop bills ahead of upcoming session

BY: and - December 4, 2023

Providing striking workers with unemployment checks. Protecting unspent gift card balances for consumers. Keeping the old name for a new state building. These are among the matters Washington lawmakers are teeing up for debate in the 2024 session. Legislators on Monday could begin pre-filing bills for introduction on the session’s first day, Jan. 8. To […]

Initiative poses extra hurdle for merging of Washington, California carbon markets

BY: - December 2, 2023

Gov. Jay Inslee and Democratic legislators see linking Washington’s cap-and-trade program with carbon markets in California and Quebec as a critical next step for the signature climate policy and are pushing ahead to make it happen.  But a ballot measure to repeal the Climate Commitment Act may slow their pursuit – unless they are willing […]

Crime, taxes and artificial intelligence on tap as WA lawmakers prep for session

BY: - November 27, 2023

Rising costs of transportation projects. Using artificial intelligence in Washington classrooms. Preserving affordable housing. Spending proceeds from the state’s new capital gains tax and recent cap-and-trade auctions. Those are a few topics state lawmakers will delve into when they return to Olympia for committee days, an annual fete in which they get schooled on issues […]

Consumer spending drives another $200M in expected state revenue growth

BY: - November 20, 2023

Washington’s economy is churning a little slower as consumers keep spending but homes aren’t selling at the pace they were a year ago. A new revenue forecast released Monday projects state tax collections will reach $66.9 billion for the two-year budget cycle that began July 1, an increase of $191 million from what chief economist […]

Only you (almost) can put Smokey Bear on Washington license plates

BY: - November 20, 2023

Washington drivers could one day be carrying Smokey Bear’s image and message on their license plates to help reduce the number of wildfires started by people. An effort launched Monday would create a specialty license plate featuring the iconic bear and its hallmark slogan: “Only you can prevent wildfires.” Proceeds from sales of the plates […]

State hauls in nearly $900M from first year of capital gains tax

BY: - November 15, 2023

Washington’s new capital gains tax brought in $890 million in its first year, state officials said Wednesday. Those proceeds, garnered from the state’s wealthiest residents, will be funneled into early learning and child care programs, and to school districts in need of dollars for construction and renovation projects. “The new funds could not come at […]

Washington sets out to merge its carbon market with California and Québec

BY: - November 2, 2023

Washington’s campaign to aggressively curb climate-damaging air pollution entered a new phase Thursday with a decision to pursue linking the state’s  carbon market with ones in California and Québec. Washington Director of Ecology Laura Watson made the expected announcement, calling it “the best path” to addressing the “moral imperative of protecting Washington and the planet […]

Here’s how collective bargaining for Washington legislative staffers could go

BY: - October 30, 2023

Employees of the state Legislature will be able to unionize next May but not every one of them should be allowed to do so. That’s according to recommendations in a new report from the leader of the Office of State Legislative Labor Relations. Only partisan staff in the House and Senate should be permitted to […]

WA lawmaker plans hiatus from think tank job to comply with ethics rules

BY: - October 27, 2023

A Yakima state lawmaker appeared Friday to satisfy concerns of an ethics panel so he can continue working for the Washington Policy Center without violating any conflict-of-interest laws. Republican Rep. Chris Corry became director of the conservative think tank’s Center for Government Reform in May. When he got the job offer, Corry asked the Legislative […]

Mobile home residents are seizing the opportunity to buy their parks

BY: - October 26, 2023

Mobile home parks are coming up for sale and there are signs that a new law giving residents a chance to buy them is working. Since mid-July, 11 properties have gone on the market in Washington and residents of seven are using tools from the three-month-old law to pursue ownership, the state House Housing Committee […]

Washington lawmaker vows to fix law that’s failing to help victims of child sex trafficking

BY: - October 25, 2023

This article was first published by InvestigateWest. The lead legislator of Washington’s “Safe Harbor” law aimed at aiding child sex trafficking victims plans to introduce a bill addressing the law’s shortcomings. Stakeholders say a new bill with more funding is needed following an InvestigateWest report that uncovered the state’s failure to provide treatment options for […]

Washington fine-tunes its options for boosting electric vehicle sales

BY: - October 25, 2023

Susan Baird-Joshi spent many hours the last few months helping draw up Washington’s ambitious plan for rapidly electrifying cars and trucks in the state. As a member of the Electric Vehicle Advisory Council, the data scientist weighed in on dozens of ideas considered in drafting the long-term strategy to accelerate purchases of battery-powered vehicles – […]