Hunt reflects on 24 years as a legislator

He is 81 years old, a long-time Democrat and a 24-year veteran of the state Legislature. But this year is the last one in which Sen. Sam Hunt will wield a gavel. “It's time to... — Updated 4/24/2024

New ferries to bolster fleet still years away

Washington's ferry system is in jeopardy. It is struggling to meet the demands of its routes, and officials say it may be three to four years before any new ferry can go into... — Updated 3/11/2024

Legislature approves ban on state income tax

An initiative prohibiting imposition of a state income tax was approved March 5 by the state Legislature. "This is a great day for everyone in Washington," said Rep. Jim Walsh,... — Updated 3/6/2024

Effort to improve ballot rejection rates passes unanimously

Washington State is recognized for its effective voting processes, but officials say too many ballots are rejected because signatures don't match. "I think we can do a lot better... — Updated 3/6/2024

Inslee reflects in his final year as governor

On the second level of the white and gray marbled Capitol building stands the Governor's office, guarded by a State Patrol trooper stationed outside. On the interior walls are... — Updated 2/12/2024

Three of the six citizen initiatives will be granted hearings

Three citizen-led initiatives will receive hearings in this session of the Legislature, said Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, D-Spokane, and Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma. The Legislature will debate I-2113 on... — Updated 2/21/2024

Crowd demands hearing on citizen initiatives

A sea of red, white and blue covered the Capitol steps as hundreds of Washingtonians proudly waved American flags and demanded hearings on six initiatives that would roll back... — Updated 2/28/2024

Cancer diagnosis redirects Sen. Rebecca Saldaña's energy this legislative session

In the mainly white, buttoned down, business suit environment that is the Washington State Legislature, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña stands out. The Seattle Democrat swapped heels for... — Updated 2/28/2024

Budget questions swirl around possible repeal of climate act

Money to expand and upgrade the state’s ferry fleet will be included in this year’s supplemental budget, but lawmakers warn funding could go away if voters choose to repeal the Climate Commitment Act (CCA). “If the CCA is... — Updated 2/24/2024

Mandatory voting proposed by Democrats

A proposal to make voting mandatory drew criticisms from two thousand people in a Legislative hearing Jan. 25. "We are already in a moment of extreme distrust in elections, so you... — Updated 1/26/2024

Building trust in law enforcement a key goal, Lovick says

Sen. John Lovick describes himself as a Black man with brown skin who wore a blue uniform for a combined 37 years as a former state trooper and Snohomish County Sheriff. "Not... — Updated 4/9/2024

Property crimes can now be hate crimes

Some property crimes now can be classed as hate crimes if they are racially motivated or if they target other marginalized communities. Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, said he was motivated to press for changes in what can be... — Updated 3/18/2024

Officers soon will be allowed to work part time

Washington remains 51st in the nation for police officers per capita, and one answer to that problem might be allowing officers to work part-time. SB 5424, sponsored by Sen. John... — Updated 4/9/2024

Same-day report required for stolen guns

When a student at Seattle's Ingraham High School was shot and killed two years ago, an investigation revealed the gun used in the crime was stolen. Now, advocates from that... — Updated 3/6/2024

New bill advances equal professional opportunities for immigrants

Undocumented individuals are now a small step away from pursuing careers in nursing, dentistry, architecture, psychology, and much more under a bill now waiting for the governor's... — Updated 3/4/2024

Police given more leeway to pursue suspects

New rules that give police more leeway to engage in high-speed pursuits were approved by the Legislature and will become law June 5, 2024. “As you know, the people of the state are suffering, increasing rates of crime,... — Updated 3/6/2024

Clergy members could become mandatory reporters of child abuse

When Sen. Noel Frame, D-Seattle, learned how Jehovah’s Witness elders in Spokane had covered up child sexual abuse for years, she looked to the law for answers. Frame found that,... — Updated 2/21/2024

Condom use requires partner consent, proposal says

Testifying before lawmakers, Mina Hashemi recounted how three years ago she was shocked to see that the condom she had explicitly asked for during sex had been removed. "I felt deeply violated," Hashemi said. "While I was lucky... — Updated 2/12/2024

Jaywalking laws too severe, critics say

Taking cues from California, there's a push to lighten up on jaywalking fines-a move that hits the headlines for its impact on both the homeless community and Black pedestrians. In... — Updated 1/30/2024

Proposal allows deadly force cases to be handled by Attorney General's office

Following the concerns over police brutality in 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee directed the Attorney General’s office to form an Office of Independent Investigations to take on cases of death by law enforcement officers. Now Rep. Monica... — Updated 1/24/2024

Voters to decide fate of state's climate act

The debate over how Washington reduces greenhouse gasses is headed for a showdown in November. To supporters, The Climate Commitment Act (CCA) is a "gold standard" environmental... — Updated 3/18/2024

State proposes pesticide ban despite current research

Neonicotinoid pesticides are known for their harmful effects on the nervous systems of insects and a proposal in the state Legislature calls for banning them for household use. “About ⅓ of our agricultural sector needs... — Updated 2/24/2024

Demand for affordable homes near transit hubs faces hurdles, critics say

Washington cities could soon be required to block off zones near public transit for multifamily housing, if new regulations are approved by the state Legislature. Some regulation... — Updated 1/22/2024

Legislation would impose fines for untreated sewage discharge

A proposal to fine counties and cities when untreated sewage is released into Puget Sound is part of an effort to save dwindling salmon runs. The bill, proposed by Rep. J.T.... — Updated 2/7/2024

WSDA seeks assistance in halting Japanese Beetle spread

The Washington States Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is asking for help from Yakima County residents in stopping the spread of Japanese Beetles. Residents that live in Grandview,... — Updated 12/28/2023

Valley snow levels are low for this time of year

When it comes to our sense of the weather, a lot of it may actually be linked to perception. "It's funny how your memory is different from the data," Methow Trails Executive... — Updated 1/14/2024

Mt. Baker Ski Area looks to more sustainable future

Skiers and snowboarders return to a more sustainable Mt. Baker Ski Area, with millions spent to upgrade power sources to reach a future goal of using renewables. More than a foot... — Updated 2/12/2024

Wolverines designated a threatened species by Fish and Wildlife Service

High in the mountains above the Methow Valley lives a small population of rare wolverines, one of the most elusive mammals in North America. The North Cascades are one of the few... — Updated 1/14/2024

Whatcom industrial site owners fined nearly $1M for dangerous waste violations

The Washington Department of Ecology issued a $900,000 fine to Treoil Industrial site's owners in Whatcom County on Tuesday, Dec. 5, for non-compliance with the state's dangerous... — Updated 12/7/2023

Blending education and technology a goal for Wellman

On the last Monday morning of the 2024 legislative session, Washington State Sen. Lisa Wellman's office brimmed with sunlight, an early peek at spring, as she sipped tea from a... — Updated 3/22/2024

Parental authority initiative approved, but concerns linger

The "Parent's right to know," a citizen-led initiative regarding parental authority over kids in public schools, will become law in June. While the measure won wide bipartisan... — Updated 3/18/2024

Zero-emission school bus plan moves ahead

School districts are required to transition to zero emission school buses under a law recently approved by the state House and Senate. The bill received numerous amendments after districts voiced concerns over reliability, range... — Updated 3/27/2024

Holocaust education bill dies

An effort to make Holocaust and genocide education mandatory in Washington public schools has failed to win enough support to pass in this year's Legislature. "We've been trying... — Updated 2/21/2024

Lawmakers push for phone restrictions in schools

Schools across Washington state are developing new cellphone policies to stop under-the-desk texting for teens and game playing while at school. Some of these policies are already in use at Eastern Washington's Reardan-Edwall... — Updated 2/16/2024

Paraeducators rally for fair wages

Bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria workers stood outside of the capitol with signs that read: “Living wages for ESP’S!” and “I’m a paraprofessional, my heart is full,... — Updated 2/24/2024

Genocide education bill sparks high emotions in hearing

People held hands between armrests as they waited to tell the stories of loved ones lost to genocide. Almost every seat in the hearing room was filled, and 67 people were scheduled to speak. Prime sponsor Sen. John Braun... — Updated 2/16/2024

Students push bill to bring overdose-reversal drug to all schools

Concerned about drug overdoses among teenagers, Lake Washington High School seniors Theodore Meek, Joanna Lymberis, Olivia Milstein, Sophia Lymberis and Reilly Jones transformed a... — Updated 1/22/2024

Mandatory process proposed to review complaints about school library books

A mandatory process to guide school districts should be required when protests erupt over books that deal candidly with sexual preferences and gender identity. While proponents of... — Updated 2/2/2024

Proposal gives Attorney General authority to oversee hospital consolidations

Healthcare workers say the state should have the power to review hospital consolidations to make sure levels of care are not reduced when a hospital is purchased. Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, said she saw her own community... — Updated 3/4/2024

A bill seeks reduction of lead in cookware

Parents shouldn’t have to worry that the pots and pans they cook in could be poisoning their kids, say scientists and legislators, and a bill proposed in the state Legislature would make sure that is true. HB 1551 limits the... — Updated 3/4/2024

Minimum age of 25 proposed for high-THC cannabis

To protect young people from the dangers of high-strength cannabis, two bills have been proposed in this year’s Washington State Legislature. SB 6220, recently passed in the Senate, establishes the minimum purchase age for... — Updated 2/12/2024

Foster moms protest the increase in child fatalities

By Aspen Anderson Washington State Journal As the prevalence of fentanyl rises, so too does the frequency of critical incidents related to parental substance abuse among foster... — Updated 2/21/2024

Protection for abortion doctors proposed

When she treated an out-of-state patient from Idaho with pulmonary hypertension. Dr. Jennifer Chin of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) knew her... — Updated 1/30/2024

Diaper changing stations for dads proposed

Diaper changing stations traditionally were placed only in women's bathrooms, and Alexandra Johnson, a mother of two from Snoqualmie, thinks that should change. “What are the implications for our children when they see that mom... — Updated 1/26/2024

Tribal members confront fentanyl crisis

Tribal members in Washington State are four times more likely to overdose and die on opioids than the state average, and advocates are pushing for state programs to address the... — Updated 1/24/2024

Bill would allow alcohol in adult establishments

Washington currently has the fewest adult entertainment establishments per capita in the country. The reason? They are not allowed to serve alcohol. But if a bill in the state... — Updated 2/28/2024

AG Ferguson files lawsuit to stop Kroger-Albertson merger worth $24.6 billion

Kroger and Albertsons claim a proposed merger worth 24.6 billion will result in better prices for grocery shoppers, but many fear food prices will go up and jobs could be lost as... — Updated 1/17/2024

Task force proposed to study impacts of artificial intelligence

Some fear Artificial Intelligence (AI) might open a dark chapter to a dystopian future. Others say the progress it promises is virtually unlimited. To find a balance among those... — Updated 2/12/2024

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