Washington State Journal - Building a stronger, more just & transparent democracy

Articles written by Cameron Sheppard

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Clean fuel would reduce emissions, but businesses question costs

Democrats in the state Legislature are backing bills aimed at reducing carbon emissions and pollutants put into the atmosphere by transportation fuels with the goal of achieving a 95 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions... — Updated 2/17/2021


State mulls goals for reducing homelessness

Lawmakers are scrambling to confront a crisis that leaves homeless people sleeping out in the cold and rain. At a Legislative preview, arranged by the Associated Press Thursday,... — Updated 1/8/2021


Democrats push to require firearm training for concealed carriers

A proposal by Senate Democrats would require concealed pistol license applicants to complete a safety course. Senate Bill 6294 would require concealed-carry permit holders to complete eight hours of training that would include safe... — Updated 1/8/2021


Gun rights advocates rally at Capitol

Hundreds of people from across Washington gathered Jan. 17 on the state Capitol steps in support of their right to bear arms. Lawmakers and activists alike spoke to an excited... — Updated 1/8/2021


Lawmakers move to limit companies that trade your data

Washington lawmakers have proposed groundbreaking legislation that aims to give consumers more control over their digitally-collected personal data and image. Senate Bill 6281, or the Washington Privacy Act, would allow consumers t... — Updated 1/8/2021


Patched together transportation budget fills car tab tax hole

Facing a shortfall of $450 million, lawmakers this week patched together a budget to fund highway maintenance, the Washington State Patrol and other transportation projects. The... — Updated 1/8/2021


Economic windfall applied to homelessness, climate change

Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate rolled out separate spending plans that include hundreds of millions of dollars to address climate change, homelessness, and behavioral health. Without imposing new taxes, the proposed... — Updated 1/8/2021


GOP doubts effectiveness of homelessness spending

Republican leaders in Washington State said they are not confident spending on homelessness proposed by the Democrats will produce significant results. On Monday, Democrats from the Washington House and Senate proposed separate... — Updated 1/8/2021


GOP Senators propose alternative solutions to homelessness

Republican senators pitched their own ideas to address Washington state’s homelessness crisis following the supplemental budgets unveiled by Democratic lawmakers this week. On Thursday, Feb. 27, Senate Republicans gathered the... — Updated 1/8/2021


Coronavirus fears prompt $5 million to assist businesses

A last minute amendment to the senate Democratic Caucus supplemental operating budget earmarks $5 million to help businesses negatively impacted by international responses to the coronavirus outbreak overseas. Businesses like... — Updated 1/8/2021


Narrow Senate vote approves collection of gun violence data

The Washington Legislature is closer to creating an Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention to collect data on gun violence and suicides following a 25-23 vote in favor of Senate Bill 6288. The office created by this... — Updated 1/8/2021


House passes bill to expand court-ordered gun confiscation

Courts could be one step closer to ordering people subject to vulnerable adult protection orders to surrender their firearms after the House voted 55 to 42 on Friday, Feb. 14 in favor of a bill that expands authority to do so.... — Updated 1/8/2021


Childcare certification too strict, Dent says

Parents could have better access to childcare providers if lawmakers pass a bill that aims to make the childcare certification process cheaper and easier. The primary sponsor of House Bill 2556, Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake, said... — Updated 1/8/2021


ICE facility expansion gets thumbs down in the House

Expansion of an Immigration Customs Enforcement detention center in Tacoma is now in doubt following a vote in the state House of Representatives. House Bill 2640, which passed the House 85 to 12, asserts the privately owned... — Updated 1/8/2021


Washington scrambles to boost supply of protective gear

Millions of N-95 masks and other types of personal protective equipment are being delivered to Washington State as public health and emergency response officials scramble to obtain the equipment needed to respond to the growing... — Updated 1/8/2021


Grow-your-own recreational marijuana bill introduced

People will be allowed to grow up to six of their own cannabis plants and up to 15 plants per household if the Legislature passes House Bill 1131 or its companion, Senate Bill 5155. Under current law, people can obtain... — Updated 1/8/2021


Busy legislature passes 400 new laws

At the end of the state legislative session this month, lawmakers had passed nearly 400 bills — averaging at least five new laws per day — focused on a variety of policies including; comprehensive sex education, letting... — Updated 1/8/2021


Vice President visits 'epicenter' of U.S. coronavirus outbreak

On the day Washington state recorded its 11th death from the COVID-19 virus, Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Pierce County to meet with Gov. Jay Inslee and state health... — Updated 1/8/2021


State steps up response to coronavirus outbreak

Public health officials asked the Washington State Legislature for $100 million for a coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak in the state. Department of Health Secretary John Wiesman said March 2 that the state is 42... — Updated 1/8/2021


Governor rolls out assistance plan

Economic assistance to workers, renters and small businesses suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak will be provided by Governor Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 response plan.. At the beginning of the week, Inslee mandated... — Updated 1/8/2021

 By Cameron Sheppard    Money

Tax breaks on airplane maintenance awaits governor's signature

Tax breaks intended to incentivize maintenance and repair work on large private airplanes in communities like Moses Lake are awaiting the governor’s signature. Senate Bill 6068, sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, exemp... — Updated 3/12/2020


Crowd urges veto of sex education bill

Despite the governor's warning to avoid crowds in the wake of the coronavirus, hundreds of concerned parents and residents converged on the Capitol Wednesday to protest Saturday's... — Updated 3/12/2020


Forests help meet carbon goals, bill acknowledges

Washington state lawmakers have passed legislation that will align the timber and forestry sector with the state’s carbon emission goals. The Senate voted 46-3 on March 5 in favor of House Bill 2528, which would recognize the... — Updated 3/9/2020


Satanists conduct a ritual on the Capitol steps

Congregants from the Seattle-based Satanic Temple of Washington drew a crowd of prayerful onlookers Friday as they hoisted their pentagrams and conducted a satanic ritual at the... — Updated 3/6/2020


Concerns voiced over mandatory sex ed

Some parents called a proposed comprehensive sex education proposal a “clear overreach” of state government, but others defended it as age appropriate and necessary. When the dust cleared, the Washington State Senate approved... — Updated 2/21/2020

 By Cameron Sheppard    Money

Tax exemption for private airplane work approved by Senate

The Washington state House of Representatives will consider a 10-year extension of tax exemptions for repairs and modification to large private airplanes owned by nonresidents after the Senate voted 47 to 1 in favor of Senate Bill... — Updated 2/21/2020


Proposed ban on for-profit detention facilities passes Senate

Washington prison inmates won’t be transferred to private out-of-state prisons under a proposal now under consideration by the state Legislature. Senate lawmakers voted 30 to 18 to move the bill along. Senator Rebecca Saldaña,... — Updated 2/20/2020


Higher education gets a boost from tax bill

Fewer businesses will be asked to foot the bill for higher education programs after Gov. Jay Inslee signed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6492 on Monday. The bill will... — Updated 2/12/2020


Lawmakers back timber as a way to reduce state's carbon emissions

Washington state legislators are organizing bipartisan support for the timber industry as part of its effort to reduce carbon from the atmosphere. House Bill 2528 and companion Senate Bill 6355 support the growth of forestry and... — Updated 2/12/2020


Sweeping regulations proposed for vaping products

Legislation requested by the governor's office and supported by Democratic senators aims to ban flavored nicotine vaping products and impose sweeping regulations on the vaping industry. If passed, Senate Bill 6254 would limit the... — Updated 2/12/2020

 By Cameron Sheppard    Money

Republicans aim to guarantee $30 car tabs

As Initiative 976, the car tabs measure approved by voters in November, is held up in the State Supreme Court, Republicans proposed laws that would guarantee the $30 car tabs Washington voters approved. “It is just a clean $30... — Updated 2/12/2020


Per-mile fee considered to replace gas tax

A gradual transition from the state’s current gasoline tax to a system that would charge drivers based on how many miles they drive is under consideration by Washington state lawmakers. This comes amid rising concerns on how to f... — Updated 2/12/2020


Comprehensive sex-ed in schools approved by Senate

A proposed law to require school districts to implement a comprehensive sexual education curriculum emphasizing healthy relationships and consent was passed after a 28-21 vote by the state Senate yesterday. If signed into law, Engr... — Updated 2/12/2020


House passes clean fuels bill over bipartisan opposition

People will be asked to use a lot less gasoline and to convert to alternative clean fuels in the next 15 years if a proposal before the Legislature becomes law. After lengthy debate, Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1110... — Updated 2/12/2020

 By Cameron Sheppard    Money

Advisory votes on tax increases under fire

Advisory votes that give voters a chance to let lawmakers know their opinions on legislation to increase taxes may be removed from future ballots. Instead, senators are considering replacing advisory votes with a public opinion... — Updated 2/12/2020


Lawmakers push for an emission-reduction policy

A proposed cap and trade program is under consideration in the senate as lawmakers continue to explore ways to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. Senate Bill 5981, with Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Queen Anne, as its... — Updated 2/12/2020

 By Cameron Sheppard    Money

GOP Senators call for repeal of Discover Pass

OLYMPIA — Residents and visitors will get a break if lawmakers approve a proposal to do away with Discover Pass fees for using state parks. Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville and Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville,... — Updated 1/14/2020


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