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

Articles written by Patric Haerle

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Washington state's only Native American lawmaker cuts a path in Olympia

Debra Lekanoff always makes sure to appreciate her surroundings, whether she's spending time in nature or on the House floor at the Capitol in Olympia, where she has served for the... — Updated 3/26/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Money

Capital gains tax narrowly passes Senate

A tax on capital gains, the sale of assets like stocks and bonds, passed the Senate by a single vote March 6. The bill was first amended to remove the emergency clause, meaning the issue is likely to appear on the ballot later... — Updated 3/8/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Health

Frontline workers to start receiving vaccines March 22

Essential frontline workers, such as grocery store employees, will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines later this month, Gov. Jay Inslee announced March 4. Others set to be vaccinated starting March 22 include workers in... — Updated 3/8/2021


Inslee signs bills to help students

The return to in-person education in public schools is underway. Gov. Jay Inslee signed two bills March 2, assuring students affected by the pandemic can graduate on time. The... — Updated 3/8/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Justice

Bill that bans private prisons wins bipartisan support

Washington’s only private detention center is proposed for closure. House Bill 1090 prohibits any person, business or government from operating private, for-profit detention facilities. It recently passed in the House of... — Updated 3/8/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Justice

Measures looking to limit executive powers die in state legislature

It’s been one year since Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and calls for a special legislative session and cries of executive overreach have been constant ever since. A special... — Updated 3/3/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Money

Republican budget proposal cuts programs, uses rainy-day fund

House Republicans released their proposed state budget Feb. 16, saying it shows how a Republican-controlled Legislature could craft a spending plan without raising taxes. "If House... — Updated 2/26/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Health

Inslee signs COVID-19 relief bill, allocating $2.2 billion in federal funding

Additional relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is on its way. Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Feb. 19, that appropriates $2.2 billion federal dollars to be used for K-12 schools, public health, assistance to... — Updated 2/26/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Money

Working family tax exemption wins support

In the wake of a global pandemic that has left families across the state desperate, relief in the form of a tax exemption may finally be coming after years of failing to receive funding. Washington’s Working Families tax... — Updated 2/24/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Justice

In wake of major data breach, cyber security office proposed

Reeling from a December breach that allowed hackers to access the personal information of roughly 1.6 million Washington residents, state lawmakers are working with Gov. Jay Inslee to establish a new office to protect state data.... — Updated 2/24/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Money

Democrats push new tax on billionaires

House Democrats are rallying around a proposal to tax Washington State’s billionaires. House Bill 1406 would impose a 1 percent tax on intangible assets, such as money or stocks, on people whose wealth exceeds $1 billion. The... — Updated 2/17/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Money

Subminimum wage for disabled workers called 'unjust'

In what is being labeled a civil rights issue by advocates, lawmakers are considering ending the decades old practice of paying workers with a disability less than the state minimum wage. Under the current system, the Department... — Updated 2/17/2021


Washington on track to allow schools to waive graduation requirements

Washington high school students wrestling with remote learning programs cobbled together as COVID-19 gripped the state in 2020 and now struggling to meet graduation requirements may well get some help from lawmakers. The state... — Updated 2/10/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Health

Lawmakers push competing COVID-19 packages

Relief for renters, schools, public health agencies and small businesses is rushing through the state Legislature, with the hope relief can reach people by the end of February. Two... — Updated 2/10/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Justice

House approves bills on public access, tax exemptions, online training

A set of three bills designed to keep essential functions of the state running during the COVID pandemic and future emergencies passed unanimously on Jan. 22 in the first virtual roll call vote the House of Representatives held... — Updated 2/5/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Money

Capital gains tax gets a harsh reception

A different take on Gov. Jay Inslee’s capital gains tax, less broad and friendlier to small family-owned businesses, will likely be introduced later in this year’s legislative session. “We are considering proposals similar to... — Updated 1/21/2021


Parents, educators worry Inslee schools budget falls short

Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed budget for the upcoming biennium calls for $570 million in new education spending, but many parents and educators have expressed frustration that the governor’s budget does not adequately fund... — Updated 1/19/2021

 By Patric Haerle    Money

Covid-related relief tops state budget priority list

Desperately needed COVID-19 relief is a top priority for this year's Legislature, and Republicans and Democrats generally agree it will be necessary to get that aid out as soon as possible. The parties are split, however, when it c... — Updated 1/14/2021


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