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

Articles written by Sydney Brown

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 By Sydney Brown    Money

Lawmakers send $59 billion budget to governor

As the end of the mostly virtual legislative session drew near April 25, lawmakers passed a hefty $59 billion budget that will funnel millions into childcare, public health, rental... — Updated 4/29/2021

 

Governor gives tenants protections, reduces help for landlords

Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law an automatic right for tenants to have an attorney, though it came with a catch — Inslee sent back two parts of the bill regarding landlord rental assistance. In a memo after the April 22 bill... — Updated 4/26/2021

 

Working families tax credit heads for approval

A tax credit for working families in Washington passed the Senate in a bipartisan vote April 11, with lawmakers on both sides saying the exemption for low-income earners was a long time coming. “Expanding and fully funding the... — Updated 4/16/2021

 

Senate passes carbon cap after debate on green energy, transportation

A controversial statewide cap on carbon emissions scraped through the Legislature in a 25-24 vote late April 8 after lawmakers passed a Climate Commitment Act that majority Democrats say will boost the state’s economy and... — Updated 4/9/2021

 

Incarcerated people to regain right to vote

Formerly incarcerated people will immediately regain the right to vote after Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law this automatic right, marking passage for one of the first criminal justice reform bills this session. “The right to... — Updated 4/8/2021

 

House passes $11 billion transportation budget

The Washington House of Representatives passed a $10.94 billion transportation budget with some bipartisan support. The vote on April 2 was 87-11. The budget pays for expanded green transportation and improved roadways. Constructio... — Updated 4/7/2021

 

House passes $6 billion capital works budget

Lawmakers passed a $6.23 billion capital budget April 2 in a unanimous vote, earmarking millions of state and federal funding for investments in community projects and public works. "We've put together a budget that not only... — Updated 4/7/2021

 

Sweeping childcare reform moving in Legislature

Early childhood care and education in the state would see sweeping reform through the expansion of affordable child health and learning services, if a bill in the state Legislature wins approval. “This is a gamechanger for kids... — Updated 3/31/2021

 

Bill kickstarts effort for state universal healthcare

Universal health care for every state resident who wants it could come to Washington by 2026. A bill under consideration now in the state Legislature establishes a healthcare commission to develop a comprehensive plan for a... — Updated 3/31/2021

 

Senate Democrat spending plan increases state spending by 12%

Funding for health care, education and efforts to curb houselessness are promised in a $59.2 billion state budget proposal from the Washington Senate Democrats unveiled March 25.... — Updated 3/26/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Education

Bill would end Native imagery for public schools, teams

Ivy Pete remembers attending high school football games in her hometown. But instead of pride for her school, she felt humiliated. Pete, a junior in high school in Spokane and member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, said she... — Updated 3/26/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Significant police reform on track in Legislature

Limits on the use of force by police and investigations of officers who have a pattern of misconduct continue to make their way through the Legislature, with some bills winning broad approval and with some passing only on party... — Updated 3/26/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Housing

Mandated homeless shelters draw criticism

Homeless shelters would be located in many cities and counties and supplied with mental health, employment and police resources if a bill under consideration in the state Legislature is adopted. Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn,... — Updated 3/17/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Housing

Eviction protections approved by Senate

As the end of an emergency eviction moratorium looms over thousands of Washington renters, a bill requiring landlords to have just cause for evicting a tenant passed the House of Representatives in a 54-44 vote March 7.... — Updated 3/17/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

House approves ban on certain police use-of-force tactics

A ban on the use of chokeholds, military equipment, and most types of car chases by law enforcement passed the House of Representatives after lawmakers voted along party lines in a 54-43 vote Feb. 27. HB 1054 was the subject of... — Updated 3/10/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Juneteenth steps toward state holiday status

Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley, D-Seattle, often sees her grandmother’s features when she looks in the mirror. She thinks of how her grandmother, a woman of color, experienced systemic racism and fought for a better life despite... — Updated 3/10/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Money

State revenue forecast rosier than expected

Though unemployment and consumer uncertainty remain high, the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council officials told legislators March 3 they felt optimistic a brighter economic future is on its way to Washington.... — Updated 3/8/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Free attorneys, extended ban on evictions considered

An extension of an eviction moratorium for another two years and free attorneys for tenants who face eviction are proposed in a new bill that landlords say would decimate their industry. “It’s our goal to balance the needs of... — Updated 3/3/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Money

Tax credits, free lunches, land leases, immigrant help get House approval

As a single mother who survived on food stamps, an added $20 monthly cost for her four children's lunch was more than Rep. Melanie Morgan, D-Tacoma, could afford at that time.... — Updated 3/3/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Police accountability bills push through Legislature

Outrage over deaths of citizens in police custody sparked efforts by lawmakers to address racial equity, hiring and training, and the use of force within law enforcement. Now, nearing the halfway point in the 2021 legislative... — Updated 2/26/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Money

Revised capital gains tax advances

A capital gains excise tax moved one step closer to approval Feb. 17 despite opposition from Republican lawmakers who call the law an unnecessary income tax and warn it will result... — Updated 2/26/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Education

Mandatory boater education for paddleboarders sinks in Legislature

A bill that would have required kayakers and paddleboarders to take a boater education course to operate human-powered water vessels was effectively killed in the state Legislature after a petition circulating on social media... — Updated 2/24/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Money

$2.2 billion in COVID-related funding for mental health, vaccine sites ready for passage

Funding for vaccine support, housing, mental health services and childcare is included in a hefty Democratic-led $2.2 billion COVID-19 relief package expected to get widespread support on the Senate floor. After this package is... — Updated 2/24/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Bill would ban open-carry weapons at state capitol protests

A proposed ban on open-carry weapons during public demonstrations sparked a heated debate on whether the bill unreasonably restricts the Second Amendment to secure the protections of the First. The Senate Law & Justice Committee... — Updated 2/10/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Business

Hundreds debate fast-action bill to skip first phase of recovery plan

Dozens of business owners - from restaurant owners to bowling alley managers - told state officials that continued COVID-19 restrictions place small businesses at risk of permanent... — Updated 2/3/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Bill would establish office to investigate police use of force

Fred Thomas believes if an independent team had investigated his son’s death, the outcome would have been much different. In May 2013, 30-year-old Leonard Thomas was shot by Lakewood police sniper Brian Markert after a four-hour... — Updated 1/27/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Unlawful calls to police get scrutiny

A person who unlawfully summons the police on someone could face a civil action lawsuit under a proposed law that is gaining traction in the Legislature. Senate Bill 5135 would allow an individual to pursue civil action against a... — Updated 1/27/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

State patrol, National Guard will secure capitol campus ahead of inauguration

Hundreds of officers from the Washington State Patrol and the National Guard will continue to surround the Capitol Campus in Olympia through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. WSP spokesperson Chris Loftis said the... — Updated 1/22/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Bill promotes automatic right to vote for people released from prison

Formerly incarcerated people would automatically regain their right to vote if a proposed bill in the Washington State Legislature is approved. Rep. Tarra Simmons (D-Bremerton), the first formerly incarcerated person to serve in... — Updated 1/21/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Use of police force elicits emotional testimony

A proposed ban on the use of chokeholds, unleashed K-9 dogs and other use-of-force tactics by law enforcement is just the beginning of an effort by several state lawmakers to address police violence and its impact on marginalized... — Updated 1/19/2021

 
 By Sydney Brown    Justice

Policing, racial injustice, governor's power on Legislative agenda

This year's legislature won't just be about numbers and budgets: it will explore social inequities, the proper role of policing and just how much authority the governor is due. Gov. Jay Inslee said his budget proposal specifies... — Updated 1/14/2021

 

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