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Meaningful, independent journalism is at a crossroads. Advertisers who once filled newspaper coffers and funded local journalism have shifted resources to the Internet. And... — Updated 11/17/2022

 
 

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The Washington State Journal is a nonprofit news website that offers tax-deductible opportunities for businesses and organizations to raise their profiles by underwriting our news coverage. Sponsorships allow you to reach our... — Updated 11/17/2022

 
 

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The Washington State Journal relies on a broad coalition of media professionals, newspapers and college and university administrators to provide coverage of Washington State and of the state government. The State Journal is funded... — Updated 11/17/2022

 

Legislature 2022: What passed and what didn't

Gov. Jay Inslee said lawmakers delivered on his call to take “big, bold, action,” after the 60-day legislative session came to a close March 10 in Olympia, working until the midnight deadline to push through a $64.1 billion sup... — Updated 6/9/2022

 

Kelp help is on the way

Below the surface of Puget Sound, disappearing kelp forests and eelgrass beds are threatening the stability of dependent species. The shrinking population is now drawing the attention of lawmakers, with a variety of approaches... — Updated 5/2/2022

 

School "active shooter" drills traumatic for students

K-12 schools have more guidance on how to conduct active-shooter lockdown drills with a new bill signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. The bill prohibits schools from conducting drills involving life-like simulations or reenactments... — Updated 4/28/2022

 
 By Juan Morfin    Justice

Use of force by police redefined under new law

People with mental health problems and juveniles can be detained or restrained by law enforcement, according to new legislation on the use of force. The new law, House Bill 1735, passed the Washington State House with a 90-5 vote,... — Updated 4/28/2022

 

Oil facilities, transporters to be liable for oil spill costs

The financial responsibility for an oil spill will fall on those who own the facilities and vessels that produce and transport oil, under HB 1691. The bill was passed by the Senate Thursday, March 3. It passed in the House last... — Updated 4/28/2022

 
 By Juan Morfin    Justice

Standards for police pursuits, use of force, defined

Police can pursue and stop vehicles if they have a “reasonable suspicion” of a crime being committed under new legislation that is headed to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee. The Washington State House of Representatives voted 86-12... — Updated 4/28/2022

 
 By Azeb Tuji    Justice

Large capacity gun magazine ban moves to governor's desk

Since September 2016 Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has been working toward implementing gun reform that would prevent acts like the Mukilteo mass shooting on July 30, 2016. Now, a ban on high-capacity magazines... — Updated 4/28/2022

 

Cannabis workers want longer sentences for robberies

Cannabis dispensary owners and employees are hoping to see a decrease in armed robberies with the passage of a bill imposing stricter penalties for offenders. The bill proposes increasing the standard sentence range by 12 months... — Updated 4/28/2022

 

Mask mandate in most setting ends March 11

Washingtonians will see the end of the state masking mandate 10 days earlier than expected, following a dramatic decline in COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths. “We want to move forward as a state at the appropriate... — Updated 3/23/2022

 

Transportation funding package moves to the House

A package that pays for free passes on public transportation for young people and upgrades to major bridges are all part of a 16-year transportation funding plan approved by the Washington State Senate. The Senate approved the prop... — Updated 3/16/2022

 

2022 Legislative session gets underway

The 2022 session of the Washington State Legislature opened Jan 10 with legislators saying they want to help strengthen economic well being, manage COVID-19 risks, provide help with childcare, housing, and mental health support... — Updated 3/16/2022

 

Democrats push $16 billion transportation plan

A $16 billion plan, crafted mainly by Democrats, to fund hybrid-electric ferries, high speed rail, highway maintenance is gaining speed in the state Legislature. “‘Move Ahead Washington’ is a promise to put Washingtonians... — Updated 3/16/2022

 
 By Staff    Education

Elementary school class wants state dinosaur named

Washington State may soon have a new state dinosaur, thanks to the efforts of an elementary school class and the Washington State Legislature. The proposed state dinosaur is Suciasa... — Updated 3/16/2022

 

Awash in money, lawmakers propose big increases in spending

Small business owners and schoolchildren hurt by the pandemic will see some financial relief with approval of state supplemental budget proposals now under consideration. “We’re looking at the basics, food, shelter, health and... — Updated 3/11/2022

 
 By Azeb Tuji    Health

Washington lawmakers seek to professionalize birth-care doulas

Aijanae Young is a birth postpartum doula, a person who delivers non-medical care after birth. She said she didn’t realize the value she brought to her clients until she was the one in need. Young said before her doula arrived,... — Updated 3/11/2022

 
 By Azeb Tuji    Health

Child mental health gets attention in state Legislature

“The devastating consequence of the inability to access outpatient care is that you’re likely to get worse and need emergency department or crisis level care,” said Kashi Arora, from Seattle Children's Hospital. House Bill... — Updated 3/11/2022

 
 By Juan Morfin    Justice

Appropriate use of force for law enforcement debated

The amount of force a police officer uses must be “proportional and reasonable,” a bill approved recently by the State Senate says. The bill also specifies officers will also be allowed to engage in vehicular pursuits as long a... — Updated 3/11/2022

 
 By Azeb Tuji    Justice

Senate votes to ban high-capacity magazines

In an effort to tackle gun violence and strengthen public safety, the state Senate passed legislation Feb. 9 that bans the sale of high-capacity magazines – anything over 10 rounds – but doesn’t prohibit the use of... — Updated 3/11/2022

 

Statewide COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax

With data indicating a decline in cases and COVID-19 related hospitalizations, the state is entering a period where restrictions can be lifted, Gov. Jay Inslee said. While there is no date to end the universal indoor mask mandate,... — Updated 3/11/2022

 
 By Juan Morfin    Justice

Proposed law offers offenders serving long sentences a chance for freedom

Incarcerated individuals who serve 15, 20, or 25 years of total confinement would have the opportunity to apply for a conditional commutation under a bill passed by the Washington State Senate and now being considered in the... — Updated 3/11/2022

 

Inslee urges action on multi-agency plan on homelessness

Homeless people would have quick access to shelters and other facilities under a $815 million, multi-agency plan supported by Gov. Jay Inslee. Flanked by Democrat officials from King County, Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma, Inslee on... — Updated 3/11/2022

 

Future fund would help close income gap, supporters say

Young adults will be able to access a fund years from now to give them a boost if lawmakers pass a bill aimed at narrowing the gap between the rich and poor. Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, sponsor of HB 1861, said the... — Updated 3/11/2022

 
 By Juan Morfin    Justice

Police restraint gets clarification in House bill

Mental health victims and juveniles can be restrained by law enforcement when responding to requests for assistance from crisis responders. That is the thrust of House Bill 1735, which passed the state House with a 90-5 vote and... — Updated 3/11/2022

 

Bill would post warnings about cold water shock

March 23, 2021 was a sunny day in Lewis County. Zachary Lee Rager, an 18-year-old Centralia teen wanting to take advantage of the pleasant weather, headed to a familiar hang out with some friends, a bridge connecting the banks of... — Updated 3/11/2022

 

Inslee calls for swift action on housing, homelessness, climate change

Immediate action must be taken to address climate change, the housing crisis, transportation, and education, Gov. Jay Inslee said in his annual State of the State address Jan. 11. "... — Updated 3/11/2022

 

Lawmakers propose Women's Suffrage Day

Women fought a decades-long battle for the right to vote, and now lawmakers want to memorialize the crusade by designating March 22 Women’s Suffrage Day. The 19th Amendment, prohibiting voting discrimination on the basis of sex,... — Updated 3/11/2022

 

Inslee would support law to ban lying about elections

On the one-year anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Gov. Jay Inslee announced he will support legislation criminalizing lying about election results. “It should not be legal in the state of Washington for... — Updated 3/11/2022

 
 By Juan Morfin    Health

Governor signs bill to delay long-term care implementation

Washington’s highly-touted and highly controversial long-term care program will be delayed by 18 months, as lawmakers work to correct flaws in the program. Gov. Jay Inslee signed bills Jan. 27 to delay the WA Cares payroll tax... — Updated 2/9/2022

 

Salmon habitat rules would restrict agricultural uses

Advocates hope mandatory conservation of key habitat areas will help salmon runs recover, but opponents worry farmers will pay a price. House Bill 1838, to be known as the Lorraine Loomis Act in honor of the late Northwest Indian... — Updated 2/9/2022

 
 By Juan Morfin    Housing

Proposed law would force cities to increase housing density in single-family neighborhoods

Forcing higher densities in Washington’s cities will help reduce housing costs, cut fuel emissions and put an end to exclusionary zoning, supporters of House Bill 1782 say. Critics of the idea, however, say it will require... — Updated 2/9/2022

 

Employment test for marijuana use questioned

Washington marijuana users won’t face losing their job over a positive drug test if a proposal under consideration in the state Legislature wins approval. SB 5517 would update the Washington law that currently allows employers... — Updated 2/9/2022

 
 By Azeb Tuji    Education

Families press for end to hazing

Sam Martinez, a freshman at Washington State University, was found dead from alcohol poisoning at his fraternity house just weeks into the 2019 school year. He was the victim of a hazing tradition at his fraternity. Now his mother... — Updated 2/9/2022

 

Proposed law would require student registration by age 5

Early childhood education is so critical to student success that now some educators are pushing for enrollment in school by age 5. Currently, Washington parents are allowed to delay their child’s enrollment with the local school... — Updated 2/9/2022

 

New House bill would make oil owners financially liable for oil spills

The financial responsibility for an oil spill will fall on those who own the facilities and vessels that produce and transport oil under proposed House Bill 1691. “The goal is to minimize the permanent long-standing damage that... — Updated 2/9/2022

 
 By Azeb Tuji    Health

Chemicals in cosmetics targeted in new law

For a large portion of Washingtonians, the use of cosmetic products is a part of their everyday routine, but some of those same household products often contain harmful chemicals that cause a variety of health risks. A bill now... — Updated 2/9/2022

 
 By Azeb Tuji    Health

Bill increases availability of sexual assault nurse examiner training

Harborview medical center is currently the only hospital in Washington State that provides training for nurses to become sexual assault nurse examiners, also known as SANE. A bill in this year’s state Legislature is aimed at... — Updated 2/9/2022

 
 By Juan Morfin    Justice

More protection for election officials approved by Senate

Election officials will get more protection from harassment if SB 5148 becomes law. The bill was approved in the Senate Jan. 12 with 48 yeas and 0 nays. It will be up to the House... — Updated 2/9/2022

 

More aid for college students proposed

College students struggling to balance the cost of higher education with everyday expenses will have the burden slightly alleviated if lawmakers pass a bill increasing access to funds through the Washington College Grant program.... — Updated 2/9/2022

 
 By Juan Morfin    Education

Bill aims to help homeless & former foster care college students

Homeless students at community and technical colleges across the state will get the help they need if HB 1601 becomes law. If passed, the bill would provide homeless students and students who age out of the foster care system help... — Updated 2/9/2022

 
 By Fred Obee    Education

Legislative interns prepare for coverage

Coverage of the state Legislature will once again be provided by the WNPA Foundation when the Legislature convenes in January. The students, from Washington State University and the University of Washington, were selected by... — Updated 12/29/2021

 

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