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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 3/4/2021

 

Why we are here

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 3/4/2021

 

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 3/4/2021

 
 

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Our Team

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 3/4/2021

 
 

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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 3/4/2021

 
 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 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

 

Suicide prevention team idea moves forward

A Washington Youth Suicide Review Team is one step closer to reality after legislators passed substitute HB 1354 out of committee in a 11-2 vote. Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, D-Goldendale, the prime sponsor of the bill, saw the bill... — 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

 

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 3/3/2021

 

Curbside alcohol service proposed for extension

People will continue to be able to get a mixed drink with their takeout food until 2023 under a bill now moving to the state Senate for consideration. Delivery and curbside/takeout service of alcoholic beverages and spirits has... — Updated 3/3/2021

 

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 3/1/2021

 

Clean fuels bill approved by the House

A low carbon fuel bill passed the state House of Representatives Feb. 27 in a 52-46 vote with every Republican voting no. Its next stop is the Senate. The bill directs the Department of Ecology to institute rules that require... — Updated 3/1/2021

 
 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 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 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 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

 

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 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

 

Year-round school may be coming to Washington

The summer months are coming to an end, children are heading back to school, but they are experiencing summer learning loss and now require remedial education. Every year, teachers across the US say the first month of school after... — Updated 2/24/2021

 
 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 Joseph Claypoole    Money

New bill to target price gougers and protect consume

Face masks, $200. Hand sanitizer, $90. Peace of mind? Priceless. Attorney General Bob Ferguson proposed an emergency action bill that would prohibit excessive price increases during a state of emergency. Under SB 5191, any item... — 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

 

Inslee defends regional reopening plan

Gov. Jay Inslee defended his plan to phase in the opening of businesses by region, saying he knows it goes too slow for some people. "Everybody can have a rational argument against... — Updated 2/17/2021

 
 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

 

New suicide review team proposed

The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating a problem already plaguing youth in Washington -- suicide. Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, says HB 1354 is key to finding out why rates of suicide are climbing in Washington and on how to... — 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

 
 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

 

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

 

Navy gets approval for state park training

Training for Navy SEALs in state parks was approved by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission in a 4-3 vote Jan. 28. The approval amended the Navy's proposal,... — Updated 2/10/2021

 
 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 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 Joseph Claypoole    Money

$25.8 billion transportation plan hikes gas tax 18 cents

Washington drivers will pay an extra 18 cents per gallon in gas taxes if a new 16-year, $25.8 billion transportation package backed by House Democrats is approved. The gas tax includes a 3 cent tax increase on diesel as well as a... — 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 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

 

Increased participation might be 'silver lining' in online state legislative session

This might be the most accessible Legislative session in history, thanks to online tools provided by the state. McKenna Troje, 22, a graduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle, participated in a one-person... — Updated 2/3/2021

 

Inslee lowers age of those eligible for vaccines

Just when residents of Washington will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine depends on how many doses the federal government delivers and how many the state can administer in a day. Currently, the state is receiving 100,000 doses per... — Updated 1/28/2021

 
 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 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

 
 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

 

Inslee centers inaugural speech on COVID-19 recovery

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his third inaugural speech Wednesday, praising Washington residents for their resiliency and striking an optimistic note for the future. "We have seen rema... — 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 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 Paric Haerle    Health

Lawmakers launch session with calls for cooperation, quick action on COVID-19

Washington state legislative leaders on Monday Jan. 11 took turns delivering upbeat messages that promised unity in taking swift action to relieve residents and businesses hit hard... — 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

 
 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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