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Olympia Coverage

KBCS has teamed up with Crosscut and Seattle Top Story to keep you informed about what’s happening in Olympia during the 2015 Washington State Legislative Session.

  • Democrats keep pushing for new voting measure

    May 8, 2015Democrats keep pushing for new voting measure

    By John Stang

    Senate Democrats and supporters made a symbolic push Thursday to get a state voting rights act to the Washington Senate floor.

    The legislation appears doomed for 2015.

    Technically, though, two similar bills are in play, one sponsored by Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Kirkland and the other by Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace. The bills address situations ...

  • Lawmakers debate 30-plus budget amendments

    April 3, 2015Lawmakers debate 30-plus budget amendments

    By John Stang

    The Washington Senate Democrats charged their Republican colleagues purposely stacked the deck in passing the GOP’s 2015-2017 operating budget proposal. Why? To protect Sen. Andy Hill, R- Redmond, from having to cast embarrassing votes.

    While he has not publicly talked of running, Hill’s name has been circulated in political circles as a possible GOP ...

  • House Democrats ready to offer a state budget plan

    March 25, 2015House Democrats ready to offer a state budget plan

    By John Stang

    The Washington House Democrats plan to unveil their 2015-2017 operating budget proposal on Friday, which will start to point to how this legislative session will really go.

  • Praise for Selma march, but no action on election bill

    March 9, 2015Praise for Selma march, but no action on election bill

    By John Stang

    Amid universal praise for the Selma civil rights march, Washington’s Republican and Democratic senators passed a resolution commending the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for leading the historic walk 50 years ago this week.

    Then the Senate’s minority Democrats took the occasion to try to bring a stalled election bill — tailored to provide ...

  • Minimum wage passes House, heads to Senate

    March 4, 2015Minimum wage passes House, heads to Senate

    By John Stang

    Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, unleashed the forces of science on a Washington House minimum-wage bill Tuesday, arguing that it made no economic sense.

    “All these arguments are the result of economic illiteracy,” he said. Referring to criticisms of his party on climate change, Manweller added, “We get accused all the time of being anti-science. ...

  • State Senate approves gas tax hike for transportation

    March 3, 2015State Senate approves gas tax hike for transportation

    By John Stang

    Lt. Gov. Brad Owen ruled Monday that the Washington Senate’s new internal procedural rule to require a two-thirds majority to pass any new taxes is unconstitutional.

    So … the Senate went ahead and did what it was about to do on Friday before Democrats requested his ruling.

  • State House passes ‘revenge porn’ measure

    March 3, 2015State House passes ‘revenge porn’ measure

    Distributed by Crosscut Public Media

    The Washington House unanimously passed a “revenge-porn” bill Monday that would allow a victim to seek damages in civil court for posting intimate images without a person’s consent.

  • Would a new pipeline ease state’s oil train worries?

    February 26, 2015Would a new pipeline ease state’s oil train worries?

    By John Stang

    As the debates increase over transporting oil by rail, Sen. Mike Baumgartner wants the state to study a potential east-west oil pipeline.

    Baumgartner, R-Spokane, introduced a bill Wednesday to spend $250,000 on a study by the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council on whether a crude oil pipeline should be installed, and ...

  • Bring back the Washington State Presidential Primary

    February 20, 2015Bring back the Washington State Presidential Primary

    By  Top Story Network

    Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman wants to resurrect the Washington State Presidential Primary. Top Story Network’s Robert Mak has the story.

  • Will Initiative 1351 be sent back to voters?

    February 18, 2015Will Initiative 1351 be sent back to voters?

    By  Top Story Network

    Just three months after voters approved Initiative 1351 calling for smaller class sizes, lawmakers are thinking about sending the initiative back to voters–what would be a historic move. I-1351 passed in November with 51% of the vote.  State Senator Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, calls the initiative “irresponsible” because it directed smaller class sizes ...

  • Bill seeks to let majority approve passage of school bond measures

    February 17, 2015Bill seeks to let majority approve passage of school bond measures

    By John Stang

    A needed boost to fix old schools? Or sore losers wanting to change the rules?

    Those were some of the ways that speakers at a legislative hearing Monday described a bill by Rep. Mia Gregerson, D-SeaTac, and Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, to ease the passage of school bond measures. Their bill calls for a ...

  • State could conduct major study of homeless children

    February 17, 2015State could conduct major study of homeless children

    By John Stang

    The state would undertake a sweeping count of the number of homeless kids from birth through 10 years old, under a bill working its way through the House.

    The bill by Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma, would order the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to tackle such a census, including determining the average length ...

  • Muslim group calls for apology by legislator for his remarks

    February 16, 2015Muslim group calls for apology by legislator for his remarks

    By John Stang

    An organization of American Muslims said Thursday that Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, should apologize publicly for saying it is a subsidiary of violent Middle East groups.

    In reply, Haler issued a press release saying he has apologized twice in private for his remarks.

    The controversy dates back to a Jan. 14 hearing of the Washington ...

  • Senate negotiators come up with bipartisan plan for transportation

    February 16, 2015Senate negotiators come up with bipartisan plan for transportation

    By John Stang

    It took 22 months to gestate. But a bipartisan $15.1 billion Washington Senate transportation package with an 11.7-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike was unveiled Thursday.

    Now the question is whether enough senators in both the Republican and Democratic caucuses will actually vote for the package, designed to run 16 years.

    “From my perspective, this is a ...

  • Legislature looks at changing ethics investigations

    February 10, 2015Legislature looks at changing ethics investigations

    By John Stang

    Sen. Pam Roach feels Lt. Gov. Brad Owen’s pain. So does Sen. Don Benton.

    Owen’s pain is a $15,000 fine that the Washington Executive Ethics Board levied against him last September for running his nonprofit anti-drug program out of his public office. The fine has $5,000 suspended with the assumption of no future ...

  • Senators offer carbon and energy alternatives

    February 5, 2015Senators offer carbon and energy alternatives

    By John Stang

    Some state senators want to tweak Initiative 937 to encourage new efforts at reducing carbon emissions in Washington.

    The proposed change to the 2006 voter-approved measure on the use of alternative energy sources by electric utilities is one part of GOP-originated proposals on energy and carbon-reduction unveiled at a Wednesday press conference in Olympia.

    Gov. ...

  • Oil train safety bill prompts debate about public notifications

    February 4, 2015Oil train safety bill prompts debate about public notifications

    By John Stang

    Should the public know when oil trains come through and what type of oil they are carrying?

    That question was debated Tuesday at a Washington House Environment  Committee hearing on an oil train safety bill introduced by Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D- Seattle.

    The Western States Petroleum Association, two railroads and at least one committee ...

  • $12 minimum wage bill passes its first hurdle

    January 29, 2015$12 minimum wage bill passes its first hurdle

    By John Stang

    A bill to increase Washington’s minimum wage cleared the House Labor Committee Thursday by a 4-3 party-line vote.

    The Democrats’ committee victory means that Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D- Seattle, now has to nail down 50 votes to for her bill to pass the full House. It would increase Washington’s minimum wage from $9.47 ...

  • Washington state transportation package

    January 27, 2015Washington state transportation package

    From Seattle Top Story

    Robert Mak interviewed Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), chair of the House Transportation Committee on lawmakers coming up with a transportation package this year and what’s next for the Bertha tunneling project.

    Click here for more 2015 Olympia coverage.

     

  • Minimum wage hike could draw more legislative support this year

    January 27, 2015Minimum wage hike could draw more legislative support this year

    By John Stang

    Several supporters of an increase in Washington’s minimum wage made a show of playing “bingo” Monday during a House Labor Committee hearing on the proposal. They marked off a box whenever a business lobbyist uttered a specific phrase or argument — such as Idaho’s $7.25-an-hour minimum wage or passing costs to customers — ...

  • Bill seeks to limit drones’ information gathering

    January 26, 2015Bill seeks to limit drones’ information gathering

    By John Stang

    A bill to regulate the gathering of information by private drone aircraft is poised for a takeoff in the Washington House.

    The legislation introduced by Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, faced no opposition at a hearing on Wednesday. It could receive a vote in the House Technology & Economic Development Committee sometime this ...

  • Lawmakers look to help women get fair pay

    January 23, 2015Lawmakers look to help women get fair pay

    By John Stang.

    Jean Godden used to be one off six columnists for the now-closed Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. The other five were men. Then, Godden, who is now a Seattle City Council member, found out she was the lowest paid of the six.

    That made her angry.

    “I don’t want another woman to face the same problem I ...

  • Attorney General: Make legal smoking age 21

    January 22, 2015Attorney General: Make legal smoking age 21

    By John Stang.

    Attorney General Bob Ferguson wants to make Washington the first state with a legal smoking age of 21.

    To back him up, Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way, and Rep Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, on Wednesday introduced bills to do so in the Senate and in the House. Both Miloscia and Orwall predicted ...

  • 2 key senators are optimistic about new pot legislation

    January 21, 20152 key senators are optimistic about new pot legislation

    By John Stang.

    Two influential state senators expressed optimism Tuesday about achieving a merger of the state’s medical marijuana and recreational pot systems.

    Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, spelled out details of what she plans to put into her soon-to-be-filed marijuana bill, describing it as complementary to an existing bill by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center.

    Kohl-Welles and ...

  • Governor Jay Inslee’s State of the State

    January 21, 2015Governor Jay Inslee's State of the State

    By John Stang.

    Olympia’s Republicans slammed Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed carbon emissions controls several ways — including opposing Inslee’s proposal to funnel some money from polluters into an unfunded working family tax rebate program.

    They were responding to the governor’s annual State Of The State speech given on Tuesday, January 13, where Inslee covered themes and proposals ...