Washington State Legislature | KUOW News and Information

Washington State Legislature

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is breaking with tradition and will endorse a ballot measure dealing with guns. 

State lawmakers worked with police and community groups during the last legislative session to change the rules for prosecuting police who use deadly force. But it will be voters who decide whether those changes become law. On Friday, a Superior Court judge in Thurston County said lawmakers violated the state constitution, and put Initiative 940 on the November ballot. KUOW's Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins explains the situation with Ross Reynolds.

A turreted brick home known as The Castle. A tan bungalow. An 111-year-old corner house with a covered porch.

Just south of the state Capitol building you’ll find a neighborhood dotted with quaint, historic houses. But you won’t find families with children in many of them.

Frustrated And Broke, Washington Counties Consider Suing State

Apr 5, 2018

After years of pleading with the state Legislature for more state funding, Washington's 39 counties could decide this year whether to file a lawsuit against the state over unfunded mandates.

Gabino Abarca was able to attend the University of Washington thanks to state lottery funds.
KUOW Photos/Megan Farmer

Retired school teacher Michael Hobson is displeased by how much his property tax is increasing, even though lawmakers did it to fully fund public schools.

Ricky Garcia and Lauren Davis are fighting to pass Ricky's Law in the Washington State Legislature that would allow involuntary committment for addicts.
Courtesy of Lauren Davis

If someone you love wants to hurt themselves, what can you do? If the underlying cause is mental illness, one option is to have them involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment. But if the underlying cause is addiction, that was not an option until the passage of Ricky's Law in 2016.

Ricky Garcia and Lauren Davis worked with state lawmakers to pass a bill that would let someone in Washington state involuntarily commit an addict who is found to be a danger to him or herself.  Bill Radke brings Davis back into the studio for an update on the implementation of the law, which took effect Monday. 

The Washington legislature passed a measure banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth in the 2018 legislative session.
Flickr photo/sea turtle (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The entire U.S. West Coast now prohibits counselors from using conversion therapy on minors.

On Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law that prohibits licensed therapists from using conversation therapy with youth under age 18. Inslee, a Democrat, was surrounded by kids and LGBTQ rights advocates when he signed the bill.


FILE: Schools lunches at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday, October 19, 2011.
Flickr Photo/USDA (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ayDFwg

Last fall Giovanni Inton's second-grade son came home from school and told his dad he was hungry.

So Inton asked what all parents ask: “What did you guys have for lunch?”

A piece of bread and a carton of milk, his son answered. “They took my lunch away. I guess you guys didn’t pay.”

King County Elections employee Josephine Ruff unloads a  full ballot drop box outside of the Seattle Public Library in Ballard in November of 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

State lawmakers passed the Washington Voting Rights Act this week, meant to give underrepresented minority groups a larger voice in elections. And that could mean more district-based voting in the future.

Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/dHYmYx

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Times reporter Neal Morton about why some wealthier school districts are getting a bigger boost in funding than poorer districts under the state's education budget.

In this Dec. 9, 2015, photo, a sales associate walks past semiautomatic rifles at Bullseye Sport gun shop in Riverside, Calif.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Kim Malcolm talks with state Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) about why he's co-sponsoring a bill that would raise the age requirements to purchase military-style weapons from 18 to 21. Malcolm also talks with state Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch) about why he's opposed to the bill.

Olympia Washington State Legislature
Flickr Photo/Harvey Barrison (CC BY-NC-ND)

How much right does the public have to pull back the curtain and see the communications of their state lawmakers?

Washington state has had a Public Records Act since 1972. News organizations love it. It’s how we find out the stuff that sometimes people would rather we didn't see. 


Students walk in front of Gerberding Hall on Thursday, November 16, 2017, on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington associate professor Jennifer Stuber about suicide prevention on college campuses. Last week, the Washington state Senate passed a bill that would fund suicide prevention programs at colleges across the state.

Stuber is faculty director for Forefront Suicide Prevention at the UW.

Patricia Murphy / KUOW

Is Washington state going to put an end to capital punishment?

The death penalty has been on hold since 2014 when Governor Inslee declared a moratorium on executions.

Hear an update on what lawmakers are up to from Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins. 

First, KUOW's Patricia Murphy was a media witness at the execution of the last person to put to death by the state.

Flickr Photo/Tony Swartz (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Kim Malcolm talks with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the outcome of public records lawsuit against the Washington Legislature.

Washington lawmakers are taking steps to address sexual harassment at the state Capitol. The House passed a resolution Thursday to establish a task force on sexual harassment. Members will include lawmakers, lobbyists and staff.

Going to college can be hard, but it’s especially difficult for students experiencing homelessness. Washington lawmakers are exploring ways state colleges could help these students.

After a months-long standoff, legislative Democrats and Republicans say they’ve reached a bipartisan deal on a thorny water rights issue that will pave the way for quick passage of a $4.5 billion capital construction budget that’s been held up since last spring.

The opioid crisis is front and center at the Washington Legislature this week. On Monday, lawmakers heard testimony on three bills aimed at preventing and treating opioid addiction and reducing overdose deaths.

Victims Of Las Vegas Shooting Testify On Gun Legislation In Olympia

Jan 15, 2018

Hundreds of people crowded hearing rooms in the Washington state Capitol Monday to testify on proposed gun control legislation. Among other things, lawmakers are looking to ban so-called bump stocks which allow firearms to fire faster.

Olympia Washington State Legislature
Flickr Photo/Harvey Barrison (CC BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke talks to Washington state Sen. Schoesler (R-Ritzville), about issues that will arise in the state legislature in the 2018 session. 

KUOW PHOTO/MEGAN FARMER

Bill Radke talks with Washington state Governor Jay Inslee about his plans for a carbon tax, President Trump's plans for our weed and offshore oil, a future White House run and more.

Flickr Photo/Tony Swartz (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/a48XR

Kim Malcolm speaks with Senator Andy Billig (D - Spokane) about what Democrats hope to accomplish during the 2018 legislative session. Billig is deputy majority leader of the Washington State Senate. 

The Washington Legislature convenes Monday for a 60-day election year session. For the first time since 2013, Democrats will have one-party control of the Capitol.

The top issues include: education funding, a carbon tax and passage of a state capital construction budget.

The Washington Legislature is set to open it's 2018 session on Monday. The 50 State Project from CQ Roll Call asked Austin Jenkins to come up with the top five issues facing Washington lawmakers this session.

Here's his list:

Public records released by Central Washington University this week show professor and GOP state Rep. Matt Manweller is barred from contacting past or present students while the school investigates allegations of sexual harassment against him.

Embattled Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller has resigned his leadership position with House Republicans. He’s also been stripped of a key committee role.

Housing costs contribute dramatically to the high basic cost of living in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Washington cities are prohibited from regulating rent prices, but one lawmaker wants to change that. Democratic state Representative Nicole Macri says she'll propose a bill in 2018 to end the rent control ban.

The ex-wife of Matt Manweller contends the embattled GOP state representative leveraged his age and status as her former high school teacher to marry her when she was 18.

In an interview with The News Tribune, The Olympian and Northwest News Network on Friday, OraLynn Reeve spoke at length about her courtship and marriage to Manweller, who has been investigated for allegations of inappropriate interactions with students at Central Washington University, where he teaches political science.

A fiery top Republican in the Washington Legislature is facing renewed scrutiny over allegations he sexually harassed students as a professor at Central Washington University.

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