Washington State Legislature | KUOW News and Information

Washington State Legislature

The idea of giving workers paid time off to care for a new baby or an elderly parent has long been a priority of the left. But now the idea is gaining traction with some Republicans in the Washington Legislature.

Workers in Washington state are already eligible for up to 24 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave under state and federal law. A decade ago the Washington Legislature passed a paid family leave program, but never funded it. Now Washington Democrats and their labor allies are making a hard push to finally fund and expand that program.

Should Washington abolish the death penalty?

Jan 17, 2017
In this Nov. 20, 2008, file photo, the execution chamber at the Washington State Penitentiary is shown with the witness gallery behind glass at right, in Walla Walla, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Bill Radke speaks with State Senator Steve O'Ban and Seattle attorney Jason Rittereiser about the proposal by the attorney general's office to abolish the death penalty in Washington State. 

Washington State Capitol
Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington state lawmkers are back at the state Capitol for this year’s legislative session with one of the biggest spending questions looming over their heads in recent years.

That's how to comply with a 2012 court order to fully pay for K-12 education. KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins told Kim Malcolm that lawmakers are facing tough deadlines.


This week, we're the target

Jan 6, 2017
'Week in Review' panel Joni Balter, Knute Berger, Eli Sanders and Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

The Washington State Legislature convenes on Monday and one of the issues on the table is a bill that would ban drivers from holding their phone while driving. Is this a necessity or distracted legislating?

The former head of the CIA General Michael Hayden said that by the end of Trump’s first four years in office, North Korea could have a nuclear weapon that would reach Seattle. Richard Ellings of the National Bureau of Asian Research says Seattle would be the perfect target. Is it time to move?  

Lt. Gov.-elect Cyrus Habib is among five statewide elected officials set to take office in Washington next week. He also happens to be blind.

Governor Jay Inslee.
Flickr Photo/GovInslee (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a carbon tax within weeks of Washington voters' rejecting what would have been the nation's first such tax. Inslee's proposal is a big part of his plan to raise $4 billion in new revenue, with $3 billion of it going to improve education.

Seattle's Mayor and City Council approve their own agenda for the state Legislature every year. For the 2017 legislative session, the city is calling for more protections for tenants and for people of color.


A lot has changed since election night when it looked like House Democrats were poised to gain two seats and cement their majority. Now fortunes could be changing in favor of Republicans and the Washington state House could be headed for a tie.

Republican candidate Janice Huxford on the campaign trail.
KUOW Photos / David Hyde

A bump in the state minimum wage is on your fall ballot – Initiative 1433. It would raise the hourly wage $4 by the year 2020.

In one Snohomish County swing district, Republicans and Democrats are battling over that increase. And their struggle may help determine which party controls the state Legislature next year. 

Kaitlyn Beck is running for Position 1 in the 49th District in Vancouver, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Hillary Clinton could be America's first female president, but for Washington state, another historic first is possible this year. 

Down in Vancouver, there’s a candidate who would be the first openly transgender member of the Washington State Legislature. Kaitlyn Beck is running for Position 1 in the 49th District. 

It’s back to school time. It was also back to court Wednesday for lawyers in an ongoing school funding lawsuit in Washington state.

Close to $100 million has gone into this year's elections in Washington state so far, all aiming to influence you and your neighbors' votes.

That's just one of the things your official voters' guide won't tell you, but KUOW's new Field Guide to Influence will. The Field Guide lets you see the largely hidden actors trying to sway your vote behind the scenes.


Alan Copsey, center, a deputy attorney general for the state of Washington, speaks during a hearing before the Washington State Supreme Court regarding a lawsuit against the state over education funding, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Kim Malcolm talks with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about this week's state Supreme Court hearing over funding public education in Washington.

Just as the school year begins, the Washington state Supreme Court will get an update Wednesday on school funding efforts in the state legislature. Tuesday, a panel of lawmakers got an earful.

It’s been 18 years since Republicans last controlled both chambers of the Washington legislature. They’re hoping 2016 is the year they can reclaim the majority. But that will require holding on to their narrow grip on the state Senate and flipping the Washington House -- something Democrats are determined not to let happen.

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