Washington State Legislature | KUOW News and Information

Washington State Legislature

Lawmakers in Olympia heard a set of bills Monday, that would enhance regulations around oil transportation by rail, water, and pipeline.

At a hearing in Olympia Tuesday, citizens supporting a pair of bills in the Washington legislature involving the use of deadly force by police said it’s too hard to keep law enforcement officers accountable. But some officers who showed up to testify said it’s not a change of legal language that's needed.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax and carbon tax to comply with a court order to fully fund public schools. Republicans in the state Senate Friday instead proposed to solve the state’s school funding crisis by raising the state property tax while lowering local rates.

Democrats in the Washington Legislature are looking to bolster the state’s oil spill prevention efforts.

An expansion of a Kinder Morgan oil pipeline through British Columbia is expected to increase oil tanker traffic in Washington’s Salish Sea sevenfold. Meanwhile, Washington’s Department of Ecology estimates a shortfall of $4 million in its oil spill prevention program.

A conservative Republican state senator from northeast Washington has resigned his seat to take a job with the new Trump administration. Sen. Brian Dansel announced his resignation Tuesday leaving the Washington Senate in a temporary political tie.

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. 

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