Washington State Legislature

Marcie Sillman talks to Hugh Spitzer, University of Washington law professor, about the constitutionality of the Senate Republicans' rule change for bringing new taxes to a vote on the full Senate floor.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax to help fund schools and other priorities. But Republicans in the state Senate voted Monday to make it harder to get a tax proposal like that through the legislature.

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

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW's Olympia corespondent Austin Jenkins about the politics around the carbon tax and other issues facing the state legislature this session. 

Washington state capitol
Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Mark Schoesler, the new Republican state Senate Majority Leader, about his background, the issues he cares about and his governing philosophy. 

Washington State Legislature in Olympia.
Flickr Photo/amishrobot (CC-BY-NC-ND)

State lawmakers begin a high-stakes legislative session today with big decisions to make on how to pay for roads, transit and schools. Bill Radke finds out what to watch for on day one from KUOW's Olympia correspondent, Austin Jenkins.

When the Legislature convenes next week, Rep. Sherry Appleton plans to introduce a bill for a silver alert system in Washington state.

Similar to the Amber Alert for children, this alert would be for elderly people with dementia who wander off. Appleton says 60 people went missing in the past year.

“Six-zero,” says Appleton. “I think it’s a lot of people.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is defending his call for higher taxes in 2015. The Democrat reacted Thursday to criticism from Republican lawmakers.

Marijuana will be among the top agenda items when the Washington legislature convenes Monday.

Dow Constantine in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Ross Reynolds talks to King County Executive Dow Constantine about the transportation issues facing the county this year.

The Washington legislature convenes next Monday for a 105-day session. Transportation funding is one of the top agenda items.

bus traffic transportation
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the upcoming session and what's in store for transportation.

File photo of oil train tankers in a Portland, Ore. railyard.
EarthFix Photo/Tony Schick

SEATTLE — For the past few years, a growing number of trains have been bringing “rolling pipelines” of oil from North Dakota to ports and refineries in the Pacific Northwest.

And in that time, the Washington and Oregon legislatures have failed to come up with the money to pay for the cost of responding to the increasing risk of oil spills in their states. That could change in 2015.

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

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW's Olympia correspondent, Austin Jenkins, about the upcoming session and what that could mean for education funding in Washington state.

Frank Chopp, Washington Speaker of the House, in 2006.
Flickr Photo/The Children's Alliance (CC-BY-NC-ND)

State Speaker of the House Frank Chopp’s path to politics began in Bremerton, Washington, in a surplus housing unit from the Navy Yard. He started as an activist and hasn’t abandoned that point of view.

“I consider myself still to be a community organizer, I just happen to be speaker of the House,” he said.

Meager beginnings made him passionate about affordable housing, and helping his sister cope with bipolar disorder turned his attention to mental health care.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has been on a three-day road show to showcase his plans for education, transportation and climate change.

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