Washington State Legislature

File photo of a flu shot.
Flickr Photo/Fort Meade (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Washington state Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, about her new bill that would take away the option to opt out of vaccinations for "personal beliefs."

The Washington state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to make hemp farming legal. The measure now goes to the state House for further consideration.

Paid sick leave and a boost in the minimum wage are among the top priorities of organized labor in Washington state this year.

Labor activists from the group Working Washington surround eight protesters who have linked arms in a busy Bellevue intersection Sept. 9, 2014. They were protesting for a raise in the minimum wage.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Ross Reynolds talks with the president of Washington State Labor Council, Jeff Johnson, about his legislative priorities. We also hear from KUOW's Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about how proposals like mandatory paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage might fare in Olympia. 

Photo of school buses parked in a parking lot.
Flickr Photo/tncountryfan

Two state representatives want to divide Seattle Public Schools into two smaller districts.

“Seattle public schools is a broken system for many students for many families and something has to change,” said Sharon Tomiko-Santos, a Democrat from South Seattle.

On the eve of the Super Bowl, Washington state lawmakers are considering whether to legalize fantasy sports contests.

12 seahawks
Flickr Photo/Yuri Levchenko (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Seahawks fever is alive and well across the state, with cities taking on nicknames in advance of the new name: Shermmamish, Pete Angeles, Hawkilteo. We could go on… and we will. Also, this week: Why did a Seattle police officer hassle a 69-year-old man over a golf club? Will Washington state abolish the death penalty? Should cyclists have to pay a toll to roll on the new 520 bridge? And why is Bill Gates worried about artificial intelligence?

Bill Radke makes sense of these stories and more with Crosscut's Knute Berger, The Stranger's Eli Sanders and news analyst Joni Balter.

It’s long been against the law to text and drive in Washington, but the rules would get much stricter under a proposal introduced Wednesday in the legislature.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The 12th graders at Tyee High School are frustrated.

About half the class may not graduate because they’re failing state tests. The after-school classes that would help them catch up don’t fit into their lives.

That’s why, at Tyee's Academy of Citizenship and Empowerment, teachers are helping students turn frustration into political change. On a recent early morning, a group of seniors traveled to Olympia to lobby legislators.

When police are called to a report of domestic abuse, often someone goes to jail.

Gov. Jay Inslee has been pushing for a “polluters pay” carbon reduction plan for the majority of his time in office. Tuesday marked the first time that plan went before the state legislature, when the House Environment Committee held a hearing of HB 1314. The bill, which was drafted by the governor’s office, has 37 sponsors, all Democrats.

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

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW's Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about one of the legislature's priorities this session: mental health. 

Smoking tobacco
Flickr Photo/Laurence Currie-Clark (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington state considers raising the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 -- the highest in the country. Plus: deflated footballs, deflated employment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Seattle’s cutest mobster and a sad farewell to talking about the Kalakala ferry. 

Bill Radke’s guests this week include KUOW reporter Deborah Wang, Crosscut’s Knute Berger, Jonathan Martin of the Seattle Times and KUOW reporter Patricia Murphy.

Sens. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, left, and Kevin Ranker. On Christmas Day, Ashley Ahearn asked them to join her at the Spar Cafe, a bar in Olympia.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Earlier this winter, Ashley Ahearn was growing tired of polarized political debate.

She wondered: Did politicians actually believe what came out of their mouths? So she invited Sens. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, and Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, leaders, to drinks at Spar Cafe in Olympia.  

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

Jeannie Yandel talks with University of Washington political science professor Mark Smith about "dark money" and how that fits into campaign financing. 

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