Washington State Legislature

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.

Washington Republicans are working hard this election cycle to hold onto their slim majority in the state Senate. And they’re getting some help from a new political action committee set up by the debt collection industry.

Bill Radke talks with Everett Herald reporter Jerry Cornfield about a new push for state lawmakers to pass an assault weapons ban in Washington.

Washington state schools superintendent Randy Dorn filed a lawsuit Tuesday in King County Superior Court against seven school districts for using levy dollars to boost teacher salaries.

Dorn said the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision was clear: Under the state Constitution, teacher salaries must be funded by the Legislature, not levies. 

Students at Margaret Mead Elementary in Sammamish load their lunch trays beneath a canopy of bird netting. The school is so crowded that children line up for lunch outside.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Close down public schools in Washington.

State education chief Randy Dorn says that drastic action might be needed to force the Legislature to find enough money to pay for public schools.


Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is back on the job after his federal criminal trial. And he’s firing back at Gov. Jay Inslee.

Last week Kelley asked for the resignation of his chief of staff and chief spokesman. Inslee demanded an explanation for the firings. Now Kelley has responded.

The Washington Legislature has adjourned. And now the campaign season has begun. Within hours of the final gavels falling Tuesday night, fundraising pleas went out.

Bill Radke talks with KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the budget deal that ended this year's overtime state legislative session.

A fresh budget proposal and some partisan sparks. That’s how a special session of the Washington legislature kicked off Friday. Senate Republicans went public with their latest budget offer and House Democrats quickly cried foul.

The Jungle, the morning after five people were shot at the homeless encampment. Officially the East Duwamish Greenbelt, everyone calls it The Jungle.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Washington state lawmakers have passed the supplemental transportation budget. It is now headed to Governor Inslee's desk for approval.

How to spend a chunk of that money is a contentious topic in Seattle: $1 million is set aside for safety improvements at the Jungle homeless encampment. That money could be used to build a fence around the camp under Interstate 5.

Police officers pause next to a sign outside a restaurant as they observe a May Day anti-capitalism march, Friday, May 1, 2015 in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A bill that would put police use-of-force under the microscope is headed to the governor for final approval. But recent amendments have stripped down the measure.  

The measure would create a task force to review policing laws. Current law says an officer can't be convicted of a crime involving deadly force unless they acted with malice.

The clock is running out on Washington’s 60-day legislative session. House Democrats and Senate Republicans have until Thursday at midnight to approve an update to the state’s two-year budget. But first they need to agree on the details.

In this image from video, a body camera worn by Seattle police officer Chris Myers is shown on June 18, 2015 in Seattle.
AP Photo/Manuel Valdes

Bill Radke talks with privacy advocate Jared Friend about a bill in the state legislature that would restrict public access to police body camera footage. Friend is director of technology and liberty at the ACLU of Washington. We also hear from state Rep. Drew Hansen, who is backing the bill.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has a blunt warning for state lawmakers:

“Your bills are going to get vetoed if you don’t do your job and pass a budget.”

Bill Radke talks with Danni Askini about why she's running for an open seat in the 43rd legislative district of the Washington state House of Representatives. Askini is currently the executive director of the Gender Justice League.

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