Washington State Legislature | KNKX

Washington State Legislature

The past eight months have been a whirlwind of victories for Tarra Simmons—an honors law school graduate with a criminal past.

In the aftermath of a recent workplace conduct investigation at the state Capitol, the Democratic lawmaker at the heart of the inquiry and one of his accusers say the process has revealed flaws in how the Legislature handles complaints made against elected officials.

Several efforts to protect sexual assault victims failed to pass in Washington’s 60-day legislative session which adjourned last Thursday. Now lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expressing frustration.

After several tries, blood bank couriers and wheelchair taxis with just one person on board have won coveted access to carpool lanes in order to provide better service.

Shortly after the final gavels fell Thursday night on Washington’s 2018 legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee stepped before a smattering of reporters and cameras gathered in his conference room and touted “a long list of accomplishments” over the 60 day session.

After the recent mass shooting in Florida, Washington state lawmakers faced immense pressure to enact gun control legislation. But a bill to address school shootings made little progress, despite Democratic control of the House and Senate.

UPDATE: Washington state lawmakers adjourned Thursday night after a short, 60-day election year session during which Democrats flexed their new one-party control to pass a slew of legislation. Here’s a look at some of the bills that passed and some that didn’t.  (Note: some of these bills have already been signed into law by the governor, others await his signature.) 

Washington homeowners would get some property tax relief in 2019 under a bill that passed the Democratically-controlled Washington state Senate on Wednesday evening over Republican objections. The bill is part of a final budget deal reached with the House as the Legislature heads toward a scheduled adjournment on Thursday. 



More than 100 Washington high school students rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday demanding restrictions on purchases of military-style weapons and tougher background checks.

An initiative backed by families of people who’ve been shot by police may not appear on Washington’s November ballot after all. That’s because sponsors of Initiative 940 and police groups have agreed on a new good faith standard for the use of deadly force.






Your internet service should be free of slow lanes and corporate favoritism if legislation just signed in Washington state and awaiting the governor's signature in Oregon works as intended. The states' objectives were to block a federal rollback of Obama-era net neutrality rules.

The Washington Legislature approved a phase out of Atlantic salmon farming in state waters on Friday and sent the measure to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it.

In the face of intense pressure from the public and media, and following hours of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee late Thursday  vetoed a bill that exempts the Legislature from the state’s voter-approved Public Disclosure Act. 

Will he or won’t he? That’s the question as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee faces immense pressure to veto a bill that exempts the Legislature from the state’s Public Records Act. Inslee has until midnight Thursday to decide.

The issue has galvanized the public. As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Inslee’s office said it had received more than 8,000 emails and over 4,000 calls. The governor’s staff called the volume “unprecedented.”

Washington Republicans Propose Voluntary Firearm Training For Teachers

Feb 28, 2018

Lawmakers in Washington state continue to look for ways to prevent mass shootings in schools. On Wednesday, Republicans in the state Senate proposed creating a voluntary training program for school staff on how to respond to an active shooter.

The Washington Legislature has sent a ban on bump stocks to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. A bump stock is a trigger modification device that make a semi-automatic rifle function more like an automatic weapon.

The last time an editorial appeared on the front page of The Seattle Times, Teddy Roosevelt was president, World War I hadn’t happened yet, and Pike Place Market was a year old.

It was 1908, and The Times was trying to shame Seattle’s well-heeled into putting money into the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, planned for the next year.

It worked.

As a politician, Washington state Rep. David Sawyer of Tacoma says he’s in the business of getting to know people and networking. As a 34-year-old unmarried man, the Democrat says he sometimes tries to date within political circles because those are people who understand his life best.

In the space of 20 minutes Friday, Washington lawmakers voted to exempt themselves from the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act. The Senate first passed the bill and then sent it to the House where it was immediately taken up.

Washington lawmakers are fast-tracking a bill to exempt themselves from the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act. The move comes after the Legislature lost a public records lawsuit filed by several news outlets, including public radio. That lawsuit is now on appeal. 

An allegation against Washington state Rep. David Sawyer of Tacoma has led House Democrats to restrict his contact with staff.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is reiterating his call for state lawmakers to pass a series of what he calls “common sense” gun control measures. The Democrat made his comments Wednesday in response to the Florida school shooting.

Washington House Democrats on Tuesday proposed nearly $1 billion in short-term property tax relief, followed by a longer-term tax cut funded by a new state capital gains tax on a minority of wealthier residents.

The chief budget writer in the Washington state House of Representatives says it’s up to Democratic leaders whether he keeps his chairmanship following a rollover crash and his arrest for drunk driving last Saturday.

In a vote unprecedented in modern times in the state of Washington, the state Senate voted Wednesday to abolish the death penalty and instead impose life in prison without the possibility of parole for those convicted of aggravated first degree murder.

Efforts to address sexual harassment in the Washington state Capitol have suffered a setback. Legislative leaders had pledged to improve the workplace climate following reports late last year that revealed a history of misconduct at the Capitol. But finding a solution has proven more difficult than expected.

Washington’s 60-day legislative session is approaching the halfway mark and majority Democrats are flexing their newfound one-party control of Olympia. That’s especially evident in the state Senate where several priority Democratic bills have been put on a fast track.

Lyft, Uber Drivers May Face Fingerprint Background Checks

Feb 5, 2018

Uber and Lyft drivers may soon have to undergo tougher background checks in Washington state. Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require drivers to pass a fingerprint background check before being allowed to operate.

"edge of belltown" by Jeff Wilcox is licensed under CC by 2.0

King County residents may experience some sticker shock when they see their property tax bills this year because of the state's plan to fund education.

The Washington state Senate has passed a ban on trigger modification devices known as bump stocks that allow semi-automatic firearms to operate more like automatic weapons.

The vote Thursday evening came in response to last October’s mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and left hundreds more injured.

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