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Democrats challenge Senate transportation proposal over two-thirds supermajority rule

By | February 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

Those who were hoping to see a transportation package passed off the floor on Friday were left with a cliffhanger. Senators will return to the debate on Monday following a surprise challenge from Democrats.

The state Senate on Friday began debate on a $15 billion dollar transportation package, which would pay for major road projects around the state by raising the gas tax by 11.5 cents per gallon. The package also includes conditions that many Democrats oppose — including what they call a “poison pill” that would shift money away from transit, bike and pedestrian paths if the governor institutes a clean fuel standard.

Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Sharon Nelson urged members on the floor to adopt a “clean package” without the conditions. She said her version still provides tax money to fund transportation projects, but is “not linked to any other legislation which may be based on ideology from either party.”

That proposal failed along caucus lines. As the Senate prepared to debate the final transportation package that included the conditions, Democratic Sen. Annette Cleveland asked Lt. Gov. Brad Owen if the proposal to raise the gas tax requires approval of two-thirds of members based upon a rule change made on the first day of session.

The rule change, which was passed off the floor by the mostly Republican Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, includes a clause that would require bills with a new tax to get a two-thirds supermajority approval of the Senate before advancing to third reading.

Republican Sen. Curtis King responded to Cleveland’s question by saying he believes the gas taxes in the package are “existing taxes and therefore would not fall under that guideline.”

Following a break, Sen. Joe Fain told members the Senate will hold off on the transportation package until Monday to give Owen time to make his decision.

Before the challenge, the Senate debated several other bills related to the transportation package. One of the most contentious proposals, Senate Bill 5990, would shift sales tax money collected from building road projects away from the general fund, and use it for transportation.

Several Democrats spoke in opposition to the proposal, saying it will rob the general fund of education money.

“The fact is that taking a billion dollars, when we have no agreement around where those dollars are going to come from, means that we are saying, ‘We are going to fund concrete instead of our kids,’” said Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle.

Republican Sen. Michael Baumgartner of Spokane urged support, saying the transportation package will add money to the general fund for education in the long-term. “What those roads are going to do is allow our economy to grow and generate a tremendous amount of economic growth,” he said.

The bill passed along caucus lines with a vote of 26 to 23.

You can watch the full Senate floor debate in TVW archives. We’ll also have the highlights on Friday’s edition of “Legislative Review” at 6:30 and 11 p.m. (unless a committee is live).

Categories: transportation, WA Senate

Wednesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Wednesday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” We cover a pair of bills that aims to reduce the child pornography trade in Washington by using unclaimed lotto money to fund a task force. Plus, we have details about several bills considered in fiscal committees and other measures passed off the Senate floor.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: Criminal Justice

Tuesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Tuesday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” On the show, we cover a bill that would shift the $10,000 cost of training new law enforcement cadets away from the state and onto the agencies that hire them. Another measure aims to consolidate health care plans for teachers and school employees. Plus, we highlight several bills passed off the Senate floor.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: TVW

TVW selects Renee Radcliff Sinclair as new president, CEO

By | February 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

The TVW Board of Directors announced Tuesday that former state legislator and Apple Inc. education policy director Renee Radcliff Sinclair will become the new president and chief executive officer of TVW. Her first day will be March 2.

Sinclair succeeds Greg Lane, who left in October and is now Deputy Secretary of State.

Renee Radcliff Sinclair

Since 2010, Sinclair has directed education policy for several western states for Apple Inc. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of Business Monthy Magazine, CEO of the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce, and the executive director of congressional and public affairs for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States for the Pacific Northwest.

From 1995 to 2001, Sinclair served in the Washington State House of Representatives representing Snohomish County.

Sinclair was chosen after a search led by TVW board chair and former House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler and board member Steve Kipp of Comcast.

In a statement, Kessler said Sinclair is a professional communicator who “thoroughly understands Washington government and politics” as a former legislator. “We believe she will effectively lead TVW in its mission to provide unbiased, unfiltered public access to government,” Kessler said.

Categories: TVW

Revenue forecast shows moderate increase as lawmakers craft budget

By | February 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

Budget writers will have an additional $140 million to work with as they develop the state’s next two-year budget, according to figures released Friday by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

Washington is seeing strong job growth — especially in Seattle — and consumers are saving money from lower gas prices, said the state’s chief economist Steve Lerch. However, the state has collected slightly less revenue from legal marijuana than forecasted. The slowdown at the ports is also having an economic impact, although so far it is only affecting volume and not dollars, Lerch said.

The budget for the 2015-2017 cycle remains at about $37 billion, leaving legislators with a $2 billion dollar shortfall as they attempt to meet education funding mandates.

Rep. Ross Hunter, the lead Democratic budget writer in the House, said the updated figures make a “difficult problem slightly less difficult.” The House is expected to release its budget proposal in mid-to-late March.

The forecast also includes an additional $134 million for the current budget cycle, raising total collections to $274 million through 2017.

Republican lead budget writer Sen. Andy Hill said the additional revenue should “reduce the pressure on the perennial call for more taxes.” The Senate will release its own version of the budget after the House. Gov. Jay Inslee‘s budget was announced in December.

Watch the revenue forecast at this link.

Categories: Budget
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Thursday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Thursday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” On the show, we cover the passage of bills off the House floor, including one that would change state law to allow for a group of people to be awarded the Medal of Valor. It’s intended for those who risked their lives to help others during the Oso landslide. Plus, a committee hears Secretary of State Kim Wyman‘s proposal to change presidential primary elections and we have details from the public hearing on the Senate’s transportation proposal.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: transportation, TVW

Wednesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Wednesday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” We cover a proposal to abolish the death penalty in Washington, as well as a drone bill that would put new regulations on law enforcement officers and state agencies. Plus, families of inmates ask the Legislature to create a new office independent of the Dept. of Corrections to handle their complaints.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11.

Tuesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Tuesday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” We have highlights from the debate over a bill that would end a parent’s ability to exempt a child from vaccines for personal or philosophical reasons. Plus, a measure that would allow people with PTSD to use medical marijuana, and a bill that would allow fathers to terminate legal responsibilities for a child that he can prove through DNA does not belong to him.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11.

 

Categories: Healthcare, TVW

Vaccines debated as lawmakers consider eliminating personal belief exemption

By | February 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

A House committee held a public hearing Tuesday on a bill that would end a parent’s ability to exempt a child from vaccines for personal or philosophical reasons.

Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, said she introduced House Bill 2009 in response to the recent measles outbreak. “These are diseases that were eradicated and are now coming back largely due to the fact that people are choosing to not immunize their children,” she said.

Children in Washington must be vaccinated for school unless they are exempted for medical, religious or personal reasons. Last year, 3.6 percent of school-age children were exempted from vaccinations for non-medical reasons.

Some Washington schools have exemption rates as high 40 percent, said Kathy Lofy of the state Dept. of Health. She worries those schools will serve as “tinderboxes” for diseases that are easily spread through crowds.

Kathy Hennessy of Bellingham said her child caught pertussis from an unvaccinated classmate in preschool. “I’m frustrated that so many people are choosing not vaccinate their children based on misinformation and pseudoscience,” she told legislators.

More than a dozen opponents testified Tuesday, asking lawmakers to keep the personal exemption in place.

Grant Keller said the people who oppose vaccinations are “not conspiracy theorists,” but often well-educated parents with high incomes. “They are capable of reading and digesting scientific information, and they are making informed decisions regarding the health of their children,” he said.

Other parents who testified say they are not immunizing their children because they worry about a negative reaction to the vaccine.

Josh Swenson said drug allergies and sensitivies run in his family, and he worries how vaccines could affect his children. “I’m not wiling to sacrifice my children’s health and future for the good of all,” he said.

If the bill passes, Swenson said his only choices would be to take his children out of public schools or move out of state. “You cannot force me to hurt my child,” he said.

Monday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Monday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” We cover a bill that would require child-proof packaging on e-cigarette and vapor products, as well as a measure that would require students to undergo mental health evaluations after being suspended for violence. Plus, a bill that aims to reduce prostitution by going allowing police to go after property used during the crime.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11.

Categories: TVW

Thursday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Thursday’s legislative highlights on “Legislative Review.” We cover the release of a new Senate transportation proposal, as well as two different bills that deal with body cameras for police. Plus, TVW intern Ashley Stewart has a segment about a proposed change to the state’s Death with Dignity Act.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: TVW

Wednesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Wednesday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” On the show, we cover debate over a bill that would allow judges to remove guns from people who pose an “extreme risk.” Plus, a proposal to reduce property crime and several bills pass off the House and Senate floor.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: TVW

Tuesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Tuesday’s legislative activities, including debate over a teacher evaluation bill. Plus, an abortion insurance bill and a measure that would make HIV testing a routine part of care.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: TVW

Thursday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | February 6, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Thursday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” We cover a heated back-and-forth debate in a Senate committee chaired by Sen. Pam Roach over a bill that would put new restrictions on paid signature-gatherers. Plus, lawmakers consider bills related to wolves, as well as measures that aim to prevent bullying and improve social skills in Washington schools.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11.

Categories: TVW

Wednesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | January 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Wednesday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” We cover a bill known as “Sheena’s Law” named after the victim of a murder-suicide in Spokane. Plus, mobile home owners and landlords clash over a bill that would make changes to leases. The show also has highlights from a debate over a bill known by supporters as the Early Start Act.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m. on TVW.

Tuesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | January 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Tuesday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” It includes the public hearing on Gov. Jay Inslee’s carbon pollution plan, as well as several voting measures. Plus, an effort to train more officers on how to deal with the mentally ill.

“Legislative Review” airs each night at 6:30 and 11 p.m. on TVW.

Categories: Environment, TVW

Monday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | January 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our recap of Monday’s legislative activities. We cover the debate over raising the state’s minimum wage and requiring paid sick leave. The show also has details about the $20 million cost of an involuntary treatment bill, known as “Joel’s Law.” Plus, an effort to reimburse doctors who use telemedicine to connect with patients.

“Legislative Review” recaps each day’s legislative highlights in 15 minutes. It airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m. on TVW.

Categories: TVW

Thursday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | January 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s Thursday’s edition of “Legislative Review.” The show includes details about a drunk driving bill that aims to stop repeat offenders. It would make a DUI a felony on the fourth offense. Plus, we’ve got two segments that deal with medical marijuana — including a proposal to create a new license that would allow biotech companies and universities to grow their own products for research purposes.

The show airs every night at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: TVW

Wednesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | January 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s Wednesday’s edition of “Legislative Review.” We cover a bill that aims to stop scalpers from using computer bots to buy tickets to popular concerts and sporting events. We also have highlights from the testimony on Gov. Jay Inslee’s revenue proposal. Plus, a bill that would make changes to how landlords could charge rental application fees.

The show recaps each day’s legislative activities in 15 minutes. It airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: TVW

Tuesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | January 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

Watch Tuesday’s edition of “Legislative Review” right here. We cover the so-called “ag-gag” bill that would make it a crime to secretly record video on farms, as well as a bill that aims to end the elephant ivory trade in Washington state. Plus, an effort to reopen cigar bars. The show recaps each day’s legislative activities in 15 minutes. It airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: TVW