Government and Politics

Political news

Austin Jenkins

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination, signed legislation Thursday to bump the state’s presidential primary from late May to early March. It’s a move designed to make Washington, a frequently overlooked state with just 12 electoral votes, more relevant in the nominating process.

Austin Jenkins

In the woods near Olympia’s Capitol Forest, there’s a brown two-story house with unpainted plywood walls in the entryway that tell a story.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Following months of speculation, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday formally launched a campaign for president that he said would seek to mobilize the country around an ambitious plan to combat climate change.

Courtesy: Rhonda Johnson

In January 2010, Brandon Bielen was riding his motorcycle on Highway 9 in Skagit County when he collided with a car that pulled out in front of him. Bielen was airlifted from the scene in critical condition. He had turned 18 just two days earlier.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

First, he was caught on store surveillance allegedly stealing a $70 office chair. Now Washington anti-tax activist Tim Eyman has produced his own video. It shows him returning to the scene of the alleged crime.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

A Washington state lawmaker says it’s time for eastern Washington to break away and become a 51st state called Liberty in order to protect gun rights and avoid the “socialist values of downtown Seattle.”

Max Wasserman / Northwest News Network

Issues of sexual harassment raised in the #MeToo era have trickled their way through just about every part of Washington state — from business, to government, and now possibly schools as state lawmakers flag consent as the cornerstone of a mandatory sex-education proposal.

Austin Jenkins

As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee inches closer to a likely run for president, he's starting to sound more and more like a candidate on the stump than a two-term incumbent, even when addressing audiences at home. 

Dennis Wise / University of Washington Photography

Drastic increases to the cost of college have discouraged many families from saving for their child’s tuition — or even thinking of it as a possibility. But some state lawmakers think that could change for as little as $100.


Tom Banse / NW News Network

In 2002, Grant County, Oregon banned the United Nations by citizen initiative. The referendum wasn't close: 58 percent of voters said to keep the United Nations out of Eastern Oregon. The sponsors asserted the United Nations sought to impose "world taxation," take away guns and private property and bring about "one world controlled education."

Washington Senate

Former Washington state Sen. Kevin Ranker, an Orcas Island Democrat, violated Senate harassment policy in his treatment of a female subordinate during the 2010 legislative session, according to an investigative report released Friday.

A loosely coordinated effort is gaining steam to get all West Coast states to synchronize their watches to year-round daylight saving time.
Henrique Simplicio / Flickr photo https://flic.kr/p/f1JxBL

Oregon and Washington voters could get a say at the next general election on whether to adopt daylight saving time year-round — and thereby abolish the twice-yearly clock changes.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Following in the steps of the European Union and California, Washington lawmakers are considering a sweeping data privacy proposal that its sponsors say could become a model for the nation.

Washington House representatives listen to testimony, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, before they unanimously voted to approve a code of conduct for the Legislature in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The handling of sexual harassment in the state Legislature will evolve following a new code of conduct that has already passed one chamber.

The unanimous resolution was passed in the House, and it’s the first bill of the 2019 legislative session to change the chamber’s workplace culture in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Casey Martin / KUOW

More public and private agencies are stepping up to ease the financial strain on federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown. Many of those workers will miss their second paycheck Friday.


Courtesy of TVW

A bill in the Washington Senate seeks to improve voting rights for Native Americans.

 

The Native American Voting Rights Act is sponsored by John McCoy, the only tribal member in the state Senate.

 

The Legislative Building on the opening day of the 2019 session. Lawmakers want to make financial aid for higher education an entitlement.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

 

 

The question hanging over the Washington state Legislature this winter isn’t so much what laws will pass, but how they’ll be funded.

Behind the biggest policy goal — a bipartisan push for mental health reform — are a number of issues vying for a spot in the Legislature’s budget that will be unveiled in March. Chief among those is a bill that would make college free for certain residents.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, on a mini-barnstorm of cold, snowy and wind-whipped New Hampshire, discussed climate change with students on two college campuses Tuesday. The Democrat's trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state comes as he says he's "seriously considering" a run for president in 2020.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will take his most visible step yet towards a possible bid for president when he visits New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, on Monday and Tuesday.

OLYMPIA — Joe Nguyen doesn’t look like your typical lawmaker. He’s the first Vietnamese member in the state Senate. And at 35, he’s one of the youngest.

“People are realizing that I’m a senator and not a staffer,” Nguyen said. But, he added, people do sometimes ask "who do you work for?" 

Hanford sign
ANNA KING/NORTHWEST NEWS NETWORK

There are several agencies and a group of stakeholders who watch over cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. But the partial government shutdown is blocking some of that important oversight.

In the past 10 years, the Environmental Protection Agency office in Richland has shrunk from nearly 10 experts working on Hanford issues to just three – including the top manager.

MOLT Studios via Recompose

A bipartisan effort to make Washington the first state to legalize human composting faced its first test in front of lawmakers on Tuesday — and the idea seemed to go over relatively well. 

Climate change topped Gov. Jay Inslee's list of priorities in his 2019 State of the State speech.
Northwest News Network Photo/Austin Jenkins

Warning that Washington state is at a "tipping point," Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday delivered a State of the State address that called on lawmakers to address carbon pollution, "transform" the mental health system and save Puget Sound orcas.

Inciweb/National Wildfire Coordinating Group

From aviation contracts to deals with vendors and even seasonal hiring, the partial federal government shutdown is cutting into planning and preparation for the 2019 wildfire season in the Northwest.

Washington Senate

Washington state Sen. Kevin Ranker, an Orcas Island Democrat, has resigned his seat in the midst of a workplace conduct investigation. In a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee dated Friday, Ranker, who served in the Senate for a decade, said his resignation was effective immediately. The state's 105 day legislative session starts Monday.

Chris Lehman / KLCC

Some Oregon State Parks workers are now tending to federal recreation lands as the partial U.S. government shutdown continues with no end in sight.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

Two decades ago, Washington voters overwhelming adopted an initiative that effectively banned affirmative action programs in the state. That could soon change.

National Park Service

As the partial government shutdown drags on, the National Park Service is having a harder time keeping its Northwest jewels open. The last open gate at Mount Rainier swung shut until further notice on Sunday afternoon.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

If Congress and the Trump administration cannot broker a deal to fund the government, which looks increasingly possible late Friday, there's a solace for the Pacific Northwest: Based on check-ins with federal agencies here, the local effects of a partial federal government shutdown would likely be limited.

State Sen. Kevin Ranker is the subject of a workplace conduct investigation.
Washington Legislature

A Washington state senator under investigation for alleged workplace misconduct involving his former legislative assistant acknowledged Tuesday that he had a "brief relationship" with the woman before he hired her in 2009.

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