Government and Politics

Political news

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.

Washington Senate

Washington state Sen. Kevin Ranker, an Orcas Island Democrat best known for his work on environmental issues, has confirmed that he is under investigation for alleged workplace misconduct involving a former employee.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing a hefty $10 billion increase in state spending over the next two years to maintain current services and fund new priorities, including mental health and orca recovery. To pay for his budget, the two-term Democrat is once again pushing for a new state capital gains tax on high income earners as well as an increase in the business and occupation tax on professional services.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is taking the first step toward a plan to help house and treat psychiatric patients who have been involved in the criminal justice system: a new, 500-bed state mental hospital.


Following eight months of meetings, a workgroup on the prevention of sexual harassment in the Washington state House is recommending the formation of an independent office where victims could report misconduct.

Office of Gov. Jay Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has raised more than $112,000 since October for a federal political action committee (PAC) that will allow him to explore a possible run for president in 2020, something the two-term Democrat said he's actively considering and will decide by April.

The locker room at Little Darlings, a club owned by Deja Vu. Both of the dancers who spoke at the hearing worked here and at other Deja Vu clubs. The locker room regularly has standing water from flooding, which sometimes spills onto the dance floor.
Courtesy of Working WA

Aubrey Watkins has worked as an exotic dancer for 20 years, which has allowed her to raise three sons and pay for college tuition. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has formed a federal political action committee and started soliciting contributions, signaling an important next step as he decides whether to run for president in 2020, the public radio Northwest News Network and The Seattle Times have learned.

Quagmar / Flickr

A 2017 law that requires Washington gun dealers to report when someone tries to buy a firearm and fails a background check has resulted in at least 10 arrests and two convictions so far, according to a report by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC).

Flickr Photo/Rich Uchytil (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)/

Washington's child welfare system is failing to adequately serve foster youth with the most vexing needs, resulting in hotel stays and out-of-state placements, according to a new report by the state's Office of the Family and Children's Ombudsman (OFCO).

A major provider of in-home care for developmentally disabled adults in Washington has announced it will cease operations in King County in the coming weeks because of a lack of affordable housing and challenges related to recruiting and retaining staff.

Jeanie Lindsay / Northwest News Network

Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, who is blind and has faced vitriol online, is requesting funding in the next two-year state budget to hire security when he attends large, public events. The request is contained in an agency "decision package" submitted by Habib's office to the Office of Financial Management as part of the lead-up to the budget writing process.

U.S. Senate Historical Office

According to some Oregon and Washington legislators, it's high time to get rid of the twice-yearly ritual of changing clocks.

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's busy out-of-state travel schedule has put a strain on the state troopers who protect him and resulted in a spike in overtime costs. As a result, the Washington State Patrol has requested an additional $1.3 million to protect the governor and first lady over the next two years.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

Nearly 20 years after Washington voters passed Initiative 695, which repealed Washington's motor vehicle excise tax, anti-tax activist Tim Eyman said Wednesday that he's close to qualifying a new initiative to repeal taxes to support Sound Transit and restrict car tabs to $30. 

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network


Washington 5th Congressional District Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers beat Democratic challenger Lisa Brown in the 2018 midterm election to claim her eighth term in the US House.

  At an election night party in downtown spokane, supporters waved signs and cheered for McMorris Rodgers as she took the stage to give her victory speech. “This election was tough. It was a battle,” she told the crowd. “I stand before you tonight stronger, better and more convicted in what we are fighting for.”

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

It wasn't a sweeping blue wave, but Democrats were poised to pick up several seats in the Washington Legislature based on the first tally of ballots Tuesday evening as many of the most hotly contested races remained too close to call. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In the wake of three serious patient-on-staff assaults, more than 150 nurses at Washington's Western State Hospital have signed a "no-confidence" letter calling for the replacement of the psychiatric hospital's chief nursing officer Karen Pitman and her deputies. 

"We have lost all trust, faith, and confidence in the current Western State Hospital Nursing Administration to advocate for nursing," the letter read. 

The letter was delivered by email Friday to Dave Holt, Western State CEO and Cheryl Strange, Secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services.

Courtesy of the Davis family

Five months after the state of Washington shut down a major provider of in-home care for the developmentally disabled, the company that took over care for most of the clients has been given 90 days to correct its practices or face decertification of its King County operation based on "serious non-compliance with the law and regulations." 

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

On the evening of September 30, Bernia Garner was working as a nurse on South Hall 7, a ward for non-criminal patients at Washington’s Western State Hospital.

Washington Courts

Six years ago, Steven Gonzalez's last name likely cost him votes in his first race for the Washington Supreme Court. He won nonetheless.

Washington 5th District Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, left, met Lisa Brown Oct. 24 in Walla Walla for their final debate before ballots are due Nov. 6th. The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event.
Northwest Public Broadcasting

Campaign organizers for incumbent eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers were not happy Wednesday night following a debate in Walla Walla.


When the debate between incumbent Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Democratic challenger Lisa Brown came to a close, many people in the audience at Walla Walla Community College started chanting Lisa Brown’s name.


But in a green room afterward, McMorris Rodgers was visibly upset.

Credit: Fuse Washington

Washington's Public Disclosure Commission said Monday it's received nine complaints about a series of controversial mailers that were sent to voters in Thurston County and four hotly contested state legislative districts from coastal Washington to Spokane.

Disability Rights Washington

The state of Washington sent high-needs foster youth to a residential facility in Iowa where they were isolated, held in a restrictive setting and at times subject to “abusive restraint practices," according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the advocacy group Disability Rights Washington.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

In statehouse races across Washington this year, there are two potential boogeymen: President Donald Trump and the city of Seattle. Democrats are counting on an anti-Trump bump while Republicans are running against the liberal policies of the state’s largest city.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

A Washington state senator who says he’s heard from “literally hundreds of parents” of adult children who are struggling with mental illness or addiction wants to allow families to petition for temporary guardianship.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

A year ago this month, Carla Tolle’s 13-year-old grandson Edgar Vazquez was shot and killed by a friend while they played at the friend’s grandfather’s house in Kelso, Washington.

Washington Legislature / Washington Legislature

Under pressure to step down following a new allegation of sexual misconduct, Republican state legislator Matt Manweller on Monday said that he would resign his seat if re-elected this November. 

Washington Legislature / Washington Legislature

A new state political action committee with a high-profile co-chair from California and national financial backing has launched a campaign to unseat Washington state legislator Matt Manweller.

The campaign, which launched Monday morning, comes as Washington House Republican leaders have asked Manweller to resign his seat following a report by the Northwest News Network last week on an alleged underage relationship Manweller had with a former high school student in 1997. Manweller was expected to respond to the call for him to resign later Monday.