jay inslee

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network files

It’s the hottest issue on Washington’s fall ballot: an initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. But Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, says he hasn’t decided how he’ll vote on Initiative 522.

"I have looked at the scientific literature, and it’s quite consistent to show that there’s no observable nutritional health impacts with GMO foods, and I think there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence in that regard," Inslee says. "But I do know many of my constituents would want to have information about that, so I need to think about this a little bit more."

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Since taking office in January, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has raised the salaries for several cabinet level positions. In total, those raises add up to nearly $100,000 over the course of a year. The boost in salaries comes even as the state continues to recover financially.

The biggest pay hike went for the position of director of Department of Licensing. That’s the agency that handles driver licenses and license plates among other duties. The new director – Pat Kohler – earns $141,000 per year. That’s a 17 percent increase over her predecessor.

Office of the Governor

Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants to more than double the number of state-funded preschool slots by 2019. He also wants to decrease the number of SUVs purchased by the state.

Washington Office of the Governor. Washington Governor Jay Inslee takes notes while talking with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

It was the call Governor Jay Inslee has been waiting for since the beginning of the year. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder giving Washington – and Colorado – the green light to proceed with marijuana legalization. But the feds reserve the right to intervene if they see problems.

Not that the states were in a holding pattern. But Inslee clearly appreciated finally getting clear guidance from the other Washington. Here he was at a hastily called news conference at the Capitol.

Feds Won't Sue To Block Washington Pot Legalization

Aug 29, 2013
Austin Jenkins. / Washington Governor Jay Inslee with Attorney General Bob Ferguson react to the Obama administration's decision not to sue to block marijuana legalization

The Obama administration will not sue to block Washington and Colorado from legalizing recreational marijuana.

Austin Jenkins/ Northwest News Network. Dan Schulte, with his sister at his side, speaks at the bill signing ceremony for Washington’s new DUI law.

Second-time drunk drivers in Washington will go directly to jail. They’ll also be required to get an ignition interlock device within five days.

Those are just two of the provisions in a sweeping new DUI measure signed into law Thursday. But already there are calls for even tougher penalties in the future.

The bill signing ceremony took place at a State Patrol field office. Governor Jay Inslee was flanked by police, prosecutors, lawmakers and victims.

Cacophony / Wikimedia

In what Washington Governor Jay Inslee calls "a dang shame," plans for a new bridge over the Columbia River are shelved -- if not dead. The Washington legislature adjourned without funding the construction phase of the project.

You might call the Columbia River Crossing “the bridge to the archives.” That’s where the blueprints will go now that the Washington Senate said “no” to a gas tax increase. That nixes $450 million for the new bridge over the mighty Columbia between Vancouver and Portland.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee can claim some significant legislative wins, along with several losses now that the legislature has finally adjourned. The Democrat’s first dance with lawmakers was made more difficult when Republicans and two breakaway Democrats took control of the state senate.

Let’s go all the way back to January 16th and Governor Inslee’s inaugural address. One of his biggest applause lines was his call for the legislature to pass a bill that would require health insurance companies to cover abortion.

Christina Salerno / TVW

The Washington legislature hopes to deliver a budget to Governor Jay Inslee by the end of business Friday. This after the House and Senate reached a handshake deal on a $33.6 billion state budget for the next two years. The agreement – after weeks of negotiations – should avert a government shutdown on Monday.

The official announcement came from Governor Inslee who was flanked by legislative leaders. “We are happy," he said. "And I know we are all relieved, to report to you that lawmakers have reached agreement on an operating budget for the next biennium.”

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says a budget deal in Olympia is “imminent” – even as state workers start to receive layoff notices. At a news conference Monday afternoon, the Democrat reported significant breakthroughs in budget negotiations.

A shutdown of state government is now one week away. That’s why temporary layoff notices are going out to state employees. That’s a requirement of labor contracts. Governor Inslee says he feels “enormous frustration” there wasn’t a budget deal in time to avert the notices.

US Department of Energy

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the disclosure of a worsening leak at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is "the most disturbing news."

The U.S. Department of Energy Friday said an underground tank that holds some of the nation's most troublesome radioactive waste may be leaking into the soil. An Oregon official said the development adds "urgency" to the long-running Hanford cleanup. 

Office of the Governor

Washington prisons would stay open, but much of the state would not if there’s a government shutdown. Governor Jay Inslee met with his cabinet Wednesday to begin contingency planning if there’s no budget by the end of the month. That’s the start of the new fiscal year.

“We’re not talking about opening the prison doors because there are clear federal mandates from the federal constitution and federal laws to provide for folks that are in our care and custody,” says Nick Brown, the Governor’s attorney.

Christina Salerno / TVW

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will call lawmakers back into a second special session beginning at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday. He’s also beginning preparations for a government shutdown on July 1 if there’s no deal by then.

The moves come as the 30th and final day of the first overtime session comes and goes with still no budget deal.

At a news conference, Democrat Inslee blamed the stalemate on the mostly Republican Senate Majority for insisting on several controversial policy measures he says are unrelated to the budget.

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Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the state attorney general say they’re quote ‘extremely disappointed’ that the U.S. Department of Energy may miss several key deadlines for cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The two milestones that may be missed are: completing waste retrieval from two of Hanford’s aging single-shell tanks and finishing up construction on the Low Activity Waste Facility, one of the key parts of Hanford’s Waste Treatment Plant.

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Washington’s overtime legislative session ends at midnight on Tuesday. But there’s still no agreement on a state budget for the next two years.

Over the weekend, the mostly Republican senate majority passed a revised version of its own spending plan, along with a trio of controversial policy measures.

The three policy bills are not new, the Senate passed them during the regular session. The difference is two of them now have referendum clauses, meaning voters would get the final say.

Cacophony / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/j5o48e3

There’s one week left in Washington’s special legislative session and still no budget deal. Governor Jay Inslee and the Senate majority caucus held dueling news conferences Tuesday complete with plenty of finger-pointing.

The governor went first. Inslee, a Democrat, blasted the mostly Republican Senate majority for an estate tax measure that passed out of committee late last week. Inslee called it a new tax break for more than 200 wealthy Washingtonians at the expense of public schools.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed a law that will allow the state’s fictitious driver license program to continue – but only for undercover law enforcement activities. At the bill signing Inslee backed away from a previous statement that he would apply a broad definition of the term “law enforcement.”

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The Washington legislature is back in session – for a 30-day extra inning. Washington Governor Jay Inslee Monday narrowed his agenda to three key items: the budget, a roads-and- transit funding package and a crackdown on impaired drivers.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington’s special session begins next Monday. But at this point it seems unlikely House and Senate budget negotiators will be close to a deal. Governor Jay Inslee said both sides agreed Tuesday on some common assumptions about the next two year budget.

Inslee spoke at the end of a bill signing ceremony. For now he’s measuring progress in these budget negotiations by the week, not the day. A budget is made up of hundreds if not thousands of assumptions about how much something will or won’t cost. How much a cut will or won’t save.

Columbia River Crossing

When Washington lawmakers return to Olympia in two weeks for a special session, Governor Jay Inslee is demanding they approve funding for the new Columbia River Crossing. The Democrat wants that funding included in a broader gas tax measure. But the governor faces opposition from the state senate - especially one powerful southwest Washington Republican: Senator Don Benton.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

An expected special session of the Washington legislature would mean another freeze on political fundraising. State law prohibits lawmakers from soliciting contributions while they are in session. For most members that’s probably not a huge concern since this is an off-election year. But a few legislators will be on this year’s ballot.

The so-called session freeze on fundraising lifts at 12:01am on the day after adjournment. It goes back into effect at 12:01am on the first day of a special session. You can bet candidates will make the most of whatever window they get.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network files

Governor Jay Inslee is like the gambler. He says it would take an “inside straight” for the legislature to complete its work by Sunday’s deadline. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington House Democrats have unveiled a proposed two-year budget that looks a lot like Governor Jay Inslee’s. It would renew expiring tax hikes, close several tax exemptions and put the new money into public schools.

House Democrats would actually spend a tad more than the governor. But their approach is very similar. For example: extend an expiring tax on beer and end the sales tax exemption for bottled water and shoppers from sales tax free Oregon.

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee is demanding a renewed crackdown on drunk drivers. This after recent tragedies in the Seattle area.

The Democrat Tuesday called for more DUI patrols, more resources for prosecutors and stricter rules for ignition interlock devices.

“We've got to understand a drinking driver is just as dangerous as someone out there with a bomb in their car because that’s what they are," the governor said. "They’re rolling time bombs and that’s why I believe we need to be much more aggressive.”

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The mostly Republican majority in the Washington state Senate has unveiled its budget proposal. It would put $1 billion more into basic education without raising taxes. The spending blueprint released Wednesday contrasts sharply with what Governor Jay Inslee proposed last week.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network files

OLYMPIA, Wash. – On the campaign trail, Washington Governor Jay Inslee talked about financing education by growing the economy. Now the Democrat proposes to raise $1.2 billion for schools by extending some tax increases and ending some tax breaks.

In Spokane last June I moderated the first gubernatorial debate between Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna. And I put this question to both candidates: if elected, would you ask voters to support a new tax for schools to respond to the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling that the state is not adequately funding education.

Alexandra Kocik / Northwest News Network

  OLYMPIA, Wash. – Health care advocates are pushing Washington state lawmakers to keep up momentum toward expanding access to Medicaid. About 100 people rallied on the Capitol steps in Olympia Thursday. They argue one group that will especially benefit is people with mental illness.

Inside the Capitol, that’s one of many issues related to the mentally ill. Several measures focus on broadening access to community mental health services as opposed to big institutions. The idea is to get help for mentally ill people before they get into trouble.

Alexandra Kocik / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – More than 100 health care advocates gathered in Olympia in support of Medicaid expansion Thursday. It coincided with an announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee, unveiling his budget priorities. His proposal includes an expansion of Medicaid.

That pleases Lauren Granger, a healthcare worker at the rally.

“I really hope that the legislature hears this message and isn’t pinching pennies in the wrong place and just have it be more expensive later on,” she says.

BP plc

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Hopes for a rosier budget outlook in Washington are dimming. Expected savings in Medicaid haven’t materialized. And many state lawmakers expect this week’s quarterly revenue forecast to show a downward slide. Add to that, a Supreme Court ruling that requires more funding for schools.

In response, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee is expected to announce soon a list of tax “loopholes” – as he calls them – he wants to eliminate to fund schools. But closing tax exemptions is easier said than done.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – It may take two to four years to even begin clearing radioactive waste from leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. That’s according to Washington Governor Jay Inslee. He toured the southeast Washington nuclear site Wednesday.

Governor Inslee strode around the Hanford site in smooth chestnut-leather cowboy boots. He was tailed by an entourage of two bus-loads of government officials and reporters. Inslee briskly walked between mammoth buildings at Hanford’s waste treatment plant and then drove by some of the six leaking underground waste tanks.

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