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Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A new state capital gains tax. An expanded and fully funded tax credit for lower-income families. Fresh investments in disaster preparation and foundational public health. And significant new spending in early learning and child care.

Those are among the elements of a proposed $59.2 billion, two-year budget Washington Senate Democrats unveiled on Thursday.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Because of disruptions wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, majority Democrats in the Washington House have been asked to restrain themselves and introduce no more than seven bills each during the 2021 legislative session -- and then only bills that “are urgently needed.”

Committee chairs in the House have also been instructed to limit the number of public hearings they grant and dial back the number of bills they pass out of their committees.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

It was common through the 1800s for American school children to attend a one-room schoolhouse. In 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Swanson family in rural north Olympia will attend a one-garage schoolhouse.

On a recent morning, Molly Swanson rolled up her garage door and welcomed a visitor into the classroom she and her husband created this summer as a place to educate four of their six children, plus two foster children.

WSDOT - tinyurl.com/yddspl8b

When Washington lawmakers convene a short, election year session on Monday, they’ll confront a range of issues from homelessness to gun control to whether to expel state Rep. Matt Shea.

But first, the 60 day session will begin with a historic vote and swearing-in ceremony of Democratic state Rep. Laurie Jinkins. She will become the state’s first woman speaker of the House and only the second openly lesbian House speaker in the nation after Oregon’s Tina Kotek.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr - tinyurl.com/ha5h3wp

Nearly four decades ago, Washington became one of the first states to abolish parole and adopt a “fixed” sentencing grid with the goal of ushering in an era of “truth-in-sentencing,” while also reducing disparities in sentences.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Opponents of affirmative action filed a referendum Monday morning to overturn Initiative 1000, which majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature passed Sunday evening in the waning hours of the 105-day legislative session. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington's largest state-run psychiatric hospital has been cited and fined for failing to protect workers from assaults by patients. 

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.

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.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Former Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley will remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction for possession of stolen funds, making false statements and filing false tax returns.

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

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. 

An Idaho woman says she and Rep. Matt Manweller had a sexual relationship when she was 17 and he was a decade her senior.
Northwest News Network/Austin Jenkins

A former Idaho high school student of embattled Washington legislator and longtime educator Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Cle Elum) says she had a sexual relationship with him beginning after she graduated in 1997, when she was 17 years old and he was a decade her senior. Under Idaho state law at the time, sex between an adult male and a female younger than 18 constituted statutory rape.

Austin Jenkins

On a recent evening in Vancouver, Washington, more than 80 people gathered at the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They were there for a forum organized by a fledging group of moms whose severely mentally ill children have struggled to get the help they need in Washington state — sometimes with deadly consequences.

“We are all part of a tribe that we have joined whether we wanted to or not,” mother Jerri Clark told the packed room.

Washington Legislature / Washington Legislature

Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller “engaged in a pattern of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior” with current and former female students at Central Washington University (CWU) over a 13-year period, according to an 85-page investigative report released by the university on Wednesday.

Washington Legislature / Washington Legislature

A Republican state representative from eastern Washington is drawing attention after comments he made about the media at a pro-gun rally over the weekend. 

At the "Liberty or Death" event on Saturday in Spokane, Republican Matt Shea of Spokane Valley, who's currently seeking a sixth term in office, said "a lot of people in the media" are guilty of smear campaigns, innuendo and implication.

"And I want to tell you something about that," Shea told the crowd. "We can't become those dirty, godless, hateful people. We have to uphold free speech no matter what." 

In March, Governor Jay Inslee announced Dale Peinecke's resignation as commissioner of the Employment Security Department following a workplace conduct investigation. But Peinecke ended up running the agency remotely for two more months after that.
Washington Employment Security Department

Last March, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced the resignation of one of his longest-serving cabinet members, Employment Security Department head Dale Peinecke. A workplace misconduct investigation had found that over the five years Peinecke worked in state government, he made some staff uncomfortable and was “vulnerable to claims of harassment with sexual overtones.”

Washington Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore

Washington Republicans are regrouping after a primary election pounding Tuesday that extended beyond swing districts to rock-ribbed GOP pockets of the state.

Washington Legislature / Washington Legislature

With less than a week until the primary election in his district, Republican state Rep. Matt Manweller has released a video accusing his employer—Central Washington University (CWU)—of pursuing a partisan-driven investigation into his workplace conduct.

Washington Legislature

Calling former Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley "as unrepentant as any defendant in memory," federal prosecutors are asking that a judge sentence him to more than seven years in federal prison when he is sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

This story has been updated.

Despite a two year turnaround effort, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Monday that it will strip Washington’s Western State Hospital of federal certification for failing to comply with standards.

Courtesy of the Davis family

In an unprecedented move, the state of Washington is shutting down a major provider of in-home care for developmentally disabled adults in King, Spokane and Yakima counties because of repeated serious violations of care standards.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The sentencing of former Washington Auditor Troy Kelley has been delayed until the end of June while his attorneys seek to have Kelley’s federal conviction for possession of stolen funds overturned--or a new trial granted.

Washington State Attorney General's office

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is breaking with tradition and will endorse a ballot measure dealing with guns. 

Jennifer Martin/Wikimedia Commons

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is making headlines for a quip he made about marijuana to HBO host Bill Maher.

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