washington legislature

Rebecca White / Spokane Public Radio

Washington public schools with Native American-themed team names or mascots have a decision to make now that Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a ban on such symbols. The schools have until year's end to find a new mascot or try to win the blessing of a nearby tribe for continued use under an exception.

NWIFC, 2007/Glenn Drosendahl

In a time of reckoning about historical monuments, Washington state lawmakers found a bipartisan path to change out a prominent statue. A bill signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday begins the process of putting a statue of the late tribal treaty rights activist Billy Frank Jr. in the U.S. Capitol.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

More folks from Pacific Northwest government and industry are jumping on the hydrogen bandwagon to test if the alternative fuel could be a viable and green replacement for diesel and gasoline in some situations. The potential converts include more than half a dozen transit agencies from Everett to Eugene, state legislators and Boeing's drone subsidiary in the Columbia River Gorge.

PxHere.com

Residents of the Pacific Northwest will have to set their clocks ahead by an hour this weekend to move onto daylight saving time. The Oregon and Washington legislatures voted nearly two years ago to stay on daylight time year-round -- joined later by Idaho and British Columbia -- but still the biannual time change ritual and associated grumbling persists.

NWIFC, 2007/Glenn Drosendahl

Leaders of seven Pacific Northwest tribes testified this week in favor of replacing a statue of Oregon Trail pioneer and missionary Marcus Whitman in the U.S. Capitol. A proposal pending in the Washington Legislature would install a statue of the late Native rights activist Billy Frank Jr. in Whitman's place of honor.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

You may be used to hearing a pushy car salesperson ask the timeless question, "What can I do to get you in this car?" But one big thing could be different in Washington state a decade from now. Proposals introduced this winter in the Washington Legislature would end sales of new gasoline-powered cars in the state by 2030.

The Democrat-backed proposals face opposition from Republicans, the oil industry and auto manufacturers. A prior version failed to advance out of committee in Olympia last session and the inside politics do not appear to have changed substantially since. However, the concept is catching on in a few other states and in countries overseas.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

A long goodbye to natural gas furnaces and water heating -- and possibly other gas appliances -- could begin with action by the Washington Legislature this winter. Separately, the Seattle City Council this week begins consideration of a similar proposal to eliminate fossil fuel-based heating in new commercial buildings.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

The COVID-19 pandemic is a recurring theme as Washington state lawmakers prepare to convene their 2021 legislative session. Some legislators are raring to get started and have already drafted and filed the proposals they plan to formally introduce once the opening gavel falls on January 11.

Besides the coronavirus, other high-profile topics teed up for 2021 lawmaking have to do with voting, climate goals and racial equity.

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.

KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Daylight saving time goes away this Sunday, November 1. You'll get an extra hour of sleep from the time-change ritual. But wait, wasn't this hassle of resetting our clocks supposed to go away? Bide your time, folks, because multistate coordination and inaction by Congress is mucking with the gears.

Molly Solomon / OPB 2019

One of the first Native American women elected to the Washington State House of Representatives says she is drafting legislation to retire Native-themed mascots and team names at public schools. This has been a goal of Native American leaders for a while, but has new-found momentum in the wake of the Washington, DC, NFL football team’s name change.

Northern Quest Casino

Four Washington state tribes have opened negotiations with the state government to introduce sports betting. Earlier this year, the legislature authorized wagering on sports, but only at tribal casinos -- unlike the broader legalization in Oregon.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Amid a widespread shutdown of athletic events, Washington state has become the 21st state to legalize betting on sports. Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed legislation to authorize sports wagers in tribal casinos only.

It will be months before sports fans can bet money on games though, because first the tribes have to negotiate regulatory agreements with the state. And of course, sports leagues have to start up again.

Boeing photo

Washington state is on the verge of ending a large tax break for the Boeing Company and its parts suppliers. This is happening at Boeing's bidding to head off a bigger hit from threatened European tariffs.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Craig Jasmer's family and his neighbors cherish the peace and quiet of their homes in the Cascade foothills near the small town of Randle, Washington. The Cowlitz River flows through their valley past green pastures and snow-capped mountains. The scene would make a fetching label on a bottle of alpine spring water, which is almost what happened to the residents' dismay.

Boeing photo

The Boeing Company is bringing an unusual request to state lawmakers in Olympia: please take away our airplane manufacturing tax break. The Washington Legislature seems likely to oblige, but possibly will add some strings to the deal.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

A couple of years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states beyond Nevada to have sports betting. Oregon dove in last year. Idaho, Washington and California have held back. Now, Washington state lawmakers are taking a hard look at legalizing sports betting. But they do not seem inclined to copy much from Oregon's playbook.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Legal betting on last Sunday's NFL Super Bowl was a winner for the state of Oregon and a handful of Oregon tribal casinos. This comes as legislators in Washington state ponder whether to legalize sports betting too.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Remember back when it didn't cost anything to visit a state park for the day? A senior Republican in the Washington Legislature says the state's budget surplus should make it possible for park access to be free again.

Megan Farmer / KUOW

It's time to fall back again this weekend. You'll get to change your clocks from daylight time to standard time for maybe the last time. More likely though, it won't be the last time as West Coast states and provinces strive to sync their adoption of permanent daylight saving time.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

The movement to “ditch the switch” — the twice-yearly ritual of changing our clocks between daylight and standard time — just got a push from British Columbia, where residents signaled they are keen to join Washington state and Oregon on permanent daylight saving time.

But in California, where the idea is popular too, a new snag cropped up.

Washington State Parks

Washington is getting its first new full-service state park in many years. The planned park build-out is on land the state owns along the Nisqually River near Eatonville, Washington.

KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

With the stroke of the governor's pen Wednesday, Washington officially became the first West Coast state to ditch the twice-yearly time switch.

But the end of "spring forward-fall back" won't happen until Congress gives the green light to all of the states moving toward year-round daylight saving time.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Wheeled autonomous robots to bring online orders to your door have the green light to enter commercial service in Washington state. Gov. Jay Inslee signed rules of the road into law Tuesday after a robotic delivery vehicle rolled into his office to deliver the bill.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

In their last minute dash to adjournment Sunday, Washington state legislators revived a lapsed sales tax break for buyers of electric cars. The resurrected incentive will be similar in value to a publicly-funded rebate for battery-powered cars that Oregon now offers.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Fifteen years ago, the California and British Columbia governments sketched bold plans for a "hydrogen highway" for clean cars stretching from Whistler, B.C., to the Mexican border. California's then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger drove a Hummer converted to run on hydrogen. Vancouver city officials pictured travelers to the 2010 Winter Olympics leaving only water vapor exhaust in their wake.

But Oregon and Washington state didn't warm to the idea. There are still no public fueling stations for hydrogen cars in either state. (Schwarzenegger replaced his hydrogen-fueled Hummer with an electric Mercedes-Benz SUV in 2017.)

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

A measure to adopt daylight saving time all year-round is now one small step away from the Washington governor's desk. The same issue is still chugging along in the Oregon and California legislatures as part of a loosely coordinated movement to dispense with the unpopular ritual of springing forward and falling back.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network, 2018

Politicians and wildlife managers are engaged in a fresh debate about whether to intervene in nature to save an imperiled species. The question is whether humans can get seals and sea lions to lay off Chinook salmon so there's more for killer whales to eat.

Douglas County PUD

An electric utility in north central Washington wants to branch out into hydrogen fuel production. It would be the first of a group of power companies in the Pacific Northwest to use their dams to make "renewable hydrogen."

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Some psychiatric patients are spending not just hours in the emergency room, but days or a week. They're living there in the ER because there is nowhere else to send them. Pacific Northwest policymakers are now making it a priority to create more treatment capacity for people in mental health and addiction crises.

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