Authors Posts by TJ Martinell

TJ Martinell

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TJ Martinell has five-plus years of news reporting experience, and has worked as an SEO specialist. He is a graduate of Eastern Washington University.

Bi-State Bridge Proposal Spans Political Ravines

Legislation aiming to renew inter-state talks for replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge appears on the cusp of bicameral approval. This week SB 5806 was...
Battle Of The State Budgets Begins

Battle Of The State Budgets Begins

House Democrats have released their proposed 2017-19 operating budget that includes over $7 billion in increased basic education spending over four years and a...
Lawmakers Seek To Reduce Resident Energy Bills

Lawmakers Seek To Reduce Resident Energy Bills

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers want Washington utility customers who finance hydro-efficiency improvements at the federally-owned dams in the Columbia River Basin to...
Senate Budget Rejects Inslee's Public Labor Agreements

Senate Budget Rejects Inslee’s Public Labor Agreements

Senate Republicans this week unveiled their proposed 2017-19 operating budget, which incorporates their basic education funding plan and mostly rejects Governor Jay Inslee’s $1.7...
Bill Proposes Public-Private Partnership To Improve Rural Broadband Access

Bill Proposes Public-Private Partnership To Improve Rural Broadband Access

In 2015, half a million Washington state residents lacked access to a broadband-speed Internet connection, according to the Broadband Now project. State lawmakers want...
New Carbon Tax Proposal Under Fire By Washington Manufacturers

New Carbon Tax Proposal Under Fire By Washington Manufacturers

House Democrats have proposed a new carbon tax they say addresses criticisms leveled against similar proposals that have failed to garner legislative or voter...
Washington Industry Urges Caution With Proposed Data Broker Tax

Washington Industry Urges Caution With Personal Data Sales Tax

Annual sales of personal information in the United States now exceeds $300 billion. Some state lawmakers want to tax those transactions when they involve...
Giving A Boost To Washington's Hi-Tech Research, Space Industry

Giving A Boost To Washington’s Hi-Tech Research, Space Industry

Washington currently ranks fifth in the nation for innovation related to research and development (R&D), according to a 2016 study by the Milken Institute...
The Future of 5G Networks In Washington State

The Future of 5G In Washington State

The expansion of 5th generation (5G) mobile networks technology is expected to create three million new jobs and increase the nation’s annual GDP by...
Income Tax Ban Fails Senate Vote, But Clarifies Lawmakers’ Stance

Income Tax Ban Fails Senate Vote, But Clarifies Lawmakers’ Stance

A proposed constitutional amendment banning state or local taxes on individual incomes failed to garner the necessary two-thirds majority vote in the State Senate...
Lawmakers Weigh Proposals To Nullify New Sound Transit Taxes

Lawmakers Weigh Proposals To Nullify New Sound Transit Taxes

Pushback is mounting as Puget Sound drivers renew their license plate tabs against the added tax burden to pay for the Sound Transit 3...
Senate Passes Forest Restoration Bill, Though Funding Still Uncertain

Senate Passes Forest Restoration Bill, Though Funding Still Uncertain

The Washington State Senate has unanimously approved SB 5546 directing the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to treat one million acres of state...
Washington Industries Appeal EPA State Water Quality Standards

Washington Industries Appeal EPA State Water Quality Standards

A group of Washington employers and associations are appealing a newly-adopted Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule for water quality standards in favor of a...
Rival Political Strategies In Play Over Progressive Income Tax

Rival Political Strategies In Play Over Progressive Income Tax

After Olympia voters decisively rejected a proposed tax in November, there is a renewed push to permit a progressive income tax in Washington through...

K-12 Funding Plan Takes Alternative Path Toward McCleary Solution

A proposal by moderate Senate Democrats to fully fund basic education received both praise and concern from panel members and testifiers at a Monday,...
New K-12 Funding Plan Aims For Middle Ground

New K-12 Funding Plan Aims For Middle Ground

With the state House and Senate clearing two rival bills to fully fund basic education, eyes are turned toward a third alternative proposal set...
Managing Traffic In The Puget Sound Region

Managing Traffic In The Puget Sound Region

As the central Puget Sound regional population grows in the coming decades, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) envisions a 40-mile long corridor...
Renewing Talks On Bi-State Bridge Replacement

Renewing Talks On Bi-State Bridge Replacement

State lawmakers want to restart discussions for replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge connecting Washington and Oregon, after the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) succumbed to...

Washington State Lawmakers Move to Loosen Rural Growth Restrictions

Washington state lawmakers are trying to help rural counties suffering from economic stagnation or decline by allowing industrial and commercial growth outside so-called “urban...
Logging The Road To Rural Economic Recovery

Logging The Road To Rural Economic Recovery

For many Washington rural communities reliant on state land timber sales, catastrophic wildfire seasons can deliver an economic one-two punch: local homes and businesses...
Encouraging Wildfire Resilience On Small Private Forestland

Encouraging Wildfire Resilience On Small Private Forestland

As lawmakers look at ways to improve public forest health, they also want to reduce regulations that can impede similar efforts on small private...
The Search For Compromise On K-12 Funding

The Search For Compromise On K-12 Funding

At a February 9 hearing of the House Appropriations Committee, lawmakers exchanged conflicting views on how to best fund K-12 education prior to an...
Consensus Building On Forest Health Restoration

Consensus Building On Forest Health Restoration

As Washington prepares for the upcoming wildfire season, one of the challenges it faces is the roughly three million acres of forest land in...
Public-Private Partnership Eyed For Regional High Speed Rail

Public-Private Partnership Eyed For Regional High Speed Rail

Governor Jay Inslee in his 2017-19 biennial budget has proposed $1 million to fund a feasibility study on an ultra-high speed rail line between...
Shining Light on Secret Public Sector Labor Negotiations

Shining Light on Secret Public Sector Labor Negotiations

Two state Republican Senate bills aim to reform contract negotiations currently held in secret between public officials and public sector unions. SB 5545 would...

Lawmakers Want Feds To Protect Lower Snake River Dams

Nine months after a U.S. District Court ruling demanded three federal agencies consider breaching four Lower Snake River dams to protect threatened salmon and...
Lawmakers Mull New Wildfire Reform Bill

Lawmakers Mull New Wildfire Reform Bill

During Washington wildfire season, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) uses seasonal agreements that let private contractors contribute manpower and equipment to prevent and fight...
What Should A High School Diploma Mean?

What Should A High School Diploma Mean?

As state lawmakers begin to align around two competing visions for funding K-12 basic education, they're also considering changes to requirements for a Washington...
Two Starkly Different Visions For K-12

Two Starkly Different Visions For K-12

At a hearing of the Senate Ways and Means Committee Monday, January 30, lawmakers further staked out their ground in what will be protracted...
State May Help Sonics, But Not With Cash

State May Help Sonics, But Not With Cash

State lawmakers January 26 kicked off the first of three planned work sessions to help decide if legislation would help bring the Seattle Sonics...
Forecast: Inslee's '17-'19 Budget Would Take $11 Billion In New Taxes By 2021

Forecast: Inslee’s ’17-’19 Budget Would Take $11 Billion In New Taxes By 2021

According to a recent four-year outlook from Washington's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC), Governor Jay Inslee's 2017-19 operating budget would take about $11.3 billion...

Mixed Views On Transit Elections Bill

Transportation stakeholders including policy experts, a former state auditor, state lawmakers and local and regional officials, at a January 25 Washington State Senate Transportation...
Engineering Economic Justice: It's Trickier Than You Might Think, As Lawmakers Learn

Engineering Economic Justice: It’s Trickier Than You Might Think, As Lawmakers Learn

Dueling gender pay equity bills from Washington State House Republicans and Democrats are prompting a closer look at the best ways to calculate if,...

Planned Fires To Prevent Mega-Fires: You May See More Of That In Washington

Although the 2016 Washington wildfire season paled in comparison to the two years prior, experts warn an era of mega-fires is on the horizon,...
Tax Incentives Could Help North Pacific Fishing Fleet Rebuilders Net A Big Catch

Tax Incentives Could Help North Pacific Fishing Fleet Rebuilders Net A Big Catch

The Seattle-based North Pacific fishing fleet is expected to get $1.6 billion in upgrades or rebuilding over the next decade, but in-state ship builders...

Regulatory Fairness Bill Could Have Legs

Prospects could be better than average for a bipartisan House bill meant to ensure state agencies fully comply with the Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA). That law aims to protect employers from excessive...
Reykdal Pushes For Better K-12 Results

Reykdal Pushes For Better K-12 Results

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal may prove a force to be reckoned with, as state lawmakers look to address funding inequities -...
State Pension Fund Merger Gains Eyed

State Pension Fund Merger Gains Eyed

Merging two of Washington State’s eight public employee pension systems could save taxpayers almost $2 billion over the next 25 years, without reducing pension...
Transportation Funding Questions Persist

Transportation Funding Questions Persist

Adequately maintaining and growing Washington's transportation infrastructure isn't cheap, and in Central Puget Sound alone, a million more residents are due by 2040. A...
State House Leaders Seek Middle Ground

State House Leaders Seek Middle Ground

Governor Jay Inslee wasn't the only one sounding off on the state of the state last week. The first day of the legislative session,...
Fixing School Siting: Round Two

Fixing School Siting: Round Two

Washington state lawmakers are again trying to help overcrowded school districts serve students with new facilities, which in some cases would have to be built...
The State Of The State? Deeply Conflicted

The State Of The State? Deeply Conflicted

In his January 11 State of the State speech, Governor Jay Inslee called for compromise between divided state legislative chambers in order to fully fund basic education. However, Inslee's hope of...
Inslee's Carbon Tax Seen As 'Job Killer'

Inslee’s Carbon Tax Seen As ‘Job Killer’

A key piece of Governor Jay Inslee’s 2017-19 biennial budget proposal is a $25 per metric ton carbon tax on the production and consumption of fossil...
K-12 Task Force Stuck, But It's Early Innings

K-12 Task Force Stuck, But It’s Early Innings

As the 2017 biennial budget session of the Washington legislature opened Monday, January 9, all eyes were on the Joint Education Funding Task Force. Under a law passed in 2016, it...
State Parks Seals Public-Private Deal

State Parks Seals Public-Private Deal

A proposed 62-year lease of the Saint Edward State Park seminary building in Kenmore, by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (WSPRC) to Seattle-based Daniels Real Estate...
Keeping Traffic, Freight And The Economy Moving In Washington: It Won't Be Cheap

Keeping Traffic, Freight And The Economy Moving In Washington: It Won’t Be Cheap

President-elect Donald Trump has proposed a $1 trillion national infrastructure investment plan over the next decade. While that might sound “yuge,” it is less...
Fortunato To Fill State Senate Vacancy

Fortunato To Fill State Senate Vacancy

The Pierce and King County councils on Saturday, January 7 approved the appointment of newly-elected State Rep. Phil Fortunato (R-31) to the district's Senate seat...
Agencies Weak On Probing Rules' Costs

Agencies Weak On Probing Rules’ Costs

State agencies have frequently ignored the financial impacts of proposed regulations on small businesses, in violation of state law. That was the big take-away...
Early Battle Lines Drawn On School Funding

Early Battle Lines Drawn On School Funding

Comments by State Sen. John Braun (R-20) at a recent Education Funding Task Force meeting suggest a possible push for evidence-based decision-making to ensure Washington's...

Lawmakers: Inslee’s New Taxes Won’t Fly

Washington state's major employers and several key lawmakers are warning that $4.4 billion in new taxes under Governor Jay Inslee’s 2017-19 budget would threaten Washington's economic recovery. If approved as...

Housing Affordability And Traffic Collide

Despite often fierce reactions to express toll lanes installed in 2015 on I-405's northern portion, recent state data show most toll lane and general-purpose lane drivers on the...
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