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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.
Wildfires lead to hazardous air conditions

Wildfires lead to hazardous air conditions

Washington’s wildfire season has ramped up with lighting strikes, hot temperatures and significant drought causing dozens of fires over the weekend. The conditions have...
The price of a carbon tax

The price of a carbon tax

As the November election approaches, the state’s business association composed of 7,000 members representing 700,000 employees has come out against a proposed carbon tax...
Fish and Wildlife pause on fee hikes

Fish and Wildlife pause on fee hikes

Fear of backlash by outdoor recreational enthusiasts forced to pay higher fishing and hunting fees led the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to pause...
Lower Snake River dams eyed in orca recovery

Lower Snake River dams eyed in orca recovery

A new task force created by Governor Jay Inslee is looking at ways to aid Southern Resident killer whale recovery. A recent meeting in...
Ruling upholds preemptive raid on rainy day fund

Ruling upholds preemptive raid on rainy day fund

A two-thirds majority is required under most circumstances for legislators to dip into the state’s budget stabilization account (BSA), a.k.a. the rainy-day fund, which...
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Is Washington’s traffic congestion problem unsolvable?

Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Roger Millar has come under fire for recent remarks on traffic congestion and WSDOT’s role in managing the...
Washington wildfire season intensifies

Washington wildfire season intensifies

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has responded to nearly 900 wildfires so far this season. Already, that is more than the total...
Will State Supreme Court review Seattle’s income tax?

Will State Supreme Court review Seattle’s income tax?

With a King County Superior Court ruling last year against Seattle’s progressive income tax ordinance, the city is appealing in hopes that the State...
Cross-laminated timber as forest-management strategy

Cross-laminated timber as forest-management strategy

The state legislature earlier this year called on the Washington State Building Code Council (WSBCC) to adopt rules for cross-laminated timber (CLT) use when...
Paving the way for driverless vehicles with 5G

Paving the way for driverless vehicles with 5G

As ongoing development of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology continues, state legislators and industry members are working on strategies to effectively integrate those vehicles with...
Does Washington’s tax structure need fixing?

Does Washington’s tax structure need fixing?

A series of public meetings hosted by a state House work group highlighted the frustrations residents and businesses have with Washington’s tax structure. However,...
Why Washington outdoor enthusiasts may get a fee hike

Why Washington outdoor enthusiasts may get a fee hike

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) needs around $30 million to cover a shortfall for the 2019-21 biennium, and recreational enthusiasts who...
Preparing for Washington’s air cargo growth

Preparing for Washington’s air cargo growth

Washington’s airports in 2015 handled $47.6 billion in freight – 10.5 percent of the state’s total gross domestic product for that year. That cargo...
Officials contemplate affordable housing strategy

Officials contemplate affordable housing strategy

The job tax unanimously approved by the Seattle City Council in May was purportedly intended to fund affordable housing efforts. Although the tax has...
Washington's 2018 wildfire seasonvideo

Video: Washington’s 2018 wildfire season

Lens looks at several wildfires that Washington firefighters have fought so far this season, including the Ryegrass Coulee Fire and the Little Camas Fire.
Washington’s firefighters face flames near and far

Washington’s firefighters face flames near and far

Washington firefighters in the past week were able to successfully combat several wildfires, including one that threatened the small community of Vantage near the...
Industry leaders decry Seattle’s priorities

Industry leaders decry Seattle’s priorities

While the death of the Seattle job tax following a City Council vote in June could be attributed to several causes – including its...
Foresters weigh in on fish barrier removal

Foresters weigh in on fish barrier removal

A recent split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court calls on Washington state to remove thousands of fish barriers impeding salmon passage by 2030. Forest landowners say...
Wildfires hit Washington communities

Wildfires hit Washington communities

In less than a month, two wildfires have threatened a small Central Washington community and prompted level three evacuations for all residents as 250...
The future of right to work in Washington state

The future of right to work in Washington state

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision overturning required union dues for government workers, the Washington-based Freedom Foundation has filed a class-action lawsuit on...
Fixing Puget Sound region’s growing pains

Fixing Puget Sound region’s growing pains

It’s no secret that the Puget Sound region has a housing and traffic problem, but some local and regional lawmakers say regional policy for...
Businesses, analysts: carbon initiative will raise gas prices

Businesses, analysts: carbon initiative will raise gas prices

Proponents of a carbon reduction initiative this week filed the necessary signatures with the Secretary of State’s Office to place it on the November...
The road to redevelopment in Yakima

The road to redevelopment in Yakima

The possible transformation of a former lumber mill site located just outside the city of Yakima into a mixed-use development has the potential to...
Assembling the right public policy for driverless cars

Assembling the right public policy for driverless cars

There may be as many components needed to form Washington’s public policy for driverless cars as the actual vehicles. It’s a challenge the Washington’s...
How Janus could change Washington’s politics

How Janus could affect Washington state

In a major blow to public sector labor unions, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned 22 state laws requiring state employees pay them a...
New wildfire strategies paying off

New wildfire strategies paying off

In recent years, Washington’s firefighting agencies have worked to improve the initial response to wildfires as part of an overall strategy toward reducing the...
Retailers: Online sales tax ruling levels playing field

Retailers: Online sales tax ruling levels playing field

Last year, the Washington state legislature approved a law mandating that online retailers without a physical location in the state either remit or collect...
Worries linger over Washington’s economy growth

Worries linger over Washington’s economic growth

The city of Seattle’s short-lived head tax may be dead, but for some state officials a cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the long-term...
Milking Washington’s small dairy farms…to death

Milking Washington’s small dairy farms…to death

Two feet doesn’t seem that far. Yet, industry members warn it’s a distance enough to threaten the survival of many Western Washington dairy farms...
Navigating a post-McCleary classroom

Navigating a post-McCleary classroom

After six years and $9.5 billion in new spending, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled last week that the state legislature was finally in...
Is ST3 car tab tax unconstitutional?

Is ST3 car tab tax unconstitutional?

A class action lawsuit recently filed against Sound Transit and Washington state by seven plaintiffs could answer the question already asked by some lawmakers...
Seattle businesses decapitate head tax

Seattle businesses decapitate head tax

Following a rowdy public comment period and unruly attendees, the Seattle City Council voted at a Tuesday special meeting to repeal the ordinance that...
Supreme Court sides with tribes in culvert ruling

Supreme Court sides with tribes in culvert ruling

In a split decision, the United States Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling ordering Washington state to remove fish barriers that local...
Will Seattle job tax affect state economy?

Will Seattle job tax affect state economy?

If Seattle’s recently approved job tax survives a voter initiative backed by the local business community and possible legislative action, its direct impact on...

Preserving Washington’s prosperity

Eight years since Washington voters overwhelmingly rejected Initiative 1098 that would have created a progressive income tax, state revenue has grown from approximately $29...
The new ‘battle for Seattle’

The new ‘battle for Seattle’

It’s a fight where the battlefields are drawn by political jurisdictions, casualties are measured by lost economic output, and victories are determined by new...
'Right to work’ ruling could change public sector landscape

‘Right to work’ ruling could change public sector landscape

The state of Illinois is in a financial mess; every resident owes $11,000 for $150 billion in unfunded public pension liabilities. The state’s credit...
video

Lens Video: Washington prepares for wildfire season

Lens was on site at a controlled burn May 16 outside of Yakima as part of the state Department of Natural Resources' interagency wildfire...
Trial by fire: State prepares for wildfire season

Trial by fire: State prepares for wildfire season

In recent years, prescribed burning has regained popularity as a one way for state and federal agencies to restore the millions of acres of...
Right to work for public employees?

Right to work for public employees?

A case currently before the United States Supreme Court may soon determine whether public employees throughout the country have to pay union dues –...

“Taxing jobs is ‘counterproductive”

King County Executive Dow Constantine on Seattle’s proposed head tax.
Lens Retrospect: Washington’s Arrested Development

Lens Reflections: Washington’s Arrested Development  

In recent years, major development efforts in Washington state have floundered due to environmental regulations that in the past would have stymied major infrastructure...
Closing the lid on soda tax

Closing the lid on soda tax

As Seattle’s business community pushes back against a proposed head tax, a coalition of employers and workers unions wants to quarantine the city’s soda...
Congress may decide fate of the lower Snake River dams

Congress may decide fate of the lower Snake River dams

A U.S. House resolution backed by three Washington Republican lawmakers protecting the lower Snake River dams from breaching to improve endangered salmon species populations...
Digital world solutions to physical world problems

Digital world solutions to physical world problems

New technology can bring uncertainty about its impact on society. As companies such as Waymo begin rolling out self-driving vehicles, safety concerns have led...
First GMA appeal under new Hirst law

First GMA appeal under new Hirst law

Earlier this year state lawmakers and Governor Jay Inslee approved a law addressing rural growth restrictions imposed by the State Supreme Court’s 2016 Hirst...
High stakes in fish barrier ruling

High stakes in fish barrier ruling

Under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court is a case between Washington state and Native American tribes concerning treaty fishing rights and the removal...
Carbon tax initiative raises numerous questions

Carbon tax initiative raises numerous questions

Although efforts in the state legislature earlier this year to enact a carbon tax were unsuccessful despite Democrat control of both chambers, proponents could...
Initiative opens government labor talks to public

Initiative opens government labor talks to public

Governor Jay Inslee’s Office of Financial Management (OFM) next week will begin collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations with public unions in meetings that are...
App demand for road user charge fee

App demand for road user charge fee

One planned feature of the Washington State Transportation Commission’s (WSTC) ongoing road user charge (RUC) pilot program is obtaining frequent participant feedback on their...
How safety shapes driverless car technology

How safety shapes driverless car technology

A new state law that takes effect in June creates a state work group that assists the Washington State Transportation Commission on making annual...
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