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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.
New Law Enhances Access to Firefighting Equipment, Yet Resource Issues Persist

New Law Enhances Access to Firefighting Equipment, Yet Resource Issues Persist

Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill allowing the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to donate older fire engines to rural fire districts...
War Over Words In Local Income Tax Debate

War Over Words In Local Income Tax Debate

State lawmakers who oppose an income tax and believe taxes should be approved through legislative or voter approval have yet another chance to make...
School Funding Model Pivotal Issue In Budget Debate

School Funding Model Pivotal Issue In Budget Debate

Much of the focus of budget negotiations between state lawmakers that have forced the legislature into a special session are the competing views on...
How To Restore Washington Forests: Increase Timber Demand

How To Restore Washington Forests: Increase Timber Demand

One way to improve the wildfire resiliency of public forestland managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and United States Forest Service...
Business, Industry Leaders Say Aerospace Tax Incentives Would Harm Competitiveness

Business, Industry Leaders Say Aerospace Tax Incentives Would Harm Competitiveness

Following the announced layoffs of hundreds of Boeing workers, state lawmakers are considering two bills during the special session that would link job quotas...
As Budget Talks Stall, Members Resort to Political Theater

As Budget Talks Stall, Members Resort to Political Theater

With budget negotiations at a standstill, Washington state lawmakers are resorting to creative methods to continue discussions. After forcing a symbolic vote April 21...
Governor’s Veto Creates Challenges in School Siting Decisions

Governor’s Veto Creates Challenges in School Siting Decisions

Governor Jay Inslee this week partially vetoed legislation that would allow school districts to build new facilities for urban students outside of the so-called...
Lawmakers Lift Restrictions On School Siting

Lawmakers Lift Restrictions On School Siting

The Washington State Legislature this week approved legislation allowing school districts to build new facilities outside of their county’s “urban growth area” (UGA) under...
Potential Inslee Veto Looms Over Green Energy Bill

Potential Inslee Veto Looms Over Green Energy Bill

Washington industry leaders are calling on Governor Jay Inslee to sign a bipartisan bill overwhelmingly approved by the state House and Senate, which they...
The Fight For Sound Transit Tax Relief

The Fight For Sound Transit Tax Relief

House Democrats have introduced new legislation attempting to address the growing public outcry over new Sound Transit 3 taxes. HB 2148 would allow the...
Bringing Prosperity To All Of Washington

Bringing Prosperity To All Of Washington

The Washington State House on Wednesday, April 12 overwhelming approved a bill allowing counties suffering from economic hardship to sidestep some of the state Growth Management...
Connecting Job-Creating Rail Lines

Connecting Job Creators To Shortline Railroads

The Washington state Senate has passed a bipartisan bill that loosens the state Growth Management Act’s (GMA) rural land development restrictions, allowing local governments...
Restoring Washington State Forestland

Restoring Washington State Forestland

State lawmakers this week unanimously approved two bills directing the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to improve forestland health statewide as part...
Growing Demand For Sound Transit 3 Tax Reform

Growing Demand For Sound Transit 3 Tax Reform

Intensifying angst among central Puget Sound region drivers over a new motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) to pay for Sound Transit 3 continues to...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: April 10, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community...

Fight Over Snake River Dams Continues

Although prospects are bleak for a proposed Senate resolution calling on the federal government to protect the Lower Snake River Dams, the outlook for...
Luring Major U.S. Export Industry To Washington

Luring Major U.S. Export Industry To Washington

In 2016, the semiconductor manufacturing industry exported $43.1 billion worth of product, making it the third most lucrative U.S. export. A new report by...
House Budget Funding Bill Faces Uncertain Future

House Budget Funding Bill Faces Uncertain Future

With the state House proposed 2017-19 operating budget approved last week, eyes are now fixed on legislation needed to fund it. HB 2186 received...
Creating a Balanced Wildfire Prevention Strategy

Creating a Balanced Wildfire Prevention Strategy

In a legislative session defined by political divisions over tax proposals and funding basic education, Washington state lawmakers have seemingly found agreement in one...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: April 3, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff. Each week, the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community,...
Placing Guard Rails On Sound Transit's Budget

Placing Guard Rails On Sound Transit’s Budget

Sound Transit recently found that building the light rail extension from downtown Seattle across on the Interstate 90 Bridge to Bellevue will cost $712...

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...
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