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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.
Washington Forestland Needs Greater Mill Infrastructure, Says Wildfire Committee

Washington Forestland Needs Greater Mill Infrastructure, Says Wildfire Committee

Washington needs more lumber mills to restore millions of acres of forestland currently in poor health. It’s an argument made by conservationists and the...
The Debate Over Greater Transparency In Budget Talks

The Debate Over Greater Transparency In Budget Talks

Although the state legislature avoided a government shutdown with the passage of the 2017-19 operating budget June 30, concerns have been raised about transparency...
State Prepares For “New Normal” Wildfire Season

State Prepares For “New Normal” Wildfire Season

This year’s wildfire season in Washington state has commenced on the heels of several interagency training academies hosted by the Washington Department of Natural...
To Privatize (Or Not) Washington’s Electrical Grid

To Privatize (Or Not) Washington’s Electrical Grid

President Trump has proposed selling off the electrical infrastructure in Washington state currently owned and operated by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) as part...

Revised School Siting Bill Passes, Inslee’s Support Expected

After several failed attempts and a partial veto from Governor Jay Inslee, the Washington state legislature passed on Friday, June 30 a bill that...

Lawmakers Pass Compromise Budget

After three special sessions, the Washington state legislature Friday approved a 2017-19 operating budget signed by Governor Jay Inslee just one hour before midnight...

How A Business-Friendly Climate in Kenmore Gave Rise To “Brew Row”

Washington’s craft brew industry has grown by leaps and bounds since 2006 when the state beer commission was first created by the state legislature....

Seattle’s Fight For $15 Killed 5,000 Jobs

A recent study of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage ordinance suggesting the second phase of the pay hike cost the city 5,000 jobs may give...

Bi-State Bridge Talks To Resume

Taking effect next month is SB 5806, which creates a bi-state legislative action committee to revive discussions on replacing the centenarian I-5 bridge spanning...
Washington Craft Breweries Flourish In The “Home Of The Hops”

Washington Craft Breweries Flourish In The “Home Of The Hops”

Washington craft brewers had more to celebrate last weekend than just the 12th annual Brewers Festival hosted by the Washington Beer Commission. Equally worthy...

Former EPA Regional Director Questioned On Controversial Agency-Funded Campaign, Regulatory Issues

Governor Jay Inslee’s appointee to the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) Leadership Council, Dennis McLerran, took a shellacking from Senate Republicans during a Wednesday, June...

Fixing School Siting: Round Three

State lawmakers are taking a second crack at a statewide problem school districts face while looking for appropriate sites for new facilities after Governor...
Senate On Track With Revised Short Line Rail Bill

Senate On Track With Revised Short Line Rail Bill

The Washington state Senate this week approved the companion legislation to a House bill loosening rural land development restrictions after it was vetoed last...

Majority of Voters Now Opposed to Sound Transit 3

The backlash against new Sound Transit 3 (ST3) car tab fees by Puget Sound drivers hasn’t let up. A recent survey of likely voters in...
Lens Video - DNR Wildfire Academyvideo

Lens Video – DNR Wildfire Academy

Lens presents its first video on the Washington Department of Natural Resources' wildfire training academy held last month in Yakima. Featured are interviews with...
Debate Continues Over Proposed Property Tax Hikes

Debate Continues Over Proposed Property Tax Hikes

Although state budget negotiations are at a standstill in Olympia, debate over legislative proposals to repeal the state’s property tax restriction on counties has...
A Look At Washington Wildfire Training

A Look At Washington Wildfire Training

While weather conditions such as wind and temperatures may determine the severity of this year’s wildfires season in Washington state, the outcome could also...
Is High-Speed Rail The Region’s “Silver Bullet”?

Is High-Speed Rail The Region’s “Silver Bullet”?

The concept of a high-speed rail line from Vancouver, B.C. through Seattle to Portland, Oregon has acquired an unlikely coalition of supporters among state...
Study: Mentoring Key For New Teachers

Study: Mentoring Key For New Teachers

A new study by the University of Washington has found a link between mentoring programs and higher retention rates for beginning teachers – research...
Inslee Signs Green Energy Bill

Inslee Signs Green Energy Bill

On the heels of a letter from forest-based industry leaders insisting that proposed legislation would keep utility rates low for customers and improve the...
Is The Sky Falling For Our Economy? It Depends On Who You Ask...

Is The Sky Falling For Our Economy? It Depends On Who You Ask…

From all appearances, the U.S. economy seems to be doing well. The Dow Jones is at an all-time high, and the S&P 500 last...
Reforming Public Sector Labor Talks

Reforming Public Sector Labor Talks

While the state Senate this session narrowly approved two bills to end secrecy surrounding the negotiation process for collective bargaining agreements (CBA) between the...
Lawmakers Announce Investigation Into Sound Transit

Lawmakers Announce Investigation Into Sound Transit

With legislation aiming to reform Sound Transit and its taxing formula for ST3 unable to clear the state legislature, lawmakers have now turned to...
Governor’s Veto Derails Popular Short Line Rail Bill

Governor’s Veto Derails Popular Short Line Rail Bill

Governor Jay Inslee this week vetoed a bipartisan bill approved by the state legislature that would have loosened the state Growth Management Act’s (GMA)...
Charging By Gallon Or Mile: Debating The Road User Charge

Charging By Gallon Or Mile: Debating The Road User Charge

Washington drivers may have to decide if they prefer a road user charge (RUC) fee or higher prices at the gas pump every year...
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...
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