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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.
Running the circuit for electric vehicles

Running the circuit for electric vehicles

A state sales tax exemption for electric vehicle purchases in Washington state is set to expire after reaching a threshold set by the legislature...
Seattle ripe for ‘cottage’ industry

Seattle ripe for ‘cottage’ industry

The city of Seattle has 55,000 ways to add more rentals to the market without developing new land. That’s according to a recent article...
Truckers oppose road mileage charge

Truckers oppose road mileage charge

Washington state is conducting a road user charge (RUC) fee pilot program to test different ways drivers might one day track and pay a...
When driverless cars and public policy collide

When driverless cars and public policy collide

A recent deadly accident in Arizona involving a self-driving Uber vehicle and the company’s decision to halt their use on roads indicates the level...
Wildfires in “no man’s land”

Wildfires in “no man’s land”

Outside the jurisdiction of Washington’s 417 fire departments and fire stations are regions of the state known as “no man’s land”; territory where no...
Seasonal worker housing divides small town community

Seasonal worker housing divides small town community

A controversy within a tiny Central Washington community over a proposed housing unit on private land along its Main Street for foreign seasonal workers...
Navigating a road mileage charge

Navigating a road mileage charge

Washington’s road user charge (RUC) fee pilot program is underway with 2,000 volunteer drivers testing out a variety of ways to keep track of...
Roadmap for Sound Transit future

Roadmap for Sound Transit future

Puget Sound drivers who want a reduced ST3 car tab tax may have to get as loud as the Seahawks stadium at gametime if...
Supplemental budget tax-free, no B&O relief

Supplemental budget tax-free, no B&O relief

The Washington legislature has agreed to a supplemental operating budget for the 2017-19 biennium that does not include new taxes as originally proposed in...
The cost of a property tax cut

The cost of a property tax cut

Washingtonians could get a state property tax rate reduction next year, but it may cost them more than they want to pay. After debating the...
Senate fight tables tax relief bill

Senate fight tables tax relief bill

A narrowly split Washington Senate is at an impasse for the moment over a bill that calls for what some say is an illegal...
The route to driverless cars

The route to driverless cars

Driverless vehicle technology is still under development, but Washington stakeholders aren’t waiting to encourage its inclusion in regional transportation policy. A presentation last year...
Aviation loan program clears

Aviation loan program clears runway

For the first time in 10 years, Bowerman Airport in the Port of Grays Harbor announced that all of its 28 hangers are leased...
The dark side of carbon tax’s demise

The dark side of carbon tax’s demise

After the election of Sen. Manka Dhingra in the 45th legislative district gave Democrats control of both legislative chambers and the governorship, some wondered...
The striking cost of “meager” ST3 tax relief

The striking cost of “meager” ST3 tax relief

In the fight to reduce the new ST3 car tab tax for Puget Sound drivers, no matter who wins, Sound Transit still wins. It’s a...
Keeping WA energy affordable

Keeping WA energy affordable

A consortium of legislation introduced this session aims to reduce the state’s carbon emissions, which are already among the lowest in the nation. On...
Legislator: Fear, speculation driving net neutrality action

Legislator: Fear, speculation driving net neutrality action

After a brief but spirited debate, the Washington state Senate approved the first state-level net neutrality legislation in the nation. SHB 2282 imposes several regulations...
How long will Washington’s good times last?

How long will Washington’s good times last?

On the surface, Washington appears to be in good economic shape. In only eight months, the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) has added...
A “report card” for tax cuts

A “report card” for tax breaks

A frequent debate among legislators is whether excluding an industry or business from a state tax is an incentive that brings more jobs and...
The great rainy day fund raid

The great rainy day fund raid

State property tax relief for Western Washington homeowners has become a major topic in this year’s legislative session after lawmakers passed EHB 2242 to...
House budget includes capital gains tax

House budget includes capital gains tax

The House’s proposed supplement operating budget released Feb. 20 doesn’t spend nearly as much as its companion proposal in the Senate, but it assumes...
: No new taxes in Senate budget proposal

No new taxes in Senate budget proposal

The state legislative session is likely to end on exactly the opposite note as last year’s: on time and without new taxes. That is...
Is your county “rural” enough?

Is your county “rural” enough?

State lawmakers behind a bipartisan proposal to reduce the business and occupation (B&O) tax rate for manufacturers say they want to help rural Washington...
Time for a tax cut?

Time for a tax cut?

Supporters of a capital gains income tax to allow reductions in the state property tax rate advanced a bill doing just that Feb. 19...
Carbon emission proposal “chasing a phantom”

Carbon emission proposal “chasing a phantom”

House lawmakers narrowly approved legislation Feb. 14 imposing more stringent carbon emission reduction goals for Washington state. ESHB 1144 would revise benchmarks created in a...
Bill would promote broadband access

Bill would promote broadband access

In the ongoing push to extend broadband across Washington, all of the state’s 75 port districts will be able to build and operate high-speed...
Helping cross-laminated timber go mainstream

Helping cross-laminated timber go mainstream

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) isn’t a silver bullet for Washington’s rural economy and public forestland health, but it may be as close as it gets. The...
Senate approves rural broadband pilot program

Senate approves rural broadband pilot program

Senate lawmakers overwhelming approved legislation on Monday that supporters hope will create further momentum for full high-speed internet deployment in Washington state. ESSB 6034 creates...
Net neutrality bill could face legal “throttling”

Net neutrality bill could face legal “throttling”

The Washington House overwhelmingly approved bipartisan legislation February 9 imposing net neutrality policy that proponents say will protect Internet consumers and small business owners,...
A top-up for beer, wine growler enthusiasts

A top-up for beer, wine growler enthusiasts

Washingtonians who want to take home a growler of their favorite local beer, wine, cider or mead from their local farmers market may get...
Committee passes renewable energy bill

Committee passes renewable energy bill

Roughly 75 percent of Washington’s energy production is carbon-free. Proponents of SSB 6253 want to set up a timeline for utility providers to reduce...
Putting the freeze on id theft prevention costs

Putting the freeze on ID theft prevention costs

Last year, a cybersecurity breach of the consumer reporting agency Equifax exposed the personal information of 143 million American consumers. That included credit card...
Senate committee advances Sound Transit car tab bill

Senate committee advances Sound Transit car tab bill

A Senate bill providing modest tax relief for Puget Sound drivers paying the new ST3 motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) has cleared the Transportation...
Low carbon fuel standard proposal advances

Low carbon fuel standard proposal advances

A bill calling for a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) program in Washington has cleared the House Transportation Committee and is on its way...
Proposal looks to lower cost, boost development

Proposal looks to lower cost, boost development

It appears that rapid growth in the Puget Sound region is posing some math story problems at the state level. Back in 2016, the state...
Critics call carbon tax “Do Not Enter” sign

Critics call carbon tax “Do Not Enter” sign

The Senate Energy, Environment & Technology has voted to advance a modified version of Governor Jay Inslee’s carbon tax proposal, giving SB 6203 a...
Lens LegiTrack Update: March 20, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: February 2, 2018

Grocery and Restaurant Training HB 2830 (Eslick) would expand employment opportunity training programs for restaurants and grocery stores. Read More. The measure would authorize the Director...
prescribed-burn-resources

“Burn bosses” would turn up the heat

It’s an idea befitting a scene in a sequel to Planes: Fire & Rescue – a program to train prescribed burn project managers, a.k.a:...

Net neutrality bills advance

As House lawmakers consider two similar net neutrality bills, another proposal has been introduced in the Senate that would apply the two-year federal policy...
Washington and the new “space race”

Washington and the new “space race”

Washington state is considered by many to be the “Silicon Valley of Space” due to its large cluster of cutting-edge spacecraft employers, and a...
New capital gains income tax proposed

New capital gains income tax proposed

A Democrat House lawmaker has introduced a bill establishing a statewide capital gains income tax while reducing the state property tax burden on certain...
Tax credit proposed to aid rural broadband

Tax credit proposed to aid rural broadband

One Washington telecom provider wants all state residents to have high-speed internet access by 2028. It’s a goal driven primarily by uneven broadband access,...
Industry urges caution on net neutrality push

Industry urges caution on net neutrality push

Late last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reversed the Obama-era net neutrality policy that treated Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as utilities.  While a...
Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: January 26, 2018

Hirst Bill Becomes Law SB 6091 (Van De Wege) would address negative effects stemming from the 2016 Supreme Court Hirst decision. Read More. The bill...
Fight for ST3 car tab relief continues

Fight for ST3 car tab relief continues

Dominating the Senate Transportation Committee agenda January 24 was a long list of public hearings regarding Sound Transit’s new ST3 motor vehicle excise tax...
Low carbon fuel standard proposal advances

Low carbon fuel standard proposal advances

With a number of climate change proposals introduced this legislative session, Democrats may have to alter or yield on one to gain necessary Republican...
House approves revived Sound Transit car tab bill

House approves revived Sound Transit car tab bill

House lawmakers approved a Democrat-sponsored bill Wednesday reintroduced from last year’s session that reforms Sound Transit’s ST3 motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) calculation on...
Industry: Carbon free by 2045 costly, unattainable

Industry: Carbon free by 2045 costly, unattainable

In a session dominated by climate change-related proposals, a Senate bill has been introduced calling for Washington state energy production to be carbon-free by...
Recalibrating local growth management plans

Recalibrating local growth management plans

Washington has a growth problem, but the problem differs depending on where you live. In the Puget Sound region, an exploding population has led to...
Senate hearings set for Sound Transit bills

Senate hearings set for Sound Transit bills

As momentum for Sound Transit 3 car tab relief appears to be waning in the state House, efforts are being renewed in the Senate....
Bumpy road possible for road user charge

Bumpy road possible for road user charge

With Washington’s road user charge fee (RUC) pilot program scheduled to start this year, some anticipate a possible decision by the legislature about whether...
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