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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...

Ericksen: Senate Duties Remain Key, But Would Consider Regional EPA Slot

In an interview with Lens Sunday evening, January 29, State Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42) sought to tamp down any concerns that his high-profile temporary...
Washington State Senate Majority In Flux As Trump Administration Plucks Talent

Washington State Senate Majority In Flux As Trump Administration Plucks Talent

The Trump-induced brain drain is making things tricky for the Republican-led majority controlling the Washington State Senate, in a year when fiscal conservative principles...
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,...
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...
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...
EPA-Funded "What's Upstream" Campaign Hit With PDC Complaint By Farmers

EPA-Funded “What’s Upstream” Campaign Hit With PDC Complaint By Farmers

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) this week began investigating allegations by farmers that a taxpayer-funded public education campaign called “What’s Upstream” engaged in...
Seattle Getting Granular About Work, Again

Seattle Set To Micromanage Private Sector Work Scheduling; Employers Alarmed

In a move that could inspire similar legislation in other cities nationwide, the Seattle City Council “secure scheduling” ordinance is likely to pass Monday...
A Fresh Start For Washington's Watchdog

A Fresh Start For Washington’s Watchdog

Whoever is elected, the troubled State Auditor’s Office (SAO) will get a fresh start in 2017. The two candidates to take over the embattled...
Podlodowski, Wyman Tangle On Voter Turnout

Podlodowski, Wyman Tangle On Turnout

The campaign of Washington Secretary of State candidate Tina Podlodowski, a Democrat, has been circulating a graphic on social media attacking incumbent Republican Kim...
Fixing The Growth Management Act

Fixing The Growth Management Act

As Lens reported last week, lawmakers will begin public work sessions next month to look at how the Growth Management Act (GMA) could be...
Seattle Employer Fees Still An Option, For More City Labor Law Probes And Outreach

Seattle Employer Fees Still An Option, For More City Labor Law Probes And Outreach

Dead for now is a ballot measure on a controversial employee hours-worked tax in Seattle. It would have been to fund more Seattle investigations...
Two GOP Finalists For Treasurer Differ On Approaches To State's $20.6B Debt

Two GOP Finalists For Treasurer Differ On Approaches To State’s $20.6B Debt

According to a report this year by outgoing State Treasurer James McIntire, Washington had $20.6 billion in debt at the end of December, 2015,...
Washington Election Scorecard - Legislative Races

Washington Election Scorecard – Legislative Races

(Last updated 8/4/16, 6:40 p.m.) Below are our rolling updates, mainly with charts, of key outcomes in primary election races for the Washington State House...
Washington Election Scorecard - Statewide Contests

Washington Election Scorecard – Statewide Contests

(Last updated 8/4/16, 6:40 p.m.) We've been providing updates here on statewide Washington primary races since August 2, as results continue to come in. 6:35 p.m.,...
Huge War Chest Aids I-1464 'Campaign Finance Reform' Push In Washington State

Huge War Chest Aids I-1464 ‘Campaign Finance Reform’ Push In Washington State

Washington state election officials say that Initiative 1464 (I-1464) is likely to qualify for the fall ballot. It aims to institute several so-called campaign...
Are The Scales Of Justice Balanced?

Are The Scales Of Justice Balanced?

Last year, the Washington State Supreme Court tried to torpedo public charter schools approved by voters and lawmakers, and ramped up intervention in the...
Critics: Seattle Hotel Measure I-124 Draconian, And Has Sketchy Waiver Clause

Critics: Seattle Hotel Measure I-124 Draconian, And Has Sketchy Waiver Clause

A major U.S. labor union local is advancing a Seattle ballot measure, Initiative 124 (I-124), which purports to help hotel housekeepers. However, industry sources...
Debt Hawks, Income Tax Advocate, Others Vie For Washington State Treasurer

Debt Hawks, Income Tax Advocate, Others Vie For Washington State Treasurer

In Washington, state debt is $20.6 billion. As of January, it had grown just three percent over the last two years but a year before,...
Does Washington Need A Lieutenant Governor? 11 Candidates Seem To Think So

Does Washington Need A Lieutenant Governor? 11 Candidates Seem To Think So

In January of 2017, the State of Washington will experience something that has not happened in two decades – the swearing in of a...
New Oregon Business Tax Measure Could Hurt, Help Southwest Washington

New Oregon Business Tax Measure Could Hurt, Help Southwest Washington

If Oregon’s Initiative Petition 28 (IP 28) is approved by voters this November, the corporate gross receipts tax will drain from the Oregon economy...
Sound Transit 3 Changes Spark New Debate

Sound Transit 3 Changes Spark New Debate

The Sound Transit Board has unanimously approved revisions to its proposed ST3 expansion plan, shortening construction timelines for several light rail projects based on...
Who Do You Trust To Run Elections?

Who Do You Trust To Run Elections?

The race for a seemingly sleepy office in Washington state is threatening to turn into a war of words, and has drawn the interest...
Asia Trade Deal Would Be 'Boon' To U.S., Washington State - But Congress Is Queasy

Asia Trade Deal A ‘Boon’ To U.S., Washington – But Congress Queasy

It may be November before votes in both the U.S. Senate and House are completed on the controversial trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership...
'Contra Krugman' Panelist Takes On 'Economic Myths Of The 2016 Election'

Economic Myths Of The 2016 Campaign Season Get A Smackdown In Seattle

One claim you’re likely to hear during this year’s presidential election cycle is that the U.S. doesn’t spend enough on helping out the poor,...
Seven Vie For Public Lands Boss, The Hottest Race You've Never Watched

Seven Vie For Public Lands Boss, The Hottest Race You’ve Never Watched

Who would have thought one of the hottest 2016 statewide races in Washington would be for Public Lands Commissioner? The heat may emanate partly...
Shrouded in Secrecy: The Hidden World of Public Sector Labor Talks In Washington

Shrouded In Secrecy: Public Sector Labor Talks In Washington

Since 2002 in Washington state, public unions and the governor have negotiated in secrecy over state employee benefits and salaries as part of the...
Regulatory Fairness Audit, Others, To Proceed As State Budget Is Settled

Regulatory Fairness Audit, Others, To Proceed As State Budget Is Settled

A series of state performance audits that had been on or near the budget chopping block will be saved. This includes one which will...
Right Time For Right To Work Could Be Coming To Washington State

Right Time For Right To Work Could Be Coming To Washington State

If the national trend is any indication Washington could eventually allow public and private sector employees a choice on whether to pay union dues....

Washington School Districts And Charter Schools Can Be Partners, Not Enemies

As the debate continues to rage over public charter schools in Washington, traditional public schools and many of their supporters have squared off in...

Inslee’s 2016 Goals: How’d He Actually Do?

In his January 12 State of the State Address and proposed supplemental budget Washington Governor Jay Inslee outlined his agenda for the 2016 legislative...
Washington Charter School Rescue Bill Will Stand

Charter Schools Rescue Bill Will Stand

Governor Jay Inslee announced Friday he’ll let a bill reinstating charter schools become law without his signature. It’s the first time a governor has done...
Budget Set - Now Real Work Starts

Budget Set – Now Real Work Starts

After a 19-day special session the state legislature approved a supplemental operating budget that despite new spending preserves the four-year balanced budget and includes...
Dear Prudence: The Budget Is In Play

Dear Prudence: The Budget Is In Play

Washington Senate fiscal watchdogs vow that any state supplemental budget, now likely to be resolved not until some point after Easter, will have to...
Education Funding Task Force Faces Tough Test

Education Funding Task Force Faces Tough Test

Figuring out how to adequately fund Washington state K-12 public education in time for a court-imposed 2018 deadline will be no easy job for...
Washington Aims To Phase-Out Montana Coal-By-Wire, But Coal Will Persist

Washington Aims To Phase-Out Montana Coal-By-Wire, But Coal Will Persist

Awaiting the signature of Washington Governor Jay Inslee is a bill to create a special fund for the eventual shut-down and clean-up of the...
(A) There's Movement On Budget Stalemate, As Special Session Opens Monday

There’s Movement On Budget Stalemate, As Special Session Opens Monday

Introduced Friday on the first day of an overtime session, Washington State Senate Republicans’ new supplemental budget proposal includes $145 million more in spending...
Overtime Session Foreshadows An Even Bigger Budget Challenge In 2017

Overtime Session Foreshadows An Even Bigger Budget Challenge In 2017

As the state Legislature heads into a special session to conclude negotiations on mid-course adjustments to the $38 billion 2015-2017 state budget, some lawmakers...
i-Partisan Backing Was Key To Charter Schools Rescue Approved In State House

Bi-Partisan Backing Was Key To Charter Schools Rescue Approved In State House

With 10 Democrats joining the minority of 48 Republicans, the Washington State House of Representatives voted 58 to 39 Wednesday night to pass a...
Foresters Like Proposed Wildfire Reforms

Foresters Like Proposed Wildfire Reforms

So far, a Senate wildfire reform bill has found positive response among private forest landowners. Maybe because it’s not so much different from what they...
Sometimes To Prevent Fires, You Have To Set Fires: Lawmakers Mull DNR Reforms

Sometimes To Prevent Fires, You Have To Set Fires: Lawmakers Mull DNR Reforms

After two years of record-setting wildfires and pending lawsuits against the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for alleged negligence, state lawmakers are looking to...
Voices Rise For Charter Schools Fix In Washington, But Time Running Short

Voices Rise For Charter Schools Fix In Washington, But Time Running Short

The Washington State House of Representatives continues to deliberate whether or not to rescue the 1,000-plus students in voter-approved public charter schools from a...
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