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TJ Martinell

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TJ Martinell is a native Washingtonian and award-winning journalist. Born and raised in Bellevue, he’s been involved in the news industry since working at his high school newspaper. His investigative reporting for various community newspapers in the Puget Sound region has been recognized by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists. A graduate of Eastern Washington University, he has a B.A. in journalism and was the news editor of EWU’s student university newspaper.
High court to decide I-976 fate

High court to decide I-976 fate

The state Supreme Court will decide the fate of Initiative 976 sponsored by Tim Eyman, following oral arguments at a June 30 hearing and...
Study: Rent control would wipe out year’s worth of housing

Study: Rent control would wipe out year’s worth of housing

In recent years, efforts at both the local and state levels have been made to restrict control of rental property by landlords. A proposal...
EPA draft rule could undermine lower Snake River dam operations

EPA draft rule could undermine lower Snake River dam operations

While a new environmental impact statement (EIS) by three government agencies operating the lower Snake River dams opposes breaching them to aid salmon recovery,...
Work group to develop health system recommendations

Work group to develop health system recommendations

A state Universal Health Care Work Group formed last year is working on recommendations to the state legislature regarding a universal, or single-payer, health...
New taxes under consideration for state transportation

New taxes under consideration for state transportation

Prior to the state-ordered shutdown due to COVID-19 and the passage of Initiative 976, the state transportation infrastructure was already suffering from a significant...
Department of Energy joins Hydropower Research Institute

Department of Energy joins Hydropower Research Institute

Several years ago a group of public and private utilities along with several federal government agencies formed the Hydropower Research Institute (HRI), a data-sharing,...
Mixed reaction to Stampede Pass rail line

Mixed reaction to Stampede Pass rail line

A consulting group will soon release a final report on its study of passenger rail service from Seattle to Spokane via the Stampede Pass...
State audit offers Sound Transit cost reduction strategies

State audit offers Sound Transit cost reduction strategies

Keeping Sound Transit project costs within budget has been a concern starting with the 1996 Sound Move project and has persisted in recent years...
State faces $4.5 billion budget shortfall

State faces $4.5 billion budget shortfall

The latest revenue forecast released by the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) revealed what most state officials and legislators already expected: a...
Group outlines plan for EV truck infrastructure

Group outlines plan for EV truck infrastructure

A group of West Coast utilities are collaborating on long-term planning for an interstate electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure for EV trucks in hopes...
State Actuary: Pay now or later for obligations

State Actuary: Pay now or later for obligations

The State Actuary’s Office plans to review the public pension system’s actuarial gains or losses at the end of the month. However, there are...
Businesses groups protest heavy fines for confusing guidelines

Businesses groups protest heavy fines for confusing guidelines

As businesses reopen across the state, many are struggling to comply with what industry advocates argue are inconsistent and ambiguous safety guidelines issued by...
Air pollution unaffected by traffic decrease, data show

Air pollution unaffected by traffic decrease, data show

One of the many arguments proponents have made for either a regional or statewide low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) to reduce the amount of...
Growers prepare for harvest amid COVID-19

Growers prepare for harvest amid COVID-19

As summer approaches, Washington growers are preparing for a harvest marked by additional safety precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with the extra...
Mobile nuclear tech could stabilize energy system

Mobile nuclear tech could stabilize energy system

With new state mandates imposing carbon neutral energy requirements, some utilities are evaluating an emerging energy technology which may have the potential to provide...
Sound Transit faces massive revenue hit

Sound Transit faces massive revenue hit

One of the major objections raised by Sound Transit advocates against a recent legislative proposal to reduce the ST3 motor vehicle excise tax by...
Shutdown raises concerns over government power

Shutdown raises concerns over government power

A Chelan County Superior Court judge this week ruled that a lawsuit against Governor Jay Inslee’s stay home order can move forward. The use...
Economic forecast released; officials urge special session

Economic forecast released; officials urge special session

A new update from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) offered little surprise as to an economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19...
energy graphic

Regional utility moves quickly to implement clean energy law

One of the most significant public policy decisions made by state law makers in 2019 was the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) – a...
“Make or break” summer for craft breweries

“Make or break” summer for craft breweries

Although only one of the 420 craft breweries in Washington state has closed since businesses were shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the next...
Commuting in a post COVID-19 world

Commuting in a post COVID-19 world

The temporary shutdown of businesses and the forced telecommuting implemented by major employers in the central Puget Sound region has resulted in a tremendous...
Trade impacts “mixed bag” for agriculture

Trade impacts “mixed bag” for agriculture

Though the full effects of the COVID-19 response on Washington trade have yet to be determined, a new report by the Washington Council on...
PSE signs agreement for renewable natural gas

PSE signs agreement for renewable natural gas

In an effort to promote the use of renewable energy, the state legislature last year passed HB 1257 which allows gas companies to sell...
Feds invalidate state law on crude oil transport

Feds invalidate state law on crude oil transport

A federal agency has invalidated a 2019 state law regulating crude oil transportation, concluding that a federal law preempts the state requirement. The move...
Retailers work to shift sales, marketing tactics

Retailers work to shift sales, marketing tactics

As retailers prepare for expanded operations after an initial reopening on May 8, many have already shifted their marketing and business strategies in response...
Emergency labor rule avoids “potential food shortage”

Emergency labor rule avoids “potential food shortage”

The state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and the Department of Health have approved an emergency rule for H-2A worker housing that provides...
Businesses, legislators advocate flexibility, autonomy with reopening policies

Businesses, legislators advocate flexibility, autonomy with reopening policies

Governor Jay Inslee has unveiled additional details about how businesses such as restaurants can partially reopen, along with information about the latest state efforts...
Court overturns state bank tax

Court overturns state bank tax

A King County Superior Court judge has ruled a 2019 state bank tax unconstitutional for violating federal law after it was initially upheld regarding...
Washington meat supply backlogged, but stable

Washington meat supply backlogged, but stable

While the appearance of rationing policies in grocery stores today for meat and beef products similar to those used for toilet papers in March...
Guest worker rule could dampen strong apple harvest

Guest worker rule could dampen strong apple harvest

As the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) considers a proposed emergency rule for guest worker housing, Washington apple farmers say an exceptional,...
Bipartisan pressure mounts to reopen economy

Bipartisan pressure mounts to reopen economy

After more than a month of business closures throughout the state related to the COVID-19 pandemic, bipartisan pressure is building on Governor Jay Inslee...
Landlords offer “creative solutions,” support to struggling tenants

Landlords offer “creative solutions,” support to struggling tenants

With an eviction moratorium in place since March 18 and the continued closure of businesses throughout Washington state, landlords are offering a variety of...
Inslee extends stay home order as other states look to reopen

Inslee extends stay home order as other states look to reopen

Governor Jay Inslee last month signed a pact with California and Oregon that was later joined by Nevada and Colorado which calls for “a...
Unemployment trust fund could be weeks from insolvency

Unemployment trust fund could be weeks from insolvency

In addition to a huge budget revenue shortfall, state lawmakers may also have to address how to replace funds in the state unemployment trust...
Businesses collaborate on plans to safely reopen

Businesses collaborate on plans to safely reopen

As Governor Jay Inslee’s “stay at home” order continues to keep most businesses throughout the state closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, state...
Small biz “barely hanging on”

Small biz “barely hanging on”

Days after reopening the construction industry, Governor Jay Inslee announced that some outdoor recreation on state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land will also...
Market hit to state pension obligations uncertain

Market hit to state pension obligations uncertain

Despite the recent stock market drop due to the COVID-19 outbreak and response, it’s unclear what the financial implications will be for the future...
Low-risk construction activity set to resume

Low-risk construction activity set to resume

Governor Jay Inslee has announced that low-risk construction work will be allowed to resume, provided businesses adhere to safety guidelines developed by a state...
Emergency rule “season-ending” for many farmers

Emergency rule “season-ending” for many farmers

Many Washington state farmers rely on foreign workers through the Federal H-2A work visa program to harvest their crops. However, the Department of Health...
Business, labor strongly oppose Seattle job tax

Business, labor strongly oppose Seattle job tax

As the Seattle City Council continues discussions on a proposed new job tax, regional businesses and labor representatives have responded with a letter to Mayor...
Inslee may reopen construction, other activity

Inslee may reopen construction, other activity

Governor Jay Inslee announced in an April 21 address to the state that his March 18 “shelter-in-place” order will extend beyond May 4, though certain activities...
EPA restores state water quality standards

EPA restores state water quality standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has officially restored the state Department of Ecology’s water quality standards for Washington state after a strange turn of...
Stakeholders make case for education choice

Stakeholders make case for education choice

Washington schools have remained closed for more than a month due to the COVID-19 outbreak, forcing teachers to rely on online and other methods...
Supply chain strain underscores agriculture’s role

Supply chain strain underscores agriculture’s role

Many Washington farmers have argued there is a disconnect in the state between those that produce food and those who consume it – a...
Stakeholders urge discussions on reopening businesses

Stakeholders urge discussions on reopening businesses

Key elected state officials and small business advocates are stressing the need for a state plan to allow businesses to reopen their doors as...
Pro-driver v. pro-transit philosophies collide

Pro-driver v. pro-transit philosophies collide

During this year’s legislative session, some state lawmakers put forward a proposal that would have fundamentally altered statewide transportation policy by giving the Washington...
Washington’s “economic refugees” caution against new taxes

Washington’s “economic refugees” caution against new taxes

With the Washington State Supreme Court unwilling to reexamine its long-standing position that a graduated income tax is illegal, some local and state elected...

Real estate tax revenue up amid decreased activity, COVID-19 response

Despite decreased real estate activity and social distancing restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the state collected millions more in real estate excise...
No construction order “open season” for squatting, theft, vandalism

No construction order “open season” for squatting, theft, vandalism

As stakeholders continue to discuss how to resume construction activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, builders across the state say criminals are taking advantage of...
Efforts continue to recognize construction as “essential activity”

Efforts continue to recognize construction as “essential activity”

Although Governor Jay Inslee declined to add construction to the list of allowed “essential activities” as part of an April 7 update on the...

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