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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.
Proposal uses existing taxes to fund highways

Proposal uses existing taxes to fund highways

A major priority for Washington state is not only infrastructure funding to meet existing transportation demands, but also maintaining the revenue streams that finance...
Shielding agriculture from overregulation

Shielding agriculture from overregulation

A common warning from critics of proposed carbon emission reduction legislation is that affected industries might pick up and leave for other regions with...
State bank proposed

State bank proposed

A newly introduced Senate bill would set up a state bank to meet demand for local infrastructure funding, despite warnings from the Washington state...
Cottages on rural lands

Cottages on rural lands

As the state legislature considers proposals for detached accessory dwelling units within the urban growth areas (UGA), legislators are also looking to expand those...
Secure or restrictive scheduling?

Secure or restrictive scheduling?

Following in the steps of Seattle, Washington state lawmakers have introduced statewide worker scheduling legislation that proponents argue will provide better certainty for workers....
Lawmaker proposes legalizing local income tax

Lawmaker proposes legalizing local income tax

Earlier this month, a group of Democrat state lawmakers submitted a brief in the lawsuit over the city of Seattle’s income tax ordinance arguing...
Low carbon fuel standard’s “hidden” gas tax

Low carbon fuel standard’s “hidden” gas tax

With Washington having the third-highest gas tax in the country, critics of a proposed low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) say it would make fuel...
Bill proposes wildfire containment strategy

Bill proposes wildfire containment strategy

A major challenge for state, federal and local fire crews responding to a wildfire can be locating a safe position to operate from, something...
Can growth and farming coexist?

Can growth and farming coexist?

As Washington state’s population grows, agricultural industry advocates say that farmers need more flexibility with their land designated for farming under the Growth Management...
Same space, more housing

Same space, more housing

As a Senate proposal to increase the housing supply advances, a separate House bill calls for a similar solution by allowing cities and counties...
Biz community decries bill to “kill” independent contracting

Biz community decries bill to “kill” independent contracting

A diverse coalition of Washington business community members are up in arms over a legislative proposal that critics say would essentially wipe out independent...
Promises still unmet for small forestland owners

Promises still unmet for small forestland owners

Two decades after the state legislature passed the Forests and Fish Law to protect fish habitat, it is still unclear to what extent the...
Should Washington pioneer hydrogen cars?

Should Washington pioneer hydrogen cars?

As part of a broader shift toward clean energy, Washington state is establishing infrastructure for electric vehicles in key sections of the state. However,...
New runway for aviation loan program

New runway for aviation loan program

The state legislature last year overwhelmingly voted in favor of HB 1656 creating an aviation loan program to help smaller airports with infrastructure investment...
The push for minimum density standards

The push for minimum density standards

A frequent observation made by builders operating in the central Puget Sound area when discussing housing affordability is the varying housing density standards created...
Casting for fish barrier removal funds

Casting for fish barrier removal funds

Now that the legislature has satisfied the State Supreme Court’s McCleary order, it now faces another court order to remove hundreds of fish barriers...
The future of clean energy

The future of clean energy

As the state legislature examines proposals to eventually make Washington’s electricity 100 percent clean, they’re also taking a good look at emerging technology that...
Shifting goalposts for I-405 tolling

Shifting goalposts for I-405 tolling

A corridor performance analysis study in 2018 found that the 15-mile Interstate 405 tolling segment was performing well financially but failing to maintain a 45-mile-per-hour...
Washington’s hospitality labor shortage

Washington’s hospitality labor shortage

As Washington state is currently experiencing a low unemployment rate, industries such as hospitality in recent years have struggled to fill job openings. A...
Washington’s next major airport

Washington’s next major airport

Some state lawmakers think it’s time for Washington to start looking for the location of its next major commercial airport, and a new Senate...
Mixed reviews for tax system overhaul

Mixed reviews for tax system overhaul

A Senate proposal creating a revenue reform task force is getting mixed reviews among members of the business community as to whether the state’s...
The next stop for Cascadia high-speed rail

The next stop for Cascadia high-speed rail

Since 2017, the state has been exploring the idea of an ultra-high-speed rail line from Vancouver, B.C. through Seattle to Portland, Ore to better...
Lawmakers contemplate tolling authority change

Lawmakers contemplate tolling authority change

As local cities and even counties consider ways to reduce congestion or improve revenue streams, one option is tolling city streets. It’s an idea...
Protecting Washington transportation revenue

Protecting Washington transportation revenue

One of the concerns Washington residents may have about a possible road user charge (RUC) to replace the state gas tax for funding transportation...
Netflix-like subscriptions for transportation on demand?

Netflix-like subscriptions for transportation on demand?

A recurring challenge encountered by state policymakers and stakeholders is how to successfully, and safely, integrate driverless cars onto public roads. Another ongoing question...
Some express reservations as clean energy proposal advances

Some express reservations as clean energy proposal advances

A legislative proposal to put Washington state on the path to 100 percent clean energy by 2045 this week cleared the Senate Environment, Energy...
Funding raids endanger Washington infrastructure

Funding raids endanger Washington infrastructure

As part of the McCleary compromise to fully fund basic education, the state legislature has dipped repeatedly into several accounts outside the general fund....
Investing in rural Washington

Investing in rural Washington

Though Washington is ranked by WalletHub as having the best state economy in the nation, often lost in the mix is the growing inequity...
To reform (or not) Washington’s tax system

To reform (or not) Washington’s tax system

If there’s agreement among policy wonks that Washington’s tax code needs to change, there’s equal disagreement over the nuances of that discussion and what...
The year of GMA reform?

The year of GMA reform?

A recurring criticism of the state Growth Management Act (GMA) is that its regulations artificially restrict housing supply and stymie rural economic development. Two...
Long journey ahead for road user charge

Long journey ahead for road user charge

If Washington state ever adopts a road user charge (RUC) to replace the motor vehicle fuel tax (MVFT), it’s going to be a long...
Re-growing small working forestland

Re-growing small working forestland

In the 20 years since the Forests and Fish Law was passed, Washington’s small forestland owners have struggled to handle the new regulations regarding...
The push to expand broadband

The push to expand broadband

According to Broadband Now, 94 percent of Washington residents have access to broadband, placing the state 14th in the nation for coverage. State lawmakers...
Can rangeland associations help fight wildfires?

Can rangeland associations help fight wildfires?

As stakeholders across Washington state continue to examine new ways to improve wildfire responses, state lawmakers have introduced HB 1188 which would enable private...
Stakeholders urge caution with green energy push

Stakeholders urge caution with green energy push

One of Governor Jay Inslee’s green energy proposals announced in December is to have Washington state utilities generate carbon-free electricity by 2030 and 100...
Bipartisan support for Sound Transit reform

Bipartisan support for Sound Transit reform

Following the passage of ST3 in 2016, state lawmakers have proposed making Sound Transit’s board elected rather than appointed by county executives, something proponents...
What’s killing Southern Resident whales

What’s killing Southern Resident whales

There’s little debate that an insufficient lack of salmon is harming the Southern Resident killer whale population, evinced by proposals to ramp up hatchery...
The short subdivision housing solution

The short subdivision housing solution

An ongoing challenge facing Washington state is being able to improve housing affordability, in particular in the central Puget Sound area, despite a recent...
The fight over a capital gains income tax

The fight over a capital gains income tax

The Jan. 16 public hearing regarding Governor Inslee’s capital gains income tax proposal rehashed many ongoing arguments for and against the idea. Remarks by...
Fish and Forest Law: 20-year reflection

Forests and Fish Law: 20-year reflection

After 20 years since the 1999 Forests and Fish Law was approved by the state legislature and then-Governor Gary Locke, state lawmakers may need...
Biochar: potential forest health tool

Biochar: potential forest health tool

As state officials and stakeholders look for ways to improve forest health around Washington that are in need of restoration, one possible new tool...
New low carbon fuel standard proposed

New low carbon fuel standard proposed

As with last year, efforts to reduce Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions is prompting several bills as part of Governor Jay Inslee’s “green energy” proposal...
State of State heavy on campaign rhetoric

State of State heavy on campaign rhetoric

Governor Jay Inslee’s January 15 State of the State speech mixed presidential campaign rhetoric with state-level proposals regarding climate change, education, mental health and orca...
Protecting working forests in times of growth

Protecting working forests in times of growth

As Washington’s population continues to grow, many newcomers from other parts of the country or world may end up buying a home or property...
High court rejects Seattle income tax case

High court rejects Seattle income tax case

The Washington State Supreme Court this week declined to make a direct review of a lawsuit filed against the city of Seattle’s income tax...
Seattle appeals hotel worker ruling

Seattle appeals hotel worker ruling

Last month, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled against a voter initiative intended to protect hotel workers from assault by guests, though hospitality groups...
Driverless car potential meets reality

Driverless car potential meets reality

After a few years of strong optimism regarding driverless cars and their potential to radically transform the way people live and travel, recent incidents...
Boosting salmon production

Boosting salmon production

Last year, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) released 137 million salmon from its hatcheries, the lowest production year ever for the...
Another crack at car tab reform

Another crack at car tab reform

Last year’s legislative session ended with lawmakers yet again unable to agree on relief for Puget Sound drivers paying the new motor vehicle excise...
Trump: Ramp up logging on federal land

Trump: Ramp up logging on federal land

Since 1986, timber harvests on Washington forestland managed by federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has decreased from 1.4 billion board...
Are I-405 tolls ‘good to go’?

Are I-405 tolls ‘good to go’?

The 15-mile northern segment of Interstate 405 from Bellevue to Lynnwood has now had dynamic tolling in place on two lanes for over three...

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