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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.
Unanimous support for forestland bill

Unanimous support for forestland bill

A bill to study the economic health of Washington small forestland owners has cleared the legislature with unanimous support. ESSB 5330 sponsored by Sen....
Preparing for Washington’s future airport

Preparing for Washington’s future airport

State House lawmakers on April 16 voted unanimously in favor of a Senate proposal to begin planning for Washington’s next major airport to accommodate...
Senate approves House wildfire bill

Senate approves House wildfire bill

A bill directing the state Department of Natural Resources to conduct forest health projects that also benefit wildfire suppression efforts was approved by the...
Senate approves House timber bill

Senate approves House timber bill

The Washington Senate on April 16 voted 47-1 in favor of a bill intended to boost the timber industry in rural counties with higher...
Senate approves chemical ban

Senate approves chemical ban

The Washington Senate voted 35-13 on April 15 in favor of ESSHB 1112 to gradually phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons in refrigeration products...
Senate approves urban housing bill

Senate approves urban housing bill

The Washington Senate on April 13 voted 33-12 in favor of a House bill intended to boost the housing supply within urban areas in...
Public union consent bill passes

Public union consent bill passes

The Washington Senate on April 12 passed legislation regarding public sector union membership in the wake of the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Janus ruling....
Worker fee removed from H-2A bill

Worker fee removed from H-2A bill

A Senate proposal to address the growing number of workers under the federal H-2A temporary agricultural visa program in Washington state received unanimous support...
Health care bill clears House

Health care bill clears House

The Washington House voted 53-38 on April 10 in favor of a Senate bill purported to lower health care costs, while detractors argued prior...
House approves clean energy bill

House approves clean energy bill

House lawmakers on April 11 approved a Senate bill intended to wean Washington state off electricity produced by carbon. However, despite numerous revisions and...
Low carbon fuel standard stalls

Low carbon fuel standard stalls

ESSHB 1110, which would create a statewide low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), has hit a roadblock after it failed to clear an April 9...
Making I-405 tolls permanent

Making I-405 tolls permanent

The dynamic tolling system on a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 405 between Bellevue and Lynwood was opened in 2015 to improve mobility and offer...
Senate bill would change state tax structure

Senate bill would change state tax structure

Despite a nearly $4.46 billion revenue increase from the 2017-19 biennium, some state lawmakers have introduced proposals to restructure Washington’s tax system. Among them...
Gov signs working forest bill

Gov signs working forest bill

Governor Jay Inslee has signed HB 1011 into law notifying buyers that a piece of property is located next to a working forest. The...
Should outdoor rec sales get taxed?

Should outdoor rec sales be taxed?

Following significant budget cuts by the legislature following the Great Recession, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has yet to resume...
Reeling in fish barrier removal proposals

Reeling in fish barrier removal proposals

Following a ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding an injunction against Washington state, lawmakers are looking for money to fund hundreds...
Senate passes $52.2 billion operating budget

Senate passes $52.2 billion operating budget

The Washington Senate on April 4 voted 31-17 to approve a $52.2 billion 2019-21 operating budget. Although state senators approved a version of ESHB...
Business owners concerned over income tax proposal

Business owners concerned over income tax proposal

The latest effort this legislative session to enact a capital gains income tax via HB 2156 as part of the House 2019-21 operating budget...
Vape tax clears Senate committee

Vape tax clears Senate committee

A Senate proposal to tax vaping products, also known as e-cigarettes, cleared the Ways and Means Committee on April 2 after some revisions. Although...
Legislators urged to stop Public Works account raids

Legislators urged to stop Public Works account raids

Since the Public Works Assistance Account was created in 1985, $2.2 billion has been diverted or transferred for purposes other than funding the revolving,...
The long and short of subdivisions

The long and short of subdivisions

A Senate proposal intended to increase the maximum number of units within a short subdivision continues to advance through the legislature. On April 2,...
House passes transportation budget

House passes transportation budget

The state House overwhelming approve its 2019-21 transportation budget on Mar. 29 that spends $10 billion on fish culvert repairs, the Interstate 5 Bridge...
How prepared is Washington for a recession?

How prepared is Washington for a recession?

As the legislature begins negotiations over the Senate and House budget proposals, some state officials are gauging Washington’s readiness for a potential recession similar...
Senate budget includes income tax, reflects “shared values”

Senate budget includes income tax, reflects “shared values”

Although the Senate proposed $52.2 billion 2019-21 operating budget unveiled on Mar. 29 spends almost $700 million less than the House’s proposed budget, it...
In search of balanced approach to housing affordability

In search of balanced approach to housing affordability

A recurring debate during this year’s legislative session concerns the state’s appropriate role regarding local housing supply and density, which can be largely determined...
New proposal to fund local infrastructure

New proposal to fund local infrastructure

While the House’s proposed 2019-21 operating budget would continue raids into the Public Works Trust account mean to fund local infrastructure projects, two identical...
Senate unveils transportation budget

Senate unveils transportation budget

The Senate Transportation Committee voted on Mar. 28 in favor of a proposed 2019-21 transportation budget that spends a similar amount as its counterpart...
No taxes proposed in House transportation budget

No taxes proposed in House transportation budget

The House Transportation Committee voted 28-3 on Mar. 27 in favor of a proposed 2019-21 transportation budget that increases funding for fish barrier removal...
Will new tax “vaporize” e-cigarette industry?

Will new tax “vaporize” e-cigarette industry?

Washington state currently levies an excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products that during the latest fiscal year brought in $414 million. Now,...
State House budget proposal includes new taxes

State House budget proposal includes new taxes

Last week, the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released a report estimating that Washington will generate more than $50 billion in the 2019-21...
Negotiations continue on clean energy bill

Negotiations continue on clean energy bill

A Senate proposal to put Washington state on the path toward 100 percent clean energy is advancing through the House after clearing the Committee...
Emergency loan proposal garners unanimous Senate support

Emergency loan proposal garners unanimous Senate support

Five years after the Oso landslide killed 43 people in Snohomish County, state lawmakers are considering an emergency revolving loan program to help repair...
State revenue: how much is enough?

State revenue: how much is enough?

The latest report from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) shows that the Washington state legislature has $50 billion to spend for...
Salvaging Elliot Bay’s fishing pier

Salvaging Elliott Bay’s fishing pier

For anglers and others lamenting the closure of the fishing pier overlooking Elliott Bay in Puget Sound two years ago over safety concerns, a...
Will low carbon fuel standard move forward?

Will low carbon fuel standard move forward?

Now that a state House bill creating a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) has cleared that chamber, it remains to be seen whether its...
Brokering statewide broadband

Brokering statewide broadband

Both state legislative chambers have approved bills intended to get high speed broadband internet to the approximately 450,000 Washington residents who still lack access. Now,...
Assessing “no man’s land”

Assessing “no man’s land”

An ongoing challenge for state and local firefighters is what’s known as “no man’s land”: areas that do not fall under a fire jurisdiction...
Unanimous Senate vote on agricultural hemp

Unanimous Senate vote on agricultural hemp

Early last week, Senate lawmakers voted unanimously on ESSSB 5276 legalizing agricultural hemp production. If approved by the House and signed by Governor Jay...
Lawmakers embrace urban density proposal

Lawmakers embrace urban density proposal

A Democrat proposal to boost housing within urban areas received bipartisan support in a 66-30 house vote on Mar. 13. SSHB 1923 sponsored by...
Linking forest health projects with wildfires

Linking forest health projects with wildfires

In a unanimous 96-0 vote, the state House voted Mar. 13 in favor of SSHB 1784, which advocates say would create stronger links between...
House passes new "consent" bill for public worker unions

House passes new “consent” bill for public worker unions

Earlier this week House lawmakers approved in a 57-41 vote SSHB 1575 in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) Janus ruling last year...
LCFS proposal advances from House

LCFS proposal advances from House

After a lengthy debate on Mar. 12 that included over half a dozen amendments added to the bill, state House lawmakers voted 53-43 in...
Housing proposals ignite debate over local control

Housing proposal ignites debate over local control

The Washington Senate voted 38-10 on Mar. 11 in favor of SB 5812 requiring that cities and counties adopt ordinances and regulations allowing accessory...
One step closer to socialized medicine?

One step closer to socialized medicine?

In a 57-41 vote on Mar. 8, the Washington House approved ESSHB 1523 after an extended and heated discussion that at one point caused...
New research finds LCFS bad for environment

New research finds LCFS bad for environment

Opponents of a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) such as that proposed in Washington state say the program would be costly to implement, impossible...
State Senate approves tiny home bill

State Senate approves tiny home bill

The Washington Senate voted overwhelming 44-2 in favor of a bill allowing cities and towns to create ordinances regulating tiny house communities, while prohibiting...
: Guest worker fee, or job tax on farmers?

Guest worker fee, or job tax on farmers?

The Washington Senate in a 26-21 vote approved a bill creating a new fee to be paid by farmers who rely on H-2A visa...
Are lawmakers reviving I-1631?

Are lawmakers reviving I-1631?

Last November voters turned down Initiative 1631, which would have created a $15 per-metric-ton carbon tax and an oversight board composed primarily of governor-appointees...
Transportation package advances

Transportation package advances

A proposed 10-year transportation package to fund new infrastructure and court-ordered fish culvert projects cleared the Senate Transportation Committee after several amendments were incorporated....
Senate approves plastic bag ban

Senate approves plastic bag ban

Consumers soon may no longer be able to choose plastic bags at retail stores in Washington state, thanks to a proposal that passed in...
Kneecapping housing affordability efforts

Kneecapping housing affordability efforts

Washingtonians living in the central Puget Sound region aren’t the only ones affected by the housing shortage. The problem has also extended to the...

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