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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.
Local road funds off track

Local road funds off track

Washington State Department of Transportation officials have recently described their $700 million annual funding gap as a “glidepath toward failure.” Now, a Joint Transportation...
Farmers: Flawed EPA study puts family farming at risk

Farmers: Flawed EPA study puts family farming at risk

Washington family dairy farmers are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a scientific review of its 2013 study claiming dairy farmers...
Tourism: Marketing Washington’s appeal

Tourism: Marketing Washington’s appeal

After seven years as the only state with no tourism agency, the state legislature in 2018 revamped those efforts by creating the Washington Tourism...
Restructured excise tax could harm business, development

Restructured excise tax could harm business, development

In a move that has stakeholders raising red flags about business investment in Washington and housing affordability, the state legislature earlier this year approved...
Tour highlights state’s manufacturing sector

Tour highlights state’s manufacturing sector

The state of Washington’s manufacturers has gained the renewed attention of state lawmakers and business groups interested in the sector’s long-term health, and the...
Despite mildest wildfire season in years, stakeholders urge caution

Despite mildest wildfire season in years, stakeholders urge caution

Although the final tally has yet to be made, this year’s wildfire season in Washington state is likely to be the mildest in terms...
Plaintiffs target Sound Move car tab

Plaintiffs target Sound Move car tab

Now that Sound Transit has rejected a settlement offer in a lawsuit filed against its ST3 motor vehicle excise tax (MVET), the plaintiffs want...
Pension council rejects lower growth assumptions

Pension council rejects lower growth assumptions

In a 3-3 vote, the state Pension Funding Council rejected a motion at a Sept. 30 meeting to lower the assumed rate of return...
Growth may not signal prosperity, planner cautions

Growth may not signal prosperity, planner cautions

With an economy that continues to outperform the rest of the country, Washington appears to be prospering. According to the latest report by the...
Committee prepares recommendations on “no man’s land”

Committee prepares recommendations on “no man’s land”

The state Wildland Fire Advisory Committee will vote next month on recommendations for the state legislature to consider on how to address “no man’s...
Seattle “all over the place”: Income isn’t money

Seattle “all over the place”: Income isn’t money

Throughout the two-year court fight over Seattle’s income tax ordinance, the city has argued that the tax doesn’t violate the state constitution or state...
Rent control could prompt housing shortage

Rent control could prompt housing shortage

The average monthly rent for an apartment in Seattle is $2,130, a three percent increase from 2018, according to Rent Café. In July 2016,...
Ecology proposes new spill limits for dams

Ecology proposes new spill limits for dams

The state Department of Ecology is proposing to increase the maximum amount of water that can be spilled over the lower Columbia and Snake...
Crafting smart state tax policy

Crafting smart state tax policy

Tax policy analysts featured at the Association of Washington Business 2019 Policy Summit on Sept. 18 agree on one thing: the state tax code...
WSDOT: State transportation system on “glidepath to failure”

WSDOT: State transportation system on “glidepath to failure”

Beginning in the 2021-23 biennium, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will no longer pave highway ramps or sections of the freeway where...
Chelan PUD voices support for Snake River dams

Chelan PUD voices support for Snake River dams

The Chelan PUD commissioners this week voted unanimously in favor of a resolution opposing the removal of eight dams on the lower Snake River....
Trade war slows freight activity

Trade war slows freight activity

The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has put the damper on freight activity – not just for Washington state but across...
Capital gains income tax proposals loom next session

Capital gains income tax proposals loom next session

This year’s legislative session saw several unsuccessful proposals to enact a capital gains income tax. Comments made by lawmakers at a Sept. 13 House...
Plaintiffs warn of "grave financial for Sound Transit," offer settlement

Plaintiffs warn of “grave financial doom for Sound Transit,” offer settlement

Just days after the State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a lawsuit against Sound Transit’s ST3 motor vehicle excise tax (MVET), the plaintiffs...
Planners should rethink growth strategies, says Strong Towns advocate

Planners should rethink growth strategies, says Strong Towns advocate

By 2040, Washington state is estimated to have a population of almost 9 million residents; that’s an increase of 1.4 million from its current...
Sound Transit fumbles facts with vehicle tax

Sound Transit fumbles facts with vehicle tax

An unexpected wrench has been thrown into the cogs of Sound Transit’s legal defense of its new motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) as part...
Stakeholders to weigh in on Snake River dam removal

Stakeholders to weigh in on Snake River dam removal

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USAE), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) continue work on a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)...
State economy gets clean bill of health

State economy gets clean bill of health

Just weeks after Moody’s Financial Service upgraded Washington’s general bond credit rating to its highest ever, a new report by the state Economic and...
County in “unchartered territory” with collective bargaining ruling

County in “uncharted territory” with collective bargaining ruling

The Lincoln County Commissioners in 2016 voted to open collective bargaining negotiations with union leaders to the public. Three years later, the county is...
Auditor: Inspections delinquent for thousands of elevators

Auditor: Inspections delinquent for thousands of elevators

A new report by State Auditor Pat McCarthy has revealed that the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is years behind on thousands...
Legislature sues Inslee over one-sentence veto

Legislature sues Inslee over one-sentence veto

This legislative session Governor Jay Inslee vetoed a single sentence in the 2019-21 transportation budget related to transit grant funding and appropriated $175 million...
Court asked to reconsider income tax ruling

Court asked to reconsider income tax ruling

The Washington State Division 1 of the Court of Appeals issued a ruling on the city of Seattle’s income tax ordinance that declared the...
The ingredients for a severe wildfire season

The ingredients for a severe wildfire season

While Washington’s wildfire season is far from over, so far it has proved to be considerably less severe than in recent years. As of...
Washington gets historic credit rating bump

Washington gets historic credit rating bump

Moody’s Investor Service has announced that it has raised the rating of Washington state's outstanding obligation bonds from an AA1 to a AAA in...
Japanese legislators hear from Washington foresters

Japanese legislators hear from Washington foresters

Looking to improve their country’s struggling forestry industry, congressmen from Hyogo Prefectural Assembly’s Forestry Development Committee in Japan have turned to Washington foresters such...
New analysis on lower Snake River dams

New analysis on lower Snake River dams

As efforts continue in favor of breaching the lower Snake River dams to aid salmon and Southern Resident Killer whale recovery, NOAA Fisheries –...
Dealing with Washington’s drought

Dealing with Washington’s drought

A drought was announced in Washington state in April, with 27 watersheds now included in the declaration. Although this hasn’t negatively affected some agricultural...

Rain tempers wildfire season

Unusually high amount of rainfall in eastern Washington in the first part of August has helped keep this year’s wildfire season mild – even...
Division between stakeholders over fish habitat buffers

Division between stakeholders over fish habitat buffers

Washington forestland owners, environmentalists and tribes are divided over the shape, content and timeline of a proposed state rule defining what constitutes a fish...
Washington fruit growers evade latest trade dispute

Washington fruit growers evade latest trade dispute

The latest escalation in an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has so far avoided hitting Washington fruit growers – while the...
Are local and county culverts in legal danger?

Are local and county culverts in legal danger?

As state lawmakers consider ways to generate the money needed to replace hundreds of fish barriers on roads managed by the Washington State Department...
Will new clean energy policy work?

Will new clean energy policy work?

This legislative session state lawmakers approved SB 5116 sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-36) that puts Washington on a path to 100 percent clean...
Reforming the housing development process

Reforming the housing development process

Following a recent  housing summit in Bellevue, the House Local Government Committee held a work session in Federal Way examining the various public policies...
Wildfire strikes unhealthy forestland

Wildfire strikes near unhealthy forestland

The month of August has begun with an escalation of Washington’s wildfire season. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and tribal resources...
Hunt continues for Fish and Wildlife funding

Hunt continues for Fish and Wildlife funding

During this year’s legislative session, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) requested $31 million to help plug a hole in its operating...
Should Washington keep aerospace tax incentives?

Should Washington keep aerospace tax incentives?

In 2003, the state legislature approved a package of tax incentives related to the aerospace industry to ensure Boeing would produce its 787 in...
Premera announces rural healthcare access grants

Premera announces rural healthcare access grants

Healthcare insurance provider Premera has announced an investment of $10.5 million in grants over four years to Washington State University’s (WSU) community-based medical school...
Aerial attack helps check wildfire

Aerial attack helps check wildfire

As the intensity of this year’s wildfire season tapers, aerial attacks by state and federal agencies were able to check a fire that broke...
Long struggle ahead over water standards

Long struggle ahead over water standards

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administer Andrew Wheeler last week signed a proposed rule repealing its water quality standards and restoring less stringent...
The big fix on fish barrier removal

The big fix on fish barrier removal

Washington state lawmakers will have to come up with $3 billion in additional funding for more than 900 fish barrier removal projects if they’re...
“Cosmic Crisp” bred for Washington growers

“Cosmic Crisp” bred for Washington growers

After more than two decades of development in collaboration with the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Washington producers plan to...
The fight to fully fund guest worker program

The fight to fully fund guest worker program

Washington farmers in recent years have increased the number of applications for H-2A guest worker visas while the federal government has decreased funding to...
Single-payer system would require $28 billion in new taxes

Single-payer system would require $28 billion in new taxes

This year the state legislature passed SB 5526 which created a standardized health plan through the public health care exchange. Business and industry groups opposed...
Forecast: Wildfires could come to westside

Forecast: Wildfires could come to westside

After a brief respite from wildfire activity earlier this month, new grassland fires have broken out across the state and more than doubled the...
“Treading water” in no man’s land

“Treading water” in no man’s land

The state Wildland Fire Advisory Committee plans to recommend steps the state legislature can take to address areas in Washington not protected by any...
Lake Washington ferry service planned

Lake Washington ferry service planned

A pilot program is in the works by a private developer to offer ferry service routes from South Lake Union to the 17-acre Southport...

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