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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.
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...
Seattle job tax 2.0: “Punitive tax policy”

Seattle job tax 2.0: “Punitive tax policy”

Two years after approving and then quickly repealing a $275-per-employee job tax to fund homelessness programs, the Seattle City Council at its April 6...
Inslee reduces operating budget spending

Inslee reduces operating budget spending increase

Governor Jay Inslee signed the 2020 supplemental budget on April 3 after vetoing spending provisions in anticipation of decreased state revenue due to the...
Air agency drops regional fuel standard proposal

Air agency drops regional fuel standard proposal

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) is no longer considering a regional low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) after a third legislative effort to...
Supreme court refuses to take up Seattle income tax case

Supreme court refuses to take up Seattle income tax case

The Washington State Supreme Court has announced it will not hear a legal case regarding the city of Seattle’s graduated income tax ordinance previously...
Shutdown puts damper on Washington housing market

Shutdown puts damper on Washington housing market

Not only has the state response to COVID-19 paused commercial and residential construction, it has also put considerable restrictions on real estate transactions, and...
Analyst: Tax relief can help Washington businesses, consumers

Analyst: Tax relief can help Washington businesses, consumers

The COVID-19 response by the state of Washington has both small and large businesses taking a hit. However, Washington may be relatively well-positioned to...
New lawsuit targets Sound Transit’s MVET schedules

New lawsuit targets Sound Transit’s MVET

Although the State Supreme Court ruled against plaintiffs in a case protesting ST3’s motor vehicle excise tax (MVET), a new lawsuit filed on March...

“It (capital gains tax) opens the door to the income tax and you and...

- Former State Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge in a 2011 email to Sen. David Frockt.
Builders say construction is “essential activity”

Builders say construction is “essential activity”

Governor Jay Inslee on March 23 issued a “shelter-in-place” order closing all non-essential business activity in the state, including construction work. Builders are now...
Inslee signs plastic bag ban despite COVID-19 concerns with reusable bags

Inslee signs plastic bag ban despite COVID-19 concerns with reusable bags

Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law ESSB 5323 which bans the use of plastic bags, even though other states around the country are...
TVW marks silver anniversary of “gavel-to-gavel” legislative coverage

TVW marks silver anniversary of “gavel-to-gavel” legislative coverage

During Washington’s 1995 state legislature session, committee meetings and floor debates were broadcast live for the first time by TVW – a “C-SPAN” for...
Panic purchases can create shortage illusion

Panic purchases can create shortage illusion

As is now well recognized in communities throughout the state, the COVID-19 outbreak and response has provoked panic purchases by Washington consumers of items...
Coronavirus hits Washington tourism sector

Coronavirus hits Washington tourism sector

Telling people to stay away is not an appealing prospect for most business organizations and governments that depend on tourist dollars to survive. But that...

“This is a time like no other for our company, our industry, our communities.”

- Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun in an internal memo to employees.
Industry responds with resources

Industry responds with resources

In response to the coronavirus causing COVID-19, industry leaders throughout the state are mobilizing communications channels to provide resources and issue guidance for both...
Treasurer asks Inslee to veto state bank study

Treasurer asks Inslee to veto state bank study

The state legislature has spent $650,000 in the past three years studying the concept of a state bank. If signed by Governor Jay Inslee,...
As economic activity shifts, recession questions emerge

As economic activity shifts, recession questions emerge

The recent statewide shift in major economic activity due to the coronavirus causing COVID-19 is raising questions about a possible recession, and events of...
Truckers continue to operate, though struggling

Truckers continue to operate, though struggling

With the statewide temporary closure by Governor Jay Inslee of some stores, restaurants, bars, and recreational facilities, coupled with the telecommuting by employees of...
2020 legislative session roundup

2020 legislative session roundup

Washington’s 60-day 2020 legislative session concluded March 12 after state lawmakers approved a supplemental operating budget amid growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak’s long-term...
Amid uncertainty, lawmakers finalize operating budget

Amid uncertainty and despite some objection, lawmakers finalize operating budget

The state legislature voted to approve a final 2020 supplemental budget that adds just under $1 billion in new spending for the 2019-2021 biennium,...
Aerospace tax bill passes legislature

Aerospace tax bill passes legislature

The state legislature has passed SB 6690, a measure that removes aerospace industry tax incentives in order to avoid possible retaliatory tariffs. The bill...

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