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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.
As Inslee pushes income tax, shift in messaging to attract out of state businesses

As Inslee pushes income tax, shift in messaging to attract out of state businesses

Part of the debate over Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed nine percent capital gains income tax, as with other prior proposals, is whether it is...
LCFS, round 4

LCFS, round 4

For the past four consecutive legislative sessions, lawmakers have introduced proposals to impose a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) in Washington state. This session,...
Inslee envisions “new normal” in Washington

Inslee envisions “new normal” in Washington

In a pre-recorded State of the State speech to the legislature broadcasted Jan. 13, Governor Jay Inslee outlined his vision for what he called...
Removing credit data from insurance plans will increase rates, critics say

Removing credit data from insurance plans will increase rates, critics say

A group of Democrat Senators have introduced a bill at the request of Governor Jay Inslee and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler that would make...
Stakeholders discourage “pay later,” propose wildfire account

Stakeholders discourage “pay later,” propose wildfire account

As last year’s wildfire season rapidly escalated into one of the most destructive in the past decade, some state officials and lawmakers believe it’s...
Session 2021: Legislators examine taxes, business relief, rules

Session 2021: Legislators examine taxes, business relief, rules

Before state revenues increased unexpectedly to record levels in the latter part of 2020, it seemed the 2021 legislative session would focus on addressing...
Legislature announces remote testimony rules

Legislature announces remote testimony rules

Both the Washington State House and Senate have posted remote testimony rules for the upcoming 2021 legislative session. For government transparency advocates, it represents...
Retailers urge legislators “do not harm” this session

Retailers urge legislators “do no harm” this session

Although Washington state is collecting record revenue despite the ongoing economic lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a different story for...
New report could show forestland loss to housing

New report could show forestland loss to housing

After more than 20 years since the state legislature passed the Forests and Fish Law regulating timber harvests near fish habitats, small forestland owners...
Mixed reaction to ferry privatization study

Mixed reaction to ferry privatization study

A new draft study by the state Joint Transportation Committee (JTC) has found that a private ferry route from Northwest Washington to British Columbia...
‘Free Market Destroy’ campaign takes off

‘Free Markets Destroy’ campaign takes off

At a time when polls indicate young adults are embracing socialism in greater numbers, a new project from the Washington Policy Center touting the...
Stakeholders warn against new taxes in proposed 2021-23 operating budget

Stakeholders warn against new taxes in proposed 2021-23 operating budget

Governor Jay Inslee has released his 2021-23 operating budget that increases spending from the prior biennium and includes a capital gains income tax proposal...
Tax proposals likely for transportation funding

Tax proposals likely for transportation funding

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) more than a year ago warned that the state’s infrastructure was a “glidepath to failure.” Since that...
Housing, GMA legislation possible for 2021

Housing, GMA legislation possible for 2021

State lawmakers say they intend to propose a variety of bills during the 2021 legislative session to tackle landlord-tenant relations and housing supply through...
Bellevue stakeholders: budget process elevates policy, de-escalates politics

Bellevue stakeholders: budget process elevates policy, de-escalates politics

The Seattle City Council this year has voted to slash police department funding in the next biennium by 18 percent and has enacted a...
“Trojan Horse” cap gains proposal likely in 2021

“Trojan Horse” cap gains proposal likely in 2021

Despite Sen. Mark Mullet (D-5) narrowly holding onto his legislative seat this November, proponents of a capital gains income tax say they still intend...
Special needs students could “fall hardest” with remote learning

Special needs students could “fall hardest” with remote learning

The state legislature has invested millions in new spending  in school districts to be used for special needs education, and now some education experts...
Christmas tree farms see sales spike: “People just want to do something normal”

Christmas tree farms see sales spike: “People just want to do something normal”

After months of a state-imposed lockdown keeping people primarily confined to their homes, Washingtonians have been eager to start the holiday season early, if...
Stakeholders warn against GMA amendments, “tone deaf” reform process

Stakeholders warn against GMA amendments, “tone deaf” reform process

For years, a variety of stakeholders including builders, housing organizations, and local government advocates have emphasized the need for changes to the state Growth...
Cybersecurity for the 2021 legislative session

Cybersecurity for the 2021 legislative session

Plans to convene the 2021 legislation session remotely raise not only issues regarding transparency and government accountability but also the risks of hacking and...
Work remains for fish culvert repair strategy

Work remains for fish culvert repair strategy

An ongoing legal issue for state legislators is the replacement of more than 400 fish culverts on land managed primarily by the Washington State...
Questions linger over Interstate Bridge cost

Questions linger over Interstate Bridge cost

Among the many questions yet to be answered regarding an Interstate Bridge replacement is how much the project will cost, to what extent it...
Grocers grapple with shopper’ frustration over restrictions

Grocers grapple with shopper frustration over restrictions

Although independent grocers have been deemed essential and allowed to remain open throughout Governor Jay Inslee’s statewide restrictions that have been in place for...
State revenue remains historically high amid shutdown

State revenue remains historically high amid shutdown

While many Washington businesses struggle to remain financially afloat amid newly imposed restrictions by Governor Jay Inslee, the state is still expected to receive...
Transparency, civic engagement, logistics considerations as Legislature goes virtual

Transparency, civic engagement, logistics considerations as Legislature goes virtual

For the first time in history, Washington’s legislative session will convene remotely via virtual meetings, with the potential to significantly affect not only how...
“Chilling effect”: Eviction moratorium strains small landlords

“Chilling effect”: Eviction moratorium strains small landlords

As Governor Jay Inslee contemplates possible changes to his eviction moratorium amid a legal challenge to it, some property rights advocates warn that the...
Fish habitat buffer rule unlikely for 2021

Fish habitat buffer rule unlikely for 2021

For almost 20 years the state has used an interim rule created after the 1999 Forests and Fish Law to establish fish habitat buffers...
Organizations see opportunity with virtual conferences

Organizations see opportunity with virtual conferences

Although the concept of online meetings and conferences isn’t new, the COVID-19 restrictions imposed in Washington since late March have forced state organizations and...
Avoiding Columbia River Crossing 2.0

Avoiding Columbia River Crossing 2.0

Of primary concern among stakeholders involved in the preliminary discussions on replacing the Interstate Bridge across the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon is...
Capital gains tax, LCFS within reach next session

Capital gains tax, LCFS within reach next session

Democrat lawmakers and Governor Jay Inslee for years have sought to enact a variety of tax and regulatory proposals that have failed due to...
Washington’s mixed economy recovery

Washington’s mixed economy recovery

Washington’s economy continues to recover from historically high unemployment and revenue decreases earlier this year, though that recovery is inconsistent across industry sectors. The...
Landlords sue over eviction ban

Landlords sue over eviction ban

Under Governor Jay Inslee’s eviction moratorium that was extended last month through the remainder of 2020, landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for failure...
Work group examines feasibility of universal health care

Work group examines feasibility of universal health care

The state Health Care Exchange last month approved new “Cascade Care” health plans under a state law approved last year that sought to address...
Aerospace stakeholders contemplate path to recovery

Aerospace stakeholders contemplate path to recovery

Washington state’s aerospace industry has certainly seen better years than 2020. In addition to the economic shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic all...
New WPC study challenges Cascadia high-speed rail feasibility

New WPC study challenges Cascadia high-speed rail feasibility

Proponents of a proposed public-private partnership (P3) Cascadia high-speed rail line from Vancouver, B.C. to Portland, Ore. contend that the project could improve regional...
Commission may push for small airport loan extension

Commission may push for small airport loan extension

The state Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC) created by the state legislature in 2019 is tasked with developing a plan to meet Washington’s freight...
The economic shutdown and transportation revenue

The economic shutdown and transportation revenue

Prior to its defeat via a State Supreme Court decision, Initiative 976 would have reduced Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) revenue by $421...
How GMA could help – or hurt – housing crisis

How GMA could help – or hurt – housing crisis

After decades of planning under the state Growth Management Act (GMA), a significant number of builders, housing advocates, and state lawmakers believe the law...
Amid pandemic, analysts see opportunity for greater school choice

Amid pandemic, analysts see opportunity for greater school choice

Eight years after the State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and subsequent billions in new tax revenue poured into the K-12 system by the state...
Historic Seattle rail bridge will remain, with repairs

Historic Seattle rail bridge will remain, with repairs

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) has announced it will repair the Salmon Bay Rail Bridge near the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle’s Ballard...
I-976 struck down as panel mulls new transportation taxes

I-976 struck down as panel mulls new transportation taxes

The release of the Washington State Supreme Court decision striking down Initiative 976 that was approved by voters last November seems appropriately timed –...
Unemployment tax hike will harm already struggling businesses

Unemployment tax hike will harm already struggling businesses

After a year of historic layoffs and unemployment claims that threatened to bankrupt the state Unemployment Trust Fund, businesses that managed to survive could...
K-12 funding and taxes: how much is enough?

K-12 funding and taxes: how much is enough?

Even though the state legislature has poured billions into the K-12 education system since the 2013-15 biennium following a 2012 State Supreme Court ruling,...
Work group may favor “gradual” approach to single-payer health care

Work group may favor “gradual” approach to single-payer health care

The state Universal Health Care Work Group is working on a new report update for the state legislature outlining end goals to pursue, ultimately...
PSE announces small biz energy contest

PSE announces small biz energy contest

With half of Washington’s workforce employed by small businesses, the survival of those employers at a time of high unemployment has become a heightened...
COVID-19 and the role of telehealth

COVID-19 and the role of telehealth

The state legislature since 2015 has explored the concept of telemedicine – i part to improve healthcare access for rural communities. With the onset...
Reassessing transit for Interstate Bridge replacement

Reassessing transit for Interstate Bridge replacement

Disagreement among Washington and Oregon stakeholders regarding the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) in 2013 put a long pause on – then the Washington state...
Tourism industry could take years to recover from shutdown

Tourism industry could take years to recover from shutdown

Washington’s tourism industry continues to struggle amid the state’s economic shutdown in response to COVID-19, with the effects felt in both urban and rural...
Whatcom County may restart Cherry Point regulatory work

Whatcom County may restart Cherry Point regulatory work

For more than four years the Whatcom County Council has explored reregulating the Cherry Point industrial area, already one of the most regulated and...
Transparency, civic engagement, logistics considerations as Legislature goes virtual

Implications for public safety, business community in 5th District Senate race

Discussions in recent months regarding law enforcement funding have also highlighted the role public safety professionals play in fostering and protecting a healthy business...
Housing as “critical infrastructure”

Housing as “critical infrastructure”

The state Growth Management Act (GMA) remains a primary focus for stakeholders who are trying to address Washington state’s housing shortage and lack of...

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