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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.
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...
Coronavirus outbreak creating industry uncertainty

Coronavirus outbreak creating industry uncertainty

The outbreak of the coronavirus in Washington state has led to a state of emergency declaration by Governor Jay Inslee, the closure of numerous...
Bill increases state aid to local infrastructure improvement

Bill increases state aid to local infrastructure improvement

The state legislature could pass a bill increasing state contributions to a local government financing program intended to improve infrastructure needed for economic development....
Bill allows sports gambling on tribal lands, excludes card-room casinos

Bill allows sports gambling on tribal lands, excludes card-room casinos

A House bill allowing sports gambling on tribal lands has cleared the legislature after a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision ruled that states...
‘McCleary mandate’ for carbon reduction?

‘McCleary mandate’ for carbon reduction?

A House bill that would revise state greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals set up in 2008 has cleared the state legislature, though legislators...
Drought bill clears legislature

Drought bill clears legislature

A measure to improve the state’s response to drought that was introduced last year has finally cleared the legislature following several work sessions last...
Committee to reconsider Tolkienesque name for mountains

Committee to reconsider Tolkienesque name for mountains

The state Board of Natural Resources (BNR) is asking the state Committee on Geographic Names to reconsider a recommendation to name several peaks on...
Plastic bag ban or paper bag tax?

Plastic bag ban or paper bag tax?

A plastic bag ban proposal that cleared the Senate last year but failed in the House might make it out of the legislature this...
Proposal would incentivize hydropower investments

Proposal would incentivize hydropower investments

During the floor debates prior to passage of the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) last year, some legislators called attention to the absence of...
Making Washington airports self-sustaining

Making Washington airports self-sustaining

The state legislature two years ago approved an aviation loan program to improve community airport infrastructure, and now, legislators are taking a second run...
New Clean Air Rule proposal could be costly for consumers

New Clean Air Rule proposal could be costly for consumers

While scores of truckers, loggers and other stakeholders testified this week against ESHB 1110 which would create a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), its...
As battle over LCFS continues, stakeholders turn out in force

As battle over LCFS continues, stakeholders turn out in force

Stakeholders who oppose a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) proposal turned out in full force to share their perspectives in Olympia during a critical...
New operating budget adds $1.5 billion in new spending

New operating budget adds over $1 billion in new spending

The state legislature swiftly approved the Senate’s proposed 2020 supplemental operating budget just days after both it and the House version were released. SB...
New EIS opposes Snake River dam removal

New EIS opposes Snake River dam removal

A U.S. District Court judge in 2016 issued a ruling mandating that a new draft environmental impact statement (EIS) conducted by the three federal...
GMA reform: To wait – or not

GMA reform: To wait – or not

Stakeholders are divided over whether state lawmakers should pass HB 2342 sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) or wait until a possible Growth Management...
Tax incentive bill reveals economic ties

Tax incentive bill reveals economic ties

The state legislature in 2003 enacted several tax incentives for aerospace manufacturers such as the Boeing. In a strange turn of events, the company...

“It’s so important that we reduce the risk of punishing tariffs that have already...

– McGregor Company Chairman Alex McGregor testifying on SB 6690 eliminating Boeing’s preferential B&O tax rate.  
Washington’s future in “final frontier” economy

Washington’s future in “final frontier” economy

State lawmakers in recent years have monitored the emerging private space economy developing in Washington state, and while previous proposals have struggled to take...
Lawmakers and LCFS: ‘Let’s make a deal’

Lawmakers and LCFS: ‘Let’s make a deal’

In the ongoing push to implement a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), more than 30 House Democrats last week cosigned a letter stating that...
No additional tax increases – or cuts – in budget proposals

No additional tax increases – or cuts – in budget proposals

The state House and Senate operating budget proposals released Feb. 24 call for no additional taxes outside of the business and occupation tax increase...
Stakeholders: Wildfire premobilization bill need adjustment

Stakeholders: Wildfire premobilization bill need adjustment

A bill that would allow premobilization of state resources to local wildfire incidents cleared the state House unanimously on Feb. 18. Now, some stakeholders...
Some emotions run high with new climate proposal

Some emotions run high with new climate proposal

The emotional temperature in Olympia ran high in some quarters during and after a public hearing of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee...

“We see the passage of a clean fuel standard as a precondition to the...

- a letter to House Transportation Chair Jake Fey and Senate Transportation Chair Steve Hobbs signed by more than 30 House Democrat legislators.
How electric cars could affect state grid

How electric cars could affect state grid

A bill introduced this session would require all new cars sold starting in 2030 to be electric vehicles (EV). Although the legislation failed to...
A move to regulate drinks for kids clears state Senate

A move to regulate drinks for kids clears state Senate

The Feb. 13 Senate floor debate over a bill restricting what default beverages a restaurant can offer on its kids’ menu transformed into a...
‘Last ditch’ effort for harvest plan consensus

‘Last ditch’ effort for harvest plan consensus

It’s been five years since the Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) first submitted its alternative harvest plan to the Forest Practices Board (FPB) as...
Angling for LCFS policy continues

Angling for LCFS policy continues

Although a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) bill reintroduced from last session and passed by the state House appears to be going nowhere in...
Hefty bank tax stands as judge upholds title-only bills

Hefty bank tax stands as judge upholds title-only bills

This legislative session three bills proposing to end the use of title-only legislation failed to clear their original committees prior to the cutoff date....
High court upholds ST3 car tab tax

High court upholds ST3 car tab tax

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled this week in a 7-2 decision that a provision in a 2015 state law authorizing the ST3 motor...
Foresters highlight need to fund existing support programs

Foresters highlight need to fund existing support programs

A new proposal in the state legislature to promote urban forestry has some foresters vocalizing the need to fund existing support programs before any...
Bill proposes driverless car regulations

Bill proposes driverless car regulations

A bill to implement some recommendations made last year by the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) regarding autonomous vehicles (AV) cleared the House Transportation...
Bill requires all new cars sold be electric by 2030

Bill requires all new cars sold be electric by 2030

With a state law mandating that Washington utilities provide 100 percent carbon-neutral energy by 2035, a House bill sponsored by Rep. Nicole Macri (D-43)...

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