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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.
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...
State farmers could take hit on chemical ban

State farmers could take hit on chemical ban

The state House has successfully passed ESSHB 1112 in a 55-39 vote to gradually phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons in products such as...
Can Washington maintain affordable energy?

Can Washington maintain affordable energy?

The same day Governor Jay Inslee announced his bid for the presidency on the Democrat ticket, the state Senate in a 28-19 vote passed...
I-405 tolls: should they stay or should they go?

I-405 tolls: should they stay or should they go?

State lawmakers may decide this session if the dynamic tolling system on a 15-mile segment of Interstate 405’s high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes between...
Transportation proposal gets mixed review

Transportation proposal gets mixed review

Senate Transportation Chair Steve Hobbs (D-44) has unveiled a series of bills creating 10-year, $17 billion transportation package that includes a carbon fee and...
LCFS: “Bad news all around”

LCFS: “Bad news all around”

A proposal to create a low carbon fuel standard program (LCFS) in Washington state has cleared the House Appropriations Committee and could soon land...
Will lawmakers vote for Sound Transit elections?

Will lawmakers vote for Sound Transit elections?

As the state’s only regional transit authority (RTA), Sound Transit is run by a board of 18 members who are appointed by their respective...
Reckoning may come on car tab relief

Reckoning may come on car tab relief

State lawmakers may find themselves between a rock and a hard place: allowing Washingtonians to decide whether to approve a $30 car tab initiative...
Restoring public infrastructure funding

Restoring public infrastructure funding

There are currently more than $800 million worth of local public infrastructure projects ready to move forward but lack funding that might otherwise come...
Supporting initial wildfire attacks

Supporting initial wildfire attacks

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) managed last year to keep more than 90 percent of wildfires to 10 acres or less. Several...
Public bank proposal meets much criticism

Public bank proposal meets much criticism

The notion of a public bank in Washington state received a critical appraisal at a Feb. 21 public hearing of the Senate Financial Institutions,...
Private-public partnership for fish barrier removal

Private-public partnership for fish barrier removal

While state lawmakers contemplate various proposals to fund the removal of fish barriers on public land managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation...
Another possible win for mass timber

Another possible win for mass timber

Now that the Washington State Building Code Council and International Code Council (ICC) have incorporated advances in cross-laminated timber (CLT) technology, a bipartisan group...
Proposal uses existing taxes to fund highways

Proposal uses existing taxes to fund highways

A major priority for Washington state is not only infrastructure funding to meet existing transportation demands, but also maintaining the revenue streams that finance...
Shielding agriculture from overregulation

Shielding agriculture from overregulation

A common warning from critics of proposed carbon emission reduction legislation is that affected industries might pick up and leave for other regions with...
State bank proposed

State bank proposed

A newly introduced Senate bill would set up a state bank to meet demand for local infrastructure funding, despite warnings from the Washington state...
Cottages on rural lands

Cottages on rural lands

As the state legislature considers proposals for detached accessory dwelling units within the urban growth areas (UGA), legislators are also looking to expand those...
Secure or restrictive scheduling?

Secure or restrictive scheduling?

Following in the steps of Seattle, Washington state lawmakers have introduced statewide worker scheduling legislation that proponents argue will provide better certainty for workers....
Lawmaker proposes legalizing local income tax

Lawmaker proposes legalizing local income tax

Earlier this month, a group of Democrat state lawmakers submitted a brief in the lawsuit over the city of Seattle’s income tax ordinance arguing...
Low carbon fuel standard’s “hidden” gas tax

Low carbon fuel standard’s “hidden” gas tax

With Washington having the third-highest gas tax in the country, critics of a proposed low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) say it would make fuel...
Bill proposes wildfire containment strategy

Bill proposes wildfire containment strategy

A major challenge for state, federal and local fire crews responding to a wildfire can be locating a safe position to operate from, something...
Can growth and farming coexist?

Can growth and farming coexist?

As Washington state’s population grows, agricultural industry advocates say that farmers need more flexibility with their land designated for farming under the Growth Management...
Same space, more housing

Same space, more housing

As a Senate proposal to increase the housing supply advances, a separate House bill calls for a similar solution by allowing cities and counties...
Biz community decries bill to “kill” independent contracting

Biz community decries bill to “kill” independent contracting

A diverse coalition of Washington business community members are up in arms over a legislative proposal that critics say would essentially wipe out independent...
Promises still unmet for small forestland owners

Promises still unmet for small forestland owners

Two decades after the state legislature passed the Forests and Fish Law to protect fish habitat, it is still unclear to what extent the...
Should Washington pioneer hydrogen cars?

Should Washington pioneer hydrogen cars?

As part of a broader shift toward clean energy, Washington state is establishing infrastructure for electric vehicles in key sections of the state. However,...
New runway for aviation loan program

New runway for aviation loan program

The state legislature last year overwhelmingly voted in favor of HB 1656 creating an aviation loan program to help smaller airports with infrastructure investment...
The push for minimum density standards

The push for minimum density standards

A frequent observation made by builders operating in the central Puget Sound area when discussing housing affordability is the varying housing density standards created...
Casting for fish barrier removal funds

Casting for fish barrier removal funds

Now that the legislature has satisfied the State Supreme Court’s McCleary order, it now faces another court order to remove hundreds of fish barriers...
The future of clean energy

The future of clean energy

As the state legislature examines proposals to eventually make Washington’s electricity 100 percent clean, they’re also taking a good look at emerging technology that...
Shifting goalposts for I-405 tolling

Shifting goalposts for I-405 tolling

A corridor performance analysis study in 2018 found that the 15-mile Interstate 405 tolling segment was performing well financially but failing to maintain a 45-mile-per-hour...
Washington’s hospitality labor shortage

Washington’s hospitality labor shortage

As Washington state is currently experiencing a low unemployment rate, industries such as hospitality in recent years have struggled to fill job openings. A...
Washington’s next major airport

Washington’s next major airport

Some state lawmakers think it’s time for Washington to start looking for the location of its next major commercial airport, and a new Senate...
Mixed reviews for tax system overhaul

Mixed reviews for tax system overhaul

A Senate proposal creating a revenue reform task force is getting mixed reviews among members of the business community as to whether the state’s...
The next stop for Cascadia high-speed rail

The next stop for Cascadia high-speed rail

Since 2017, the state has been exploring the idea of an ultra-high-speed rail line from Vancouver, B.C. through Seattle to Portland, Ore to better...
Lawmakers contemplate tolling authority change

Lawmakers contemplate tolling authority change

As local cities and even counties consider ways to reduce congestion or improve revenue streams, one option is tolling city streets. It’s an idea...
Protecting Washington transportation revenue

Protecting Washington transportation revenue

One of the concerns Washington residents may have about a possible road user charge (RUC) to replace the state gas tax for funding transportation...
Netflix-like subscriptions for transportation on demand?

Netflix-like subscriptions for transportation on demand?

A recurring challenge encountered by state policymakers and stakeholders is how to successfully, and safely, integrate driverless cars onto public roads. Another ongoing question...
Some express reservations as clean energy proposal advances

Some express reservations as clean energy proposal advances

A legislative proposal to put Washington state on the path to 100 percent clean energy by 2045 this week cleared the Senate Environment, Energy...
Funding raids endanger Washington infrastructure

Funding raids endanger Washington infrastructure

As part of the McCleary compromise to fully fund basic education, the state legislature has dipped repeatedly into several accounts outside the general fund....
Investing in rural Washington

Investing in rural Washington

Though Washington is ranked by WalletHub as having the best state economy in the nation, often lost in the mix is the growing inequity...
To reform (or not) Washington’s tax system

To reform (or not) Washington’s tax system

If there’s agreement among policy wonks that Washington’s tax code needs to change, there’s equal disagreement over the nuances of that discussion and what...
The year of GMA reform?

The year of GMA reform?

A recurring criticism of the state Growth Management Act (GMA) is that its regulations artificially restrict housing supply and stymie rural economic development. Two...
Long journey ahead for road user charge

Long journey ahead for road user charge

If Washington state ever adopts a road user charge (RUC) to replace the motor vehicle fuel tax (MVFT), it’s going to be a long...
Re-growing small working forestland

Re-growing small working forestland

In the 20 years since the Forests and Fish Law was passed, Washington’s small forestland owners have struggled to handle the new regulations regarding...

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