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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.
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)...
Is a measure of car tab relief on its way?

Is a measure of car tab relief on its way?

The Senate Transportation Committee has cleared a bill backed by key Senate Democrat leaders that would alter the way Sound Transit calculates its motor...
RUC bill clears Transportation Committee

RUC bill clears Transportation Committee

SB 6586, a measure sponsored by Senate Transportation Vice Chair Rebecca Saldaña (D-37) that creates a road usage charge (RUC) program for electric and...
Clean Air Rule bill advances

Clean Air Rule bill advances

A revised HB 289 granting the state Department of Ecology the broad authority to regulate “indirect” carbon emission as part of its Clean Air...
Amid warnings of hit to business community, B&O tax clears legislature

Amid warnings of hit to business community, B&O tax clears legislature

The state House voted 52-45 on Feb. 6 in favor of SB 6492 creating a new set of business and occupation (B&O) taxes and...
Bill would shorten building permit deadlines

Bill would shorten building permit deadlines

As the debate continues over how best to address the cost of housing, building industry stakeholders say that along with housing impact fees, another...
Pierce County’s ‘Trexit’ from ST3

Pierce County’s ‘Trexit’ from ST3

Pierce County voters in 2016 voted by 55 percent in opposition to the $54 billion ST3 transit and light rail tax package. In November,...
Lawsuit drives I-976 proposals

Lawsuit drives I-976 proposals

Three bills introduced in the state Senate would codify into law most of Initiative 976 approved by 53 percent of voters in November. Driving...
Another run at jobs tax

Another run at jobs tax

Almost two years after opposing a job tax in Seattle that later was rescinded by the City Council with another local business tax possible,...
Stakeholders warn expanding DOE authority could jeopardize business

Stakeholders warn expanding DOE authority could jeopardize business

The Washington State Supreme Court last year invalidated parts of the state Department of Ecology’s (DOE) Clean Air Rule due to a lack of...
&O tax shuffle gets mixed reviews

B&O tax shuffle gets mixed reviews

The state legislature last year enacted E2SHB 2158, which imposes the business and occupation (B&O) tax surcharge on certain businesses to pay for higher education...
Stakeholders question need to rework water rights

Stakeholders question need to rework water rights

House lawmakers have introduced a proposal that would place some restrictions on water rights transfers in order to address concerns over public interest with...
GMA reform bill lands public hearing

GMA reform bill lands public hearing

One of the ways policymakers have sought to address the state’s housing crisis is by reforming provisions of the state Growth Management Act (GMA)...
Debate continues over road usage charge

Debate continues over road usage charge

Although state gas tax revenue used to fund state highways has remained stable, state lawmakers behind SB 6586 say now is the time to...
LCFS proposal “destroys our competitiveness”

LCFS proposal “destroys our competitiveness”

The state House has voted 52-44 in favor of a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) program via HB 1110; introduced last year and at...
State bank bill revived

State bank bill revived

In recent legislative sessions Majority Caucus Vice Chair Bob Hasegawa (D-11) has pushed for the creation of a state bank to fund public infrastructure...
Bills could restructure housing impact fees

Bills could restructure housing impact fees

Two bills that could affect the structure of local impact fees imposed by cities on new housing construction with the goal of improving  housing...
Legislators plan to tweak urban density law

Legislators plan to tweak urban density law

HB 6334 sponsored by Rep. Jesse Salomon (D-32) and its companion bill HB 2343 introduced by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) tweak several provisions in...
Bill would boost salmon production

Bill would boost salmon production

The House Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources is scheduled to vote today on a bill seeking to improve Southern Resident killer...

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