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  • Lean budget squeaks by Senate

    OLYMPIA – With the bare minimum votes needed and debate over taxes yet to come, Senate Democrats passed a general fund budget Saturday designed to close the state’s $2.8 billion …


  • Governor signs I-960 suspension

    OLYMPIA – There was no drama, but plenty of theatrics, as Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill Wednesday making it easier for the Legislature to raise taxes. Gregoire signed a …


  • Legislature begins reconciling budgets

    OLYMPIA – With just over two weeks remaining in the session, Democrats in both houses of the Washington Legislature released plans Tuesday to cut programs and raise taxes to fill …


  • Senate OKs curb on I-960 for third time

    OLYMPIA – For the third time in three weeks, the state Senate voted to suspend a state law that requires a two-thirds majority for any tax increase. The arguments from …


  • Senate suspends part of I-960

    OLYMPIA – The Legislature would be able to raise taxes this session and next with a simple majority vote under a bill approved Tuesday in the state Senate. In the …


  • Wash. Senate OKs lowering hurdle for tax raises

    The Legislature would be able to raise taxes this session and next with a simple majority vote under a bill approved Tuesday in the state Senate.


  • Costly study didn’t list Pine Lodge for closure

    OLYMPIA – Last year, the Legislature spent $500,000 for a consultant to tell Washington state which prisons should close and which should stay open. The consultant released his study in …


  • Spokane County, city eye joint use of Pine Lodge facilities for jail

    Washington state will delay plans to close the Pine Lodge Corrections Center for Women to see whether it can be shared with Spokane County and the city of Spokane. State …


  • State rethinks plan to close Pine Lodge

    Washington state will delay plans to close the Pine Lodge Corrections Center for Women to see whether it can be shared with Spokane County and the city of Spokane.


  • State budget plans in ‘fuzzy zone’

    OLYMPIA – Washington Republicans wasted little time trying to draw connections between a Democratic Senate loss in Massachusetts and political prospects in the Evergreen State. Washington Democrats conceded that the …


  • Area delegation gets message: Don’t ask

    OLYMPIA – A Spokane-area delegation on its annual pilgrimage to the state capital got a consistently downbeat message this week: Don’t expect money for new programs or projects. “The message …


  • Senate majority leader looks ahead to tough session

    Lisa Brown’s office, just off the floor of the Washington state Senate chambers, was abuzz last week with legislators, staff and people who needed a few minutes to talk about …


  • Let the annual finger-pointing begin

    OLYMPIA – There are two relatively famous quotes that come to mind as the Legislature rumbles toward opening day Monday. One is the standard axiom that no man’s life, liberty …


  • Key Democrats say they oppose some proposed cuts

    Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed all-cuts, no-new-taxes budget – far from a done deal – was described as everything from a good starting point to an unrealistic plan Wednesday in a …


  • Economy forced many tough votes

    OLYMPIA – It always astounds me how quickly the state capital becomes a ghost town when a legislative session ends. On Sunday, lobbyists were still swarming the Senate and House …


  • Sales tax increase could go before state voters

    OLYMPIA – Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp said Thursday that there’s a “better than 50-50” chance that voters will be asked to approve a sales tax increase this fall. As …


  • Brown, Chopp weighing state income tax

    OLYMPIA – For years in Washington’s capital, state income tax proposals have been viewed much like those periodic bills to declare Eastern Washington a 51st state. They’re attention-getters aimed at …


  • New state budget includes job cuts, tuition increases

    OLYMPIA – After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations and speculation, the state Senate on Monday proposed a two-year plan to bridge Washington’s $9 billion budget shortfall. As predicted, it includes some …


  • Bill protects people living in their RVs

    OLYMPIA – In a sign of the times, Washington’s House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would ban cities and counties from barring recreational vehicles from mobile home parks. …


  • Court dismisses Brown’s tax-hike fight

    OLYMPIA – Declining to wade into a Senate dispute, Washington’s highest court Thursday rejected Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown’s challenge to an anti-tax ballot measure. The unanimous ruling leaves in …


  • Court rejects challenge to anti-tax measure

    OLYMPIA – Declining to wade into the middle of a family fight, Washington’s highest court on Thursday rejected Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown’s challenge to an anti-tax ballot measure.


  • Eye on Olympia: High court rejects tax case

    The Washington state Supreme Court has just ruled against state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Wash., who filed suit last year to try to overturn a requirement that tax increases …


  • Children’s programs defended

    OLYMPIA – Armed with barbecued chicken and ribs, children’s advocates from Spokane made a pilgrimage to Olympia on Monday to urge local lawmakers to look elsewhere when making billions of …


  • State awaits gloomy budget news

    OLYMPIA – Today’s the day. After months of ever-worse budget news, lawmakers will today hear state forecasters’ best guess about how the treasury will fare over the next two years.


  • Our View: Bill that would alter health district bears promise

    For more than two years, the Spokane Regional Health District has been without a permanent health officer, and the board can’t seem to make up its mind if it wants …


  • Sen. Brown considers run for governor

    OLYMPIA – The state’s last governor to make the jump from Eastern Washington to governor’s mansion was a Democrat who, in tough times, argued for public spending to help stabilize …


  • Democrats differ on candidates

    OLYMPIA – In an indication of how tight the Democratic presidential contest has become, Washington’s lieutenant governor on Monday endorsed Hillary Clinton, not long after nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers …


  • Area legislative races heating up, a year early

    OLYMPIA – As early bird candidates start to file their bids for a legislative seat in 2008, the region’s most powerful lawmaker says she’s resisting suggestions that she consider leaving …

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