The proposal that passed the House 54-41 is different from what passed the state Senate earlier this year, which upped the penalty for possession to a gross misdemeanor, a charge with more jail time and a higher fine.
Under the proposal, most cities across the state would be required to allow denser types of housing on their lots — an attempt to shift zoning laws away from decades of only allowing single-family homes.
A bill that will require hospitals to adopt staffing standards, including staff-patient ratios, and follow them 80% of the time passed the state House of Representatives 92-6. Another bill that would allow Washington enter into a multistate nurse licensure compact and allow nurses to get licenses that would be accepted in multiple states passed 94-4.
In 2021, the state set aside $4 million for the design of the bridge, which community members say will help right some of the historical damage done when Interstate 90 was built. That funding is still included in proposed House and Senate Democrat budget proposals released this week.
Both proposed transportation budgets from House and Senate Democrats keep funding construction on the North Spokane Corridor without any significant pause, despite concerns of a six-year delay following Gov. Jay Inslee's proposed budget in December.
A new version of the bill to address the state's drug possession law would make possession a misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. The proposal would still give some jail time to people found possessing drugs, but it also would give offenders with substance use disorder opportunities to get treatment instead.
In addition to the $69.5 billion of state funds, the budget uses more than $300 million in funding from the state's new cap-and-trade program and additional remaining federal COVID-19 relief funds. Much of the new funding goes toward K-12 education, special education, early learning and child care, salary increases for state employees, human services and behavioral health needs.
Every two years, the state Legislature must pass a capital budget, which funds infrastructure and construction projects across the state. The state Senate released a $7.9 billion budget proposal on Monday that focuses its funds on affordable housing, school construction and environmental protection projects across the state.
OLYMPIA – Washington can tax the sale of stocks and other investments, freeing the state to collect more than $500 million a year to pay for child care programs, the state Supreme Court ruled on Friday.
Compared to the last revenue forecast in November, the state's projected revenue for the budget cycle ending in June is up by $194 million but the projected revenue for the budget cycle ending in 2025 has decreased by $483 million, according to the state's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.
The state House of Representatives last week passed a bill that would authorize the department to use state lands for carbon sequestration or habitat restoration, such as reforesting land post-wildfire, planting forests on lands without trees or aquatic projects in the state's kelp forests. Those projects could then generate carbon credits, which the department could sell in carbon markets, such as Washington's cap-and-trade program.
The state's largest polluters took part in their first quarterly auction last week as part of Washington's new cap-and-trade program, possibly bringing in nearly $300 million for the state to use on projects to fight climate change.
The controversial bill that passed the state Senate 26-23 on Wednesday would allow law enforcement officers to pursue if they have reasonable suspicion that a person in the crime has committed or is committing a violent offense, a sex offense, a vehicle assault offense, a domestic violence assault, an escape or a driving under the influence offense.
The bill reflects a compromise between hospitals and nurse unions across the state who have long disagreed over the best way to address workforce shortages. Nurses have pushed for staff-to-patient ratios while hospitals have said they don't have staff to follow the ratios.
In an emotional debate on the floor, supporters of the bill said it was a compromise that would provide a balance between compassion and accountability. Opponents, on the other hand, said the bill does not do enough to help those suffering with substance abuse and that criminalizing the illness is not the answer.