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OLYMPIA – Proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour over four years and require sick leave for most workers passed a key committee Thursday on partisan votes. Over objections from Republicans that it would hurt teenagers looking for their first jobs and put communities near the Idaho border at a disadvantage, Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee approved a plan to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour next Jan. 1, $10.50 a year later, $11 a year after that and $12 at the start of 2020.
OLYMPIA – As questions over dueling medical school proposals continue to mount, lawmakers said they wanted a better accounting of how the money is being spent. A Senate committee Thursday decided University of Washington’s multistate medical school program should be audited as the Legislature decides how to expand it in Spokane.
OLYMPIA – Proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour over four years and require sick leave for most workers passed a key committee Thursday on partisan votes.
OLYMPIA -- University of Washington's multi-state medical school program should be audited as the Legislature decides how to expand it in Spokane, a Senate committee said today.
OLYMPIA – The Legislature should not be forced into acting like a parent that needs to settle a fight between children in the dispute between the state’s two largest universities over medical education in Spokane, a key senator said Wednesday.
OLYMPIA – Bills that would give Washington State University the authority to start a medical school in Spokane, which last week seemed on the fast track, have hit an unexpected detour. The House and Senate budget committees will hold hearings on the costs of a proposed medical school before legislative leaders will allow full votes in either chamber.
OLYMPIA -- Bills that would give Washington State University the authority to start a medical school in Spokane, which last week seemed on the fast track, have hit a legislative detour. Budget committees in each house will hold hearings on the costs of a proposed medical school before floor votes are allowed.
OLYMPIA – To gauge the divide between the two chambers in this session, one need look no further than proposals on the minimum wage. Currently the highest for any state at $9.47 an hour, the Republican-controlled Washington Senate could cut it, at least for teens in summer jobs or new workers in training. The Democratic-controlled House could raise it for all workers, incrementally to $12 an hour by 2019.
OLYMPIA – To gauge the divide between the two chambers in this session, one need look no farther than proposals on the minimum wage.
OLYMPIA – The Legislature is, by practice and constitutional decree, a part-time gig. Some years are more part time than others, and some legislators put in more hours than their colleagues. But a job description that demands, at most, 105 days in odd-numbered years and 60 days in the evens can’t really be called full time, particularly when weekends count as session “days” but legislators rarely work them.
OLYMPIA – Major changes to the state’s largely unregulated medical marijuana industry passed the Senate after sponsors beat back a challenge to requirements for a patient database and a plea to let recreational users grow their own. Medical marijuana stores would be regulated by the Liquor Control Board, which currently licenses recreational pot growers and sellers, under a bill drafted by Ann Rivers, R-La Center, and Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond. The agency would expand the number of licensed stores to meet the medical market, and current recreational marijuana stores could get an endorsement to sell special medical strains, which patients could buy without paying some of the heavy taxes on recreational pot.
OLYMPIA – Washington’s foster care system forces too many children to take mind-altering drugs, mental health experts told state legislators Friday. They supported a bill that would require foster homes to get a second opinion before giving children certain drugs. Sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi, the bill covers any drug used to treat depression, psychotic or manic conditions, anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
OLYMPIA – “Revenge porn” – what some call the posting of intimate photos of a former partner online without their permission – may be a bigger problem than legislators realized. University of Washington law students told the House Public Safety Committee that last month they found 179 Washington residents were posted on a revenge porn website where intimate, once-private photos can be uploaded by former partners. Along with the photos are victims’ names, hometown, and sometimes driver’s license or Social Security number, Charlotte Lunday, a law student, said.
OLYMPIA -- Revenge porn may be more common than you think, a House committee was told.
OLYMPIA -- Major changes to the state's medical marijuana laws passed the Senate today despite critics' complaints about a database for patients.
OLYMPIA – Bipartisan negotiations may have broken the Senate gridlock over how to fix problems with the state’s roads and bridges, generating a plan to spend nearly $15 billion over 16 years, including about $970 million in the Spokane area. There are some potential potholes and detours in its way: It requires an 11.7 cent per gallon increase in the gasoline tax over three years starting in 2016, something that Republicans have been reluctant to approve. It could channel sales tax money from road construction projects out of the general fund and into transportation accounts, which Democrats say hurts the state’s ability to meet court orders on education spending. It does not call for low carbon fuel standards, which Gov. Jay Inslee wants.
OLYMPIA – College tuition could fall more than 25 percent under a bill to link it to Washington wages. To make up the difference, Senate Republicans want to give universities and colleges a bigger cut of the state’s already-strained budget.
OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee continued to hedge on his preference for expanded medical education in Spokane, saying today he wouldn't promise to sign or threaten to veto bills that would give WSU legal authority to start its own med school.
OLYMPIA – Washington State University is two steps closer to starting its own medical school in Spokane. Legislative committees in each chamber agreed overwhelmingly Tuesday that a state law restricting medical education to the University of Washington should be changed. But both indicated tough decisions lie ahead on paying for a new school. The bills would give WSU the authority to offer medical education at the Spokane campus but don’t set aside money to do it.
OLYMPIA -- A bill that would allow Washington State University to start a medical school in Spokane passed a House committee on a 12-1 vote this morning. The companion bill passed the Senate committee in the afternoon.