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Archives: April 2013

April
30th

Toxics bill dies at session’s end; advocates on both sides want to revive it in special session but disagree on how

A bill that would outlaw two Tris chemicals used as flame retardants in consumer products died when the Washington Legislature’s regular session ended Sunday. But Democratic Sen. Sharon Nelson of Maury Island said she is working to revive a stronger measure than business groups and the chemical industry wanted.

A special session of the Legislature starts May 13 to complete a two-year budget and Nelson said Tuesday: “I’m going to be pushing it.”

Her Republican counterpart, Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale, said he also wants to pass a flame-retardants bill that is less sweeping while waiting to see what emerges

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April
27th

WEA rally draws more than 1,000; Gov. Inslee vows to seek more revenue

The Washington Education Association brought more than 1,000 activists to the Olympia for a rally on the Capitol steps today. Union president Mary Lindquist, who is handing over the reins of the teachers union to Everett activist Kim Mead, said they brought 23 busloads of union members from WEA’s convention in Bellevue.

Lindquist outlined three messages for the Legislature as it goes into special session – money for class size reductions, money for cost-of-living pay raises for teachers, and action to raise tax revenues.

“We’re going to go into special session and we’ll be down here pounding on their doors

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April
26th

Hospital infections bill on way to Gov. Inslee – after public reporting of cardiac, hip and knee surgeries is added

The Legislature has given final approval to a bill that requires Washington hospitals to report publicly on a broader range of bloodstream infections acquired by patients while receiving care in virtually all areas of their facilities.

The new law, which is meant to bring the state’s reporting requirements into alignment with Obamacare, expands reporting under a 2007 law to include infections acquired in a broader number of settings and in virtually all areas of a facility. It also adds reporting whether hospitals are administering antibiotics before surgery.

But the bill was amended to overcome some objections raised by

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April
25th

UPDATE – Senate GOP calls press conference to blame House, Democrats for all-but-certain special session

UPDATE: As several Senate Democrats pointed out on Thursday, Republicans’ political campaign committee is holding a fundraiser at Monday at a private residence in Olympia. The event, which is confirmed in an email obtained by reporters today, is at 9 a.m. in a home owned by lobbyists Steve and Kathleen Gano near the Capitol. Whether lawmakers are in session Monday or not, the fundraiser would not violate the state’s freeze on fundraising for officials during session. 

On a day their budget negotiators had more talks with Gov. Jay Inslee and also House Democratic budget leaders, a half-dozen Republicans in the Senate Majority Coalition called

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April
25th

WEA’s teachers step up radio-ad campaign to boost state funding for public schools

The Washington Education Association stepped up its campaign for school funding and closure of tax exemptions with a new radio ad based on a game-show quiz this week. The ad coincides with Wednesday’s passage of a bill in the House that would raise $905 million in tax revenue – arguably to improve school funding in response to a Supreme Court ruling. The measure moves to the Senate where a Republican-dominated majority coalition passed a budget without tax hikes.

The WEA, which represents some 82,000 teachers and other education system workers in K-12 schools

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April
24th

Budget battle is joined as House passes $905M tax plan with bare minimum 50 votes; 5 Democrats vote no

Majority Democrats used their superior numbers in the state House to muscle through a $905 million tax package aimed at funding education today on a 50-to-47 vote.  Five Democrats – Reps. Kathy Haigh of Shelton, Chris Hurst of Enumclaw, Dawn Morrell of Puyallup, Larry Seaquist of Gig Harbor and Monica Stonier of Vancouver – crossed over to join Republicans who united against it.

Mike Baker of the Associated Press has this story on the floor action: OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Democrats in the Washington state House moved ahead Wednesday with a plan that would increase tax revenue by

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April
23rd

House tax package clears first committee on party-line vote; beer no longer in $900M bill

The House Finance Committee has voted 8-to-5 along party lines to approve a $900 million tax package. The biggest piece of House Bill 2038 is the permanent extension of a business-occupations tax surcharge that otherwise expires in June. But in its scaled-back form, it no longer extends the temporary tax surcharge on beer that was adopted in 2010.

Republicans offered a series of amendments seeking to omit elements of the package – everything from closure of a tax-break for out of state shoppers to a tax on certain imports and bottled water. A final striking amendment from

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April
22nd

UPDATE 2: Eyman says his new initiative limits tax hikes to one year; also requires advisory votes

Tim Eyman says he’s filing a new initiative that, among other things, would limit future tax increases to one year. UPDATE: Monday he wasn’t saying when he’ll file – this year or next. Today, Eyman says he is filing it at 11 a.m. tomorrow, April 24.

The move is in part a reaction to the state Supreme Court  throwing out his Initiative 960 which set a two-thirds vote requirement for Legislature-imposed tax increases into law.

Even before losing that case by a solid 6-to-3 margin in court, he’s since been agitating for a constitutional amendment to lock in that higher

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