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House passes oil transport bill, 58 to 40

By | April 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

The House passed an oil transportation bill on Tuesday that supporters say will better prepare the state in case of catastrophic oil spill.

The bill collects an 8 cent per barrel fee from rail lines, vessels and pipelines that will help pay for oil spill prevention and clean up. It also requires railroads to create oil spill contingency plans and demonstrate that the company can pay for a “reasonable worst case oil spill.”

Republican Rep. Vincent Buys introduced an amendment that would have removed the fee from pipelines, and halved the fee for rail and vessels. “We’ve never had this fee on pipelines and it is not appropriate to put it on the pipelines,” he said. “Pipelines aren’t where we have to worry about the major spills in our state.”

But Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, said that pipeline should pay their share. “There are oil spills that can result from having oil coming into the state from pipeline,” he said. “It’s appropriate that they bear some portion of the cost for the prevention and cleanup of these spills.”

The amendment failed, largely along party lines with Democrats opposed and Republicans in support. oil train

Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, said the final bill represents a “reasonable compromise” that takes into account what local first responders and communities need to protect against an oil spill, while also making sure the state can pay for the programs outlined in the measure.

Opponents argued that the bill should not tax pipelines and expressed concern that it will collect more money than needed.

“We already know that doing this is going to bring in far more revenue than is needed to implement the program,” said Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley. “There’s a whole lot of tax, but I have to ask the question: Where is that going to go?”

The bill passed with a vote of 58 to 40, and heads back to the Senate.

Read the full striker amendment adopted by the House.

Categories: transportation

TVW nominated for three Emmy Awards

By | April 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

emmy2TVW is nominated for three Emmy Awards by the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

A one-hour special report on drones called “Flight Plan: Charting a Course for Drones in Washington” is nominated in the Politics/Government special program category. Those nominated include producer Christina Salerno, photographer and editor Lars Peterson, and photographer Brett Hansen.

A segment on “The Impact” about involuntary commitment is nominated in the Health/Science special program category. Those nominated include host and executive producer Anita Kissee, director Nate Shaw and videographer and editor Markisha Lynch.

“Myths and Misperceptions About the Washington Court” is nominated in the Informational/Instructional special program category. Those nominated include producers David Johnson and Jason Gutz, and executive producers Justice Mary Fairhurst and Margaret Fisher.


Categories: TVW

House passes transportation budget, highlights on ‘Legislative Review’

By | April 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

The state House passed a $7.7 billion transportation budget off the floor Thursday which funds ongoing transportation projects. House Transportation Chair Rep. Judy Clibborn said the budget “may not have everything we want in it, but it continues our promises” made by the state.

Members first debated an amendment that would have removed $17 million in the transportation budget for transit mitigation tied to the Alaskan Way Viaduct project in Seattle being dug by the troubled Bertha tunnel boring machine. Supporters of the amendment say the city of Seattle should bear the cost, but opponents argued it would hurt low-income residents who rely on transit to get to work. The amendment failed.

Watch highlights from the floor debate on this 15-minute edition of “Legislative Review.”

Wednesday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | April 9, 2015 | 0 Comments

Watch highlights from Wednesday’s floor debate in the House and Senate on this 15-minute edition of “Legislative Review.” Plus, the public weighs in on the proposed $3.9 billion capital budget, which pays for construction projects around the state.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Fiscal committee cutoff on ‘Legislative Review’

By | April 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

Tuesday was the deadline for fiscal bills to move out of committee. Here’s our 15-minute wrap up of Tuesday’s legislative action on “Legislative Review.” We cover the public hearing and vote on a bill to regulate e-cigarettes, as well as a committee vote on an oil train safety bill. Plus, a bill that aims to help the state’s honeybee population.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: TVW

State Senate passes budget, modifies class size initiative

By | April 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

The state Senate passed a two-year operating budget off the floor Monday, along with a bill that sends a class size reduction initiative back to the voters in an effort to save the state money.

Republican lead budget writer Sen. Andy Hill introduced the $38 billion budget Monday, saying it focuses on education and mental health without raising taxes.

“This budget balances without job-killing manufacturing tax increases,” said Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

Several Democrats spoke against the budget, saying it falls short on state worker pay raises and other issues. The Senate budget gives state workers up to a $2,000 pay raise over two years, instead of the salary increases negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement with the governor’s office.

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, said that amounts to a “hidden tax” on state workers.

“We’ve hidden the tax on state employees and community college employees and state patrol,” said Keiser. “They all had the assurance that when the economy improved we would make things right for them. But that promise is now broken as well.”

The budget passed along caucus lines, 26 to 23, with the mostly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus in support and Democrats opposed.

The Senate also passed a bill that modifies Initiative 1351 and sends it backs to voters to ask whether they agree with the change. The initiative adopted by voters last year required smaller class sizes in all grades at a cost estimated around $4 billion through 2019. It did not come with a source of funding.

“It’s pretty clear at this point that it’s not affordable,” said Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, speaking in support of changing the initiative.

The bill only pays for smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade.

Opponents of the bill argued that voters knew what they were doing when they passed the original initiative.

“Washington state has the 47th worst class sizes in the nation. And that’s why the people rightfully sent us to Olympia with a mission to correct that challenge,” said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo.

The bill passed 27-22.

The House previously passed its budget. Both sides must negotiate a final budget plan.

Watch the highlights from both Senate floor debates, as well as discussion over a controversial payday lending bill, on Monday’s 15-minute edition of “Legislative Review” below.

Budget debate highlights on weekly ‘Legislative Review’ wrapup

By | April 4, 2015 | 0 Comments

Watch highlights from the Senate and House floor debate over the budget on this 30-minute weekly edition of “Legislative Review.” Plus, highlights from several other bills debated in the Legislature.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m. The 30-minute weekly edition airs Friday evenings and throughout the weekend.

Categories: TVW, WA House, WA Senate

State Senate delays vote on budget, institutes ‘supermajority’ rule change

By | April 3, 2015 | 0 Comments

The State Senate worked overnight debating about 60 Democrat-sponsored amendments to the two-year operating budget proposed by the mostly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus, but ended up delaying the final budget vote until Monday.

Republicans attempted to advance the budget for a final vote around 2 a.m. Friday. “After over 60 amendments, $875 million dollars in unfunded amendments, we’ve had enough. It’s time to vote and move on to negotiations with the other body,” said Majority Leader Mark Schoesler.

But Democrats argued they needed more time to study the budget. “We’re being told it is now time to vote on the underlying budget, but it is not a bipartisan budget,” said Senate Minority Leader Sen. Sharon Nelson.

The majority did not have enough votes to advance to a vote on the budget, which was put on hold until the chamber meets again at 1 p.m. on Monday.

Before the 10-hour debate began, the Senate voted along caucus lines to change the rules of the chamber. The Majority Coalition Caucus voted to require a supermajority 60 percent approval — or 30 yes votes out of 49 — for any amendments to the operating budget, instead of a simple majority.

Republicans said they asked for the rule change because of the number and type of amendments to the budget that the Democrats had proposed. Amendments touched on topics such as paid sick leave, anti-discrimination laws and climate change.

“We have a series of amendments that are about political games and not about governing,” said Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane. “That’s why we have to put this rule in place.”

Schoesler said the budget should be about fiscal policy, not social issues. “It’s about how we fund our state. It’s not about a host of other issues that are brought in for political ‘gotchas,’” he said.

But Democrats questioned why a minority — 20 votes — should be able to stop the will of the majority. They also argued the amendments were germane to the budget.

“We’ve worked to make sure that the amendments are relevant,” said Nelson. “We do not believe instituting this rule is democratic. I believe this that this is a major step backwards for our state.” (more…)

Categories: Budget, TVW

Senate budget proposal to be released at noon Tuesday, TVW will be live

By | March 31, 2015 | 0 Comments

Senate Republican lead budget writer Sen. Andy Hill will announce the Senate’s operating budget proposal at noon on Tuesday at the Capitol.

TVW will carry the announcement live on television and on the web at this link.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing on the budget proposal at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. It will air live and at this link.

The House released its $38.8 billion budget proposal on Friday, calling for $1.4 billion in new taxes to pay for education. It also focuses on mental health and freezes college tuition.

Full budget documents for the Senate proposal will be available at the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program (LEAP) website following the announcement.

Categories: Budget, TVW, WA Senate

Monday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | March 31, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Monday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review,” including public testimony on the $38.8 billion House budget proposal that would raise taxes to pay for education. We also cover a Senate hearing on  a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour, as well as details about the House capital budget.

“Legislative Review” airs nightly at 6:30 and 11 p.m.

Categories: Budget