Archive for TVW

On TVW this week: House Appropriations, Senate Transpo committees

By | June 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

TVW is covering the following events live on television this week:

Monday, June 22 at 9:30 a.m.: The Senate Energy committee is considering Senate Bill 6132, which would allow an electric company in the state to acquire and retire an eligible coal plant.

Monday, June 22 at 3 p.m.: The House Appropriations committee is holding a public hearing on several budget-related bills. The committee will also consider a bill that would delay by four years the implementation of Initiative 1351, the class size reduction measure approved last year by voters.

Tuesday, June 23 at 1:30 p.m.: The House Appropriations committee will continue its hearing on the budget and other bills.

Wednesday, June 24 at 8:30 a.m.: The Senate Transportation committee is meeting to discuss three bills.

TVW will go live with the House and Senate floor as they take up legislation in the final week of the second special session. The session is scheduled to end on June 27.


Categories: TVW

New $3.5 billion proposal aims to reduce reliance on local school levies

By | June 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Paying competitive salaries for teachers and school employees would be the full responsibility of the state — not local school districts — under a new bill introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators on Thursday.

The proposal would cost $3.5 billion over four years starting in 2018, and would not move forward without a dedicated revenue source attached. Lawmakers at a press conference Thursday say an agreement on the price tag shows a significant step forward, but work still needs to be done to find a way to pay for it.

School districts across the state are currently using a large chunk of their local property tax levy money to pay salaries — as much as 70 percent of local levy dollars in some districts.

Senate Bill 6130 aims to reduce that reliance on local levies to address concerns raised by the Washington Supreme Court in the McCleary decision, which ruled the state was not meeting its duty to fully fund basic education.

The bill changes the definition of basic education to include competitive, market-based statewide salaries for school employees. The salaries would be reviewed periodically.

However, the salary provisions would only take effect if a revenue source is enacted by January 1, 2018 that generates enough money to pay for the increased salaries. The bill says that the state budget should not be cut to make up the additional revenue.

“The average teacher in Federal Way is paid $10,000 less than a teacher in Auburn next door,” said Sen. Bruce Dammeier. He said the bill is an attempt to make a “rational system that works across Washington,” with the goal of providing an equal education for all students.

Sen. Christine Rolfes said some teachers would receive salary increases under the bill, while other school districts would still have to use a portion of levy dollars to make up the difference. All school districts would see a “significant increase” in funding under the bill, she said.

The bill is scheduled for a public hearing Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. TVW will carry the hearing live at this link.

Legislators at the press conference Thursday acknowledged the bill was unlikely to advance during the current special session. The press conference will be posted at this link.

Categories: Education, TVW

Today on TVW: House floor action, school finance reform bill

By | June 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

TVW is covering several items today — live, taped and webcast. Here’s the roundup:

10:30 a.m. Thursday: Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, and Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, will hold a press conference about House Bill 2214, which is scheduled for a vote Thursday afternoon. The bill aims to fix problems with high school assessment requirements. TVW will tape this press conference and it will be available online at this link later.

11 a.m. Thursday: A bipartisan group of lawmakers will hold a media briefing on a new bill that addresses property levies and school finance. TVW will live webcast this briefing (if we can) at this link. If TVW cannot go live, it will still be taped for television later.

11 a.m. Thursday: The state House will come to the floor and is expected to go into caucus. They will return to the floor about 1 p.m. on Thursday to run several bills. Watch live on TVW or at this link.

1 p.m. Thursday: Senate Government Operations is holding a public hearing on district-based elections. This will be webcast-only at this link.

1:30 p.m. Thursday: The Senate Ways and Means committee is holding a public hearing on the new school finance reform bill. TVW will live webcast this hearing at this link. On television, TVW will either be live with this hearing or the House floor.


Categories: TVW

TVW wins Northwest Emmy Award

By | June 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

Lars Peterson, Christina Salerno and Brett Hansen

TVW won an Emmy Award from the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Saturday for a one-hour special about drones in Washington state.

Flight Plan: Charting a Course for Drones in Washington” won in the politics and government special program category.

Those awarded the Emmy include producer and writer Christina Salerno, photographer and video editor Lars Peterson and photographer Brett Hansen.

TVW was nominated for three Emmy awards this year.

Since 1999, TVW has won a total of five Emmys for its work covering public affairs issues in Washington state.

Categories: TVW

On ‘The Impact:’ Special session update, plan to reintroduce grizzly bears

By | June 3, 2015 | 0 Comments

On tonight’s edition of “The Impact,” fill-in host Jennifer Huntley gives an update on the second special session, which began last week after lawmakers adjourned the first special session without a budget deal.

Rachel La Corte of the Associated Press and Jordan Schrader of The News Tribune are guests on the show to discuss what’s next for divided state lawmakers.

Plus, Mark Miller of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department discusses the controversial plan to consider reintroducing grizzly bears in Washington state. Agencies involved in the effort are hosting a series of public meetings to explain the process and take public comment. Details about those meetings are available at this link.

“The Impact” airs on Wednesday, June 3 at 7 & 10 p.m.

Categories: TVW

House Democrats come down on new revenue in latest budget proposal

By | June 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

House Democrats on Monday released a revised $38.4 billion budget proposal that calls for about $550 million in new taxes, down from the $1.5 billion in taxes they sought in their March budget proposal.

The two-year operating budget proposed by Democrats remains about $640 million apart from the no-new-taxes budget proposal released last week from mostly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus.

House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said the latest Democratic offer is a “substantial compromise” that moves toward the Senate on several items.

“We reduce our spending substantially and we reduce our revenue package by two-thirds,” Sullivan said during a budget briefing with reporters.

Lead budget writer Rep. Ross Hunter said Democrats are reducing by $207 million the amount allocated to school districts to buy health care benefits, although he cautioned that could change as talks with legislators continue.

Democrats on Monday highlighted where they spend more in their budget than Republicans, including $168 million in human services, $150 million for teacher cost-of-living pay raises, $114 million for early learning and $50 million for mental health.

To pay for the increased spending, Democrats are calling for a capital gains tax of 5 percent on the profits of sales of stocks and bonds that would raise between $500 and $600 million in new revenue for the state. The tax would affect about 32,000 residents.

Senate Republicans have maintained the state does not need new taxes to meet budget and education spending obligations. The $37.9 billion budget proposal released last week by Senate Republicans increases spending in several areas compared to their March budget, including paying the full cost of negotiated pay raises for state workers.

Watch the Democratic press conference at this link. The budget is scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday at 11 a.m., which TVW will air on television and at this link.

Hunter said legislators also plan to consider a bill this week that addresses school levies and teacher compensation. The bill is not yet scheduled for a hearing — we’ll update this with the TVW link once it is.

Full budget documents are available here.

Categories: Budget, Democrats, TVW, WA House

No budget deal on final day of special session; second special session starts Friday

By | May 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

On the final day of the first 30-day special session, Senate Republicans publicly released their latest budget offer, which they say addresses several concerns raised by Democrats.

Democrats, meanwhile, say they will release their budget counteroffer on Monday.

The latest GOP budget proposal increases spending on higher education, state parks, drought relief and wages for caregivers in assisted living facilities. It adds $66 million to pay for collectively bargained state employee pay raises, contingent on a bill requiring contract negotiations to be open to the public.

Republicans also back away from a plan to move marijuana money into the general fund, instead keeping it in a dedicated account and distributing funds to cities and counties.

Lead Republican budget writer Sen. Andy Hill said Thursday the state is on track to collect nearly $500 million more in revenue than forecasted at the start of session for the two-year budget cycle.

“We believe that is a significant amount of money,” he said. “Enough money to get out of town and finish a budget.”

Republicans maintain the state does not need to raise taxes to meet budget and education spending obligations. Hill said the budget offer demonstrates that his side is “showing movement and showing compromise.”

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted the GOP budget bill out of committee on Thursday.

House Speaker Frank Chopp said on Thursday the Republican budget offer falls $50 million short on mental health funding for critical programs and issues.

Democrats are calling for $115 million more in funding for early learning, Chopp said, and they want to fund teacher cost-of-living pay raises at the same level as state workers.

“It’s a cost of about $154 million to provide teachers with the same COLA we’re providing state employees, and I think that’s the fair thing to do,” said House Democratic Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan.

Democrats plan to release their latest budget offer on Monday, followed by a public hearing on Tuesday. “We are working toward a common-sense middle ground on the operating budget,” Chopp said.

TVW taped the Republican and Democratic media availabilities on Thursday — videos will be posted online here.

With no budget deal in place at the end of the first special session, Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday called a second special session to begin on Friday at 9 a.m.

Categories: TVW

On ‘The Impact:’ Beach safety in Washington, higher education access

By | May 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

On this week’s edition of “The Impact,” host Anita Kissee follows health officials as they check Washington’s saltwater beaches to ensure the water is clean enough for swimming.

Beach sampling season for the state runs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Check the bacteria levels at your beach using this link from the Department of Ecology.

Also on the show: Republican Sen. Barbara Bailey and Democratic Sen. David Frockt discuss the different legislative plans for improving access to higher education in Washington.

“The Impact” airs Wednesday, May 27 at 7 & 10 p.m.


Categories: TVW

On TVW this week: Revenue forecast, teacher strike bill, private rail crossings

By | May 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s what TVW is covering live this week (we’ll update this as more events are added):

Monday, May 18 at 2:30 p.m.: The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council is releasing the latest revenue forecast a month early at the request of legislators who are still negotiating a two-year operating budget deal. TVW will be live on television and the web at this link.

Tuesday, May 19 at 9 a.m.: The Washington State Transportation Commission is live webcast at this link. The Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee is live webcast at this link.

Tuesday, May 19 at 11 a.m.: TVW will be live with a press conference with Gov. Jay Inslee as he discusses the current special session. Watch live at this link.

Tuesday, May 19 at 1:30 p.m.: The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee is hearing a bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Sheldon that would ban teachers from collecting pay or benefits during a strike or work stoppage. TVW will be live on television and the web at this link.

Wednesday, May 20 at 10 a.m.:  The House Committee on State Government is hearing a bill that requires out-of-state political committees and non-profit organizations to report political contributions to the state Public Disclosure Commission. TVW will be live on television and the web at this link.

Thursday, May 21 at 8 a.m.: The Senate Energy committee is holding a work session on “carbon reduction investments.” TVW will carry it live.

Categories: TVW

Gov. Inslee signs ‘Joel’s Law’ two years after Joel Reuter’s death

By | May 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

Family members of the mentally ill will be allowed to petition the courts for help getting a relative involuntarily committed, following the signing of “Joel’s Law” by Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday.

The bill is named for Joel Reuter, who was having a mental health breakdown when he was killed in 2013 in a shootout with Seattle police.

Joel Reuter's parents, Doug and Nancy, speak to the media Thursday.

Joel Reuter’s parents, Doug and Nancy, speak to the media.

His father, Doug Reuter, told reporters his son was struggling with an “evil, evil” mental illness, but it was manageable with medication that would have allowed him to go back to work at his job as a software engineer.

Doug and his wife, Nancy, attempted to get their son mental health help dozens of times.

If the bill had been in effect, they say they could have gotten Joel involuntarily committed several months before he was shot. Joel would have turned 30 this month, his parents said.

“For the first time in four decades, families have standing in superior court to get their loved ones the help they need,” Doug Reuter said following the bill signing.

Inslee signed the bill using a glass pen blown by Joel’s father. His parents said they found it in Joel’s apartment in a box labeled “Keep Forever.”