Thursday recap on ‘Legislative Review’

By | March 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here’s our 15-minute recap of Thursday’s legislative activities on “Legislative Review.” We cover two different proposals to lower college tuition — one that relies on new revenue, and one that does not. Plus, highlights from a committee hearing on the Senate’s gas tax proposal and a move to allow judges to remove their home address from certain public documents.

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

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Gov. Gregoire meets with feds about Washington’s marijuana legalization law

By | November 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole in Washington, D.C. today to discuss the state’s new marijuana legalization law.

Gregoire’s office said the state intends to move ahead with implementation of Initiative 502, which legalizes, taxes and regulates marijuana.

Voters approved the initiative with 55 percent of the vote. Starting on Dec. 6th, it will be legal for adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, but the legal framework to sell marijuana in retail stores won’t be in place for at least a year.

Gregoire asked the Department of Justice to clarify their position on marijuana.

The Associated Press reports that federal officials have not yet made a decision on the issue. Gregoire told officials she wants to know soon if they plan to block the new law before the state begins spending money to implement it.

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TVW exclusive interview with Gov. Gregoire from South Korea

By | October 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire just wrapped up a trade mission in India, and is now in South Korea to talk up Washington’s agriculture products. I interviewed her from South Korea today using one of our mobile video units that her staff brought along on the trip.

Gregoire said the 10-day trade mission may have “the greatest potential of all the trade missions I’ve done.” She’s been meeting with business leaders, and said two unnamed companies in India are considering locating in Washington. The move is “very promising” and could bring a couple hundred jobs, she said.

In South Korea, she’s focused on promoting Washington’s agriculture products and will be serving french fries at a local Costco and Popeye’s restaurant. “We really want to break this market for our french fries,” she said. “It’s an amazing opportunity.”

She pointed to cherries as an example of what could happen with Washington’s potatoes. In March, the U.S. signed the Free Trade Agreement with South Korea. Tariffs on cherries dropped from 24 percent to zero, and exports of Washington cherries to South Korea skyrocketed 86 percent.

“That’s the kind of opportunity we’re seeing in South Korea here,” Gregoire said. She’s also touting Washington wines in Asia, which have a “huge opportunity with a growing class of folks who really enjoy fine wine.”

Watch the full interview below. “The Impact” host Anita Kissee interviewed Gov. Gregoire from India last week — you can watch that video here.

Gregoire signs $1 billion capital budget, includes vetos

By | April 23, 2012 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the $1 billion capital budget today at a ceremony at Tacoma Community College, which is receiving $39 million as part of the deal to build a new training center for health-related careers like nurses and radiology techs.

Dozens of other construction projects ranging from sewer improvements to roof repairs are included in the capital budget, which is backed in part by bonds.

Gregoire vetoed parts of the bill, including a $2 million “concession and event facility” at Lake Sammamish. She also vetoed a provision that would have created a loan consolidation board to look at state lending programs — including student loans —  which Gregoire said was not appropriate to mix with infrastructure loans.

The capital budget is expected to create 18,000 construction jobs across the state, and Gregoire said at the ceremony that it will also drive long-term economic development. “If you want a business here, you’ve got to show them you have infrastructure,” she said.

Gregoire cited a number of projects that she says will help spur growth — including one that she described as her “personal favorite” on the list: $5 million to build a wine research facility in Richland.

Rumors about a third special session ‘abhorrent,’ Gov. Gregoire says

By | March 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

Budget writers are making progress on putting together an all-encompassing budget package, with about six major issues that remain to be resolved, Gov. Chris Gregoire said today at a news conference.

“Rather than piecemeal, I’m trying to put the whole agreement together,” so that party leaders can take it to their members and determine if it has enough votes to pass, Gregoire said.

Special session is now more than half over. Despite the closing window, Gregoire said she wanted to squash rumors that there would be a third special session, calling the idea “abhorrent.”

Her remarks came just before she was set to begin a marathon day of bill signing. Gregoire has been refusing to sign the vast majority of bills into law until lawmakers made progress on the budget.  That strategy worked, she said, and it forced legislators to come to the table.

“Their members were very upset,” she said. “We heard from them loud and clear.”

Categories: Budget, Governors Office
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Watch the latest Legislative Review right here

By | January 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

On today’s edition: Gov. Chris Gregoire’s State of the State address, the Republican response and a briefing on the McCleary case. Watch it all here.


Updated: Gregoire announces legislation for same-sex marriage in Washington

By | January 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire just announced that she’s introducing legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. 

Watch the full video of the press conference here.

“As a wife, a mother, a student of the law and a lifelong Washingtonian committed to equality and justice … it is time, it is the right thing to do and I will introduce the bill to make it happen,” she said.

After the governor spoke, she took questions from the press as supporters in the room clapped and cheered. Sen. Ed Murray was asked whether the Senate has the votes to pass the bill. He said the Senate is a few votes short. Gregoire interrupted: “We got a very important vote today. We’ll get the rest we need to get it to my desk.”

Asked about the political reality of getting the bill through in a short session, she said everyone is capable of multitasking. “This is about our values. This is extremely important in the history of our state,” she said. “They’re going to get the job done.”

Gregoire was asked what the title change will mean — from domestic partnerships, which are currently legal, to marriage. She said when she thinks of her marriage, she doesn’t consider it a contract. “It’s love, it’s responsibility,” she said, not just a contract. “To deny that equality is just wrong.”

She said this has nothing to do with elections, politics — or her decision not to run for re-election. She said in the past, she’s questioned same-sex marriage because of her religion. But she’s come to understand that individual religions can decide whether to recognize each marriage, but the state shouldn’t discriminate.

With that, she ended the Q&A period as supporters clapped. Then, several legislators, including Sen. Ed Murray and Rep. Jamie Pedersen, took the podium to answer additional questions.

First: There isn’t going to be an emergency clause in the bill — that means that it can go to referendum. “I think we need to be prepared” with the idea that supporters will need to fight it at the ballot, Pedersen said.

“This bill will not pass unless there is a bipartisan vote for this bill,” Murray said. He said he’s having conversations with legislators in every district, “but again, it’s about where people are personally.” He said he’s optimistic that the bill will pass this session and he knows of “a few” Republicans in the Senate who support for the bill.

As for the timing: “The time is just right,” said Rep. Marko Liias.

When asked what would happen with existing domestic partnerships, Murray and Pedersen said they haven’t ironed out all the language just yet. “We’re still in some discussion with the governor’s office,” Pedersen said, but the goal is ending the inequality in the existing law.

There were a lot of questions about how this legislation would politically affect the effort to balance the budget, which may involve an effort to raise taxes. The legislators repeatedly said in different ways that this is an issue of equality and shouldn’t have anything to do with budget talks.

“Suddenly, gay marriage has become easier than raising taxes,” Murray said, to laughs.

Gregoire: Slashing budget by $2 billion is “dreadful”

By | October 27, 2011 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire is unveiling her preferred cuts budget now. Watch live on TVW.

“Another $2 billion in the hole and citizens will get a lot less of what they expect,” she said. “This morning, it’s not about cold, hard numbers: This is very personal. We’re talking about real Washingtonians.” She said these cuts will hurt many in the state, including seniors who won’t be able to afford prescriptions, those just out of prison with nowhere to go — tempted back into crime, a community corrections officer who worries about the safety of neighborhoods, and the homeless mentally ill who won’t be able to get help, among others.

“The people of our state are not spending. Businesses are not hiring. We need to cut $2 billion more,” she said. “We’re done with what I call the Pac-Man budgeting approach,” she said, where the state has taken bite after bite of budgets. Now, it’s time for full program eliminations. She said these cuts, on top of the $10 billion in cuts over the past three sessions, will hurt.

Gregoire was asked repeatedly about new revenue. She said she hasn’t done the work on revenue ideas, but she has been asked by all four caucuses about the issue.

Gregoire’s office just sent out a list of some of the cuts:
–  Eliminate the Basic Health Plan, ending subsidized health care to 35,000 low-income individuals.
–  Cut off medical services to 21,000 people enrolled in the state’s Disability Lifeline and ADATSA (Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Treatment Support Act) programs.
–  Trim 15 percent from the support the state provides to colleges and universities.
–  Reduce levy equalization, which helps property poor districts, by 50 percent.
–  Cut the length of supervision for all offenders, based on severity of offense. Sex offenders will be supervised for 24 months, and all other offenders, for 12 months.

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DSHS secretary Susan Dreyfus will leave at the end of the year

By | October 12, 2011 | 0 Comments

DSHS Secretary Susan Dreyfus will leave at the end of this year to lead Families International, Inc., the nonprofit parent organization of three national nonprofit organizations: Alliance for Children and Families, United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA), and Ways to Work. The group also inclues one for-profit company, FEI Behavioral Health.

DSHS is the largest state agency. In a statement sent out by Gov. Chris Gregoire, it says Gregoire is “expected” to name an interim replacement by the end of special session.

“I want to thank Governor Gregoire for the opportunity to serve in this beautiful state. I have come to love Washington and to respect and admire its people and those who have devoted their lives and their careers to public service,” Dreyfus said in the press release. “My life is forever blessed for the time I have spent here.”

Dreyfus, who was appointed to her current role in mid-2009, will continue to head the agency through the special session that starts Nov. 28.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said in the statement that her departure “is a loss to our state and to my team,” but that she understands and respects her personal and professional decision to return to Wisconsin.

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State agency consolidation begins

By | July 15, 2011 | 0 Comments

The plan to consolidate state agencies is moving forward: Gov. Chris Gregoire announced her transition plan today that will take five state agencies down to three and move some responsibilities around, too. The transition, which her office said in a press release is the “most significant transformation of state government in the past 20 years,” will take an estimated 11 weeks.

A brief outline: The Department of General Administration, Department of Personnel, State Printer and the Department of Information Services will be merged to create the “Department of Enterprise Services” and the “Consolidated Technology Services.” Both of those new agencies will replace the previous four. Other departments affected include the Office of Financial Management and Personnel and Information Services — portions of those operations will be swapped around for efficiency’s sake.

Joyce Turner, General Administration director, Mike Ricchio, Information Services director, Marty Brown, OFM director, and Eva Santos, Personnel director, will all serve on the transition team — and Turner will lead it. Work begins immediately.

“This team will help guide state government through its most significant overhaul in 20 years,” Gregoire said in the press release. “We saw Joyce’s skill at overseeing major transitions when she helped form the Department of Early Learning. She has worked in nearly every agency affected by these moves and served as my deputy chief of staff. Joyce’s experience will be valuable as we blend workplaces and cultures. Mike’s previous experience with the Department of Information Services and extensive knowledge of state government make him a perfect fit for the state’s new information technology agency, Consolidated Technology Services.”
The remainder of the press release is after the jump. (more…)

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