Washington

Education - April 22 2019 | 04-19-2019

NC House Approves HB 389 The NORTH CAROLINA House approves HB 389 , a bill that would authorize public colleges and universities to allow alcohol sales at stadiums, athletic facilities and arenas located on school property. It moves to the Senate ...

Immigration - April 22 2019 | 04-19-2019

WA House Approves SB 5497 The WASHINGTON House approves SB 5497 , a measure that would, among several things, require state agencies to provide services without considering a person’s citizenship or immigration status and to put in place secure...

Regulatory Crackdown on Youth E-Cigarette Use | 04-12-2019

Lawmakers in at least 10 states are considering bills that would impose the first state bans on the sale of flavored tobacco and “vaping” products. The measures are part of a wave of legislation dealing with e-cigarettes and other vaping...

Consumer Data Privacy Bills Introduced in Half of States | 04-05-2019

Legislation dealing with consumer data privacy has been introduced this year in at least 25 states, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State Net. As of April 3, such measures had been passed by their...

States Seeking to Influence ‘Opportunity Zone’ Investment | 04-05-2019

Included in the 2017 federal tax overhaul was a substantial tax break for investments in businesses and properties located in economically distressed areas. Although state governors had a hand in selecting the nearly 9,000 “opportunity zones”...

A Limited Victory for Pension Reform | 03-22-2019

Pension reformers won a narrow victory this month in the California Supreme Court, but the justices dodged a decision on the “California Rule,” a restrictive provision cherished by public employee unions. In a nationally watched case...

Dozen States Adopted ‘California Rule’ on Pensions | 03-22-2019

In 1955 the California Supreme Court ruled in Allen v. City of Long Beach (1955) that workers enter a contract with their employers from their first day on the job, and their pension benefits can’t be reduced unless they’re replaced with comparable...

Budgets in Brief - March 25 2019 | 03-22-2019

NY LAWMAKERS CONSIDERING BRINGING CASINOS TO NYC NEW YORK state lawmakers, including Assembly speaker Carl Heastie (D), have been meeting with representatives from major gambling companies about the possibility of opening two to three full-fledged...

The Local Front - March 25 2019 | 03-22-2019

WA Seattle Mayor Signs Ordinance Seattle, WASHINGTON Mayor Jenny Durkan signs an ordinance that allows for the building of denser, taller housing in a handful of urban villages across the Emerald City. The law also levies substantial fines on developers...

Towers of Power: Federal, State and Local Governments Vie for Control of 5G | 03-15-2019

The next generation of wireless technology, 5G, could bring major advancements in everything from entertainment to public safety. But federal, state and local governments are at odds over how that technology should be deployed and where regulatory authority...

Budgets in Brief - March 18 2019 | 03-15-2019

TX SENATE APPROVES $8.4B IN ADDITIONAL SPENDING FOR FY 2019 The TEXAS Senate approved a supplemental FY 2019 appropriation of $8.4 billion for lingering expenses associated with Hurricane Harvey, school safety measures and the teacher retirement system...

Business - March 18 2019 | 03-15-2019

WA House Approves HB 1706 The WASHINGTON House approves HB 1706 , which would require Evergreen State employers to pay disabled workers the same $12 per hour minimum wage they pay other workers. The measure moves to the Senate (ASSOCIATED PRESS). ...

Cities, States Taking on Mental Health Funding | 03-08-2019

The Affordable Care Act mandated that insurance companies cover mental health services at parity with medical care. But loopholes in the ACA and other federal laws have let some plans limit or exclude mental health coverage. So state and local governments...

Governors in Brief - March 11 2019 | 03-08-2019

DUCEY VOWS VETO OF ANTI-VAX BILLS Breaking a tradition of not commenting on bills that are still in the legislative process, ARIZONA Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said he is “pro-vaccine” and would veto any bills to weaken the state’s vaccination...

Energy - March 11 2019 | 03-08-2019

WA Senate Approves SB 5116 The WASHINGTON Senate approves SB 5116 , which would mandate that all electrical utilities in the Evergreen State transition to 100 percent, carbon neutral electric supply by 2030, and 100 percent carbon-free electricity...

Environment - March 11 2019 | 03-08-2019

UT House Approves HB 353 The UTAH House approves HB 353 , which would authorize funding to pay for free mass transit on 17 of the Beehive State’s worst air quality days over a three-year period. It moves to the Senate (DESERET NEWS [SALT LAKE...

Health & Science - March 11 2019 | 03-08-2019

GA House Approves HB 213 The GEORGIA House approves HB 213 , which would allow Peach State farmers to cultivate hemp for use in Cannabidiol, or CBD, oils and other products. It moves to the Senate (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION). WA House Approves...

Challenges Ahead for AI Regulation | 02-15-2019

Artificial intelligence promises to revolutionize the way we live and work, as well as drive economic growth for at least the next decade. At the same time, it threatens to disrupt the job market, increase inequality, diminish privacy, and, as some see...

States Weighing Many Uses for Algorithms | 02-15-2019

At least 18 states have introduced bills this year mentioning the word “algorithm.” They include measures dealing with the use of algorithms to censure offensive, political or religious speech on social media (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi...

More States Propose Paid Family Leave | 02-08-2019

When the sun went down on 2018, a half dozen states and the District of Columbia had laws in place ensuring workers could take paid time off to deal with family illnesses or the birth of a child. When the calendar closes on 2019, several more may have...

Paid Family Leave Bills Active in Many States | 02-08-2019

As of late January, legislation dealing with paid time off for workers to care for a newborn or ill family member was pending in at least 26 states, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State Net . Since...

Budgets in Brief - January 28 2019 | 01-25-2019

CT APPROVES BANK LOANS FOR UNPAID FEDERAL WORKERS CONNECTICUT’s Democrat-led General Assembly overwhelmingly approved and Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed legislation providing state-backed, zero-interest loans for federal workers who aren’t...

More States Ready for Moderate Recession Than Not | 01-18-2019

As of September 2018, 23 states had enough rainy day and other reserve funds to weather a moderate recession, while 17 states lacked such reserves, according to Moody’s Analytics. The other 10 states had reserve balances that were within 5 percentage...

Business - January 21 2019 | 01-18-2019

WA Insurance Commissioner Bans Sale of NRA WASHINGTON Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler bans the sale of NRA-backed insurance policies that offer liability coverage to people who fire a gun. The policy provides money up front to cover costs and...

Maybe We Should Switch to Kilometers | 01-18-2019

Stealing road signs that bear numbers like “420” and “69” is definitely a thing. So much so that Washington state transportation folks have been forced to come up with clever ways to defeat said sign thieves. As the Seattle Times...

Budgets in Brief - January 14 2019 | 01-11-2019

CA SCRAPS ‘TEXT TAX’ The CALIFORNIA Public Utilities Commission has canceled its plan to begin charging a fee for text messaging on mobile phones. That decision came after the Federal Communications Commission ruled last month that text...

Dem Govs Pitch Major Health Care Proposals | 01-11-2019

A pair of Democratic governors launched wide-ranging efforts last week to prop up the Affordable Care Act and to broaden health care coverage in their states. The first came from New California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who issued an executive order...

Inslee Intros WA Mental Health Reform Plan | 12-14-2018

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) unveiled a $675 million proposal to dramatically reshape how patients in the Evergreen State’s mental health system are cared for. Inslee’s plan calls for hundreds of new community mental-health beds and...

Education - December 17 2018 | 12-14-2018

DC Superior Court Blocks A WASHINGTON D.C . Superior Court blocks an effort to force a new referendum on a law that would overhaul how servers, bartenders and other tipped workers are paid. District voters approved the original measure, Initiative...

Politics in Brief - December 3 2018 | 11-30-2018

DEMS CLAIM 3/4 MAJORITY IN CA ASSEMBLY Democrats won 60 seats in the CALIFORNIA Assembly in the 2018 election, giving them a historic three-quarters majority in the 80-seat chamber. The Assembly Democratic caucus will be the largest since the state...

Democrats Gain in State Elections | 11-09-2018

Buoyed by the votes of suburban women and independents, Democrats gained hard-won ground in the nation’s statehouses in Tuesday’s midterm election. Democrats won seven governorships and six legislative chambers previously held...

Voters Rejected Most Tax Measures on Ballot: | 11-09-2018

Proposed tax increases and restrictions on future tax hikes were on the ballot in several states last week. Most of them failed. Colorado voters rejected both Amendment 73 , which would have increased corporate and personal income taxes to provide...

Mixed Results for Closely Watched Ballot Measures | 11-09-2018

Marijuana legalization was one of the most prevalent issues on state ballots on Nov. 6. And with the approval of one of those measures, Proposal 1 , on a 54-46 vote, Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize marijuana for recreational...

Business - November 12 2018 | 11-09-2018

Supreme Court Declines The Supreme Court of the United States declines to hear a case challenging a lower court’s ruling that upheld the power of the Federal Communications Commission to implement net neutrality rules in 2016. A group of Internet...

More Democratic Women Candidates Than Republican Ones in Most States | 11-02-2018

Of the 3,388 women running for legislative office in 46 states this year, 70 percent are Democrats. In 19 of those states, there are about twice as many Democratic female candidates as Republican ones. In 15 states, there are three times more. In five...

Budgets in Brief - November 5 2018 | 11-02-2018

CO POT SALES BREAK $1B LEVEL EARLIER THAN EVER Combined recreational and medical marijuana sales in COLORADO topped $1 billion in August, the earliest point they’ve reached that level in the four years marijuana has been allowed for recreational...

Host of Closely Watched Propositions on Ballot | 11-02-2018

On November 6, voters in 37 states will consider 158 ballot measures, just one more than the 157 propositions in 2016, according to the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California. Among the issues on the ballot...

CA Pushes Net Neutrality, Feds & Telecoms Push Back | 10-12-2018

In the last bill signing session of his long and historic career, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) endorsed a measure last month that overrides federal rules and gives the Golden State the toughest net neutrality statute in the nation. But with multiple...

States Seek to Maintain Net Neutrality | 10-12-2018

At least 32 states have introduced legislation this year that would require internet service providers to uphold net neutrality principles, according to analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State Net . Many of those...

And They Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together | 10-12-2018

The ultra-far right has had a pretty festive last 18 months, what with feeling like they have a true friend now in the White House. But as the Washington Post reports , the hopes and dreams of a plethora of young white supremacists were dashed last week...

Social Policy - October 15 2018 | 10-12-2018

WA Supreme Court Rules The WASHINGTON state Supreme Court rules the use of capital punishment to be unconstitutional. The ruling, which makes the Evergreen State the 20th where courts or legislatures have abolished or overturned capital punishment...

State Lawmakers Taking More Interest in Cryptocurrencies | 10-05-2018

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to buy goods and services, pay bills, gamble online, transfer money internationally and as an investment vehicle, among other things. And that activity is drawing more attention...

More State Cryptocurrency Legislation in 2018 | 10-05-2018

At least 21 states have introduced bills or resolutions dealing with digital currencies in 2018, about double the number of states that did so last year, according to analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State Net....

Governors in Brief - October 8 2018 | 10-05-2018

INSLEE ISSUES WA HEP C DIRECTIVE : WASHINGTON Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued a directive that orders state agencies, tribal governments and other local public-health officials to coordinate a strategy to eradicate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) by 2030. State...

Tax Limits on November Ballot in Several States | 09-28-2018

On Nov. 6 voters in states from coast to coast will have an opportunity to restrict future efforts by their lawmakers to raise taxes. Measures on the ballot in Washington ( Initiative 1634 ) and Oregon ( Measure 37 ) would prohibit local governments...

Lawsuits Forcing States to Spend Millions on Hep C Treatment | 09-28-2018

A federal judge in Indiana ruled this month that denying or delaying treatment of prison inmates infected with hepatitis C constituted cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. A similar ruling last...

Data Privacy Popular Issue in States | 09-14-2018

At least 33 states have considered legislation this session dealing specifically with the privacy of personal data. Nineteen of those states have enacted data privacy measures. They include California, which enacted AB 375 , modeled after the European...

Some States Resist Expanding Short-Term Health Plans | 08-31-2018

A new regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services will allow insurers, starting on Oct. 1, to offer bare-bones, short-term health insurance plans as a longer-term, low-cost alternative to the coverage prescribed by the Affordable Care...

Slow Progress on Public Pension Reform | 08-17-2018

The economy is on a tear, with the national growth rate high and unemployment low. Eighty percent of U.S. companies have reported earnings that exceed Wall Street forecasts. City and state revenues are surging, as the Great Recession fades in the rear...

Tip Credit Latest Front in Minimum Wage Battle | 08-10-2018

In June, Washington D.C. voters strongly endorsed Initiative 77 , a ballot referendum to require District eateries to pay workers that rely on tips the same minimum wage as other employees. But amidst furious pushback from the restaurant industry, a majority...