Washington

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...

Dems Outside DC Join Push for Statehood | 08-10-2018

Some progressive Democrats outside Washington, D.C. are jumping on the bandwagon for making the District the 51st state. Dan Pfeiffer, an aide to former president Barack Obama, has been advocating for statehood on the “Pod Save America” podcast...

Business - August 6 2018 | 08-03-2018

WA Federal Court Blocks a Company from Posting Online Plans A federal court in WASHINGTON blocks a company from posting online plans for 3D-printed gun blueprints that lawmakers around the country feared would lead to a wave of easily produced, untraceable...

All or Parts of 31 States ‘Sanctuaries’ as of Early 2017 | 07-20-2018

As of February of last year, at least five states had laws limiting how much local law enforcement had to cooperate with requests from federal authorities to detain immigrants, according to analysis of data from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center by...

States Seek to Soften Blow of SCOTUS Union Ruling | 07-20-2018

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public workers who opt out of union membership can’t be required to pay fees supporting union collective bargaining efforts even if they benefit from them. The decision is expected...

Cities, Towns Weigh Vacation Home Rentals Against Housing Needs For Locals | 07-13-2018

Andy Morris didn’t set out to upend the hotel industry. Or to get involved in a huge fight with the city of Seattle. He and his wife just happened to have a tenant move out of the one rental property they owned a few years ago, just as companies...

Fair Percentage of Airbnb Rentals Full-Time | 07-13-2018

According to a 2016 analysis of Airbnb booking data by the website fivethirtyeight.com, among the 25 cities with the largest Airbnb markets at that time, Honolulu, Hawaii had the highest percentage of active listings that were rented at least 180 days...

Straws Latest Flashpoint in Battle Over Plastics | 06-29-2018

Today, a visitor to a Bon Appétit cafe will have no problem finding plenty of tasty things to nosh on. But finding a plastic straw for their soda or a plastic stirrer for their coffee will soon be impossible. San Francisco-based Bon Appétit...

Seattle to Repeal Recently Approved ‘Head Tax’ | 06-15-2018

Last month Seattle, Washington’s City Council unanimously approved a tax on the city’s largest employers to help address its homelessness problem. The Seattle area has the third-largest homeless population in the country, and the city spent...

Half of States Have Considered Internet Privacy Bills in 2017-18 | 06-08-2018

At least 27 states have considered but only two, Oregon and Virginia, have passed legislation dealing with internet privacy in the current session, according to information compiled from the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State...

Politics in Brief - June 11 2018 | 06-08-2018

OK VOTERS TO WEIGH LESS RESTRICTIVE MEDICAL MARIJUANA MEASURE: OKLAHOMA voters will consider a ballot measure on June 26 that would make the state the first to adopt a medical marijuana program that doesn’t specify ailments for which doctors...

Obamacare: Popular but Pressured | 05-18-2018

The Affordable Care Act, long a punching bag for Republicans, has survived body blows from Congress and the Trump administration and could become a political asset for Democrats in an election year in which they hope to gain legislative and congressional...

More States Considering ACA Medicaid Expansion | 05-18-2018

Thirty-two states have expanded Medicaid in accordance with the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act but letting states decide whether or not to implement the Medicaid expansion provided for by the federal law. A budget proposal...

Governors in Brief - May 21 2018 | 05-18-2018

CUOMO PROPOSES ELIMINATION OF NY COAL PLANTS : NEW YORK Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered the state Department of Environmental Conservation to set new limits on carbon dioxide emissions he said would make Empire State power plants entirely coal-free by...

Budgets in Brief - May 21 2018 | 05-18-2018

CA GOV PROPOSES LAST STATE BUDGET: CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown (D) unveiled the final budget of his tenure, a plan calling for $199.3 billion in total spending and projecting an $8.8 billion surplus, $7.6 billion of which would be deposited into two...

Reinsurance Programs Catching On in States | 05-11-2018

Since 2016 at least 19 states have introduced and 9 have enacted legislation creating a state reinsurance program and/or authorizing the state to apply for a State Innovation Waiver under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act to obtain federal funding...

State Pot Revenues Surging But Still Relatively Insignificant | 05-11-2018

Between 2014 and 2017, tax revenues from the sale of marijuana shot up about 400 percent in Washington. In Colorado they surged about 900 percent. But the $314 million and $223 million in marijuana tax revenues, respectively, in the two states that were...

Some State Progress in Deadly Opioid Crisis | 04-20-2018

Thirteen states have made progress in battling the deadly opioid epidemic while eight states have notably failed to deal with the crisis, according to a report issued this month by the National Safety Council (NSC). It comes on the heels of a report earlier...

Fakest News of All | 04-20-2018

Fake news on the Internet or social media is one thing, but tacked directly to your door? As the Vancouver Columbian reports , that’s exactly what happened recently in Vancouver, Washington, where some residents woke up to find a letter tacked to...

States Beginning to Focus on AI | 04-13-2018

At least 11 states have introduced or proposed bills or resolutions referring to “artificial intelligence” this year, according to LexisNexis State Net’s legislative tracking system . Five of those measures have been enacted, including...

Politics in Brief - April 16 2018 | 04-13-2018

SC GOP PROPOSES CLOSING STATE’S PRIMARIES: The Republican Party of SOUTH CAROLINA announced last week that it will conduct an advisory referendum in the state’s June primaries asking voters if they want the option of affiliating with a...

Business - April 16 2018 | 04-13-2018

TN House Rejects SB 1086 The TENNESSEE House rejects SB 1086 , a Senate-endorsed bill that would strip local municipalities of the ability to ban short term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. The measure is expected to go to a joint conference committee...

Social Policy - April 9 2018 | 04-05-2018

HI Senate Approves HB 2739 The HAWAII Senate gives final approval to HB 2739 , a bill that would allow Aloha State doctors to help terminally ill patients to end their own lives. It is now with Gov. David Ige (D), who has said he will sign it into...

The Local Front - April 9 2018 | 04-05-2018

WA City Council Votes The SEATTLE City Council votes to expand the areas within the Emerald City where developers can build housing without off-street parking and permit landlords to rent their parking spaces to people who don’t live in the building...

States Looking for Cure to High Drug Prices | 03-30-2018

During his State of the Union speech in February, President Donald Trump declared his intention to address what he called “the injustice of high drug prices.” He repeated the promise last month in New Hampshire during a press conference on...

Many States Considering Bans on Pharmacy ‘Gag Clauses’ | 03-30-2018

As of March 22, at least 27 states had introduced bills this year prohibiting pharmaceutical benefit manager (PBM) or health insurer contracts that prevent pharmacists from informing customers about alternatives to medications they’ve been prescribed...

Governors in Brief - April 2 2018 | 03-30-2018

INSLEE SIGNS QUARTET OF WA #METOO BILLS : Saying “We must do better to make sure employers understand there is no place for these behaviors in the workplace,” WASHINGTON Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed four bills last month that address sexual...

Education - April 2 2018 | 03-30-2018

WA Governor Signs SB 5064 WASHINGTON Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signs SB 5064 , which bars school administrators from censoring the work of student journalists. The measure goes into effect in June (SEATTLE TIMES). IDAHO Gov. Butch Otter (R) signs HB...

The Rewards and Perils of Redistricting | 03-16-2018

In democracies, voters are supposed to choose their legislative representatives. Increasingly, however, U.S. courts have found that representatives choose their voters through partisan gerrymandering of legislative and congressional districts. With...

Half of States Use Commissions for Redistricting | 03-16-2018

Commissions, rather than legislatures, have primary responsibility for drawing state legislative and/or congressional districts in 13 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In another 12 states, commissions either assist legislators...

The Local Front - March 19 2018 | 03-16-2018

TX Court of Appeals Rules The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that most of a TEXAS law barring local municipalities from declaring themselves to be so-called sanctuary cities can stay in place while litigation seeking to overturn the law...