Record Year for Applications to State’s Universities

More than 75,000 students applied to Washington's public universities this year, including a growing number of low-income students who qualify for the College Bound scholarship. Overall, applications to Washington’s six public institutions increased by 10 percent, while the number of graduating students remained the same.

Legislature Should Enact Voting Rights Act

State Rep. Luis Moscoso, a sponsor of the proposed Washington Voting Rights Act, said the bill encourages local governments to work with those bringing complaints. If an agreement cannot be reached voluntarily, the matter goes to superior court.

Teacher Raises May Be Incentive To Pare Down Class-Size Initiative

Getting two-thirds of lawmakers to roll back Initiative 1351 — as is required for the Legislature to change a new voter-approved initiative — will be a challenge, House leaders say. But they have a strategy they hope will gain them some votes: Making annual cost-of-living increases for teachers part of the deal.

State Legislature Has Huge Budget Disagreements To Overcome

The number of disagreements over budget items is mounting. Democrats say that new taxes are needed to close significant gaps, while Republicans remain vehemently opposed. The Senate has yet to reveal its budget proposal and already, legislators are taking shots at one another.

Bill Banning Toxics Needs Senate Vote

HB 1174 prohibits the sale of upholstered residential furniture or children’s products that contain certain flame retardants. A second toxics measure sought by Gov. Inslee gets Ecology started on a long-term project to encourage manufacturers to use alternatives to chemicals that pose harm to the environment.

Senate Gas Tax Hike Gets Heavy Support in House Committee

A steady stream of business leaders and local government officials urged a House panel to raise the gasoline tax and several other vehicle fees and spend the projected $15 billion on roads, bridges, mass transit and ferries. Climate Solutions, criticized what some call a “poison pill” on carbon fuel standards.

Senate Transportation Package Would Begin to Address State’s Infrastructure Needs

The Senate’s transportation package would increase spending by $13.8 billion through 2031. It would increase the state gas tax by 11.7 cents over three years, bringing in $5.6 billion through 2031. It would redirect some pollution control funds to stormwater and fish passage projects. It would streamline local permitting to speed project completion and reduce costs.

Legislature OKs Bill Paving Way for WSU Medical School

A nearly century old restriction giving the University of Washington in Seattle the exclusive right to operate a public medical school in the state of Washington was removed by the Legislature on Wednesday, opening the door for a new Washington State University medical school in Spokane.

Give Obama Authority to Deliver Trans-Pacific Partnership

As a major exporter of aircraft, apples, software and other products in high demand, Washington would likely benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership more than any other state. Complex trade agreements are easily demonized, so it’s not surprising that Congress hasn’t been rushing to help President Obama. But it’s time for action.