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19 05, 2017

Property owners across the state face tax hike under Senate Republican plan

May 19th, 2017|Radio|

OLYMPIA – Under the state Senate Republican budget plan, property taxes would increase in school districts all across the state (TRT: 1:21) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD



While there is agreement from both Democrats and Republicans that revenue is needed to amply fund schools for Washington’s 1.1 million students and their teachers, it’s the source of revenue that is concerning for many in the legislature. Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Sharon Nelson of Maury Island is skeptical about the Senate Republican budget proposal.

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island: TRT: (:16) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “They are selling this as an education plan. It is not an education plan; it is a property tax plan. They are saying it will benefit many, many districts. Well, actually there are a lot of districts are going to see their property taxes going up, not down under this plan.”

Under the Senate Republican’s $5.5 billion dollar property tax plan, by 2021, homeowners in all but three of the state’s 295 school districts will see a property tax increase if local voters approve 10 percent school levy rates.

For school districts in King County, this would mean the average increase in property tax would cost homeowners about $445 dollars per year. In Kitsap County, the average increase would be about $242 dollars; and in Kittitas County, the average property tax increase would be about $235 dollars per year.

The 30-day special session in Olympia will end on Tuesday.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.

9 02, 2017

Faith leaders and Sen. Palumbo gather to support religious freedom in Washington state

February 9th, 2017|Radio|

Sen. Guy Palumbo of Maltby and faith leaders speak up for religious freedom and Senate Bill 5308. (TRT: 39) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


Hours before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the President’s travel ban, faith leaders and dozens of supporters came together in support of religious freedom. Sen. Guy Palumbo of Maltby spoke during the press conference:

Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby: (TRT: 11) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “It is our job as elected officials and my job as a state senator to speak out. I am in a position of power, as are the rest of the representatives here and its our job to speak out for our Muslim brothers and sisters, and I’m going to continue to do that.”

Senate Bill 5308 will limit an agency from disclosing personal religious affiliation to the federal government for the purpose of creating a religious database. The bipartisan bill has not yet had a hearing in the Senate.

In Olympia, I’m Nicole Vukonich.

8 02, 2017

Opposition to Right to Work legislation draws potentially historic crowds

February 8th, 2017|Radio|

OLYMPIA – Right to work legislation drew more than 1,100 people to the Senate to have their voices heard in opposition to the bill. (TRT: 72) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


On Wednesday, in a sea of neon green and fluorescent orange, laborers led by the building trades and skilled craftsmen filled the halls and hearings rooms of the Senate. Approximately 1,100 people signed in to oppose Senate Bill 5692, also known as a “Right to Work” bill. Sen. Rebecca Saldaña of Seattle is a member of the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee where the hearing took place:

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle: (TRT: 30) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “For Washington, we believe that all work is dignified and that people should be able to make a living, and to be able to provide for their families. Right to work is really a misnomer; it’s really about right to work for less or not having the right to actually work safely. In states where right to work has been on the books for many years, we have higher rates of injuries in the workplace and we have significantly lower wages particularly whether there’s a union or not a union.”

Often, when businesses look at where to relocate, the availability of skilled labor is one of the most important factors. With more than 800 people wanting to testify in opposition to the bill, a potentially historic number, their voices and stories will be difficult to ignore.

In Olympia, I’m Nicole Vukonich.

11 01, 2017

Recognizing Human Trafficking Awareness Day – a first for the State of Washington

January 11th, 2017|Radio, Uncategorized|

For the first time, the State of Washington recognized January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day. (TRT: 58) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


Wednesday, Jan. 11th marked the state’s first Human Trafficking Awareness Day as an official day of recognition. Sen. Maralyn Chase of Edmonds has worked on this issue for a number of years and is worried that there are still too many young girls and women who are potential targets.

Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds: (TRT: 21) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “Probably 94 percent, as near as we can calculate, of the women who are trafficked were picked up between the ages of 12 and 14. This is a crime against children. It is our responsibility to put an end to this, once and for all, and I believe that the State of Washington is one of the leaders in the world on this issue.”

Between 2002 and 2016, the State of Washington passed more than 40 anti-human trafficking laws. Human Trafficking Awareness Day was created in 2016 to raise the profile on the issue, to help educate people about potential warning signs, and to honor all victims of human trafficking.

In Olympia, I’m Nicole Vukonich.

10 01, 2017

Sen. Karen Keiser sponsors paid family and medical leave bill

January 10th, 2017|Radio|

Nearly a quarter of new mothers have to return to work just two weeks after giving birth. Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, is sponsoring a paid family and medical leave proposal that would give security to Washington families who need to take time away from work to care for their families. (TRT: 57 ) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

Sen. Karen Keiser of Des Moines has worked in the legislature on the issue of paid family and medical leave over the last 20 years. On Tuesday, surrounded by many colleagues, working men and women, moms, dads and children, she announced her sponsorship of Senate Bill 5032 – legislation that would create paid family and medical leave in the State of Washington. Sen. Keiser:

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent: (TRT: 19) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “All Washington’s working families share the same thing, and that is a health crisis can happen at any time. Whether it’s a parent who falls down and breaks their hip, whether it’s a spouse who has a heart attack, whether it’s a daughter who has a new baby prematurely, health crises happen anytime, anywhere, to anybody.”

Keiser is hopeful that with a large group of supporters from many key industries across Washington that the proposal will be successful and allow Washingtonians the security of being with loved ones when they’re needed the most.

In Olympia, I’m Nicole Vukonich

9 01, 2017

Senate Democrats focused and ready to work on first day of session

January 9th, 2017|Radio|

Deputy Senate Democratic Leader, Sen. Andy Billig of Spokane says that Senate Democrats are focused on creating opportunity and building prosperity for all Washingtonians, which includes fully funding basic education for our state’s 1.1 million schoolkids. (TRT: 57) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD



Monday marked the beginning of a new Legislative Session, which is poised to be one of the more difficult sessions in recent memory due to the State Supreme Court’s deadline to fully fund basic education in our state. Deputy Leader of the Senate Democrats, Andy Billig of Spokane:

Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane: TRT: 0:35 (CLICK TO DOWNLOAD): “Senate Democrats are very focused on creating opportunity and building prosperity for the people of Washington, and what that means in terms of specifics, is focusing on full funding of basic education and the whole educational spectrum with early learning and higher ed included as well. But making sure we don’t do that at the expense of the other things that help kids and families to be successful like having access to quality health care and a safe place to sleep at night and food security. So, uh, we’re taking a broad view of trying to help every family and every small business in our state to be successful now and in the long term.”

This year, the legislative session is scheduled to last 105 days.

I’m Nicole Vukonich, in Olympia.

29 03, 2016

Senate passes reasonable budget, much still left behind

March 29th, 2016|Radio|

Despite passage of the supplemental operating budget in the Senate on Tuesday evening, Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, says that the budget still leaves a lot behind. (TRT: 0:59) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


Following the passage of a supplemental operating budget, Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson of Maury Island shared her thoughts on the $38.2 billion budget deal.

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island: (TRT: 0:34) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “This is a reasonable supplemental budget. There is additional funding for mental health, for addressing the crisis at Western State Hospital, but regretfully, it leaves a lot behind. We need further investments in K-12 education. This really focused on charter schools instead of our other million school kids. Additionally, for homelessness, which our caucus has been fighting for, we had the opportunity to take money that’s sitting in the bank, it’s called the Rainy Day Fund, and use it to invest in housing and support services for the homeless. The Republican Majority wouldn’t do so.”

The supplemental budget passed in the Senate 27 to 17 with 5 members excused. The Senate has adjourned and is not expected to be back in session until January of 2017.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.

10 03, 2016

Sen. Jim Hargrove announces retirement after 32 years of state service

March 10th, 2016|Radio|

After 32 years of service to the state, Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam has decided to retire. (TRT: 1:45) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


On the final day of the 2016 regular Legislative Session, Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam announced his decision to retire after more than 32 years of service to the state.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam: (TRT: 14) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “When I first came to the legislature, Cherberg was the Lieutenant Governor. I served with John O’Brien in the House and when I came to the Senate, I have a picture up in my office coming down the center aisle and shaking hands with Irv Newhouse. So, I’ve been here awhile.

Hargrove in his speech then went on to thank staff, his colleagues, and detailed the highlights of many policies he worked to pass.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam: (TRT: 22) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “The most important is the Becca legislation. I think we have had incredible success reducing juvenile crime, keeping kids out of prison, helping kids get on with their lives. I am also very proud of the mental health legislation we did that gave the local option and for finally gonna be combining mental health and drug and alcohol treatment through the BHOs by April 1st.”

In a show of deep respect, nearly every member of the Senate stood and spoke in honor of the leadership, friendship and principles he exhibited throughout his extensive legislative career. Gov. Jay Inslee also made a special appearance in the Senate chamber and spoke of Hargrove’s dedication to the least among us.

Hargrove, a long-time, champion of the human services offered this final heartfelt advice to his colleagues:

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam: (TRT: 10) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “So I implore you to remember the poor, disadvantaged, and the ill. The developmentally disabled and people that really you are their voice here.”

Hargrove served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1985 to 1992 and has served the people of the 24th and the State of Washington in the Senate since 1993.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.



8 03, 2016

Supplemental transportation budget passes Senate

March 8th, 2016|Radio|

The Senate passed the supplemental transportation budget on Tuesday evening, 44 to 5. (TRT: 0:60) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


The Washington State Senate on Tuesday evening passed an $8.6 billion dollar Supplemental Transportation Budget that will continue to support investments to our state’s public infrastructure system. Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens was the lead negotiator for the Senate Democrats.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens: (TRT: 0:18) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “This budget has a lot of good things in it. Many projects that help economic development across the State of Washington, and on our side of the aisle, many of the things we fought for are in here. There’s always been a lot of needs out there for transportation. But, overall, if you look at the supplemental transportation budget it’s a good bill.”

Project highlights include funding for road preservation, our state ferries, storm water and fish passage barriers, additional rail services between Seattle and Portland, pay increases for state troopers, 405 tolling improvements, and more.

The Senate passed the supplemental transportation budget 44 to 5. It will now go to the House of Representatives before heading to the governor’s desk.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.

1 03, 2016

Washington Voting Rights Act gains momentum

March 1st, 2016|Radio|

Sen. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle and Sen. Cyrus Habib of Bellevue voiced their support to a packed room of supporters of the Washington State Voting Rights Act after it was moved to the Senate floor calendar on Tuesday. (TRT: 1:28) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

Organizer and Group: (TRT: 0:07) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “Power to the people! With fair representation! Power to the people! With fair representation!”

A group of over 120 supporters of the Washington Voting Rights Act packed a Senate Hearing room on Tuesday to voice their support of House Bill 1745, the Washington Voting Rights Act. The House of Representatives has passed the bill out of the chamber four years in a row – and each year it has stalled in the Senate. Sen. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle has worked with her Republican counterparts to address concerns with the bill.

Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D- Seattle: TRT: (0:26) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “We have compromised, we have cooperated, we have negotiated – that’s all part of the process. But now it is time to vote. We need the bill to come to the floor. We need to be able to have a vote on it. If people want to vote it down, then vote it down. At least let us know where we stand on this bill. This is not just good policy or good politics, it is the right thing to do.”

On Tuesday, the Washington Voting Rights Act was moved to the Senate floor calendar – a move that puts it one step closer to being voted on. Sen. Cyrus Habib of Bellevue, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate:

Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Bellevue: TRT: (0:16) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “We know gerrymandering is a problem, but there’s nothing worse than gerrymandering that has a racial dynamic to it, and this bill is going to change that. And, with your help in the next nine days, we’re going to make sure the Senate passes the Washington Voting Rights Act, we get it to the governor’s desk and we start having a role in drawing maps and winning elections.”

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.