Emily Harris
Mar 30, 2023 - Politics

Pay equity advocates, including Patty Murray, try again in Congress

Patty Murray stands at left holding a blue sign that says "Close the Wage Gap: Pass Paycheck Fairness" as she speaks into a microphone, accompanied by another member of Congress.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), at right, speaks about the Paycheck Fairness Act at the U.S. Capitol on March 9. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

An effort to bolster equal pay protections in federal law is back before Congress, though supporters aren't optimistic.

Why it matters: Since 1963, it's been illegal to pay women and men differently if they're doing substantially equal work. Backers of the Paycheck Fairness Act want to end remaining loopholes they say still exist.

Melissa Santos
Updated Mar 24, 2023 - Politics

Washington state's capital gains tax upheld

Illustration of a pattern of gavels.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Washington's highest court upheld the state's capital gains tax in a much-anticipated ruling Friday.

Yes, but: The decision didn't give progressives something some have long sought: carte blanche to enact a graduated income tax targeting the wealthy.

Melissa Santos
Mar 21, 2023 - Politics

What's alive and dead in Washington's Legislature

Illustration of the Washington State Capitol with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Washington's Legislature has about a month to go before it is scheduled to adjourn. That means the number of proposed new laws still under consideration has narrowed considerably.

Here's a look at some of the bills that remain in play, versus ones that failed to meet deadlines to advance and are considered dead for the session.

Melissa Santos
Mar 15, 2023 - News

Plans for Billy Frank Jr. statue at U.S. Capitol move ahead

Billy Frank Jr. stands at a podium with the state of Washington seal at the state Capitol, with his right hand raised.
Billy Frank Jr. Photo: Washington State Archives

Billy Frank Jr., the late Nisqually environmental leader and treaty rights activist, is one step closer to representing Washington state at the U.S. Capitol.

What's happening: An artist has been chosen to design a statue of Frank that will soon be placed in National Statuary Hall.

Melissa Santos
Mar 14, 2023 - Politics

Pot social equity plan hits major milestone — and could expand

Illustration of three hands holding marijuana leaves, one hand belongs to a Black person.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Washington state is opening up 45 cannabis retail licenses this month to people who meet social equity criteria — part of an effort to diversify the state's legal pot industry — and more social equity licenses could be on the way.

Why it matters: More than 10 years after Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana use by passing Initiative 502, the industry remains dominated by white entrepreneurs.

Melissa Santos
Mar 10, 2023 - Politics

Ban on selling assault weapons clears state House

Illustration of a paper gun target with a "no" or "banned" symbol in the middle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Washington lawmakers are advancing multiple measures to try to curb gun violence, including a proposal to ban sales of assault weapons.

Why it matters: Democrats, who control Washington's Legislature, say the rise in firearm violence in the state — plus the frequency of mass shootings nationwide — shows the need for stricter regulations.

Here comes the sun: Daylight saving time returns Sunday

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Seattle may never embrace the twice-a-year clock-changing ritual of daylight saving time (DST) that state legislators voted to do away with four years ago, but we love that extra hour of evening light.

Driving the news: Seattle will see its first post-7pm sunset of the year once DST goes into effect this Sunday.

Melissa Santos
Mar 10, 2023 - Politics

Seattle city workers frustrated with raise offer

Illustration of Seattle City Hall with lines emanating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Seattle city workers are circulating a petition objecting to the city's latest contract offer, which they say included a 1% cost-of-living raise for this year.

What's happening: The Coalition of City Unions, which represents more than 6,000 city of Seattle employees, says in its petition that the city needs to offer wages that "reflect the historic inflation that is grossly escalating the cost of living."


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