Washington legislature

Courtesy of Dave Lucas

Republican Dave Lucas is running for the Senate seat in Washington’s Third Legislative District. His opponent is Sen. Andy Billig [D-Spokane]. In this interview, Lucas talks with Doug Nadvornick about the issues he considers most important for the 2021 legislature. Doug also asks his positions on a variety of issues, including the state’s response to the coronavirus, funding for public health and wildfire prevention and suppression, and police reform.

Washington House Republican communications

Rep. Mike Volz (R-Spokane) is running for re-election against Democrat Zach Zappone in Washington’s Sixth Legislative District. Volz is also deputy treasurer for Spokane County.

Doug Nadvornick asks his positions on a variety of issues, including the state’s response to the coronavirus, funding for public health and wildfire prevention and suppression, and police reform.

Courtesy of Andy Billig

Sen. Andy Billig [D-Spokane] is running for a third term. The Senate Majority Leader faces a challenge from Republican Dave Lucas in the November general election. In this interview, Billig talks with Doug Nadvornick about the past legislative session and the issues he considers most important for the 2021 legislature. Doug also asks his positions on a variety of issues, from the state’s response to the coronavirus, funding for public health and wildfire prevention and suppression, and police reform.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Today on Inland Journal and the Inland Journal podcast, the coronavirus hijacked the Washington legislative session during its last couple of weeks. Lawmakers worked to approve a $200 million package aimed at helping people affected by Covid-19.

We’ll talk with two Spokane area legislators about that and other accomplishments from the session. Coronavirus could be a big issue in correctional facilities.

We’ll hear about the closure of Spokane’s non-profit legal clinic, the Center for Justice. Those stories and more on Inland Journal.

Washington Legislators Act On Wide Variety Of Bills

Feb 18, 2020

On Tuesday, for a second day in a row, Washington legislators continued to approve or deny a pile of bills.

The House voted today to double the penalties for drivers stopped for using phones and other electronic devices while driving through school zones.

Idaho Public Television

Both the Washington and Idaho legislatures were on duty during this federal Presidents’ Day holiday.

In Olympia, Washington legislators used Presidents’ Day as an opportunity to approve a large number of bills. At least three focused on health care and prescription drug costs.

Washington Legislature Opens Its 2019 Session

Jan 14, 2019

The Washington legislature opened its 2019 session today [Monday].

In the House, Seattle Democrat Frank Chopp was chosen for the final time as Speaker of the body. He’s held that position since 1999, but plans to make this his final year in leadership.

A Civics Lesson About Making Laws in Olympia

Jan 3, 2019
Marcus Riccelli

Washington and Idaho legislators go back to work this month. Idaho’s legislators have already been sworn in. The gavel drops on their 2019 session on Monday. Washington’s lawmakers reconvene in Olympia a week later.

Today, Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) gives us a civics lesson about the process of making laws in Olympia. Riccelli will begin his fourth term on January 14.


Democrats in the Washington state Senate have chosen Andy Billig as the new Senate majority leader. 

Billig has been in the state Senate since 2010, and served as minority whip, deputy minority and deputy majority leader. He says being majority leader should put him a good place to work on issues important to Spokane.

Spokane Cares

The Washington House has taken a step toward punishing people who misrepresent their animals as service animals.


Some of the bills a legislative body like the Washington legislature considers each year are serious and important. Many are mundane; simple fixes to existing law. And some are light-hearted.

House Committee Votes to Lower School Bond Threshold

Feb 2, 2018
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Washington state Senate committee voted Friday to lower the threshold for approving school bond issues.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR/TVW

A western Washington legislator is working to change a state law that forbids officials from planning an evacuation or relocation of people after a nuclear attack.

Washington Legislature Takes Up Gun Bills

Jan 18, 2018
NBC News

The new legislative session in Washington has revived debates about several contentious issues: property rights, water rights and development in rural areas, a possible carbon tax and, this week, limitations on the ownership of guns and gun accessories.

On Monday, the Senate Law and Justice Committee, with Democrats back in the majority, held hearings on several gun control bills.

Washington Senate Committee Votes to Ban "Bumpstocks"

Jan 16, 2018
Enrique Perez de la Rosa/Northwest News Network

A Washington state Senate committee this morning (Tuesday) approved a bill that would ban so-called “bumpstocks.”

Inland Journal, Jan. 4, 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Inland Journal for January 4, 2018

    ▪    We’ll preview some of the important issues that will go before the Washington and Idaho legislatures this year, including a possible change in how Idaho schools are funded. We’ll talk with Idaho state Representative Wendy Horman about a few of the recommendations of a committee that’s worked on that for the last two years.
    ▪    We look at some of the important issues that will arise during the legislative sessions and some of the wishes of Spokane-area folks.
    ▪    We talk with Spokane Mayor David Condon about his veto of a city campaign finance ordinance.
    ▪    We remember the late Spokane artist Harold Balazs.

Issues and Wishes For Upcoming Legislative Sessions

Jan 4, 2018
Austin Jenkins/Northwest News Network

There are other important issues before the two legislatures. Idaho lawmakers may again take up the repeal of the state’s grocery tax. Lawmakers in both chambers approved the repeal toward the end of the 2017 session, but Governor Butch Otter vetoed it after legislators adjourned. Some legislative leaders say they believe the bill be approved again early in the session so they would have time to override another veto.

In Washington, school funding will again get much of the attention. But water rights on private property will also be an important issue.

NW News Network

Washington’s school funding saga may soon come to an end, but tensions between two of the branches of state government are still evident. Four legislators who participated in a legislative forum in Spokane on Thursday expressed varying levels of surprise and frustration over the court’s actions in two major cases.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

WEB SPECIAL: Excerpts from Greater Spokane Incorporated's annual legislative forum.

Moderator: GSI State Lobbyist Jim Hedrick

Panelists: Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville); Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland); Rep. Mike Volz (R-Spokane); Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane)

Topics: K-12 education/McCleary decision; Water rights/Hirst decision; paid sick leave; sexual harassment; carbon tax/business climate; gas tax/pay per mile; health care costs

Inland Journal, August 24, 2017

Aug 24, 2017

Inland Journal for August 24, 2017

This week on Inland Journal:

Inland Journal, August 10, 2017

Aug 10, 2017

This week on Inland Journal...
    ▪    We talk with a Chelan state legislator about regulating marijuana in Washington. With Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sparring over the state's pot law enforcement, Republican Representative Cary Condotta says the state is actually doing a good job regulating reefer.
    ▪    We’ll report on a dilemma for liquor retailers in Washington that want to create their own ‘private labels’. Some retailers, such as Costco and Fred Meyer, have been selling their brands, but they’re technically illegal. We’ll look into the situation.
    ▪    We'll learn how new sensors installed on power poles around Spokane are helping researchers learn about air pollution, including wildfire smoke, in the city.
    ▪    And Austin Jenkins from the Northwest News Network will tell us about an upcoming rape trial involving a former top official from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, with allegations that the work culture in one part of the agency was toxic for women.


Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has released a letter sent by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In it, Sessions suggests Washington is not adequately regulating its legal marijuana market. He reiterates that Congress considers marijuana a dangerous drug and that it’s a federal crime to distribute it.

But at least one Washington legislator thinks Washington is defending how the state has regulated the drug.

Finding Stable Financial Help for Washington Counties

Jul 13, 2017

Rep. Cary Condotta (R-Chelan) joins us to talk about helping Washington counties find the steady revenue sources they need to provide services.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has been signing bills that were approved by the legislature during a flurry of action last week. The governor signed a new two-year operating budget just 45 minutes before the new fiscal year began. He has signed an education budget designed to satisfy the state Supreme Court, which has ruled the state has not fully funded basic education. And then yesterday he signed a version of a paid family leave bill that had only partially made its way through the legislative process before resurfacing in a different form last Friday.

Inland Journal, July 6, 2017

Jul 6, 2017

This week on Inland Journal, while last Friday’s budget drama in Olympia drew the most headlines, there was one other interesting debate on the last day of the session. It was about paid family leave, which is now coming to Washington. We’ll hear some of the debate. County officials in Washington are disappointed with the new budget. We’ll hear why. And we’ll go to Coeur d’Alene and talk with state representative Paul Amador. He’ll talk about his first session in Boise.

Washington Governor Signs Paid Family Leave Bill

Jul 5, 2017

Washington Governor Jay Inslee today signed into law a bill that creates a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program.

The family leave program will allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave during a 12-month period to take care of a newborn or a newly-adopted child. They can be granted leave to care for a sick child or parent or take care of their own health.


Washington’s new budget was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee about 45 minutes before the end of the fiscal year on Saturday morning. Many, including school districts, are happy about it. Schools will get nearly two billion dollars more next year.

But some local governments are unhappy because they didn’t get one of the things they sought most.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law a new two-year state budget that promises significantly more money for public schools. The governor’s action capped a remarkable final day of the 2015-17 biennium.

Legislative budget writers announced mid-week that they’d come to agreement on a state operating budget and an education budget. It didn’t leave them much time to move the budget through the required process before the end of the fiscal year at midnight Saturday.

And so Friday was a busy day.

The state tax incentive for film productions in Washington is set to expire at the end of the month, and it’s uncertain if it will be renewed.

There is concern that if the tax incentive is not renewed it could cost jobs in Spokane, where the Z Nation series is produced. The series airs on the Syfy network and features a post-apocalyptic world, complete with Zombies.

Democratic Representative, Marcus Riccelli has sponsored the bill to extend and expand the tax incentive that has been in effect since 2002:

Washington Governor Signs Forest Health Bill

May 9, 2017

Washington Governor Jay Inslee yesterday (Monday) signed into law two measures of interest to people in the northeastern part of the state. One deals with preventing wildfires, the other with preventing wolves from killing livestock.