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Erik Smith
Washington State Wire|washingtonstatewire.com

Jessyn FarrellDemocrats in the state House are signing on en masse to a bill that would increase the state minimum wage, already the highest such wage standard in the country, to $12 an hour by 2017. Even as the measure makes its debut it has a deathly pallor.

Opposition in the Senate seems likely to write a quick end to the bill, if it gets that far. And there is at least one telling indication that it may not. For an idea that has pushed into the spotlight by a national campaign from labor and activist organizations, and buoyed by a first-of-its-kind vote in the city of SeaTac last year for a $15 minimum wage, the sponsorship list is a bit weak. It carries only 32 sponsors — 18 short of the number required for passage in the House. Nearly all backers come from safe Democratic districts in the urban Puget Sound area. read more »


OLYMPIA — Tom Steyer, the big-spending California billionaire who made a splash in local Democratic politics this year with an enormous contribution in a state Senate race, dumped another $2.5 million last week into his Evergreen-state political action committee — and has triggered the biggest political mystery of this year’s campaign season.

That makes a total $6.3 million that the financier has funneled to the state of Washington this year. Some of it has found its way to the hot state Senate race in the 26th District, where he has spent a staggering-for-this-state $400,000 to promote Democrat Sen. Nathan Schlicher.

Another $1 million or so has gone from Washington state to, of all places, Virigina, where Steyer is weighing in on a gubernatorial race, also on the Democratic side. read more »


OLYMPIA — Now everybody agrees — there’s a budget deal, all right. At 11:30 a.m. on June 27, Gov. Jay Inslee strode into the conference room at his office on the second floor of the state Capitol and declared that lawmakers finally have liftoff.

And because he was followed by all the players on every side — Democrats, Republicans, senators, representatives — you finally get the idea there is no disagreement about the agreement.

If passed by the Legislature, the $33.6 billion budget deal will avert the shutdown of state government that looms on July 1 if no budget is passed. Inslee said the goal is for lawmakers to get it to his desk for a signature by 5 p.m. Friday, June 28. read more »

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