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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

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October 13, 2014 at 6:28 PM

California billionaire pours $250K more into his Wash. climate PAC

OLYMPIA — Billionaire California environmentalist Tom Steyer has donated $250,000 more to a political action committee he has formed in Washington state. The $250,000 donation to NextGen Climate Action Committee was made on Friday, but didn’t post online with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission until Monday. Steyer had already given $1 million to the committee. Last month,…

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Comments | More in 2014 elections, State legislative races

July 2, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Proponents of class-size initiative turn in signatures

Sponsors of an initiative to decrease Washington public school class sizes have turned in more than 325,000 signatures to the Washington secretary of state’s office. They expect they have plenty of signatures to qualify the proposal for the November ballot. Campaign manager Mary Howes says the volume of signatures shows voters feel large classes are unacceptable. Initiative 1351…

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Comments | More in 2014 elections | Topics: class sizes, Initiative 1351

June 17, 2014 at 1:17 PM

U.S. Senate confirms Sal Mendoza Jr. as federal judge

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Sal Mendoza Jr. as the first Latino federal judge in Eastern Washington. Mendoza was a Benton-Franklin Superior Court judge who worked as a lawyer, including time as an assistant attorney general and deputy prosecutor in Franklin County. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both spoke in support of Mendoza before Tuesday’s vote. The…

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Comments | More in Congress, U.S. Senate | Topics: eastern washington, federal judge

March 4, 2014 at 7:58 PM

House OKs supplemental budget; Senate negotiations next

OLYMPIA — The House approved a supplemental budget Tuesday that would restore cost-of-living increases for teachers and put additional money into the state’s public education system. The budget, estimated at more than $200 million, passed on a mostly party-line 53-44 vote, and now leaders in that chamber and the Senate, which passed its budget last week,…

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February 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Senate Democrats would end $100 million in tax breaks to support education

Another government proposal for increasing state dollars for Washington public schools was dropped into the already overloaded cart Tuesday. The proposal from Senate Democrats gives lawmakers another option for answering a Supreme Court order to improve the way education is paid for. The court’s last communication with the Legislature asked for a concrete plan by April…

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Comments | More in State Legislature | Topics: education, state budget, tax breaks

October 18, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Food industry group agrees to disclose anti-food-labeling donors

Washington state’s attorney general says a food industry group has agreed to disclose who contributed to an effort to oppose a food labeling initiative. Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Friday the agreement avoids the need to seek court intervention. Earlier this week, Ferguson filed a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association, saying the group violated…

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Comments | More in 2014 elections | Topics: genetic engineering, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Initiative 522

October 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

McGinn supports minimum wage above $15 an hour

The idea of a $15 minimum wage continues to build momentum in the Seattle area, with Mayor Mike McGinn saying he would support an effort to set the standard even higher.

In an interview with The Associated Press, McGinn said he thought $15 was a “fair starting point” for the minimum wage discussion. He cautioned that the issue was best handled legislatively and that the actual number would be determined by city council members.

“If the council proposed a higher number, I’d support that,” said McGinn, who is seeking re-election next month.

He added later: “I would expect that, if re-elected, we would put together a coalition to figure out how far we could go on the minimum wage.”

McGinn challenger Ed Murray recently announced that he would push for a $15 minimum wage but planned to proceed with a phased-in approach. Washington already has the nation’s highest state minimum wage at $9.19 an hour, while San Francisco is the local jurisdiction with the highest hourly standard at $10.55.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and advocates have been pressing nationwide to push the number higher. In a small effort in the Seattle suburb of SeaTac, union-backed advocates were successful in getting a ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

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Comments | More in 2014 elections | Topics: ed murray, Mayor Mike McGinn, minimum wage

September 16, 2013 at 11:04 AM

First TV ads aired in GMO initiative battle

The first television ads have aired in the battle over a statewide initiative that would mandate the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Opponents and supporters of Initiative 522 rolled out TV spots Monday morning in campaigns that are expected to cost millions of dollars. The Yes on 522 campaign has raised $3.4 million with the largest donation…

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| More in 2014 elections | Topics: genetically engineered food, GMO, Initiative 522

August 27, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Former state Sen. Jean Berkey dies at 74

Former Washington state Sen. Jean Berkey has died at the age of 74. Donald Berkey said Tuesday that his wife passed away on Aug. 21 at their home near Deception Pass following a brief illness. Jean Berkey served a decade in the Legislature before losing in a 2010 primary election. Berkey was born Aug. 22, 1938 in…

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