Elections

Legislature passes bill targeting prohibited gun buyers

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The Legislature has approved a measure to crack down on prohibited gun buyers in Washington state.Under the measure, gun dealers would be required to alert the Washington State Patrol when someone doesn't pass a background check when trying to buy or transfer a gun.The House voted 83-13 on Friday to concur with suggested changes from the Senate, which unanimously passed the bill Thursday.

Bills aim to aid job seekers with criminal history

Washington state lawmakers are considering measures that would "ban the box," which means certain employers would not be allowed to force an applicant to check a box if they have a criminal history until after the person is determined to be otherwise qualified for the job.

Vapor products, e-cigarettes could be taxed under new bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) ��� Measures to tax vapor, e-cigarettes and other nicotine products are being considered by lawmakers in Washington state.A bill in the House proposes treating vapor products and e-cigarettes like tobacco products, which are generally taxed at 95 percent of the wholesale price. Another measure proposes a 60 percent tax. In many areas of the state consumers on average pay a 9.5 percent sales tax rate on vapor products.

Transgender birth records bill passes Oregon House

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A proposal that would privatize the process for transgender individuals to make changes to their birth certificates cleared the Oregon House on Wednesday in a 37-23 vote.Under House Bill 2673, transgenders with Oregon birth certificates would be able to update their names and genders through a private process under the Oregon Health Authority, circumventing public paper trials and involvement of the courts. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Oregon drivers may share roads with military surplus Humvees

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Military surplus Humvees could soon share the Oregon streets and roadways with minivans, hatchbacks and compact electric cars.A proposal began advancing in the Legislature last week that would make Oregon one of the few states to allow retired military Humvees on the roadways for civilian use by giving the same special registration used for antique cars and street rods. Street use would be limited to only special events like exhibitions and parades.

Lawmakers, advocates demand funding of education measure

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — As the Oregon Legislature considers sweeping cutbacks and tax hikes to close ag $1.6 billion budget deficit, an education ballot initiative that voters overwhelmingly approved in November may be on the chopping block before it goes into effect.A group of education advocates and bipartisan lawmakers are now demanding the Legislature carry out the will of Oregon voters and fully fund the $300 million per-biennium cost as required by Measure 98.

Governor's news adviser's role changed due to ethics law

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown says her new adviser, a recently-retired state lawmaker, cannot lobby lawmakers after all.This comes after a Eugene newspaper said new adviser Peter Buckley's work in the Legislature could be hamstrung by a 2007 ethics law that Brown chiefly sponsored.

Bills alive, dead or signed in the Washington Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state lawmakers are more than halfway through this year's 105-day legislative session, and fully funding education has been the top issue at the Capitol, with Senate Republicans and House Democrats having each passed their own education funding proposals but still working toward negotiating a final plan.

Lawmakers eye Oregon homeowner tax breaks for budget fix

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers are looking to homeowners and the tax breaks they receive as one potential solution to the state's $1.6 billion budget deficit for the next two years.Debates are being held in Salem this week on two proposals that would reduce or eliminate the allowable deductions that some homeowners can claim from mortgage interest and property taxes.

House votes to ban holding phones while driving

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A measure to ban holding a phone while driving passed in the House a day after a similar measure passed in the Senate.House Bill 1371 received a 52-45 vote in the Democratic-controlled House Tuesday.Under the measure, drivers would be banned from holding any hand-held devices while driving including phones, tablets and other electronic devices.Currently it is a $136 infraction if caught texting or holding a phone to the ear while driving.