Editorial — Legislature must act on funding education

August 19, 2015

NEW — 3:50 p.m. Aug. 19, 2015

Washington state’s school-financing system has been inadequate, broken and inequitable for three decades. On Aug. 12, after multiple warnings, the state Supreme Court issued a new order in the landmark McCleary case putting a price tag on the failure to fix it: $100,000 a day in fines.

The penalty follows the court holding the state — the governor and the Legislature — in contempt 11 months ago. Despite a regular session and three overtime sessions, lawmakers still could not satisfy the court.

No more delays. Gov. Jay Inslee should show the type of bold leadership on the systemic solutions that he did not show during the six months of legislative sessions. He should work with legislative leaders to hatch a plan and then reconvene the full Legislature as soon as possible. Lawmakers must also set aside partisanship and ideology to find a sustainable new education-funding model.

The Legislature made admirable progress toward fuller funding of education in the recent marathon session. But the Supreme Court wants more detailed plans of how the state will pay for the space required for reduced K-3 class sizes and all-day kindergarten. The new order also rightly emphasized the state’s constitutional obligation to pay for teachers’ salaries. The broken school-financing model foists nearly one-third of compensation onto school levies, leaving have and have-not districts in rich and poor corners of the state. Read more

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Governor declares statewide drought emergency

July 13, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. July 13, 2015

Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a statewide drought emergency due to a widespread lack of snowfall last winter.

Water flow in the Snoqualmie River has dropped drastically, down more than 60 percent of usual flow. At the same time, water use by customers is nearly 10 percent more than this time last year.

To reduce potential hardships from water shortages this summer and beyond, conservation is critical. Local jurisdictions encourage residents to practice the following water conservation tips:

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Lobby group says state Senate cut funding for rebuilding Sunset Beach

June 10, 2015

The final state budget has yet to be written.

But the state Senate version contains some $68.8 million for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, according to information provided by the Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.

That coalition is a private, statewide advocacy group that supports outdoor and environmental projects across Washington.

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Editorial — Legislature needs to reach transportation consensus

May 27, 2015

State legislators are closer than they’ve been in years to reaching a deal to fix the state’s aging transportation infrastructure. They must not get bogged down by ideology and let slip this opportunity to create jobs and make roads safer.

The Senate already passed a package, including a gas-tax increase, with bipartisan support. Last month, the House Transportation Committee passed two key Senate bills, ESSB 5987 and ESSB 5988. Negotiations are under way to reconcile differences between the Senate and the House’s Democratic leadership.

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Governor signs sex predator bill into law

May 27, 2015

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s proposal to close a loophole in the Sexually Violent Predator statute to prevent the release of offenders who have not been rehabilitated.

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Governor signs electric vehicle infrastructure bill

May 20, 2015

Legislation offering financial incentives for utilities to build electric vehicle charging-station infrastructure was signed into law May 11 by Gov. Jay Inslee. The measure was sponsored by State Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah.

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Editorial — Everyone can help keep motorcyclists safe

May 12, 2015

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the Department of Licensing, Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Washington State Patrol and the Washington State Department of Transportation have teamed up to remind drivers of cars, trucks and buses to look out for, and share the road with, motorcycle riders.

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Editorial — Tell customers about data breaches quickly

April 28, 2015

Premera’s decision to wait six weeks before notifying state authorities and customers about a major cyber attack on its system was inexcusable.

This is the same insurance giant that was warned by federal auditors last year that its network security procedures were inadequate. Customers entrusted Premera with their most personal information, from bank accounts and Social Security numbers to home addresses and medical records.

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Governor calls legislative special session

April 28, 2015

Gov. Jay Inslee told state legislative leaders he intends to call them into a special session April 29.

The idea is to complete what Inslee’s office called “major work” left undone when the regular session ended April 24. Inslee was to have budget negotiators in his office April 27 to give them a head start prior to the opening of the special session.

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State superintendent releases plan to fully fund basic education

April 21, 2015

At an April 14 press conference, state Superintendent Randy Dorn released a plan to fully fund basic education costs, to help state legislators comply with a state Supreme Court mandate.

The state is under court order to produce a complete plan detailing how it intends to fully fund K-12 basic education without the use of local funding. Neither Gov. Jay Inslee nor the Legislature has introduced such a plan.

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