February 2, 2012
NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 2, 2012
Issaquah legislators offered key Republican support for the same-sex marriage bill passed in the state Senate on Wednesday.
Cheryl Pflug and Steve Litzow joined the 28-21 majority to endorse the legislation.
So far, a half-dozen states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — plus Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage. Washington state has had a domestic partnership law — or “everything but marriage” law — in place since 2009.
(Pflug, a former state representative from Maple Valley, represents the 5th Legislative District; Litzow, a freshman senator from Mercer Island, represents the 41st legislative district.)
June 14, 2011
The lawmakers representing Issaquah and the 5th Legislative District in Olympia ranked near the top for the number of missed votes during the 2011 regular and special sessions.
May 21, 2011
NEW — 10 a.m. May 21, 2011
The state is a step closer to cracking down harder on Medicaid fraud, after lawmakers passed a measure to more aggressively prosecute fraud in the program and recover state funds.
State Sen. Cheryl Pflug, a registered nurse and a 5th Legislative District Republican, signed on as a cosponsor and, in a bipartisan effort, pushed the bill to colleagues. (The district includes Issaquah and East King County.)
Modeled on federal legislation, the state measure outlines incentives and whistleblower protections to employees who witness fraud in the workplace. The legislation allows the state to receive a greater share of recovered funds.
In addition, the measure empowers the state attorney general to contract out cases if the office is unable to pursue them.
May 6, 2011
NEW — 8 a.m. May 6, 2011
King County leaders praised state legislators and Gov. Chris Gregoire for supporting a measure to shore up funding for the King County Flood Control District, the agency responsible for flood-protection policies, programs and projects.
Gregoire signed a measure Thursday to protect funding for the district. The bill exempts the district from the statewide property rate tax cap by protecting up to 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The exemption is in effect from next year until 2017.
Until the governor signed the measure, the district faced a steep drop-off in funding due to the decline in housing values and a state cap on property tax rates.
March 8, 2011
Soon, every all-day kindergarten student might receive an assessment.
The state Senate passed a measure that would establish uniform assessments of children in all-day kindergarten, known as the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills, or WaKIDS.
If passed, the bill would begin the assessments in the 2012-13 school year. WaKIDS is being piloted now by the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Early Learning, with consultation by Thrive by Five Washington.
The state Senate vote passed 31 to 15, with Issaquah state Sens. Steve Litzow, Rodney Tom and Cheryl Pflug voting for the measure.
The Senate passed the bill March 3. It now goes to the state House for consideration.
February 3, 2011
NEW — 8 a.m. Feb. 3, 2011
The state could require school districts to use evaluation ratings to determine teacher layoffs, under a bill introduced by Issaquah legislators Steve Litzow and Rodney Tom.
The state senators aim to scrap the “last in, first out” seniority rule used to determine teacher layoffs during budget cuts and enrollment slumps.
“When we lay off newer teachers who have proven their effectiveness in the classroom, we are not only denying today’s students access to a quality learning experience, but future students as well,” Bellevue Democrat Tom said in a statement. “Many of those teachers never return to the classroom, seeking new professions that reward great performance and going the extra mile.”
The senators cited a recent study by the University of Washington Center for Education Data & Research, and said the research indicated the practice is inefficient economically and educationally.
January 4, 2011
Tiger Mountain State Forest hikers could be required to spend some green to access the trails crisscrossing the mountain soon — if state legislators impose user fees to raise dollars for the cash-strapped state.
The proposed Explore Washington Pass is the latest idea to increase funds for state natural resources agencies. The pass is designed to address maintenance needs and repair damage to state forests and other trust lands — but the proposal is all but certain to raise ire among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
In the months ahead, Evergreen State residents could face increased fees on state lands, shrunken services from state agencies and larger class sizes in elementary school classrooms as cuts permeate all sectors.
December 29, 2010
NEW — 4 p.m. Dec. 29, 2010
Issaquah legislators continue to pick up key committees assignments, lending area residents a stronger stake in education and fiscal matters.
Legislators return to Olympia on Jan. 5 for the regular session — and to confront a $4.6 billion budget gap.
Issaquah is spread across the 5th, 4lst and 48th legislative districts. The local delegation includes a half-dozen representatives and three senators.
State Sen. Steve Litzow, a Republican freshman from Mercer Island, has been named the ranking member on the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. GOP senators also selected Litzow for the Transportation and the Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance committees.
“Education is my No. 1 priority as a legislator,” he said in a statement. “During my campaign, I promised to put our schools first. I am honored that my colleagues have chosen me for this leadership role. I look forward to working with 41st District parents and teachers, and with stakeholders across the state on issues that affect our schools and our children.”
Litzow represents Cougar Mountain neighborhoods in Issaquah and other 41st Legislative District communities.
December 14, 2010
The ballot measure to create a state income tax failed just about everywhere outside of left-leaning Seattle and Vashon Island — except for a precinct nestled along Lake Sammamish.
Initiative 1098 received ironclad support — 80 percent — in the precinct. The catch: King County records indicate the precinct has 11 registered voters; 10 participated in the Nov. 2 election.
The information about the Lake Sammamish precinct comes from a detailed analysis of the precinct results in the recent election. (Issaquah is carved into 30 precincts.)
The neighborhood-level data — released a month after the election — illustrates how the Issaquah electorate bucked state trends on some issues and rejected incumbents even as the candidates cruised to re-election.
The dueling liquor initiatives on the ballot, 1100 and 1105, received uneven support from Issaquah voters.
Initiative 1100, a liquor privatization measure backed by Issaquah-based Costco — the largest employer in the city — received broad backing in the city even as the measure came up short statewide.
Initiative 1105 failed in every Issaquah precinct and only managed to garner 35 percent of the vote statewide.
November 9, 2010
Both parties highlight successes in local contests
The national GOP tsunami carried Republicans into statehouses across the nation on Election Day, but in Washington, the wave amounted to little more than a gentle crest.
Republicans did not dislodge Democrats from majorities in the state Senate or state House of Representatives, but candidates faced a testier electorate, and Democrats face shrunken majorities in both chambers.
Despite strong candidates and a favorable political environment, Republicans did not reclaim a majority in Issaquah-area statehouse seats.
Democrats and Republicans trumpeted successes in the days after Election Day, as elections offices tallied the remaining ballots for statehouse contests.