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
February 25, 2014
Two bills have passed in Olympia that are designed to help level the playing field between auto manufacturers and dealers in franchise agreements.
Amended bills passed in the House (HB 2524) and Senate (SB 6272) that would allow Tesla Motors, manufacturer of electric cars, to continue and expand its system of selling cars directly from the manufacturer to the customer.
Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, said in a news release that he supported the legislation that passed Feb. 19.
February 11, 2014
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would send public officials and employees to what amounts to open-records school.
House Bill 2121 would require public officials and employees to undergo training on open government laws under the state’s Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act.
When the public’s right to know is “stymied” by a public records officer, Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle) said, “it’s not a pleasant thing to deal with.” Pollet is the main sponsor of the bill, and advocated for a similar bill last year.
December 3, 2013
Issaquah’s free bus could be on the chopping block
Without funding, King County Metro Transit could leave Issaquah with only five bus routes next year.
As temporary funding expires in 2014, Metro Transit has reacted by exploring possible cuts to services. A state Legislature special session to pass a transportation package might still happen, but the regional agency is planning ahead for the worst.
“Unfortunately, as a result of the great recession, we’ve lost a considerable amount of the tax revenue that we use to operate our system every day,” Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond said in a video on Metro’s website. “We’ve raised your fare, we’ve spent cash, we’ve improved the efficiency of the system. But we’re running out of the cash reserves and one-time revenue to keep service on the road.”
October 1, 2013
Traffic talks are in a jam.
To address ongoing transportation problems and lobby for a Legislature special session this fall, local and regional representatives met for a town hall Sept. 26. An overflowing crowd came to Issaquah City Hall to voice concerns about traffic and hear possible solutions.
Washington State Department of Transportation Regional Administrator Lorena Eng joined Sen. Mark Mullet, Rep. Jay Rodne, Rep. Chad Magendanz, King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah City Council President Fred Butler, former Bothell City Councilman Dick Paylor and North Bend Mayor Kenneth Hearing to have a discussion in an attempt to resurrect the failed Legislature funding package and hear citizen opinions.
July 23, 2013
Though the state budget was slow to pass, Lake Sammamish State Park will benefit from the results of two legislative special sessions.
A total of $3.5 million will be allocated to improvement projects for the park from the 2013-2015 capital budget that passed the Legislature on June 27 and was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on June 30.
Freshman Sen. Mark Mullet (D-5th, Issaquah) championed the inclusion of the funding through the budgetary stalemate that came close to a state government shutdown.
July 23, 2013
While some education backers are critical of the budget cobbled together by state lawmakers in late June, numbers show public schools will receive more money in the coming year.
Whether it’s enough money for the state to fully fund basic education needs is a question that hasn’t yet been answered.
The Washington Education Association issued a news release that says the state Legislature’s 2013-15 budget “falls far short” of meeting basic education requirements. In the McCleary vs. Washington case, the state Supreme Court ruled the Legislature must increase education spending and fully fund basic education by 2018.