Issaquah, Sammamish councils hold first joint meeting in years

July 22, 2014

Issaquah and Sammamish had the meeting equivalent of a group hug July 14.

After a year in which the two cities’ leadership have found themselves on different sides of several issues, both city councils and other city administrative staff met at Issaquah City Hall to discuss points of mutual interest. It was their first joint meeting since 2011.

“We all have one thing in common,” Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler said. “We certainly love our cities and we love representing them. We not only care about our communities, we care about the region as well.”

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Four candidates face off in 5th District primary

July 8, 2014

Voters will have four choices for state representative in the 5th Legislative District primary Aug. 5.

The two candidates who receive the most votes will run in the Nov. 4 general election.

Incumbent Republican Chad Magendanz will run again. He touts his expertise on educational issues and his willingness to reach across the aisle as reasons for residents to re-elect him.

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Editorial: Give school credit where it is due

July 1, 2014

Students can get physical education credit for taking a class online, but not for playing sports. This policy has its root in a confusing aspect of state law, which needs to be cleaned up and changed to allow credit for sports.

Under current law, a student can waive the requirement for taking a physical education class if he or she is playing a sport, though students must still take a test to show they understand the concepts taught in class. However, they can’t earn the credit for knowing those concepts.

The benefit to students is in freeing up a class period to take something that might look more interesting on their college application.

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Legislature ends with basic education funding unresolved

March 25, 2014

OLYMPIA — House Bill 2797 and Senate Bill 6483 have a lot in common. Both increased funding for K-3 classroom construction, both had bipartisan sponsorship and both failed to reach the governor’s desk.

In McCleary vs. Washington, the state Supreme Court ruled the state was not sufficiently funding basic education. Earlier this year, the court ordered legislators to quicken the pace of funding to meet McCleary obligations — including K-3 class size reductions. According to the National Education Association, Washington state is fourth worst in the nation for classroom sizes.

House Bill 2797 would have sold $700 million in lottery-backed bonds to fund K-3 classroom construction; it passed out of the House 90-7 with bipartisan support. It failed to make it to the Senate floor after State Treasurer Jim McIntire said lottery-backed bonds were too risky.

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Voters to decide on tax, fee hikes for roads, buses

March 25, 2014

King County voters will decide in April on a $60 car-tab fee and a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase for roads and buses.

On Feb. 24, the Metropolitan King County Council also passed a 25-cent fare increase for bus riders starting in 2015. Peak one-zone fares are $2.50 now, and peak-two-zone fares are $3.

The increases make up a funding package county officials pulled together to save King County Metro Transit from threatened service cuts of as much as 17 percent. County leaders hoped the state Legislature would act to save the bus system, but it didn’t.

The ballot measure would raise $130 million per year, $50 million of which would go to cities around the county to fix their streets. The rest would go toward restoring Metro service and fixing county-maintained roads.

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Issaquah pushes for Legislature movement on transportation

January 14, 2014

Transportation will continue to top Issaquah’s wish list for this year’s legislative session.

At a casual breakfast meeting Jan. 6, city leaders met with local representatives and Issaquah’s lobbyist Doug Levy to discuss the regular session, which began Jan. 13. Fifth District Republican Reps. Jay Rodne and Chad Magendanz joined Democratic Sen. Mark Mullet in talking about the city’s interests in possible legislation.

“As you travel around the region, I imagine that every jurisdiction names transportation as the No. 1 concern, and Issaquah is no different,” new Mayor Fred Butler said. “Last year was a tough legislative session around a transportation package, because there wasn’t one.”

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State transportation system faces failure without reforms

November 19, 2013

Here we go again — talk of yet another special legislative session this year to pass a proposed $12.3 billion transportation tax package.

I will not support a tax proposal, which could include an 11 1/2-cent gas tax increase and a host of new and higher fees, while serious transportation project reforms are needed and folks are struggling to make ends meet.

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State Rep. Tana Senn is ready to serve

September 24, 2013

Mercer Island City Councilwoman Tana Senn is the state’s newest lawmaker, having been appointed to fill the 41st District state representative seat vacated by Marcie Maxwell.

The Metropolitan King County Council appointed her Sept. 9. Senn was the top choice of local Democratic Party officials to fill the vacancy created by Maxwell’s decision to join Gov. Jay Inslee’s education staff.

Rep. Tana Senn

Rep. Tana Senn

Since her appointment, Senn, 42, has hit the ground running, meeting with 41st District mayors, and attending local events in the district that stretches from the northern parts of Renton to the southern parts of Sammamish, encompassing Mercer Island and Newcastle, and parts of Issaquah and Bellevue.

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