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.
May 26, 2015
May 20, 2015
Strike doesn’t set a good example for students
When teachers go on strike, they doing so against state law (RCW 41.56.120). (Nothing contained in this chapter shall permit any public employee the right to strike or refuse to preform his or her official duties.)
May 17, 2015
NEW — 6 a.m. May 17, 2015
Sen. Steve Litzow, a 41st District Republican, declined an 11 percent pay increase recommended and approved by an independent citizens’ commission that sets pay for elected officials until the Legislature addresses its paramount constitutional duty and fully funds public education.
“Washington state’s priority is to provide every child with a quality education,” Litzow, who serves as chairman of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, said in a news release. “Until lawmakers can get our job done and agree on a new budget that includes ample funding for important student programs, teachers and the actual cost of educating children, it’s irresponsible to accept a pay increase.
May 16, 2015
NEW — 6 a.m. May 16, 2015
Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, will donate his share of a pay increase recently approved for state lawmakers to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.
“I learned (May 15) there is no easy way to decline this pay increase,” Mullet said in a news release. “We did not ask for it, and did not vote for it, so I figured donating the pay increase to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank would make sure this pay raise benefits our local community.”
Mullet will donate the first portion of the pay raise — $3,368 — when it kicks in this September. The following year, the amount of his donation will increase to $4,723 as the second portion of the pay raise takes effect.
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.
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.
March 31, 2015
Tobacco addiction is the leading cause of preventable deaths in Washington, causing about 8,300 residents to die each year. Annual health costs now surpass $2.8 billion.
The best way to combat this crisis is to raise the legal smoking age to 21, as the Washington State Legislature is considering with SHB 1458. Attorney General Bob Ferguson requested the bill, and science supports his efforts.
March 17, 2015
State legislators descended on their Eastside jurisdictions March 14, holding open houses in Bellevue and Issaquah.
At Bellevue’s Somerset Elementary School, one main topic was education, with dozens of teachers outside, and later inside, carrying signs mostly declaring, “It’s time to fully fund education.”
March 17, 2015
Christopher Chen, a student at The Overlake School, recently spent a week working as a page for the Washington State Senate at the Capitol in Olympia.
Chen was sponsored by 41st District Sen. Steve Litzow.