Washington Policy Blog

Good news for charter school families: Superintendent Randy Dorn delays effort to impose restrictions on charter schools

May 29, 2015 in Blog

There’s good news today for charter school children and their families.  Reporter Jim Camden at The Spokesman-Review provides an informative account of the reaction of charter school supporters on learning that the surprise rules state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn wants to impose would sharply restrict innovation and student learning at the new schools.

One liberal blogger admits a $15 minimum wage will cause harm

May 28, 2015 in Blog

Liberal political blogger and columnist Kevin Drum, whose musings are published in the leftist Mother Jones magazine, says he is “thrilled” that cities like Seattle, San Francisco (and soon Los Angeles) are mandating a $15 minimum wage.  Not because such a wage will lift working families out of poverty, but because he says it will “give us a great set of natural experiments to figure out what happens when you raise the minimum wage a lot.”

$15Now! advocates won't admit the harm caused by their own policy

May 28, 2015 in Blog

One definition of “irresponsible” is to push for a policy idea that affects thousands of people, then when you win refuse to recognize the harm your idea is causing in people’s lives.

That is the position $15Now! advocates are in right now.

Seattle businesses are at the epicenter of the drive for local governments to impose tough $15 Now! laws, resulting in disruption as employers scramble to adapt. 

Association Health Plans Under Attack in Washington State

May 28, 2015 in Blog

The Washington state legislature legalized Association Health Plans (AHPs) in 1995. The idea was to allow employers with 50 or fewer empoyees to buy high quality and affordable health insurance in the "large group market." Small employers could band together and form an AHP as long as they were in related industries.

Washington State Superintendent’s regulatory power grab will hurt charter school families

May 27, 2015 in Blog

They say that if you want to make an announcement that won’t be noticed, post the notice on an obscure website and schedule the hearing the day after a holiday weekend.  That’s just what Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn did when he issued his plan to impose 119 pages of administrative rules on public charter schools and the families that support them.

“I will stay away from the math.” Why Washington’s environmental policy has failed.

May 27, 2015 in Blog

One sentence sums up the last ten years of Washington's environmental policy.

"I will stay away from the math and instead tell you all a short story about my son."

Notable budget dates

May 26, 2015 in Blog

With the first special session winding down here are a few dates to pay attention to as lawmakers work to adopt the state's 2015-17 budget:

State Senator says Seattle’s $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave is to credit for state’s rosy revenue forecast

May 22, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday Senator Andy Billig attributed some of the modest increase in the state’s revenue forecast to the city of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave mandates.

In a Democratic Leadership press conference Senator Billig said:

Rideshares now under statewide framework – Senate Bill 5550 signed by Governor Inslee

May 22, 2015 in Blog

Things will get a bit easier for rideshare drivers and their customers under a bill Governor Inslee signed into law last week. Senate Bill 5550, originally sponsored by Senators Cyrus Habib and Joe Fain, provides a statewide structure of insurance requirements for rideshare companies to allow rideshare expansion across the state. WPC provided analysis on the bill back in February.

On average, teachers make more than the families who pay their salaries

May 22, 2015 in Blog

Education leader Rep. Chad Magendanz has released an informative chart (below), based on OSPI data, showing that teachers on average are not underpaid, but make well above the median household income in our state. 

The numbers show that on average teachers make more than the taxpaying working families who pay their salaries. The teacher salary figures are for a ten-month work year, while most people earn their income over twelve months. 

Tough $15 wage law hits San Francisco comic book store

May 21, 2015 in Blog

San Francisco’s harsh $15 minimum wage law is hurting a well-know comic book store in the city.  The owner of Comix Experience, Brian Hibbs, says he supports a living wage in concept, but the tough new law will require $80,000 in extra revenue each year.  “My jaw dropped.  Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that.  I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb,” he says.

When it comes to the impacts of a high minimum wage, a picture is worth a thousand words

May 21, 2015 in Blog

This sign in a Seattle nail salon is a perfect illustration of the unintended consequences of forcing employers to pay an artificially high minimum wage.

New collective bargaining reform bill introduced

May 21, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday state employees held a coordinated lunch time "unity break" to encourage lawmakers to ratify the contracts that were secretly negotiated behind closed doors last summer with Governor Inslee. As a side note, there was a striking (no pun intended) contrast between the ongoing illegal teacher strikes and yesterday's “unity break” by state workers. State workers showed there is a way to protest while showing up for work and not disrupting public services - something other public servants should take note of.

WPC comments on SB 6116, on strikes in public schools

May 19, 2015 in Blog

This afternoon I was invited to speak before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee about SB 6116, on strikes in the public schools. 

Below is an outline of my remarks.

1. Teacher union strikes against the legislature are not possible

a) Union executives say they are calling strikes against the legislature.  This is not possible.

b) Union executives have signed labor contracts with school districts, not the state legislature.  These strikes are by unions against their local community schools.