Austin Jenkins reports that last Friday, public school mom Jennifer Harjehausen, from Kent, drove to Olympia to testify at a public hearing. She told lawmakers that parents have to buy school supplies:
“We gave Sharpies to my kids’ teacher for Christmas," she said. "I mean come on. The PTA buys disinfectant for the computer lab. We have to provide our own trash can liners when we hold an event. That is crazy.”
With just four days to go in the 2013 Regular Session, lawmakers and the Governor are discussing the framework for the inevitable specials session(s). One difference this year from previous special sessions may be how tightly focused state officials' efforts and attention are.
A key transportation tax bill, HB 1954 "Transportation revenue," was voted out of House committee today. That in itself is not remarkable. What is concerning is the adoption in committee of Rep. Habib's (D-48th) Amendment #4. The amendment would give the Secretary of Transportation the authority to raise the state gas tax by up to three cents a gallon.
Yesterday was Earth Day and Governor Inslee and Mayor McGinn attended the opening of the Bullitt Center, billed as the "greenest" building on the planet. One of the selling points is that it creates more energy than it uses. But, is it really green?
Last week I attended a fascinating presentation sponsored by the Center for Reinventing Public Education at the UW - a story about saving a Catholic school in Seattle and the lessons it holds for public education.
Though we have serious concerns about the impact of the House Democrat's $1.3 billion tax increase proposal on the state's economy and jobs (nearly 10,000 private sector jobs could be lost), at least the public will actually have a chance to weigh in on the proposal.
Last week, Senate leaders called for a formal investigation into the multi-billion-dollar Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project. In a two-page letter to Governor Inslee, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus highlighted the need for an immediate investigation of the CRC, following the results of an independent audit. This letter echoes a Washington Policy Center letter from December 4 to then-State Auditor Brian Sonntag. The text of the letter follows:
With a special session all but guaranteed for the Legislature to finish its work on the 2013-15 budget, a simple bill being considered by the Senate Ways and Means Committee today could have a fundamental impact on future budget debates.
Introduced on Monday and heard for a public hearing on Tuesday, SB 5910 would move up the state's March revenue forecast to February in long sessions. The bill is scheduled for executive action in the Senate today.
Next Friday, April 26th, Geoffrey Canada will be the keynote speaker for Stand for Children’s Changing the Odds luncheon at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle. Geoffrey Canada is the president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit that provides a variety of services to help low-income children and families in New York City.
Yesterday, SB 5496, “Authorizing Approval of Online School Programs in Private Schools,” passed the House of Representatives, 97-0. The Senate passed it last month, 47-0. The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.
Looks like editors at The Olympian decided to declare April 16 as "Legislative Transparency Day." The capital city newspaper ran two editorials today highlighting our recommendations to improve the public's access to the legislative process.