The Washington Health Benefit Exchange just released the latest enrollment numbers. (Here) These were the enrollment figures from December 23rd, which was the deadline for coverage that began on January 1, 2014. Although somewhat improved over the November data, the numbers still reflect a serious adverse selection problem.
Educators at First Place School have applied to open a public charter school in Seattle under Washington’s voter-approved charter school law. In November 2012, Washington became the 42nd state to authorize the popular independent public schools.
As budget writers continue to face growing demands for increased spending with limited resources, alternative ways of delivering services are being explored. One potential option worthy of consideration are "Social Impact Bonds," or pay-for-performance contracts with non-profits/private businesses to help deliver certain social programs.
Thursday’s agenda of the House Labor and Workforce Committee calls for possible executive action on a package of bills that proponents say would deal with workplace fairness issues such as misclassifying employees as independent contractors, underpaying wages, or retaliating against workers who file complaints. The bills are:
• HB 2331, which would require employers to submit certified payroll records to prove they met prevailing wage requirements for public works projects before they are paid by the state.
Last week Governor Inslee sent a letter to the legislature, reproaching them for comments about the potential cost to consumers of a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard. Since he has not outlined his plan, he argued, it is impossible to estimate costs.
He also said it was "offensive" to imply that, "I have in some way been hiding my intentions." He suggested, "If in the future you have questions about my intentions, I suggest you ask me."
HB 2563 was introduced by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34th) and referred the House Transportation Committee this week. This bill would give city, county, or transportation district officials the ability to impose the following tax increases:
The people's right to know has received a serious shot in the arm this session with numerous open government bills under consideration. The Attorney General's proposals to require training of government officials have already received executive action in the House and public hearings in the Senate. Several bills have also been introduced to make more budget related information available online.
In the Senate Monday, the Commerce and Labor Committee considered a bill, SB 6053, to protect state workers who choose to pay their union a representation fee rather than full union dues. Currently, workers must renew this choice every year, or their option automatically expires. SB 6053 would keep the worker’s choice in place year after year, until the worker initiates a change. The bill also protects workers who have a religious objection to forced union membership.
Yesterday supporters of a $15 minimum wage used the observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to rally their cause in Seattle. The chairman of Seattle’s MLK Celebration Committee, Seattle City Councilmember Larry Gossett, endorsed the hijacking of the MLK celebration event to promote a $15 minimum wage, speculating, “He [Martin Luther King Jr.] would fight for this…why wouldn’t he?”
The 2014 session of the legislature convened on Monday, January 13th, and the House moved swiftly to take a rare first-day vote on HB 1817, the Washington State Dream Act. The bill passed by a vote of 71-23. It would provide access to financial aid to college students who were brought to the United States illegally as children. On Friday, the House passed HB 1043 by a vote of 90-1.This bill would prohibit state colleges from charging more tuition for certain programs, such as science, technology and math courses, than they do for less popular courses.
January 1st marked the beginning of the real implementation of Obamacare. Both the Medicaid expansion and the new health insurance received through the state/federal exchanges all began on the 1st. How has the American public responded?