Washington Policy Blog

Minimum wage, worker benefits, collective bargaining openness set for committee action next week

January 23, 2015 in Blog

With session entering its 12th day, lawmakers continue to introduce bills, proposing over 1,200 to date, while spending much of their working days in committee meetings and hearings. So far, the House has passed 14 bills out of committee, dealing with topics ranging from anti-freeze products to locksmith services. 

Two Minimum Wage Bills, Same Result

January 23, 2015 in Blog

The battle to increase the state’s minimum wage is in full swing in the Legislature.  In just the second week of the Legislative Session, two bills have already been introduced to require employers to pay every worker a higher minimum wage.

Agency Study on State's Economic Climate Doesn't Paint a Complete Picture of Business Costs

January 22, 2015 in Blog

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council recently released its annual “Washington State Economic Climate Study.”  The report is charged with weighing a series of benchmarks under four main indicators (Innovation Drivers, Business Performance, Economic Growth and Competitiveness, Quality of Life) that are supposed to characterize the competitive environment of the state and measuring how Washington compares with other states.

Does the initiative process need fixing?

January 22, 2015 in Blog

Washington's constitution doesn't waste any time laying down the law when it comes to who is in charge:

ARTICLE 1, SECTION 1 POLITICAL POWER. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

A look at state constitutional amendments proposed by legislators

January 21, 2015 in Blog

Among the nearly 1,000 bills and resolutions introduced by lawmakers so far are a number of proposed amendments to the state constitution. These are introduced as House or Senate Joint Resolutions, which, if passed by a two-thirds vote of both houses, would be submitted to a vote of the people in the coming November election. If a majority of voters approve, the proposed amendment becomes part of the state constitution.

Has state spending really been cut by $12 billion?

January 21, 2015 in Blog

In his State of the State speech on January 13th, Governor Jay Inslee said existing and projected state spending had been cut by $12 billion.

“Over the past six years we’ve cut existing and projected spending in our state budget by $12 billion dollars.”  Governor Jay Inslee, January 13th, at 50:03

After opening ceremonies, lawmakers get down to work

January 16, 2015 in Blog

With the pomp and circumstance of opening ceremonies behind it, the 64th Legislature has settled in for the long haul, with lawmakers introducing bills and working through daily rounds of committee meetings. 

Charter School Commission may block family members from charter school boards

January 15, 2015 in Blog

Today, The Seattle Times reports members of the state Charter School Commission may consider a rule to prohibit family members from serving together on the board of directors of a charter school.  The charter school law allows family members on charter school boards, but the Commission is moving to block family members from working together to help their local school. 

Inslee Climate Advisor Suggests "Cap-and-Jail"

January 15, 2015 in Blog

Last night, a member of Governor Inslee's carbon taskforce told a University of Washington audience that to ensure emissions reductions targets were met, he favored "cap-and-jail."

Senate rule change, leadership surprise and State of the State address set stage for legislative battles ahead

January 14, 2015 in Blog

Governor Inslee, in his State of the State address before the legislature Tuesday, doubled down on his sweeping proposals for a 15% increase in state spending and new taxes, including a capital gains tax on state residents. 

He also welcomed new lawmaker Rep. Carol Gregory (D-Federal Way) who was appointed to replace Rep. Roger Freeman (D-30th District) who died while in office.

Remote testimony option progressing in Spokane and Tri-Cities

January 14, 2015 in Blog

You know it's getting real when a job posting for a Senate Remote Testimony Clerk in Spokane goes out and the President of Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities volunteers the school to be a remote testimony location.

As reported by KNDU Tri-Cities last night:

Tacoma school board members seek to bar children from charter schools

January 13, 2015 in Blog

The News Tribune reports members of the Tacoma school board say too many area families may try to send their children to local charter schools, so they want Olympia to make it illegal for educators to open more than two such schools in any district.

Revenue forecast reform proposed

January 13, 2015 in Blog

During a budget writing session there are three key dates to keep in mind: The March revenue forecast, June 1, and July 1.

It is after the March revenue forecast that budget discussions kick into high gear. June 1 is the date in law by which the budget for the next biennium is supposed to be enacted and July 1 is the beginning of the fiscal year for a new biennium (meaning no budget could mean a government shutdown).

Senate considers tax rule change

January 11, 2015 in Blog

The 2015 Legislative Session is set up to be on the most historic gatherings of lawmakers in Washington since the founding of the state. Not to disappoint, on the first day a potential fight over Senate rules may unfold. According to a press release:

A proposal to change the Senate’s voting rules to make it harder to raise taxes will be one of the first items of business when the Legislature convenes Monday.