Washington Policy Blog

Obamacare CO-OPs are Starting to Fail

January 26, 2015 in Blog

Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, did not include a "public option" health insurance plan, it did provide for federally-funded new companies to compete with existing carriers. These CO-OPs, or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, were originally slated to receive $6 billion dollars of taxpayer loans at very favorable interest rates.

Spokane Group Preps to Push “Worker Bill of Rights”

January 26, 2015 in Blog

The labor-backed group Envision Spokane is reportedly working on a “Worker Bill of Rights” for the City of Spokane.  Founded by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Envision Spokane is comprised of more than two-dozen unions, community organizations and groups with ties to national organizations.

Solar, Food, High-Tech Companies Hit By Governor's Cap-and-Trade Proposal

January 26, 2015 in Blog

Tomorrow, the House Environment Committee will hear the Governor's cap-and-trade legislation that would charge businesses that emit carbon dioxide. There has been debate about who is actually covered under the plan. Although the Department of Ecology says there are 130 organizations that will be hit, their list includes only 94.

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: