Washington Policy Blog

Governor Inslee calls special session for transportation package

November 5, 2013 in Blog

Governor Inslee announced today that he will call for a special session, beginning this Thursday, to pass a transportation package. According to the governor, an agreement is close. He said that the package would be around $10 billion. Funding for the Columbia River Crossing project will not be a part of the package.

He said a transportation package is needed to keep Boeing in the area, and hopes to have a tax package complete within seven days.

Look for election results tonight, tomorrow, and in the weeks to come

November 5, 2013 in Blog

For most election races we will probably know the outcome sometime tonight. For those close races, however, it will take a few more days and perhaps weeks to know the victors. That is because that although Washington is all vote by mail, ballots aren't due on Election Day but simply need to be postmarked.

For our neighbors in Oregon, however, their ballots are actually due on Election Day. How is that process working for Oregon? Here is what I was told last year by Brenda Bayes, Elections Deputy Director for Oregon:

I-517: Win or lose, lawmakers should consider next steps

November 4, 2013 in Blog

Tomorrow Washingtonians will head to the drop box or mailbox and turn in their ballots passing judgment on I-517 and the changes proposed to the state's initiative system. Depending on the outcome lawmakers will be faced with a couple of options.

Proposed Unemployment Rule Would Hurt Employers and Workers

November 1, 2013 in Blog

The state Employment Security Department (ESD) is considering a seemingly innocuous change to a rule governing the appeals process for unemployment tax and benefit decisions.  However, the rule change would give the state agency an unfair advantage when its decisions are challenged by employers or claimants and seriously undermine confidence in ESD to make unbiased decisions. 

Transportation Commission chairman says traffic jams would be solved if more people drove at night

October 31, 2013 in Blog

Washington State Transportation Commission (WTC) Chair Dan O’Neal wants to make it more expensive for you to drive your car, and said there’d be less bad traffic if more people drove at night.

On TVW’s Inside Olympia, host Austin Jenkins asked O’Neal, “Does the state have an interest in engineering people to change their behavior?” O’Neal’s response:

Obamacare is Responsible for Millions Losing Their Current Health Insurance

October 30, 2013 in Blog

In 2009 the President said if you like your current health insurance you would be able to keep it - period.

The Administration has known for months, years actually, that millions of Americans who owned health insurance in the individual market would lose their plans because of Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act requires every plan sold in this market to contain 10 benefit mandates, many of which people don't want or need, like maternity care, and pediatric glasses, and substance abuse treatment.

Inslee Climate Agreement: Ineffective, Undermines the Bipartisan Approach and Promises Are Not "Legally Binding"

October 28, 2013 in Blog

As expected, Governor Inslee today signed the "Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy" along with other West Coast leaders and it includes promises that contradict the spirit of Governor Inslee's own legislation and the analysis provided as part of that process.

The section on a "low-carbon fuel standard" is the best example of how this agreement is at odds with the approach laid out in the Governor's climate bill, 5802. It reads:

Will Governor’s Climate Shortcut Destroy Opportunity for Bipartisan Agreement?

October 28, 2013 in Blog

This morning, Governor Inslee will be signing a climate agreement with other west coast governors and the BC Premier. According to the Governor’s office and press reports, the agreement will cover:

Thirty-one parent and community groups seek approval to open charter schools in Washington

October 27, 2013 in Blog

Last week, Tuesday, October 22nd, was the preliminary deadline for parents, teachers, school principals and other community groups who wish to open a charter public school.  Because the required Notices of Intent had to be postmarked Tuesday, it wasn’t until Friday the state commission realized the full extent of the public’s pent-up interest.  By Friday, twenty-eight groups had filed notices with the state commission, and 3 additional groups had filed their notices with Spokane Public Schools.

Obamacare Is an Entitlement

October 27, 2013 in Blog

Virtually everyone who understands federal government financing in this country believes we need entitlement reform. The existing programs either need benefit reductions, or the government needs more tax revenue to pay for benefits, or the programs need some combination of these two things.

TVW interview of Minnesota Senator who wrote nation's first charter school bill

October 24, 2013 in Blog

This week Ember Reichgott Junge, the Democratic Minnesota state senator who wrote the nation's first charter school bill, visited Seattle to share her charter school knowledge and experience. TVW's Anita Kissee conducts an informative interview of the Senator, which I've posted below.

Senator Reichgott Junge said that charter schools will give Washington children new, exciting learning opportunities.  She also said charter schools will benefit teachers, too, because these schools give teachers new opportunities to try creative approaches with their students.    

Effective Climate Policy for Washington, Step Two: Attempting to Cut Emissions with Renewable Electricity is Costly and Ineffective

October 23, 2013 in Blog

For the first time, Washington state is attempting to base its official climate policy on approaches that provide the greatest environmental benefit for every taxpayer dollar spent. Past efforts have done nothing to measure the actual climate impact or to prioritize the way tax money is used. As a result, Washington politicians have wasted huge amounts of money while yielding little or no benefit for the environment.

Charter school application deadline today

October 22, 2013 in Blog

Today, October 22nd, is a key deadline for parents and community leaders who wish to open a charter school under Washington’s voter-approved charter school law.  Charter schools are popular with parents because they allow local educators to adapt their learning program to meet children’s needs. Notices of Intent to submit an application are due today.  

Effective Climate Policy for Washington, Step One: Count Emissions Correctly

October 21, 2013 in Blog

As part of Governor Inslee’s climate workgroup, known as CLEW, for Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup, state officials are taking public comment about the future of climate policy in Washington. The state hired a consulting firm, SAIC, to issue a report on various strategies to reduce Washington state’s carbon emissions.

This week, we will analyze that report and look at how we can get the greatest environmental benefit for every taxpayer dollar.