Wednesday evening I attended a public forum in Renton to hear the proposals of three charter school applicants. More than 350 people showed up during the course of the evening, with standing-room-only the first hour. Immigrant, low-income, middle-income and upper-income parents testified they hoped their children could attend one of the three proposed charter schools.
According to TheSeattle Times, Governor Inslee is upset at a Republican claim that a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) would increase the price of a gallon of gas by $1. Recently, some have expressed concern that the Governor will impose an LCFS using an executive order.
Lawmakers introduced another 206 bills on Wednesday, bringing the total number of measures before them to 3,003, including carryovers from the 2013 session. Many of these bills won’t see the light of day, which prompts the question: Just how does the legislature manage such a large workload? Here’s how it works.
Last month Governor Inslee said it was time for Washington to “have a conversation” about increasing our state’s minimum wage, already the highest of any state in the nation. At the time the Governor did not specify what the higher minimum wage should be, only that the current wage of $9.32 is not enough.
Day Two of the legislative session in Olympia saw more fast action as the House moved HB 1043, which limits the setting of different tuition rates for high demand college programs, to the floor calendar for an impending vote. The House passed the bill last February with a 95-1 vote.
Governor. Inslee’s State of the State address, however, captured the main attention of lawmakers and Olympia observers on Tuesday. The Governor highlighted three major objectives for the legislative session:
• Raise the state minimum wage by as much as $ 2.50 up to $ 11.82 an hour.
House Bill 2133, sponsored by Representative Elizabeth Scott (R-Monroe) and Representative Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle), would require the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) to prepare a report showing how the following agreements and laws require or permit the sharing of personally identifiable student data or student-level data from Washington state students, without the written consent of students or their parents or guardians:
In Olympia the House started the session with an unusual first-day vote on HB 1817, the Washington Dream Act, passing it 71-23, with some Republicans joining majority Democrats. For the complete roll call vote, see washingtonvotes.org.
Lawmakers formally introduced 179 prefiled bills on Monday, with another 49 bills slated for introduction on Tuesday. HB 1817 was the only bill that saw significant action.
The latest numbers for enrollees in the Obamacare health insurance exchanges were recently released. We are now over half way through the enrollment period, but only 2.2 million of the 7 million people the federal government predicted have signed up.
The 2014 Washington state legislative session began today and Republicans have introduced a bill to help the 290,000 Washingtonians who had their health insurance policies cancelled because of Obamacare.
Washington Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson recently admitted the SR-520 Bridge Project she manages is $420 million over budget. Cost overruns have already consumed the $250 million contingency fund, and Secretary Peterson says she needs $170 million more to keep the project afloat. Peterson said “the good news” is she wants to get the $170 million from increased borrowing and by taking money from road improvements in other communities.
Tomorrow, January 14, 2014, HB 2071 will have a public hearing in the House Transportation Committee work session. HB 2071 would streamline permitting and contracting to repair or replace structurally deficient bridges in the state. The bill is based off of the great work the Washington State Department of Transportation did when the Skagit River Bridge collapsed last year. Streamlined permitting allowed state officials to build and install a replacement span in just four months.
As part of the Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW), Republican members offered their ideas for effectively cutting carbon emissions in Washington state. On the whole, the Republican proposals yield more environmental benefit per dollar spent, but do not yield significant emissions reductions.
The key shortcoming of these policies is that they focus only on electricity. Washington state's electricity is already extremely decarbonized. As a result, focusing on electricity (as many of the Democrats' proposals do as well), is not going to make meaningful reductions.