News from Madison yesterday delivered another blow to union executives seeking to restrict workers’ rights to freedom of speech and association. Wisconsin courts have again upheld Act 10, the law that made Wisconsin the latest right to work state by bringing equal access to workplace freedom to all employees in the Badger State.
In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 517. The measure would make several changes to state law concerning signature gathering for initiatives and referendums. Initiative 517 would increase the time period for gathering signatures, require that proposals that receive an adequate number of valid signature proceed to the ballot, change the penalties for interfering with signature gathering, and increase the number of locations, both public and private, where signature gathering can occur.
Today, in Yakima, the State Board of Education unanimously voted to give Spokane Public Schools the authority to open charter schools. With this vote, Spokane Public Schools, Washington state's second-largest district, of 28,000 students, will become the first district in the state to offer parents a charter school choice.
Yesterday Governor Inslee launched a new initiative, Results Washington, the latest announcement by a governor to improve state government and the public schools. Governors Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire tried similar initiatives.
A month ago, Senator King (R-Yakima) announced a listening tour at seven different locations in the state to talk about a potential transportation tax package. It has now increased to ten due to public demand. I am glad Senator King and others are involving the general public on any potential legislation involving a tax increase. The updated schedule is listed below:
September 17, 2013 - Stevenson Elementary - Bellevue, WA 6-9 p.m.
Today Governor Inslee put his stamp on the state's long track record with performance management efforts with a "soft" launch of Results Washington. As noted by his press release:
Gov. Jay Inslee today formally launched Results Washington, which will provide faster and easier answers to those questions and access to an unprecedented array of performance data related to his top goals.
Blake Island, Washington – Campers and boaters were enjoying the sun Saturday at this popular state park set in the heart of Puget Sound when they noticed something odd. Across the water to the south ferry traffic between Fauntleroy, Vashon and Southworth, one of the busiest runs in the state system, was at a complete stand-still. Why ferry service would halt on an active summer weekend was a complete mystery. Speculation ranged from a snap union strike to simultaneous mechanical break-downs on all the ferries.
Today, Rick Hess at National Review Online writes a great article drawing the battle lines in education reform. On one side are voices like Diane Ravitch, whose new book attacks school reformers for supporting school choice, accountability, merit pay and greater respect for parents' role in the education of their children. On the other side are caring school reformers, of both parties, alike, who have signed on to well-
Tonight, union and environmental activists are threatening to protest Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's speech at our annual dinner. Such protests, of course, are long on rhythmic chanting and short on thoughtful argument.
It is notable, however, that the announcement of the protest encourages "environmental activists" to protest the Governor's "environment-damaging policies." So, here are five questions for environmental activists who decide to show up tonight.
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is planning to hold three public meetings in October to gather public comment on tolling I-90. Washington Policy Center finds many problems with tolling I-90, described in our Op-Ed in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Last night, executives at Seattle's powerful teachers union decided to back away from their threatened strike action and allow Seattle's 50,000 public school children to attend classes on time. Over the Labor Day weekend parents across the city had been making alternative child care arrangements in case the union followed through on plans to close schools to students.
The union and District officials settled on a two-year contract agreement. I have just finished reading the new agreement. Here are its key terms:
Governor Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and King County Executive Dow Constantine held a news conference today discussing a possible transportation package this year. The governor said that he will call a special session in November to pass a transportation package if the votes are there.
When asked about the Columbia River Crossing project and its inclusion in a possible package, the governor stated that he is looking at alternative ways to finance the bridge. He also mentioned that the Columbia River Crossing project was not the reason the transportation package didn’t pass last session.
Voters in Spokane won't be seeing two controversial city initiatives on their November ballots.
Spokane Superior Court Judge Maryanne Moreno has ruled the two initiatives were outside the scope of city powers. The ballot measures--pushed by a range of special interest groups—sought to, among other things, amend Spokane’s City Charter to grant inalienable legal rights to the Spokane River’s water and sediment.
"This is nuts." That's how one member of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board described the process for approving or rejecting health plans that could be offered to Washingtonians through the Obamacare state exchange.
Earlier, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler rejected plans offered by five of the nine insurers that had sought to offer customers plans through the regulated state exchange, as he explained in a letter released August 21st.