Republicans will control the U.S. Senate next session. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, remains unpopular with Americans and the issue for the G.O.P. will be to repeal or reform the law. With President Obama in the White House until 2016, the chance for repeal is virtually zero. The Republicans don't have enough votes to override a presidential veto.
Voter turnout as of Saturday for the 2014 Election in Washington is a meager 24.4%. This means if we are to get anywhere close to the 62% forecast by the Secretary of State a flood of ballots will be hitting the mail in the next day. This likely means we'll be waiting several days to weeks to learn the winners of close races.
New research finds that some justices on the state supreme court have received political contributions from a lead party in a key lawsuit now before the court.
Parties in the case, League of Women Voters, Washington Education Association, et al vs State of Washington, are asking the court to strike down Washington’s charter school law, passed by voters in 2012, and bar children from attending a charter public school.
This year, voters in Oregon will decide on a GMO labeling initiative similar to the one Washington residents turned down last year. During last year's campaign, we noted that Washington State University was developing a strain of wheat that would eliminate or greatly reduce the gluten toxicity. We thought it would be a good time to check in on the progress of this effort.
The House Finance Committee held a work session yesterday focused on the fiscal health of Washington's cities and counties. Among the presentations lawmakers heard was a pitch from the Washington Association of Counties to provide local governments more flexibility on existing tax sources while providing new tax options. One recommendation in particular of note from the Counties:
The Seattle Times reported on this morning’s horrendous traffic jams, noting politics and policy choices are getting in the way of providing people with congestion relief. Transportation reporter Mike Lindblom noted, “Congestion relief is no longer an official top priority of Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)” as it was in the past. In 2007 lawmakers re-prioritized transportation spending to achieve five goals with transportation money. They added a sixth in 2010.
Union executives have spent $3.5 million promoting Initiative 1351, because they stand to profit by up to $7.4 million a year in new member dues taken from public education budgets. If it passes, they could double their “investment” in the first year.
Nine weeks after classes started, students at Garfield High School in Seattle learned last week that they will be losing one of their teachers.
Administrators at the state’s largest school district, overseen by Board President Sharon Peaslee and six other board members, informed Garfield and five other local schools they planned to take away one of their teachers.
“Survey question to lawmakers and candidates: Would you vote to allow the people of Washington to have the opportunity to vote on a state constitution amendment to require a supermajority vote in the Legislature to raise taxes?
It’s widely assumed that Initiative 1351, the ballot measure that purports to reduce class sizes, will pass by a wide margin. The initiative title has bumper-sticker attractiveness, it faces no organized opposition, and executives at the powerful WEA and other unions are putting $3.5 million of their members’ dues money behind it. (In Washington, teachers must pay the union as a condition of employment.)