Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler is testifying before Congress today in praise of the implementation of the Obamacare law in our state.In his comments, however, he is unlikely to provide much detail about the hurtful disruption the law and his tough-minded regulatory actions are causing Washington families.
Washington state has been very pro-active about implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. Washington is one of only 15 states to establish a state health insurance exchange. The other 35 states plan to use the federal exchange, which has been plagued by glitches and major problems. Medicaid expansion is a huge part of Obamacare and will be administered through the state exchange. The legislature never took a formal vote on the Medicaid expansion.
Last month, voters in Washington state rejected labeling biotechnology crops, known as "genetically modified organisms" or GMOs. The issue, however, isn't going away. Here are three bits of GMO news and information since the labelling initiative was turned down.
Bees and Bt Corn
As a beekeeper, I ran across this one in my winter reading.
After going through multiple special sessions to adopt the state's 2013-15 budget, the last thing lawmakers will want to do is fight about a 2014 supplemental budget. State agencies, however, have already submitted their 2014 supplemental budget wish list requesting a combined increase in spending of $895 million and 806 new FTEs.
Last week, in “Union directive a snag to universal preschool,” The Seattle Times reported that unions are using a City of Seattle daycare program to boost their dues-paying membership. Outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn is requiring day care providers to give SEIU union organizers personal information about employees who work with children, including employee names and addresses.
Data just released from AAA reveals that Washington State’s gas prices are averaging $3.31 per gallon. Yet that’s not the real price. The real price of a gallon of gas at the pump is $2.75; the remaining 55.9¢ is the tax collector’s share, a 20% tax rate at the current price.
Consumers have a right to know exactly what they are paying in taxes. Utah, for example, posts the federal and state gas taxes on a sticker at the pump. It should also be a separate line item on the receipt.
Donna Blankenship has a good article describing the parent and community-based groups that are working to expand education opportunities for children by opening a charter school in Washington. You can read the article here.
Last week representatives of the business community received a copy of the Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) snapshot comparison of workers’ compensation benefits and employer costs in Washington and five other aerospace states. The L&I chart was presented in a legislative task force meeting on Boeing’s 777x.
When Spokane voters this year passed Proposition 2 – requiring a two-thirds vote of the city council or voter approval in order to raise taxes – opponents said the higher standard would make it impossible for to raise the revenue needed to run the city. At the time, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said it would “kill government.” A local left-wing newspaper columnist said it would
Yesterday the House Labor & Workforce Development Committee held a work session on our state’s workers’ compensation program. Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) Director Joel Sacks gave an overview and update of the state-run monopoly system, explaining to lawmakers the current financial state of the system, how the reforms passed in 2011 are
The state's Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup (CLEW) is examining policies designed to reduce the state's carbon emissions. The key tool in that process is supposed to be a report analyzing the effectiveness of those strategies. The report, however, provides very little useful information about what strategies are best.