A session that rewrote history, not always accurately

I was reading the other day that this year’s Legislature raised taxes by $480 million. This was news to me and I think to just about everyone on my side of the aisle, mainly because it isn’t true. That hasn’t kept our Democratic colleagues from claiming it. The whole thing is a little odd. If […]

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Time at long last for House to pass drunk-driving bill

This post originally appeared in the leadership blog of the Majority Coalition Caucus, Exit 105. Before we wrap up our business for the year and start thinking about the long drive home, a drunk-driving bill awaits our action in the Legislature. Something we need to do before we get behind the wheel. A series of terrible accidents in the […]

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Treasurer’s tortured argument for high tuition a matter of politics

We keep hearing the strangest things about our tuition plan in the state Senate – our unprecedented, first-of-its-kind proposal to roll back college tuition at Washington colleges and universities. Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, and I have proposed the College Affordability Program which would cut tuition an average 25 percent, and make it a matter of […]

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Time to get over the tax-increase obsession

As time runs out on our overtime session in Olympia, I think it’s a good moment to ask an important question. What on earth is keeping us here? Last week should have settled things. State economists told us we can count on another $400 million without raising taxes a dime. Now we can say for […]

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Collective bargaining shouldn’t be a secret

What would you say if you were presented with an agreement over which you had no say, was negotiated in secret and cost you millions — and the only thing you could do was turn thumbs-up or thumbs-down? Most likely what you would say would be unprintable. Unfortunately, we in the Legislature are limited to yea or nay. For the last 10 […]

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State Voting Rights Act doesn’t live up to noble name

When talk turns to the Voting Rights Act, that old black-and-white news footage starts running through our minds — sit-ins, boycotts and the March on Washington. The federal law of 1965 was one of the most significant bills of the last century, fulfillment of the promise that all shall have the right to vote. And I think those powerful images […]

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The curse that haunts the Legislature

It’s one of the facts of political life: Whenever good times return, some people want to spend as though they’re going to last forever. Happy days are here again. Turn that frown upside down! Only a gloomy fellow speaks of recession. And those of us who are grown-ups should know how silly that is. Anyone who […]

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Follow the breadcrumbs to a government shutdown

Last week, when there was still a chance for us to finish our business in Olympia on time and adjourn this weekend, we were flabbergasted by an argument we heard from our Democratic colleagues in the House. As budget negotiations started, they said they should not be required to vote for a $1.5 billion tax […]

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A red pencil for the state teachers’ union

The Washington Education Association, the union that represents most schoolteachers in this state, is teaching Washington a most valuable lesson this week. You can’t believe everything you hear. For the last few days a radio ad has been making the claim the Senate has voted to make classrooms more crowded and shortchange teacher salaries, at […]

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Will this governor cause a government shutdown?

Jay Inslee dropped a bomb Thursday. Pass a tax increase, the governor told us, or he won’t sign the budget. No one is sure if he is threatening to veto the budget. Maybe he’s saying he will allow the budget to become law without his signature. Or maybe we just ought to take it as […]

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