House Democrats tip their hand on Hirst

With two days to go in the Legislature’s third overtime session, I thought we had a good shot at wrapping things up on a positive note. Senate and House negotiators had verbally agreed on a final capital budget, and House Democrats had received another offer that would permanently solve the situation caused by the Hirst […]

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Some parting thoughts with the Capitol in the rearview mirror

The speaker of the House is known for holing up in his office, and as the 2017 legislative session fizzled to a strange end yesterday, the news media took note of that more than usual. One journalist reported how Speaker Frank Chopp hadn’t spoken with reporters all week about the two things that I hoped […]

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Work continues, but what a day June 30 was

The drive home to Adams County today gave me time to reflect on the magnitude of what the Legislature accomplished yesterday. It was something. A new operating budget is always a heavy lift by itself, but the 2017-19 budget had to dovetail with the school-funding reforms that represented five years of collective effort (more for […]

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A generational solution that puts students, hard-working taxpayers first

I’m reminded today how more than seven years ago, a group of Republican senators proposed a way to significantly increase state funding for public schools and in turn take the pressure off local school districts to come up with money for basic education. I was a co-sponsor of that landmark plan, introduced by former Senator […]

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Budget talks continue…and so does the spin

The former FBI director spoke last week about the challenge posed by media coverage of sensitive topics involving classified information. Because officials who know the details aren’t inclined to talk to reporters, he told a Senate committee, they have to “leave it” when reports are off-target. Budget negotiations in Olympia (which have been going since […]

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The state’s ‘commitment to tolerance’ gets a test at Evergreen

Jerry Kulm graduated from Ritzville High School in 1967, the same year legislators in Olympia decided to create what would be the first four-year college in southwest Washington. He died serving in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam in 1970, a year before classes began at that new institution – The Evergreen State College, here in […]

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Don’t be taken in by the spin – legislators are negotiating

Democrat lawmakers still are trying to convince anyone within earshot that our Senate majority is boycotting negotiations toward a new operating budget. For instance, the Senate’s minority-caucus chair recently wrote that Democrats are “ready to sit down at the table.” Right after accusing our Senate majority of employing “alternative facts.” A few days earlier the […]

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Busting the Democrats’ myth about ‘Connecting Washington’

All year long Democrat lawmakers have mentioned the “Connecting Washington” transportation package of 2015 when talking about reaching major agreements this year. For the longest time that didn’t make sense. There wouldn’t have been a 2015 package if Democrats hadn’t fumbled the first try in 2013. Why keep bringing it up? Now it’s clear. Democrats […]

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House majority plan would have King County property owners pay more

My Democratic counterparts in the House criticize how our Senate majority’s education-funding reforms, and the budget proposal which supports them, would keep property taxes as the primary source of support for schools. They claim a property tax “is indiscriminate, hitting rich and poor people alike – and disproportionately hitting certain districts, especially in the Puget […]

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