Toward an honest conversation about preventing suicide

— February 12, 2018 As someone who values our Second Amendment rights I am very cautious about bills that include the words “firearm rights” in the title. But a few weeks ago I helped pass a carefully negotiated bill that would allow people to voluntarily waive their firearm rights in the interests of preventing suicide […]

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The ‘Olympia Games’: Quantity doesn’t mean quality

I’m not a big watcher of the winter Olympic Games, which are upon us again, but I do know that most of the events are scored or judged in terms of more points and less time elapsed. Here at the winter Olympia Games, the Senate’s new majority hopes to score points by saying it has […]

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Sure, Inslee’s energy tax would change the climate. But which climate?

— Jan. 25, 2018 Governor Inslee jetted off this week to the Swiss Alps, to talk about the climate. It was interesting how he described the energy tax he wants to impose on the folks back home – what he called “America’s first carbon tax.” Inslee’s energy tax would undoubtedly change the climate. Meaning the […]

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Reason to worry about the balanced-budget law

One-party rule returned to Olympia this week after the November general election results were certified, giving Democrats control of the Senate for 2018. I hope this doesn’t mean the end for Washington’s unique 4-year balanced-budget law, adopted in 2012. We knew the law would protect taxpayers, but it’s also helpful to social-service organizations and other […]

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‘I just wanted to express myself’

This must have been the week for calls from people who were transferred to my Senate office by “robo-calls”. One wave of callers seemed to be prompted by a robo-call about money for state lands and public-recreation projects. The funding is in the proposed capital budget, which should be approved soon after we agree on […]

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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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