Twelve days ago the State Supreme Court found that the Legislature is in "ongoing violation of its constitutional obligation to amply provide for public education." It imposed a $100,000-a-day fine until a funding plan for this obligation has been satisfied. That adds up to...
Date: 08/26/2015 | Opinion Columnists
A hastily scrawled sign on a fence outside a Twisp home implores: "Firefighters, this is just a house — please stay safe."It's a message made more heartbreaking by Wednesday...
Date: 08/21/2015 | Editorials
OLYMPIA — Sen. Linda Evans Parlette says that her Lake Chelan cabin was among the dozens of buildings that have burned in massive wildfires in Washington state.
Date: 08/18/2015 | Northwest
SEATAC — Gov. Jay Inslee met with legislative leaders and Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Monday to discuss how to address the Supreme Court sanctions announced last week over education funding.
Date: 08/17/2015 | Northwest
CLEARVIEW — Residents of this one-mile stretch along Highway 9 south of Snohomish a few years ago formed a community association to get their concerns in front of lawmakers. Now they're seeing some success in getting their political issues on the table.They'll have the...
Date: 08/17/2015 | Local News
When given a test, students often are asked not just to answer the question but to write down how they arrived at their answer: Show your work, they're told.In
Date: 08/16/2015 | Editorials
A "Tim Eyman Initiative" is like the "Fernando Rodney Experience." It’s a brand. If his name is attached, you know exactly what you’re going to get.
Date: 08/14/2015 | Web Monkey
OLYMPIA — Lawmakers learned Thursday that the penalty for not turning in a homework assignment to the state Supreme Court is $100,000 a day.
Date: 08/13/2015 | Local News
OLYMPIA — The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the state pay $100,000 a day in sanctions, starting immediately, for its lack of progress toward fully paying the cost of basic education.
Date: 08/13/2015 | Northwest
Having hit a wall of opposition in the Legislature this session, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee remains committed to moving forward in some fashion with his initiatives for cleaner air and water.Inslee, who favors baseball metaphors, struck out three times with proposed...
Date: 08/13/2015 | Editorials
The 1st District Democrats will not have their normal monthly meeting Monday. Instead, the District Democratic organization will have its annual picnic Saturday, Aug. 22 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Brightwater facility on highway 9 north of Woodinville.
Date: 08/10/2015 | South County Politics
Washington state's initiative process isn't perfect. At their best, initiatives are as close as we come to direct democracy, resulting in state law that, whether you agree or disagree, represents the will of voters. Initiative 594, which required background checks for most...
Date: 08/05/2015 | Editorials
You may yet get your opportunity to help nominate Donald Trump or any other candidate among the Republicans and Democrats running for president in 2016.Earlier this spring it appeared the state would skip a presidential primary, instead allowing the state parties to use the...
Date: 08/03/2015 | Editorials
You probably heard that Senate Republicans championed a 25 percent tuition reduction for college students. A laudable goal for sure, but this claim is a gross overstatement of the truth.I want to take a moment to set the record straight on the higher education tuition cuts...
Date: 08/02/2015 | Commentary
Much of the Legislature's attention this year was on how it would resolve its mandate to amply fund K-12 basic education. We outlined what remains to be done yesterday.
Date: 07/31/2015 | Editorials
The best grade you can give the Legislature in regard to meeting its 2018 deadline to amply fund education is an incomplete. And that's a grade many in the Legislature would give themselves following the record 176 days they spent in session this year.The only grade that...
Date: 07/30/2015 | Editorials
It didn't take long before the Legislature stopped its crowing about how it funded K-12 education and admitted that it was far from the mandates of the state Supreme Court for basic education. How is that? It starts with Stephanie and Matthew McCleary, parents of two public school kids...
Date: 07/29/2015 | Opinion Columnists
OLYMPIA — State attorneys on Monday urged the Supreme Court to dissolve a contempt order against the Legislature, arguing lawmakers are on pace to ensure the state fully funds basic education for public school students by a 2018 deadline.
Date: 07/28/2015 | Local News
Gov. Jay Inslee is said to be weighing whether to take the dare and swallow what's been dubbed the "poison pill" that Republicans inserted into the $16.2 billion transportation package to dissuade him from moving forward with one of his key environmental proposals.
Date: 07/26/2015 | Editorials
Mountlake Terrace plans to combine the money that will come from the state capital budget with previously allocated state money, money from other grants and money from local bonds to pay for the planned revitalization of Main Street in a few years.
Date: 07/23/2015 | South County Politics
These days Jay Inslee might be America’s most frustrated governor. And we may soon find out how much more frustration — and stomachache — he can take.
Date: 07/23/2015 | Local News
It took 176 days, with two special sessions, including a few extra days tacked on at the end. And with so much riding on a number of outcomes, it was often frustrating to watch as deals were made, dashed and made...
Date: 07/23/2015 | Editorials
OLYMPIA — A new state law bans open containers of marijuana in vehicles starting Sept. 26.The News Tribune said the new law means loose joints, open bags of bud or partially consumed packages of pot-infused edibles must be kept in a vehicle’s trunk or behind its rearmost row of seats.
Date: 07/20/2015 | Northwest
I have submitted letters to The Herald more than once criticizing the ideas in columns by John Burbank. This submittal is to support his column on June 17, "We must back taxes if we want smaller...
Date: 07/18/2015 | Commentary
On opposite ends of the county, the Lakewood and Edmonds school districts face many of the same issues that all school districts are facing, including residential growth in their districts, a new controversial testing regimen and looming changes in how the state funds basic education...
Date: 07/17/2015 | Editorials
TACOMA — Special session costs may exceed a half-million dollars by the time legislators finish their third stint of overtime in Olympia.
Date: 07/16/2015 | Northwest
Last November, Washington voters passed Initiative 1351. I-1351 directed the Legislature to allocate funding for smaller K-12 class sizes, with extra class-size reductions in high-poverty schools. Increased funding for these changes was to have been phased in over four years. This would...
Date: 07/15/2015 | Opinion Columnists
OLYMPIA — At long last, it’s over.The 2015 legislative session came to an uneventful end Friday, a record-setting 176 days after it began.
Date: 07/10/2015 | Local News
OLYMPIA — The Washington Legislature adjourned Friday after a marathon triple-overtime session during which lawmakers raised the gas tax to pay for transportation projects across the state, cut college tuition and put more money toward the state’s education system.
Date: 07/10/2015 | Northwest
The state Senate voted Thursday to allow high school students to graduate without passing a required biology exam and to suspend Initiative 1351 for four years.
Date: 07/09/2015 | The Petri Dish
The longest legislative session in state history may soon be over.
Date: 07/08/2015 | The Petri Dish
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Senate Democrats said Monday they don’t believe the Legislature needs to move this year to address a class-size initiative with a multibillion-dollar price tag that has put the new state operating budget out of balance.
Date: 07/06/2015 | Northwest
Mountlake Terrace will get financial support for revitalizing Main Street as part of the state’s capital budget that the governor signed Tuesday.
Date: 07/06/2015 | South County Politics
In the interests of positive reenforcement, let's take the opportunity here to make note of some legislative successes by lawmakers, even as they plod on with their third special session to come to some final agreements related to budgets and education.Specific to parks,...
Date: 07/06/2015 | Editorials
Most Americans believe the chemicals in products they buy in the supermarket have been tested for safety. But the scandalous truth is our main chemical safety law is so badly broken that no one has the authority to ensure the safety of chemicals used in everything from cleaning products...
Date: 07/05/2015 | Commentary
The session that would never end is still not over.For six months — officially 168 days and counting Thursday — the state’s 147 citizen legislators and chief executive have been passing policies and playing politics.
Date: 07/02/2015 | Local News
Even with two special sessions and counting, there were issues that the Legislature didn't get to this year. But with lawmakers' likely failure to pass legislation that would have helped the state Department of Ecology develop and enforce water quality rules, the state may now be...
Date: 07/02/2015 | Editorials
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new two-year state operating budget just before midnight, averting a government shutdown that state officials had prepared for in case the new spending plan wasn’t in place by day’s end.
Date: 07/01/2015 | Northwest
OLYMPIA – State lawmakers scuffled over high school testing reform into Wednesday morning and the fight is having ripple effects on a fresh new budget and long-sought transportation package.The Senate is at the center of the political wrangling. Democrats want to vote...
Date: 07/01/2015 | Local News
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new two-year state budget a few minutes before midnight Tuesday, ensuring no state agency is closed or state worker laid off when the new fiscal year begins Wednesday.
Date: 07/01/2015 | Local News
SEATTLE — A decision this week to cut tuition for Washington state’s public universities by 15 to 20 percent over the next two years is a rare move that national experts believe could influence other states as they come out from under the recession.
Date: 06/30/2015 | Northwest
Compromise requires concession, especially when the subjects of transportation, taxes and the environment intersect.It appears the Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee have come to terms on a $16.1 billion transportation budget that should be ready for the governor's signature...
Date: 06/30/2015 | Editorials
OLYMPIA — Washington lawmakers are expected to start voting Monday on a state operating budget a day before a deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.
Date: 06/29/2015 | Northwest
Democratic 32nd District State Rep. Ruth Kagi, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, says that the legislature will pass a budget in time to avoid a government shutdown.
OLYMPIA — Lawmakers could start voting as early as Monday night on a $16.1 billion transportation revenue package that includes an 11.9-cent gas tax increase that would be phased in over two years.
Date: 06/29/2015 | Northwest
After the U.S. Supreme Court said Friday that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, Democratic 21st District State Sen. Marko Liias said that the decision enhances the promise of America for gay and lesbian families.
Initiative sponsor Tim Eyman says he’s optimistic about getting enough signatures to qualify his latest measure for the Nov. 3 ballot.
OLYMPIA — House and Senate transportation leaders said Sunday that they have finalized details of a $15 billion transportation revenue package that includes an incremental increase in the gas tax.
Date: 06/28/2015 | Northwest
Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday dropped his pursuit of a low carbon fuel standard aimed at reducing pollution, clearing away a final obstacle to an agreement with lawmakers on a $15 billion transportation package.
Date: 06/28/2015 | The Petri Dish
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday ended, in one sense, same-sex marriage.Now, in every state in the union, we can use just one word: marriage, without need of any qualifier.
Date: 06/28/2015 | Editorials
OLYMPIA — State lawmakers concluded a second special session Saturday as their leaders claimed they had reached agreement on a new two-year budget.But House...
Date: 06/27/2015 | Local News
OLYMPIA — The Legislature on Saturday passed a measure that makes several changes to Washington state’s new recreational marijuana law, ranging from revising the market’s tax structure to zoning rules.
Date: 06/27/2015 | Northwest
OLYMPIA — Budget negotiators say that they are making progress on reaching agreement on a state operating budget, but at least one key lawmaker on Friday acknowledged that they may need to extend beyond the end of the current special session in order to get any final deal passed out of both...
Date: 06/26/2015 | Northwest
OLYMPIA — The House and Senate both passed resolutions honoring the late Washington State University President Elson Floyd, with lawmakers praising him as an advocate for the college and students across the state.
SALEM, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown called an end Thursday to negotiations aimed at raising gas taxes to pay for highway and bridge construction, saying “there simply isn’t a path forward.”
OLYMPIA — In order to avoid a third special session — and a potential partial government shutdown next week — lawmakers are trying to reach agreement and pass a two-year state budget before the current session ends Saturday night.
To lease or to own, that is the question.It’s vexed state lawmakers for months as they consider moving the Washington State Patrol into new digs.
Date: 06/25/2015 | Local News
An open letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, Sens. Mark Schoesler, Sharon Nelson and Curtios King; House Speaker Frank Chopp and Reps. Judy Clibborn and Dan Kristiansen; and all members of the Washington state Legislature:We are writing in a united, bipartisan spirit as leaders,...
Date: 06/25/2015 | Commentary
OLYMPIA — Thousands of state employees received notice Tuesday that they may be temporarily laid off if a new state budget isn’t adopted by early next week.
Date: 06/23/2015 | Northwest
OLYMPIA — As the clock ticks down on Washington state’s second overtime legislative session, House Democrats released their latest budget proposal Monday, a plan that doesn’t include any new taxes but looks for additional revenue through closing or limiting several tax exemptions.
Date: 06/22/2015 | Northwest
There's still more brinkmanship at play than bipartisanship as Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature negotiate a state budget deal, but Gov. Jay Inslee continued his mediator role Friday and provided some insight into where the two sides are at.One of the larger...
Date: 06/22/2015 | Editorials
Geologic processes have destroyed not just cities, but civilizations. In the Pacific Northwest, we are cognizant of the dangers of geologic processes such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.Landslides are an omnipresent geologic process of our neighborhood. However,...
Date: 06/21/2015 | Commentary
A recent letter to the Herald chastises teachers for the one-day walk-outs that occurred around our state. The big complaint was that it inconvenienced parents, who are stressed finding childcare, while teachers are striking for more money (cost of living increases). But these strikes...
Date: 06/20/2015 | Commentary
OLYMPIA — It didn’t take long Friday for a bubble of optimism about a budget deal to be burst, stoking concern about a possible partial government shutdown in 10 days.
Date: 06/19/2015 | Local News
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday that closing some tax exemptions should be the compromise that the House and Senate consider in order to reach a budget agreement quickly and avoid a partial government shutdown in Washington state.
Date: 06/19/2015 | Northwest
In 2014, Congress quietly ended the federal government's prohibition on medical cannabis with a provision buried in the 1,603-page federal spending bill, The Los Angeles Times reported at the time. The...
Date: 06/19/2015 | Editorials
OLYMPIA — State officials on Thursday explained what will happen if parts of government shut down July 1, and it could be a mess.
Date: 06/18/2015 | Local News
If silence is golden, a lot of wealth is stockpiled in the state Capitol, where lawmakers and the governor are mum on progress in reaching a deal on a new state budget.
Date: 06/18/2015 | Local News
It's a good time to talk about money, who has it and who doesn't, especially with the Legislature at loggerheads about the budget. Why? Because the taxes that fund our state's budget come largely from the money we all spend.Notice I said "money we all spend," not...
Date: 06/17/2015 | Opinion Columnists
Democrats in the 32nd Legislative District have endorsed one incumbent and two challengers for places on the Lynnwood City Council.
Date: 06/16/2015 | South County Politics
OLYMPIA — With a budget deal still elusive, thousands of state employees will start receiving notice next week that they may be temporarily laid off on July 1 unless Washington lawmakers reach agreement soon.
Date: 06/16/2015 | Northwest
BOISE, Idaho — A northern Idaho lawmaker’s comment that she could go for days at a special session of the Legislature because she brought beef jerky has prompted a Washington state company to promise to send her a case.
Date: 06/14/2015 | Northwest
The federal government owns large chunks of the West. It owns 65 percent of Utah, 69 percent of Alaska and 83 percent of Nevada. Some Westerners see unfairness in that. They should not.Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska recently slipped an item into a nonbinding budget...
Date: 06/14/2015 | Opinion Columnists
Nationally, over the last few years, we've witnessed an anti-public lands campaign take hold — from Cliven Bundy's brazen standoff with the Bureau of Land Management to the more insidious creep of consistent underfunding for our national parks. However, it seemed absurd that that...
Date: 06/14/2015 | Commentary
Remember those heady days earlier this month when — word was — state House and Senate budget negotiators had struck a tentative deal on the size of the state budget and a conclusion to the second special session might be just days away? That we might avoid a costly and...
Date: 06/14/2015 | Editorials
OLYMPIA — Days before the start of the U.S. Open golf tournament that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the region, some Washington state lawmakers whose temporary leases in the state capital have run out are scrambling to find places to stay as the current overtime legislative...
Date: 06/12/2015 | Northwest
OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a new two-year transportation budget to keep state troopers on patrol, state ferries operating and help solve the problem of traffic back-ups on the Edmonds waterfront.
Date: 06/12/2015 | Local News
Some local legislators say that they remain optimistic about an end to the second special legislative session in Olympia. Many, however, say that they won’t know much until leaders finish negotiating.
Date: 06/11/2015 | South County Politics
One of Snohomish County’s best-known Republicans is eyeing a return to politics in the place where his political career began.John Koster, the Arlington dairy farmer and ex-maker of laws for the state and county, is “seriously” thinking about a run for the Legislature in 2016.
Date: 06/11/2015 | Local News
OLYMPIA — A Senate budget negotiator disputed statements made last week that indicated lawmakers had reached a tentative deal on the size of Washington state’s next two-year budget, saying Monday that the announcement was “premature.”
Date: 06/08/2015 | Northwest
Dear taxpayer,Your legislators have the opportunity to join their fellow lawmakers on a field trip to watch the U.S. Open Golf Championship, June 15-21, at the Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place. Admission, $110 for the general public, is free for lawmakers.
Date: 06/07/2015 | Editorials
The treatment of mentally ill patients has undergone radical changes in the past 150 years, and not always for the better. Unfortunately, public health treatment remains grossly underfunded; consequently care is fragmented and places a huge social burden on American communities.
Date: 06/07/2015 | Commentary
OLYMPIA — The price of state lawmakers' failure to reach a budget deal has eclipsed $180,000 and is still climbing.That's what's been paid to lawmakers in $120-a-day per diem payments and mileage reimbursements for
Date: 06/06/2015 | Local News
A recent letter to the Herald berated teachers for complaining about salary. He used a valid argument. We all knew going into this profession we were not going to be making a doctor's wages. This fact is true now, and it was true 23 years ago when I got my first teaching job.
Date: 06/06/2015 | Commentary
OLYMPIA — Negotiators in the House and Senate have reached a tentative agreement on how much money should be spent under a new two-year state operating budget in Washington state, but they need to get approval from their respective caucuses, the governor’s office said Friday.
Date: 06/05/2015 | Northwest
The two Democratic candidates for Snohomish County executive will face questions in a forum at a meeting of the 1st Legislative District Democrats Monday in Bothell.
Date: 06/05/2015 | South County Politics
When the state legislature started the first week of its second special session Monday, Democratic State Reps. Ruth Kagi and Lillian Ortiz-Self both agreed with House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ross Hunter that the legislature could finish by the end of the second week in the...
Date: 06/05/2015 | South County Politics
Sometimes it can seem as if we're playing a game of surveillance whack-a-mole.Just days after the U.S. Senate voted to adopt the U.S. Freedom Act rather than renew the Patriot Act, ending the National Security Agency's far-reaching collection of Americans' telephone...
Date: 06/05/2015 | Editorials
There’s nothing quite like the threat of a government shutdown July 1 to infuse urgency into negotiations on a new state budget.
Date: 06/04/2015 | Local News
With little to show after one special session, legislators in Olympia have started the second by at least making their latest budget proposals public. And House Democrats and Senate Republicans have shown an...
Date: 06/03/2015 | Editorials
OLYMPIA — Efforts to reach agreement on a state budget seemed to be creating momentum on Monday as Gov. Jay Inslee met with legislative leaders of both parties and House Democrats rolled out a new plan they called a “substantial compromise.”
Date: 06/01/2015 | Local News
OLYMPIA — Marysville and Arlington will soon have a new tool to help attract businesses to an industrial area they share: a tax break.A bill passed by state lawmakers last week allows the cities to exempt companies from paying a portion of property taxes if they create...
Date: 06/01/2015 | Business
TACOMA — A newspaper review finds that the 30-day legislative special session so far has cost taxpayers $108,000 in payments to cover lawmakers’ daily expenses.
Date: 05/31/2015 | Northwest
Do you value our state parks? I suspect the answer is yes.If I’m correct, and you’re one of the millions of Washingtonians who love to hike, camp, fish or take our families to local state parks, you should pay close attention to what’s happening in Olympia.
Date: 05/31/2015 | Commentary
OLYMPIA — The to-do list for the Washington state Legislature hasn’t changed much since lawmakers first gathered in Olympia in January.As they sat down for a second special session on Friday, they still needed to:
Date: 05/30/2015 | Northwest
OLYMPIA — The Legislature has responded to a federal judge’s order to cut wait times for crime suspects’ mental-health services to seven days or less.
Date: 05/29/2015 | Northwest
OLYMPIA — The state Senate has approved $18 million in emergency drought relief as lawmakers wrapped up its first special session Thursday.
Date: 05/29/2015 | Northwest
OLYMPIA — A lot was going on, but not much was happening Thursday as state lawmakers concluded a monthlong special session.They passed a few bills and exchanged a few barbs, but House Democrats and Senate Republicans didn’t get a deal done on a new state budget.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered state lawmakers to convene a second special session and told them to come to his office Friday morning to continue their negotiations over the state’s $38 billion two-year operating budget.
One of Snohomish County’s most conservative Republican lawmakers has quietly begun a campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene.