What the Legislature did and didn’t get done

It’s over. For this year at least.

Following a 60-day session, with a 20-day special session tacked on, the Legislature was able to complete major tasks in passing a supplemental budget and setting up a framework for next year to tackle the question of K-12 education funding and end the state’s reliance on local school levies for basic education.

Before recapping what was accomplished, however, a few significant failures for this session must be noted:

A pledge that the cap can be raised again next year if the Legislature fails to act by the end of next April will come too late for districts such as Everett, which stands to lose $10 million in revenue over the next two years and will have to begin making significant budget cuts, including layoffs.

  • Nor did the Legislature include any provision to increase salaries for starting teachers or those already in the workforce, in the face of a statewide teacher shortage.
  • And the Senate failed to approve the Washington Voting Rights Act, which passed in the House, and would have allowed under-represented communities in cities and elsewhere to seek voting by district without having to undertake a costly and time-consuming process in the federal courts.

But to give the Legislature its due, there were accomplishments, including funding for projects in Snohomish County:

  • The city of Everett, seeking to address chronic homelessness, secured $1.5 million of $2 million in sought to add to $2 million of its own and Snohomish County’s investment to buy and refurbish a building to provide 60 to 70 units of low-barrier housing. As well, Cocoon House in Everett will receive $1 million through the Housing Trust Fund for its work.
  • Other funding included in the capital budget includes $390,000 for the Lake Stevens Civic Center, $275,000 for the Mill Creek Parks and Public Works Shop and $77,000 for the Edmonds Veterans Plaza.

Among legislation worth noting:

After attempts were made last year by some lawmakers to hijack a fair and deliberative process to rank requests, this year legislators, working with parks and wildlife advocates, rebalanced the program to provide more funding for development and maintenance of park land and recreation facilities.

Those and other legislative accomplishments are worth celebrating.

Even so, the Legislature has left itself a heavy load to lift come 2017. Lawmakers had better rest up.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Friday, July 10

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Editorial: Woodard, Paul for state House’s 10th District

The Herald endorses: Suzanne Woodard and Dave Paul for the ‘purple’ multi-county legislative district.

Comment: America’s confused obsession with Mary Kay Letourneau

There was a faction of the population that was willing to treat the rape saga as a fairy tale.

Comment: Cancel culture a threat; just not for its detractors

The message of a joint letter defending free speech risks getting lost in its co-signers’ celebrity.

Some things to consider before you vote

We are facing many repeat candidates on the ballot this year. They… Continue reading

Forests aren’t good source for public revenue

Forests are important to the health of the planet, and to the… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Thursday, July 9

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Editorial: What history is owed through our monuments

The decisions regarding whom we honor in our public squares require deliberation and consensus.

Editorial: It’s not just baseball that we may have to wait for

The AquaSox season is canceled. But if we don’t get a grip on COVID, we risk losing much more.

Most Read