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The 9th Order

CarbonWA Kicks Off Their Carbon Tax Shift Campaign

By 9th Order

The next two years promise to be one of the most dramatic periods in the political history of Washington State. In addition to extraordinary state budget challenges, and an unusual mix of other issues that must be addressed, the state will see a showdown on climate change and carbon emissions. To date the Governor’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce has dominated the news, with its next meeting scheduled for September 9. But on Wednesday night just over fifty people squeezed into the Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar in Seattle for the CarbonWA Campaign Kickoff Social.

Friction At Board Meeting As Health Exchange Problems Continue

By 9th Order | 0 Comments

“The system fixes that were implemented have not resolved these defects, and instead, the number of detrimentally affected accounts has grown.” In a letter to Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board Members dated August 12, Premera Senior Vice-President Kitti Cramer provided details showing the health insurance premium aggregation and termination notice problems at the Exchange are far larger than previously thought.

Solar Energy Draws a Crowd

By 9th Order | 0 Comments

On June 30 the Washington State University Energy Program held a meeting in Olympia on Solar Energy in Washington State. The WSU Energy Program Director, Rep. Jake Fey, was joined by around fifty interested parties, representing everyone from the major utilities to leading environmental groups.

Ecosystem

Bring the Family! Labor Day Events Across State on Monday

Labor Day is a celebration of the incredible contributions of America’s working people. Several of the regional AFL-CIO central labor councils across Washington state are planning Labor Day picnics and events on Monday, Sept. 1 to celebrate and honor the working men and women who are the foundation of this state’s economy.

By WSLC Stand (Union)

Study: Take-Home Pay Buys More in Right-to-Work States

A study released by the respected Tax Foundation last week ranks Washington among the top 10 most expensive states in which to live. t turns out all but one of the 15 highest cost-of-living states are also forced unionism states, where workers are fired if they decline to join an approved labor organization.

By Washington Policy Center (Conservative)

New Brief: Initiative 1351 Class Size Reduction: A $4.7 Billion Unfunded Mandate with Dubious Educational Merit

It would increase state K–12 spending by $4.7 billion through 2019—over and above what must already be spent to comply with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. Local spending would also increase. The evidence on the benefits of class size reduction is mixed, but doing so for grades 4–12 appears to be a poor investment.

By Washington Research Council (business)

Our State’s Election System Limits Choices, Alienates Voters

All this adds up to the fact that in over one-third of all the races for state house and state senate there was no Democratic or no Republican candidate in the primary election. And because the top-two primary eliminated two more Republicans and one more Democrat from advancing to the general election, all in all more than 36% percent of the general election contests will be missing either a Democrat or a Republican.

By WSLC Stand (Union)

What Grade Did Your School Receive?

Results from the new Achievement Index for school year 2012-13 show that 4% of schools received an Exemplary rating (A), 12% received a Very Good rating (B), 23% received a Good rating (C), 25% received a Fair rating (D), 12% received an Underperforming rating (F), and 5% received a Lowest 5 Percent (F-). The remaining 18% of schools were not rated.

By Washington Policy Center (conservative)

Carbon Pricing and Northwest Businesses

A properly designed carbon pricing policies in the Pacific Northwest can pencil out for the business community and can help point the way forward for the nation and the world. There are three ways to see that direct impacts of a carbon price on most businesses would be modest.

By Sightline (Liberal)

(Pay To) Park and Ride?

n July 2013, board members of the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, better known as Sound Transit, unanimously approved a pilot program to test several efficiency-boosting strategies for a woefully oversubscribed parking system. The pilot scheme was budgeted at $495,000 and set for a 2014 roll out, with three key measures: Parking permits, Real-time information on parking availability, and Rideshare collaboration.

By Sightline (Liberal)

Has the Number of Uninsured in Washington State Really Dropped?

According to the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s office, we know that 290,000 people lost or were forced off their existing health insurnance because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have no idea how many of the 1 million newly insured on the exchange were previously uninsured.

By Washington Policy Center (conservative)

Amicus Brief to State Supreme Court: New Revenue Needed to Meet McCleary Requirements

The amicus brief recommends that the court encourage the legislature to raise additional revenue that is stable and dependable in order to fully fund basic education. Failing to raise revenue to meet our education funding needs would result in cuts to other areas of the state budget that kids need to thrive.

By Washington State Budget & Policy Center (liberal)

Tentative Deal Reached to End Grain Lockout

The withdrawal of taxpayer-funded escorts for grain inspectors was criticized by some conservative officials and newspapers, but it “rightfully put the state in a neutral position regarding this management dispute,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

By WSLC Stand (Union)

Let’s Sue Republicans for Promoting Export of U.S. Jobs

Senate Republicans two weeks ago prevented repair of a law that 99.99 percent of Americans hate and condemn and would vote 50 times to repeal, given the chance. The GOP blocked a bill that would have ended tax breaks bestowed on corporations for offshoring factories and jobs. Send the GOP a message. A lawsuit would be one gesture. But big time election losses would work better.

By WSLC Stand (Union)

A Glimpse of How Climate Orthodoxy Is Undermining Environmental Benefit

The environment doesn’t care how carbon reductions are achieved, but environmentalists do and they want you to sacrifice. At issue are carbon offsets, investments in projects that cut carbon emissions. The Governor’s proposal limits such investments to only 10 percent of carbon reductions. This is a dramatic reduction from 49 percent limit proposed by Governor Gregoire.

By Washington Policy Center (conservative)

High Court Grants Stay on Psychiatric-Boarding Ban

By MARTHA BELLISLE AP | Seattle Times

The state Supreme Court granted the state’s request for a 120-day stay on a “psychiatric boarding” ban so it could secure more beds for mentally ill patients; the mandate is to go into effect on Dec. 26.

Power Clashes Cloud Solar’s Future in Washington

By Hal Bernton | Seattle Times

Government cash incentives have helped a fledgling solar-energy industry gain a toehold in Washington. But battles still loom over how to make solar more affordable for homeowners and small businesses. Utilities worry about the cost shift to other ratepayers.

DSHS Secretary says Agency Running $25M Short — Besides the Courts’ $30M Mental Health Mandate

By BRAD SHANNON | Tacoma News Tribune

Beyond the psychiatric boarding issues, the department’s shortfall — which Quigley estimated at $25 million to $26 million — includes a gap in Child Protective Services where calls to hotlines reporting abuse or seeking help have been surging. Quigley thinks he’ll need $6 million to $8 million in emergency spending to fix the problem, and he may have to add 50 to 100 more staffers.

In Our View: Correcting Corrections

By Columbian Editorial

As if school funding and mental health care didn’t generate enough concerns for next year’s Legislature, now there are dire reports about Washington’s prison system. According to the Justice Reinvestment Task Force, providing adequate prison space over the next 10 years could cost between $387 million and $481 million.

U.S. House GOP Offers Stopgap Funding

By DAVID ROGERS | Politico

House Republicans rolled out a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded through Dec. 11. Included are extensions of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, as well as authority for the Export-Import Bank to continue its operations past Oct. 1. And the White House would get all of its $88 million request for new funding to cope with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Bellevue Latest Target of Push for $15 Minimum Wage

By Lynn Thompson | Seattle Times

Fast-food workers and their union allies plan to take the fight for a $15 minimum wage to Bellevue on Wednesday with a march and “peaceful civil disobedience.” Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci said that while her city hasn’t taken up a local minimum-wage discussion, she thinks people will be receptive.

Get Smart on Property Crime to Lower State’s Incarceration Rate

By Seattle Times Editorial

This upcoming session, the Legislature should listen to this compelling argument regarding property crime, and veer from the tough-on-crime mantra to a smart-on-crime approach. The cost of a new, half-billion dollar prison hangs in the balance.

Police Arrest 8 in Bellevue Minimum Wage Protest

By KOMO News

On Wednesday evening, more than 100 people taking part in the protest arrived in Bellevue after marching across the I-90 floating bridge from Seattle. The protest temporarily blocked 10th Street, but the road was reopened following the arrests. Washington already has the nation’s highest state minimum wage at $9.32 an hour.

Fast-food Worker Strikes Aren’t What They Appear To Be

By Diana Furchtgott-Roth | E21

The Service Employees International Union funds Fast Food Forward through other worker centers such as Jobs with Justice and New York Communities for Change (formerly ACORN), which leads the Fight for 15 movement. The group was launched by the SEIU in late 2012.

In Our View: Enough is Too Much

By Columbian Editorial

State justified in taking feds to court over foot-dragging on Hanford cleanup. Last week Governor Inslee and Attorney General Ferguson announced that the state will not provide another deadline extension, triggering a process that could land the issue in front of a federal court. That decision is not ideal, but it is necessary, forced by inaction on the part of the federal government.

What a Carbon Tax Would Mean for Washington’s Economy

By John Stang | Crosscut

Preliminary calculations show that a Washington carbon emissions tax would slow the state economic growth in the long run. But the short-term economic impact appears negligible. Economists from the Washington Office of Financial Management presented two scenarios to a climate change advisory task force in Seattle on Tuesday.

Tribes to Ask EPA to Step in on Clean Water Rule

By AP | Longview Daily News

An alliance of Washington tribes has told Gov. Jay Inslee they plan to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to step in and come up with new water quality rules for the state. Meanwhile, businesses such as Boeing and others have worried too-stringent rules would hurt jobs and economic growth.

Budget

State Workers Say They Were Punished for Blowing Whistle on Prison Violence Stats

By Jordan Schrader | Olympian

The state Department of Corrections announced early last year that it had made headway in quelling inmate violence in two Eastern Washington prisons where it was trying out behavioral classes and positive reinforcement. Researcher Teri Herold-Prayer and her boss, Michael Evans, said they told Corrections administrators the reports of success were false.

ER Crisis Created by State Supreme Court’s Ruling on Psychiatric Boarding

By Kevin Hanson | Seattle Times Op-Ed

With a recent state Supreme Court ruling, doctors and hospitals will need to release a suicidal person if there are no psychiatric beds available, writes guest columnist Kevin Hanson. In a unanimous ruling,nine justices created a health-care conundrum that has the potential to put not only patients at great risk, but the general public in harm’s way as well.

The POLITICO 50

By Politico

POLIYICO’s list of the thinkers, doers and dreamers who really matter in this age of gridlock and dysfunction. From Rand Paul to to Janet Yellen to Jonathan Gruber they are all here.