Just over half of the children tested in grades three through eight met the standard on the new English language arts tests this year, according to data released Thursday. And just under half the state’s elementary students met the standard in math. Last year’s results had about 70 percent of elementary students meeting the state’s old reading standard and more than 60 percent meeting the math standard
Two citizen initiative campaign submitted boxloads of petitions by the Friday deadline, and both appear to have an excellent shot at making the statewide ballot this fall. Tim Eyman turned in what he estimated at at least 334,000 signatures for Initiative 1366. That measure would direct the Legislature to place a constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot for ratification — or face a 1-cent reduction in the state’s 6.5-cent sales tax. The other measure, Initiative 1401, is backed by billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It would expand state authority over combatting trafficking of endangered species and their parts.
Senate Democrats would like to force the Republicans to pass HB 2214, a bill that is described as removing biology as a graduation requirement. In addition, it essentially removes any objective measure of knowledge in English Language Arts and Mathematics from graduation requirements. I voted “no” on this bill in the House, but I was part of a relatively lonely minority – I think it passed 92-7. Surely some reasonable compromise can be reached over the next few days.
Thousands of Washington’s small businesses can feel confident their health-insurance coverage is here to stay, thanks to a decision issued Wednesday by a judge with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. “While I am disappointed with the ruling, I will not appeal it,” Commissioner Kreidler said in a statement.
A lasting impression of the 2015 Legislature will be the dominance of Senate Republicans. And it’s for all the reasons Senate Republicans are smiling. House Democrats couldn’t push across a minimum-wage increase, paid leave or capital gains tax. In one of the bluest and greenest states, they failed to pass any significant climate change bill. In the end, they couldn’t boost the cigarette tax to fund cancer research.
The big sticking point was the gasoline tax increase, which would raise that tax from 37.5 cents a gallon to 49.4 cents a gallon over the next two years. The package is built around issuing bonds to finance the $16.1 billion in transportation projects over 16 years. But the bill to approve the bonds to pay for part of that needs 60 percent of the 98 House members to pass — 59. There are 51 Democrats in the House.
Corporations aren’t paralyzed by partisan bickering. They’re not hostage to a few big donors, a few loud interest groups or some unyielding ideology. “They’re ultimately more responsive to a broader group of voters — customers — than politicians are.” Major financial institutions were well ahead of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democratic politicians when it came to same-sex marriage.
The Initiative 1401 Campaign held a press conference at the Seattle Aquarium on Wednesday to announce that they are turning in 348,627 signatures to the state Elections Office. That’s 100,000 more than they needed to qualify for the ballot. The initiative aims to strengthen Washington’s penalties for selling or buying products made from endangered animals.
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