Features

Washington Liquor Privatization Continues To Drive Sales To Oregon, Idaho

At ten stores near the Oregon-Washington state line the increases from 2011 to 2013 ranged between 17 to 67 percent, with most at doing at least 30 percent more business. Those boosts in sales were sustained through fiscal year 2015, the most recent year of data available. The Washington State price increases were largely due to added state taxes.

Education Reform Is Not That Popular, But It’s Still Working

A new study from the University of Virginia and Stanford finds that the IMPACT system improved student performance significantly. Specifically, when teachers rated effective under IMPACT replaced teachers rated ineffective, student achievement rose. Confounding the predictions of the critics, the system has proven successful at identifying good and bad teachers.

Why Doesn’t 4.9% Unemployment Feel Great?

Only 62.7% of adult Americans are working. The so-called Labor Force Participation rate hasn’t been this low since the late 1970s. Another reason why the jobs picture still looks gloomy is that an unusually high number of people can’t find jobs even though they have been looking for a long time. But the reality is wage growth is only 2.5% a year. Normally when unemployment is this low, wage growth should be humming along at about 4% a year.

Welcome to The Jungle: Society’s Role in Our Homeless Crisis

Despite 12 years of court oversight of the foster-care system, the state still has a poor record of finding foster kids when they run away. The state has yet to meet agreed-upon benchmarks, so that legal case, known as the Braam settlement, continues. As documented in a recent Seattle Times Opinion project on youth homelessness, Washington’s foster-care system for youths like these brothers is a mess.

The Green Sheet- Week of February 8, 2016

The scramble to the policy cutoff of the 2016 Legislative Session was eclipsed by a major shakeup in the Inslee administration. Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson was denied confirmation by Senate Republicans on Friday, followed by the resignation of Department of Corrections head, Dan Pacholke on Saturday morning.

Corrections Head Steps Down

In a resignation letter delivered Saturday morning, Dan Pacholke wrote that he saw his resignation as the best way forward for the agency, which he took over just under four months ago. Last December, the agency revealed to Gov. Jay Inslee that up to 3,000 prisoners had been released early by mistake, mostly before Pacholke took over.

WSDOT Chief Ousted by Senate Republicans after 3 Years on Job

Governor Inslee’s office called the move “shameful.” During a debate that lasted about two hours, Republican senators blasted the Washington State Department of Transportation, citing frustrations with Interstate 405 toll lanes, problems with the ferry system and delays in the Highway 99 tunnel project. After the debate, Sen. Schoesler showed reporters a letter by the Washington state Civil Rights Coalition that criticized the secretary’s record on minority-owned business participation in state and federal transportation programs.

Democrats Love Universal Pre-K — And Don’t Seem to Care That It May Not Work

As the Tennessee’s education commissioner from 2011 to January 2015, I can’t help being disappointed. Researchers at Vanderbilt University have spent the past six years comparing cohorts of Tennessee pre-K students with their peers. By the time the children reached third grade, the pre-K attendees actually underperformed the comparison group.

Number of Uninsured People in Washington State Cut In Half

The number of uninsured people in Washington state has been cut in half since health care reform took effect, but there are still about half a million uninsured people in the state, the insurance commissioner’s office reported Wednesday. Adults who don’t have insurance this year- through work or Medicaid or the individual market – will face penalties of at least $695. Families could be asked to pay more than $2,000 in fines.

Legislature Moves Toward Housing Reforms

Loosely, the bills focus on three main areas: designating a universal renters’ screening form; setting up tax incentives for affordable housing; and adding an option for cities to use land seized for nonpayment of taxes to build affordable housing units. The background check would potentially save apartment-hunters hundreds of dollars by designating a single, universal background screening form that landlords could choose to accept.