Legislators went home early without hopes of avoiding a special session. They return on Wednesday to duke it out for another 30 days. Just a reminder: a special session means that all bills will return to their house of origin in the form they were voted out of that house. Will the special session give
In a widely discussed paper Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster noted that “one of the most important trends in American politics over the past several decades has been the rise of negative partisanship in the electorate.” It occurs, they write, when “supporters of each party perceive supporters of the opposing party as very different from themselves in terms of their social characteristics and fundamental values.”
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is bankrolling an initiative for the fall ballot that would make it a crime in Washington to sell or trade elephant ivory, shark fins and other animal parts derived from certain exotic, endangered creatures. Initiative 1401 would cover 10 species threatened with extinction in part due to the market for their body parts.
The Senate passed the compromise, 46-0, on Friday. Shortly after, the measure got a resounding 95-1 Yes from the House. Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle and author of the House bill, said the compromise was made to get some oil train and pipeline legislation on the books. Democrats hope to tackle Puget Sound-related oil-spill-prevention measures in the 2016 session.
More than 4,000 people attended the hour-long rally. Gov. Jay Inslee, House Speaker Frank Chopp and other politicians spoke about their efforts to improve Washington’s public education system, which Inslee called “the paramount duty of the state of Washington” in a speech that invoked his father’s career as a teacher. He decried the six-year period since teachers received a cost of living adjustment,
Additional teachers unions are staging one-day strikes to oppose education proposals in the Legislature, bringing the total number of unions participating in the walkouts to 12. Sen. Tim Sheldon said he will introduce a measure Friday that would forbid school districts from paying teachers on strike. “I don’t think people realize teachers get paid when they go on strike,” said Sheldon.
The Washington Legislature will begin a 30-day special session Wednesday to negotiate a 2015-2017 budget. Even as legislators try to resolve their differences on the budget for general state spending, they also face big financial issues in negotiations on a massive package of transportation construction and improvement projects.
While the numbers slightly exceeded the 164,000 recorded at the close of first enrollment last year, they still fell short of expectations. Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which runs Healthplanfinder, had set a goal of 213,000, a number the exchange staff had said was needed for the exchange to be self-sustaining, as required under the law.