Battle Lines Being Drawn on Teacher Pay Bill

Democratic Sens. Steve Hobbs and Brian Hatfield explain why they took the deal.

Democratic Sens. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens and Brian Hatfield of Raymond.

Well, that didn’t take long! Two days after Gov. Jay Inslee announced that teacher cost-of-living increases would be the new push for his administration, every single member of the Senate Democratic Caucus has climbed aboard. And to underscore the widespread acceptance for the proposal in Democratic ranks, the bill is being sponsored by moderate Roadkillers Steve Hobbs and Brian Hatfield. Thus battle lines are being drawn for the upcoming $5 billion K-12 school-funding battle. But note the careful way we worded this paragraph. There actually are two other Democrats in the Senate, Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon, but they caucus with the other team, the Senate Majority Coalition. It is a tad different than the way you see it described in the following press release:

Every Senate Democrat Signs on to Teacher COLA Bill

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens and Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, today released the following statement on their co-sponsorship of a Senate bill signed by all 22 members of the Democratic caucus allowing cost of living allowance (COLA) raises for Washington state teachers:

“For the past two years, we have been talking about the importance of our education system and the need to meet our obligation to fully fund K-12 education.  With the recent Supreme Court decision, it’s time we meet our obligation to our citizens and fulfill their desire to see our teachers paid like the hardworking professionals that they are.

“With the economy turning around and the positive news of the 777X contract it’s time now to give the teachers a COLA increase.

“Teachers are some of the hardest workers in our state.  Yet increasingly, they are being asked to do more with less or, in this case, do more for less.  It’s time we reverse this trend, listen to the people of Washington, and pay the men and women charged with broadening and enlightening our children’s minds the salaries they deserve.

“We are grateful that this bill has received the support of all 22 members of the Democratic Caucus and invite all members of the Senate to join us in showing Washington’s teachers that we appreciate their hard work and dedication.”