We have seven things curated for you this week, each of which we think is worth your time. Most track Washington State politics, but we reflect on the moment we are in together, too, with a piece on John McCain and a data visualization tool tracking temperature increases.
Hopefully, you find a nugget or two in there that can inform your thinking about the state of our politics, policies and political economy of Washington State. And, as always, thank you for reading our stuff.
1. McMorris Rodgers & Brown at State of Reform
In a race that has moved since election night in favor of US Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the 5th CD now has a total Republican vote of 55% to the Democratic total of 45%. One forecaster has moved this race from “Toss Up” to “Lean Republican” as a result of the Primary Election results.
Our sister site, State of Reform, hosts Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Lisa Brown at one of the few events at which they will both participate. They join the 2018 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference on September 13th at the Spokane Convention Center, where the focus is health policy. Washington State Wire readers can register with the discount code Wire20 to save 20% off of the standard registration rate for the Spokane event.
2. The most discomforting items from the CWU report on Rep. Manweller
There has been a lot of coverage on Rep. Manweller and his employment at Central Washington University. For the most part, we’ve sat out this topic as the major outlets covered something that is both delicate and personal for those involved.
But, we’ve now had the chance to read the report released by CWU. And, because Rep. Manweller has made the report a central part of his campaign – we accessed it through a campaign email he sent out – we thought a review of it was fair game.
It’s not great. Emily Boerger read it so you don’t have to, and compiled the most jarring, most discomforting allegations in the document.
3. “Why we sponsor the Wire”
Washington Nonprofits is the voice of the independent nonprofit agencies across the state of Washington. For the second year in a row, Washington Nonprofits is sponsoring our upcoming 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference on December 13th. We’re honored to have their support as we try to fill a growing need for increased state capitol reporting.
So, we asked them to tell you a bit about why they support the Washington State Wire and our upcoming Re-Wire Policy Conference. “In 2018, my team and I were all new to Washington State’s public policy community. When we attended the conference, we truly felt “at the table” and “in the know” because of the briefings, connections we made, and the opportunities to share information about the key policy issues facing by nonprofit organizations. We found the Re-Wire Conference to be a valuable opportunity for learning, networking, and raising the nonprofit sector’s visibility.”
4. Two “must read” stories on John McCain
There are plenty of good reviews of John McCain’s life floating around this week, appropriately so. I think the best is this video from CNN. But, none of those quite do justice to the man that these two “must read” stories do. They aren’t “must read” because of McCain. They are “must read” because of the humanity that McCain brought to service and the lessons from those we can all learn from.
One details what it must have felt like to be shot down over Hanoi, and make the choice – with two broken arms, a broken leg, solitary confinement, and a bayonet to the genitals – to follow the military code of conduct and return to prison when given the chance to leave. The other provides an anecdote of what it must have taken to remain sane while there. You can get the summaries here.
5. Teacher contract negotiations down to the wire
Heading into the final days before students return to class, many school districts across the state are still in the process of negotiating teacher contracts. The influx of money related to McCleary, combined with the ambiguity of the new education funding laws, has resulted in stalemates between districts and teacher unions around the state.
Some districts, like Shoreline and Ocean Beach, have seen raises of over 20 percentwhile teachers in other districts like Battle Ground and Longview, have voted to strike if salary agreements can’t be met. Last week, Senator John Braun wrote a letter urging Gov. Inslee, AG Ferguson, and Superintendent Reykdal to actively discourage strikes and to potentially legally intervene in order to keep schools open.
The Public Employment Relations Commission has received 21 requests for bargaining mediation this summer – 18 of which are still open.
6. What a 2/3rds majority could mean in Olympia
Washington State Democrats’ position looks strong moving into November after a solid performance in the August primaries. Conservatively, they could pick up 13 seats in the House and four in the Senate. It’s even possible that Democrats’ gains in the Legislature could be enough to clear a two-thirds majority in both houses.
What would that mean for policy in Washington State? Marjie High has a run down of various implications for a 2/3rds majority in both chambers, as well as what the more reasonable threshold of 60% could mean in 2019.
7. Data visualization: temp increases by country
We leave you with this interesting data visualization tool on changing temperatures by country produced by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. It follows the likewise powerful data visualization tools like this spiral or this spirograph.
On a related note, while the smoke has (mostly) cleared and fall weather feels like it’s in the air, fires are still burning across significant parts of the state. The burns align with watersheds that are considered to be of “low resilience” and in need of watershed-wide forest management, according to the Hillary Franz, Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands. Expect wildfire funding to be a first order issue in the early 2019 legislature.