The state’s top court is asking why it shouldn’t hold the Legislature in contempt for failing to adequately fund the state’s public schools.
The conflict stems from a 2012 state Supreme Court case, McCleary v. State of Washington. The court ruled that the state was not meeting its “paramount duty” of adequately funding education and therefore was in violation of the Constitution. Lawmakers have until 2018 to boost education funding to a level the court deems sufficient.
The state ordered the Legislature to show by April 30th how “through immediate, concrete action, that it is making real and measurable progress, not simply promises” toward providing ample funding for basic education.
Lawmakers submitted a report but it did not include a plan detailing concrete action. The plaintiffs in the court case asked the court to take action; the court has now asked state lawmakers to defend themselves.
TVW will broadcast the hearing live.]]>
Surprisingly, not bad.
And only our neighbor to the south, Oregon, registered fewer corrupt state employees.
Nebraska, Iowa and Vermont trail closely behind.
Click here and scroll to the bottom to see how all the states rank.
The Post writes, “Those states score well because of robust transparency laws, according to ethics watchdogs. Oregon’s rules for campaign finance disclosures are among the toughest in the country, and lobbyists and special interest groups cannot give gifts worth more than $50 to state employees. Oregon also requires most public-improvement contracts to be awarded based on competitive bidding, avoiding no-bid contracts, which can be a major source of corruption.”]]>
Here’s an updated dispatch from county beat reporter Tyler Graf:
Sometimes in politics, silence speaks louder than words.
And if that’s the case, then Thursday’s meeting of Republican precinct committee officers laid several volumes on U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. At least according to precinct committee officer Joseph Wagner, who has been waging a campaign against the Republicans’ endorsement of her.
On the heels of her primary win over Michael Delavar, someone perceived to be “more conservative,” Herrera Beutler did not receive the local Republicans’ endorsement. What did she get?
At the meeting, Wagner said he was handing out pamphlets arguing that the PCOs shouldn’t endorse Herrera Beutler.
At the end of the meeting, he said, not one of the 97 or so PCOs in attendance made so much as a motion for Herrera Beutler’s endorsement despite having time to do so, something Wagner chalked up to a growing dissatisfaction with the congresswoman’s conservative principles — or, in his opinion, her lack thereof.
“What it means is that it’s not enough for you to win your primary to get our endorsement,” said Wagner, who led efforts not to endorse Herrera Beutler.
He said there were several reasons why he couldn’t support her endorsement.
“I think the fact that there was not an effort to get her endorsement means silence is acceptance,” he said.
No Republican candidate was endorsed at the meeting, however. Casey Bowman, Herrera Beutler’s spokesman, questioned the significance of her not receiving the local party’s nod. “Neither Linda Wilson, Paul Harris, Santa Claus, Ronald Reagan nor anyone else got endorsed,” he wrote in an email.
Although, Harris and Wilson were endorsed at an earlier meeting, according to sources.
And the important thing to point out here is that out of that list of actual candidates — Wilson or Harris — neither was pitted against a fellow Republican in the primary the way Herrera Beutler was.
Regardless of the posturing, and its significance, it will be interesting to see how the local Republican Party, as an entity, supports Herrera Beutler moving forward. Will they eventually endorse her?
But there was one thing precinct committee officers couldn’t hold their tongues about.
That was the proposed home rule charter, which will appear on ballots this November.
They passed a resolution against the charter with an overwhelming voice vote.
The resolution had been floating in the political tides for a few weeks, dismissed by some as an attempt by a handful of Republicans to quash the charter. But Thursday’s vote shows that, among the party faithful, the home rule charter has scant support.
County Auditor Greg Kimsey, a Republican, was at the meeting to champion the charter. But his support didn’t rub off on the rest of the PCO’s.
Kenny Smith, chairman of the Clark County Republicans, said he now expects grassroots efforts to counter the pro-charter campaign, which is flush with money from a political action committee.
“There will be a coordinated effort, but how the Republican Party will participate in it will be decided,” Smith said, adding that he expects PCOs to hit the streets to get the word out. “I would imagine we’d figure out a way to coordinate our efforts with the newsletter.”]]>
Only 28 percent of Clark County’s registered voters showed up to vote this primary.
Donna Quesnell would like to see that change.
“When we think of the decades and the hardships our women ancestors endured to give us voting rights ….,” Donna Quesnell wrote in a news release.
This Tuesday, Quesnell is once again rallying the Women Democrats of Clark County and supporters to walk along the Columbia River in celebration of women winning the right to vote.
To win the right to vote, women were jailed and sometimes attacked.
They did it without “firing a shot, throwing a rock,” a letter sent from Quesnell reads.
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was approved on Aug. 26, 1920.
Women in Washington state got the right to vote a whole decade earlier, in 1910.
The only female statewide elected official currently is Secretary of State Kim Wyman.
For more information, email Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org.]]>
I’m pretty new to covering politics at The Columbian, but because I arrived as election season was heating up, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on quite a few editorial board meetings. One of the biggest issues currently facing the state Legislature is how lawmakers will boost public school funding to meet the state Supreme Court’s mandate, known as the McCleary decision.
Opinion editor Greg Jayne often gets right to the point and asks candidates, if elected, how they propose to adequately fund schools. Usually, he only asks the question once. But in the most recent editorial board hearing, count them.
Was that five times?
And the answer? Did you catch it?
I’ve transcribed some of the back-and-forth below. You can find a video of the entire meeting with Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, and her Democratic challenger Maureen Winningham here.
Jayne: The state is facing a billion dollar price tag for the McCleary decision … How do we pay for that? Do we need to raise taxes?
Pike: … One of the things that I think is important to note is that the same party has controlled Olympia for about the last 25 years and we got here over a long period in this position of inadequate funding and we’re not going to fix it overnight. And one of the things that strikes me as really interesting, is we have three branches of government in our constitution and can you imagine if the Legislature told the Washington Supreme Court how to rule on cases and when to rule on cases? Which is exactly what they have done with McCleary …
One of the things I’m really proud of, for the first time in almost 30 year, we’ve had shared government …and we’ve put over $1.7 billion dollars more into public education funding in the last biennium, which is the greater increase than any of any other previous Legislature…
Jayne: OK, let’s get back to the question. Can we do it without raising taxes?
Absolutely, we can. And another compelling information I have is, I’ve spent a lot of time in classrooms over the last few years, and I’ve had education kitchen cabinet meetings at my home that I hosted for teachers for about three hours … And never once does the subject of money come in, from the teachers that meet with me, they never ask for more money. What they want is a better system and they want more support …
Jayne: Well, that might be, but this mandate is here, how do we fund it? If you say we can do it without raising taxes, what gets cut?
Pike: Well, Mcleary was not just about money but about outcomes, it’s important to note … So there are two pieces to McCleary and we did several bills in the Legislature this year that tried to achieve better outcomes and we got real big push back from the public WEA (Washington Education Association) … and we do need accountability measures, that was a big part of McCleary and we do need more funding. Now, regardless of what the teachers are telling me, I do think more money will solve some of the problems, but i think part of that money has to be loosening up mandates that are coming down from the state. I have met with principles all over the district …
Jayne: OK but what gets cut from the budget to fund this?
Pike: Well, I think what we do is we go back to what we did this year, which is we push for funding education first and we get that off the table, fund it first and then whatever left is we’re going to have to prioritize. I mean that’s why we’re elected is to make those tough choices.
Jayne: Right, so what’s get cut?
Pike: Well, we did about $100 million dollars in efficiency savings for the state in the last biennium go around and I think we can keep doing that as we move forward. One of the things, this might sound like I’m oversimplifying but if we reduced some of the regulations on business and we allowed more entrepreneurs, like The Columbian, to hire more people, new entrepreneurs to move to Washington. We have a great economy here it could but it could be so much better if we reduced some of the burdensome regulations and by doing that we’re going to have naturally more money into the state govt through personal wealth and sales tax, because when people have jobs they buy things. So I think it’s not that complicated, you can’t sort of cook the goose that lays the golden egg and expect them to keep delivering more money to state government. So I think you can’t just fund more education without also helping our business flourish in the state of Washington. We do that by reforming things like L&I (labor and industries), we encourage privatization, competition in our industrial insurance program …
Jayne: … Maureen, for McCleary do we need to raise taxes?]]>
On Friday, only about 28 percent of voters had bothered to cast a vote.
A recent report by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate said the nation is expected to see the lowest midterm primary turnout in its history.
Although Tuesday’s primary didn’t generate any major surprises or upsets, there were some high-profile races, and some insight into who might be leading going into November.
Under Washington’s top-two system, the two candidates who garner the most votes, despite party, move on to the general election.
For the first time in more than two decades, voters will choose a new county sheriff. The race for 17th Legislative District, Position 1 is already shaping up to be very competitive. And voters will be asked to weigh in on who they would to represent them on the county commission.
The general election is Nov. 4.
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has taken to bunking at her office in D.C.
Congress is currently on summer recess, so presumably the Republican lawmaker is enjoying the comforts of her home in Camas. But while in D.C., she sleeps at her office. And she’s not the only one - it’s a long-standing tradition, but only recently did a small crew of women lawmakers start sleeping where they work.
(Insert bad joke about Congress sleeping on the job here.)
House offices have a small bathroom and Herrera Beutler is able to use the Congressional gym to shower. She has a microwave and refrigerator in her office, so her diet consists of a lot of cereal and fruit, according to Casey Bowman, her spokesman.
“She started doing it at the beginning of this year in order to save money to pay for her daughter’s medical expenses,” Bowman wrote in an email. “I’m not long how she’ll do it, but at the moment she doesn’t have any plan to change things.”
Herrera Beutler told the Washington Post that there have been a couple of male lawmakers who were surprised women lawmakers were joining the congressional sleeper club, “especially for some of us who are considered more girlie girls.”
U.S. House members who are not in leadership positions earn about $174,000 a year.]]>
This month, Abigail Rose – the little girl who was born three months premature, weighing 2 pounds, 12 ounces and without kidneys – the daughter of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, turned 1 year old.
To mark the big 0-1 she made an appearance on Fox and Friends. Hopefully she also got some cupcakes.
Here’s a Columbian video where the Congresswoman shares the full story:
This week, Brian Judy, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, reportedly said he’s shocked when he meets Jewish people who are in favor of stricter gun laws, because it appears they forgot the Holocaust.
An audio recording at an event for those opposed to Initiative 594 allegedly catches Judy talking about Nick Hanauer, a Seattle venture capitalist who is behind the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility and is backing the initiative.
I-594 would expand background checks on all private gun sales, with some exceptions, such as gifts between family members.
Hanauer wrote an article about income inequity in Politico Magazine, which he mentioned his family is from Germany and was chased out by Hitler.
The NRA lobbyist, Judy, is apparently on the recording saying, “Now he’s funding, he’s put half a million dollars, toward this policy, the same policy that led to his family getting run out of Germany by the Nazis,” Judy said. “You know, it’s staggering to me. … It’s, like, any Jewish people I meet who are anti-gun, I think, ‘Are you serious? Do you not remember what happened?’
You can listen here.
He continues to say the Holocaust happened because Jewish people registered their guns and the Nazis took them. “And now … you come to this country and you support gun control?” he’s reported as saying.
Tonight there is a similar anti I-594 event being held in Vancouver, with NRA lobbyists, who have been largely quiet on the topic, expected to attend. The event is hosted by the Libertarian Party of Clark County.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle called on Judy to resign, saying “It is deeply offensive for anyone to suggest that Jewish supporters of gun violence prevention have “forgotten” the history of our people.”
Adding, “For a representative of the National Rifle Association, or any organization, to repeat the out-of-touch falsehood linking gun violence prevention to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust is not only an ignorant distortion but is exceedingly dangerous.”
Adina Hicks, with the NRA, is expected to speak at the Vancouver event tonight. It is open to the public and scheduled to be at Pied Piper Pizza tonight at 7 p.m.
And speaking of secrets, The Columbian recently learned of a couple not-so-pretty ones about two Republican candidates running to replace Rep. Charles Ross in Washington’s 14th Legislative District.
For whatever reason, it looks like somebody really has it out for Goldendale businesswoman Gina McCabe and Washington Army National Guard Sgt. First Class Adam Yoest, from Yakima. In the pas month or so, we’ve received an envelope with no return address and a few emails from a person we’d never heard of sharing court documents pertaining to the two candidates.
According to the documents, Yoest, 30, was arrested one night 2009 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. He also happened to be driving with an expired license that night.
As for McCabe, 51, the records show she failed to pay some taxes on her dance studio, Touch of Class, in 1997. She owed about $575 on the property and Klickitat County temporarily placed a lien on her business.
McCabe said it was so long ago she has no recollection of the lien but it was quickly resolved.
“I honestly don’t remember it,” she said. “It would’ve been 17 years ago. If in fact it did happen, it was satisfied in 1997.”
Yoest’s experience, however, is quite a different story. He remembers the incident well and spoke openly about the lasting impact it’s left on his character.
“It’s probably one of the most appalling and shameful things in my life, personally, just because I know I should be better than that,” Yoest said. “It’s something I continuously use as a barometer to make myself work harder.”
Yoest’s arrest capped off a tumultuous year that began with the death of his father. Then, less than two weeks after returning from his second tour in Iraq, Yoest returned to Washington and went out for drinks with some friends.
“As I told people, it was lapse in judgment,” he said. “I probably should’ve made sure I wasn’t driving.”
Yoest managed to plead the charge down to negligent driving and carried on with his life. He and McCabe are each making their first run for public office this year.
It wasn’t exactly a surprise to either of them that some unpleasant secrets would come to light in campaign season, but learning how to deal with it hasn’t been easy, as McCabe suggested.
“I want to know who I’m voting for, too. It’s part of the game, I’m hearing,” McCabe said. “Maybe I need to pass legislation that you need to identify yourself fully if you’re going to accuse someone, because it seems uncourageous.”
Only a small slice of rural northeast Clark County is included in the 14th District. If you happen to live in that area, you’ll find frequent coverage of this race at www.yakimaherlad.com.]]>