Voices from 2015 Education Funding Listening Tour
OLYMPIA – Today the United States Supreme Court issued its much-awaited ruling on marriage equality across the country.
In a landmark decision that will finally secure marriage rights for all couples, the Court ruled state bans on same-sex marriages across the country unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment, effectively granting couples in all 50 states the right to marry.
Washington voters approved marriage equality in 2012.
In response, Sen. Jamie Pedersen issued following statement:
“Because of today’s decision, the relationships of couples and families all across our country will now be legally protected and respected. I am proud of the role that Washington’s legislature and voters played in the rapid and dramatic progress that our country has made toward the promise of equality for all. I’m grateful for the bipartisan support that allowed our Legislature to become the first in the country to repeal a state instituted Defense of Marriage Act.”
Sen. Marko Liias also issued a statement:
“Today, the age-old promise of liberty and justice for all became more real for millions of Americans — including me. This is a historic day for gay and lesbian families. The Supreme Court has affirmed once and for all that our love is just as sacred and deserves equal treatment under the law.”
In recognition of today’s decision, the Tacoma and Seattle communities are hosting events and discussions on marriage equality.
Rainbow Center and Oasis at 5:00 p.m.
March to Union Station Federal Court House
2215 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA 98402
United States District Court at 5:00 p.m.
700 Stewart St, Seattle, WA 98101
OLYMPIA – As legislators continue work to come to an agreement on the state operating budget and a funding solution for schools, work has continued to refine the Carbon Pollution Accountability Act, which could provide as much as $500 million annually for the general fund while also reducing harmful carbon pollution. Today, a new proposal was introduced that will help reduce pollution, fund education and other vital services and boost Washington’s rural economy.
This Thursday, May 14, the House Appropriations Committee will hear a new proposed substitute to House Bill 1314, offered by Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland). The proposal places a firm cap on carbon pollution while ensuring economic opportunity and job creation across all of Washington. In conjunction with this effort, Senator Jim Hargrove (D-Hoquiam) is introducing a similar bill, SB 6121.
“This is no longer just a climate change bill. This is a rural job creation and recreational access bill that helps reduce the state’s carbon emissions,” Hargrove said. “This program will create thousands of jobs in the renewable resource industry, including our working forests that sequester carbon while at the same time reducing emissions.”
“This new draft proposal advances our goal to reduce carbon emissions so we can have a safe environment while at the same time addressing the major concerns raised by impacted businesses,” said Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien), the prime sponsor of House Bill 1314 and chair of the House Environment Committee. “This new draft is a win-win,” said Fitzgibbon. “It generates about $1.2 billion annually, of which $500 million per year would go to funding our K-12 education system. And it does so by reducing pollution and being responsive to the needs of our economy.”
During two hearings held on an earlier proposal (HB 1314) in January, House Environment Committee members heard from businesses about the impacts of the legislation. Changes in the latest version include significant economic development for rural Washington and additional mitigation of price impacts on competitive industries and rebates to avoid increased costs associated with transportation fuels.
“This proposal asks the polluters to pay while putting us on track to ensure Washington State remains a leader in the fight against climate change,” Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island), said. “It would be difficult to find two more critical issues than education funding and climate change. This plan addresses both needs and does it in a thoughtful way. Asking polluters to pay more for their impact on our communities while supporting education and the environment is a victory we can all claim.”
The money generated by the auction of carbon pollution allowances would be used for:
- $500 million to invest in our K-12 education system.
- $333 million in fuel supplier rebates to limit increases in fuel prices.
- $108 million for the Working Families Tax Rebate, ensuring that low income families are not unfairly impacted.
- $15 million for the Washington Housing Trust Fund.
- $53 million to keep energy intense and trade-exposed industries competitive by covering compliance costs.
- $193 million for the creation of a Working Forests and Local Mills economic development program that provides payments to forest landowners who sell Washington timber to Washington mills.
- $67.5 million in capital projects that enhance forest health, protect habitat, and increase carbon sequestration.
- $21.5 million to address the increasing costs of fire suppression.
- Tax credits for bulk transporters of agricultural products and for mills that generate new jobs.
- Starting in 2017, establishing a $70 million grant program to address cumulative environmental impacts and social and economic disparities.
In addition to economic investments, the new proposal will also increase access to recreational land. This will ensure that Washingtonians and visitors can affordably enjoy our forests and natural lands.
“I think this finds the sweet spot between environmental stewardship, support for rural working families and the interests of the industries impacted,” said Hargrove. “At this point, all options have to be on the table. When people take a closer look, they will realize that this can be a big part of the solution for the people and natural resources in this state.”
OLYMPIA – The state Senate honored state historian and former publisher of The Daily World, John C. Hughes with Senate Resolution 8670. Sens. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, and Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, both spoke about the legendary journalist on the Senate floor.
Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced a plan to phase in full funding of K-12 education for Washington students and get the state out from under the Supreme Court’s contempt of court ruling.
The plan will meet the needs of Washington’s one million school kids by addressing teacher compensation, reducing the reliance on local levies, shrinking class sizes and establishing a dedicated revenue source that asks the states multi-millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. This is in addition to the all-day kindergarten, school operating costs and K-3 class size reduction that both parties have agreed needs to be funded in this year’s operating budget.
The proposal centers around Sen. Christine Rolfes’ bill to implement full McCleary funding (SB 6104). Among the highlights are a new compensation system for all educational staff and a plan to implement the voter-approved class size reduction initiative.
“A great education for our students is dependent on having great teachers in every classroom,” Rolfes said. “Educator compensation has been the elephant in the McCleary room for a long time – any plan that will meet our obligations to our students and satisfy the court must address it. This is a reasonable and responsible proposal to ensure that as we come to solutions regarding education funding, we don’t stay silent on fundamental issues like compensation.”
Sen. Kevin Ranker is proposing a capital gains tax of the top 1/10th of 1 percent of the wealthiest in the state to begin funding the plan (SB 6102). He also introduced a constitutional amendment that will prevent capital gains levels from dropping below $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a household without a vote of the people (SJR 8206).
“Many of the wealthiest Washingtonians in our state want to do more and give back to the great state that they love,” Ranker said. “They understand that giving back and asking everyone to do their share makes our state a better place. These people have found success in our state. They want to make our schools stronger so that others can share in that success.”
The final part of the plan addresses the state’s need to take on levy reform (SB 6103). Sen. Jim Hargrove’s plan would return local levies to their intended purpose of paying for extras and ensuring that the state pays for all elements of a basic education.
As K-12 compensation is increased and the state takes on the obligation of compensation, there is a dollar for dollar reduction. For every dollar given to the schools in increased funding, local levy revenue is reduced by one dollar.
“Under this plan more than 98 percent of families in this state will see their property tax reduced or remain untouched,” Hargrove said. “This addresses two critical needs, the Supreme Court’s order and some tax relief for families throughout the state.”
It’s a “Game of T-Bones” as Sen. Brian Hatfield welcomes the Washington Cattlemen’s Association to Olympia for Beef Day 2015.
Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson released the statement below Tuesday following the State House’s passage of a measure to raise Washington’s minimum wage:
“I applaud the leadership of our colleagues in the House of Representatives for passing a bill today that will benefit hundreds of thousands of working Washingtonians.
“The economy is improving, but not for everyone. This important piece of legislation represents a critical component of the remedy for income inequality.
“This is in stark contrast to the Republican-controlled Senate. While the House works to make life better for more of our friends and neighbors, Republicans continue to work against them. Republican-sponsored bills that create sub-minimum wages, roll back protections for sick or injured working people and legislation to make it difficult for working folks to have a say in wages and working conditions are all being considered in the Senate.
“These common sense ideas coming over from the House will make life better for working families and benefit our entire economy – including those at the very top. These ideas must have their day in the Senate to create an economy that benefits everyone, not just a few.
“There’s no starker contrast between Democrats and Republicans than on these issues. At the same time Democrats took action to make things better for working families, Republicans continue to promote policies that make the gap between the rich and the rest of us even wider.”
Following Monday’s passage of a 16-year, $15 billion plan to invest in Washington’s transportation infrastructure, Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, the Senate Democrats’ lead transportation negotiator, issued the statement below:
“Our state’s infrastructure is at a crossroads and the passage of this plan comes at an absolutely critical time. Not only is this plan a boon for our state’s economy, it is also a potential game changer throughout our shared communities.
“After years of conversations and negotiations that started and then stalled without a deal, there is certainly a feeling of satisfaction that we were able to deliver this critical deal to the people of this state.
“This plan will continue to have its critics. I am one of them. No deal is perfect; that’s the nature of compromise.
“What is important is that we’ve taken a crucial step forward and now the House will have the opportunity to consider this plan.
“Every corner of our state is in dire need of upgrades to roads, bridges, rail, bike and pedestrian paths and transit options. This package addresses those needs.
“Of course the most important benefit of these investments are the approximately 200,000 jobs that will be created over the life of this plan. These investments will put our state on solid ground for generations to come.”
OLYMPIA – As the legislative session hits the halfway mark, legislators are taking time to meet with their constituents across the state. Several town halls will take place on March 14 to offer people a chance to get an update on the 2015 session, ask questions and hear what lawmakers are working on in Olympia.
UPCOMING TOWN HALLS (Click here to download a list of town halls)
- 1st District – Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, Reps. Derek Stanford and Luis Moscoso
Where: Northshore Senior Center in the Wellness Center, 10212 East Riverside Drive, Bothell, WA 98011
When: 10 a.m.. – noon
- 3rd District – Sen. Andy Billig, Reps. Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli
Where: WSU-Spokane Riverpoint Campus, 600 North Riverpoint Blvd, Academic Center Auditorium, Rm #20, Spokane, WA 99202
When: 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- 5th District – Sen. Mark Mullet
Where: Issaquah Fire Station 73, 1280 NE Park Dr., Issaquah, WA
When: Noon – 1 p.m.
Where: Snoqualmie Library, 7824 Center Blvd. SE., Snoqualmie, WA
When: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Tahoma School District Central Services Board Room, 25720 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Road SE., Maple Valley, WA
When: 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- 11th District – Sen. Bob Hasegawa, Reps. Zach Hudgins and Steve Bergquist
- When: 1-3 p.m.
- Where: King County Regional Communications & Emergency Coordination Center (RCECC) 3511 NE 2nd Street, Renton, WA 98056
- 21st District – Sen. Marko Liias, Reps. Lillian Ortiz-Self and Strom Peterson
Where: Meadowdale High School, Great Hall, 6002 168th Street SW, Lynnwood, WA 98037
When: 10:30 a.m.- noon
- 23rd District – Sen. Christine Rolfes, Reps. Sherry Appleton and Drew Hansen
Where: Bainbridge Island City Council Chambers, 280 Madison Ave. N, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
When: 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m.
Where: The Jenne-Wright Administration Center, Central Kitsap School District, 9210 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale, WA 98383
When: 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
- 27th District – Sen. Jeannie Darneille, Reps. Laurie Jenkins and Jake Fey
Where: Evergreen State College – Tacoma Campus, 1210 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98405
When: 10 a.m.-Noon
- 29th District – Sen. Steve Conway
Where: Garfield Book Co. at Pacific Lutheran University, 208 Garfield Street South #101, Tacoma, WA 98444
When: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- 32nd District – Sen. Maralyn Chase and Rep. Cindy Ryu
Where: Shoreline Fire Dept. 17525 Aurora Ave. N. Shoreline, WA 98133
When: 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
- 36th District – Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Reps. Reuven Carlyle and Gael Tarleton
Where: Phinney Neighborhood Association, community room, 6532 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98103
When: 10 a.m. – noon
- 37th District – Sen. Pramila Jayapal, Reps. Tomiko Santos and Eric Pettigrew
- Where: Rainier Valley Cultural Center—3515 S Alaska St, Seattle, WA 98118
- When: 9-11 a.m.
- 38th District – Sen. John McCoy, Reps. Mike Sells and June Robinson
Where: Everett Community Resource Center, 3900 Broadway Ave., Everett, Wa 98201
When: 10-11 a.m.
- 43rd District – Sen. Jamie Pedersen, Speaker Frank Chopp and Rep. Brady Walkinshaw
Where: Erickson Theater, 1524 Harvard Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
When: 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- 48th District – Sen. Cyrus Habib, Reps. Ross Hunter and Joan McBride
Where: Redmond City Hall, 15670 NE 85Th St., Redmond, WA 98052
When: 10 a.m.
UPCOMING TELEPHONE TOWN HALLS
- 21st District – Sen. Marko Liias, Reps. Lillian Ortiz-Self and Strom Peterson
When: 6-7 p.m.
- 49th District – Sen. Annette Cleveland, Reps. Jim Moeller and Sharon Wylie
When: 6-7 p.m.
- 33rd District – Sen. Karen Keiser, Reps. Tina Orwall and Mia Gregerson
When: 6-7 p.m.