Political Buzz

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Archives: Jan. 2013

Jan.
31st

Senators will consider giving principals a veto

The Senate Education Committee is due to consider Friday if principals and teachers should each be able to veto the teachers’ school assignments.

If Senate Bill 5242 were to become law, teachers “may be assigned to a particular school only with the mutual agreement of the principal and the staff member being assigned.”

The measure provides for temporary assignments when mutual agreement can’t be reached, such as substitute, support-staff or district-office jobs. But it says school districts can start the process of dismissing a teacher who has spent eight months in a temporary job.

Sen. Steve Litzow, who sponsored the bill and

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Jan.
31st

Stopping ‘flash robs’ a priority for Lakewood senator

State Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood
State Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood

Flash mobs aren’t just people bursting into song at food courts anymore.

Most people have heard of flash mobs: groups of people who convene at a set time and place to perform a coordinated activity, often organized via a viral email or text.

Now, flash mobs are converging on stores and stealing things in a trend commonly referred to as “flash robs.” Stores from Portland, Ore. to Chicago, Ill. were overwhelmed last year with young people who entered a store in sync and stole items while clerks helplessly watched.

Here in Washington, a state legislator wants to address the problem by making it easier to prosecute groups of people who organize a theft spree via text or email.

Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, has introduced a bill in the state Senate that would allow groups of nine or more people to be charged with organized retail theft if they collectively steal $250 or more in merchandise and use electronic messages to plan the crime. Existing law requires an individual person to steal goods worth $750 or more to be charged with organized retail theft, which is a felony.

Carrell’s proposal, Senate Bill 5178, will have a hearing at 8 a.m. Friday before the Senate Law & Justice Committee.

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Jan.
30th

Environmentalists look to defend former gains

Environmental activists today outlined their goals for changes in Olympia, including:

  • former Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s proposal to end a tax exemption for refineries, raising $63 million for the state and $23 million for local governments.
  • banning a group of chemicals known as chlorinated Tris in couches and children’s toys.
  • a study, with details not yet fleshed out, of how Washington might follow in the footsteps of British Columbia, California and Northeast states in regulating greenhouse gases, through some kind of carbon tax or cap-and-trade policy.

But they acknowledged in the conference call with reporters that the dynamics

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Jan.
29th

Gov. Jay Inslee fills top jobs at Commerce, Health Care, Military

Gov. Jay Inslee looked far afield and close to home to fill two key positions in his Cabinet.

Today he tapped federal Medicare and Medicaid official Dorothy Frost Teeter to lead the Health Care Authority, one of the state agencies that handles the most money and the one that is taking the lead on implementing President Barack Obama’s health law. She will be familiar with Washington, having been an official at Seattle King County Public Health and an executive at Group Health Cooperative.

He announced today that his new Commerce director will be Brian Bonlender, who ran Inslee’s congressional office and

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Jan.
29th

Lawmakers may keep universities from varying tuition

State lawmakers agreed to let universities and colleges charge higher tuition to engineers, business majors and others enrolled in higher-cost programs. But that was before the implications for the state’s pre-paid tuition program came to light.

After considering a few options last year, the Legislature ended up pausing the authority it had granted for differential tuition. Now it’s considering ending that authority altogether, as a measure sponsored by Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, would do.

Even among some of the lawmakers who originally championed differential tuition, there is now bipartisan support for ending it. When the Higher Education Committee

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Jan.
28th

Two sitting House members passed over as successor to Jerome Delvin

Neither Rep. Larry Haler of Richland nor Rep. Brad Klippert of Kennewick is headed to the state Senate. Going instead is their fellow Republican: Sharon Brown, an attorney who has been on the Kennewick City Council since 2009 and now serves as the city’s mayor pro tem.

The Tri-City Herald has the story.

Jerome Delvin of Richland, who is leaving the Senate after being elected to the Benton County Commission, helped pick his replacement. Monday’s unanimous vote by Benton County commissioners followed a winnowing by the Benton County GOP, which interviewed six candidates and forwarded three.

According to

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Jan.
28th

Tacoma: Mayor Strickland delivers ‘state of the city’ speech

Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland just gave her state of the city address at this year’s Tacoma Shift Happens, a conference at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center to promote local and independent businesses.

Here’s a copy of her speech:

 

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

On behalf of my City Council colleagues and the City of Tacoma, I am delighted to join you this evening to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in our great city at the third annual Shift Happens.

Before I begin, I would be remiss if I did not thank today’s organizers, the countless volunteers and numerous merchants for your

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Jan.
28th

Lawmakers want to put expelled kids back in school

Several state lawmakers are trying to reduce dropout rates in Washington schools by changing the way students are punished for misbehavior.

Dozens of parents and students showed up in Olympia Monday to testify on proposed laws that aim to reduce the length of public school suspensions and expulsions, as well as create plans for expelled students to get back into school.

Right now, students fall behind on schoolwork when they are expelled or suspended, and may not be able to catch up, parents and teachers testified Monday before the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

Additionally, getting a student back into school after he or she has had disciplinary issues can be difficult, parents and students said.

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