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July
15th

Moody’s Investors says $1B for K-12 education is ‘credit positive’ for local schools

The recent legislative session did nothing to lift a “negative outlook” on Washington state government’s fairly good credit rating. But the Legislature’s decision to put nearly $1 billion of new money for K-12 schools may help some local school districts on a case-by-case basis.

Moody’s Investor Service, the national ratings agency, says the $1 billion for K-12 was a “credit positive” event that gives local school districts “some budgetary relief and increased financial flexibility” going forward. A note on Washington’s situation was released last Thursday in Moody’s Weekly Credit Outlook for Public Finance.

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July
15th

Thurston judge OK’s ballot wording for I-594’s gun background checks

Backers of an initiative to close loopholes on background checks for gun buyers have won ballot title language more to their liking. Judge Christopher Wickham approved final language for Initiative 594’s title late Friday in Thurston County Superior Court, including references to criminal background checks and public safety.

The petitions are now on the street, according to Christian Sinderman, a political consultant for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s campaign.

As Brian M. Rosenthal of the Times reported earlier todaythe initiative to the 2014 Legislature  is expected to land on the November 2014 ballot along with I-591, which

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July
12th

Backers of labeling for genetically-engineered foods say 66 percent in poll are supporting Initiative 522

Backers of the Initiative 522 campaign to require labeling of genetically engineered foods said Friday their own polling shows 66 percent public support for the measure. The poll was done by GBA Strategies of Washington, D.C., and it queried 1,200 likely voters during June 18-23. The survey included respondents on land lines and cell phones and had an error margin of plus-or-minus 2.8 percent.

According to the poll memo released by Elizabeth Larter, spokeswoman for I-522, the pollsters asked: 

Initiative Measure Number 522 concerns labeling of genetically engineered foods. This

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July
11th

State revenue collection ticks up $7.5 million above forecast in July monthly report

Washington’s state government revenues held up for another month, ticking $7.5 million higher than the June forecast which had furnished  enough new revenue to let lawmakers settle their differences and pass a budget.

You can see the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council’s full monthly revenue-collections report on June 11 to July 10 collections here. 

The improved revenue comes as state jobless rates are still falling and retail sales are growing, despite slowing job growth overall and a recent decline in aerospace industry jobs. The additional money is actually

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July
10th

UPDATE – Libertarian group files sweeping records request for evidence of state agency bias such as using words like ‘Tea Party,’ ‘gun nut,’ ‘redneck,’ ‘hick’ and ‘Mormon’

In a move inspired by the IRS’ scrutiny of ‘tea party’ and other groups, the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation has filed records requests with four Washington state agencies asking for employee emails and other documents using 18 different phrases or words such as “Tea Party” or “Mormon” or “redneck.”

The search is for all documents created since January 2010. The search terms include everything from gun nut to NRA, Freedom Foundation, libertarian, conservative, Catholic, Christian, right wing, far right, racist, teabagger, and hicks.

“We tried to come up with terms that we thought would be logical to be

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July
10th

Reproductive-rights activists: budget mostly kind to women’s health programs; RPA battle to resume in 2014

Supporters of abortion rights certainly hit a political brick wall trying to get the Reproductive Parity Act passed in the Republican-steered Washington state Senate this year, despite relatively easy passage in the House. Still, after failing to pass the bill requiring insurance plans to include abortion if they cover maternity, advocates for women’s reproductive rights say they won a lot of what they sought in the state’s two-year operating budget.

That’s right. Republicans who dominate the Senate Majority Caucus were able to head off a vote on a bill requiring insurers to cover abortion, despite a majority of at least

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July
9th

Rep. Marcie Maxwell leaving state House for education adviser job with Gov. Inslee’s administration

State Rep. Marcie Maxwell put out a statement Tuesday saying she is resigning her seat in the Legislature to take a senior education-adviser role in Gov. Jay Inslee‘s executive policy office later in July.

Maxwell, a Renton Democrat serving the 41st District, was the House Democrats’ deputy majority leader for education and opportunity, and her House committees included Education, Appropriations and Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. The Governor’s Office confirmed the appointment.

Here is the statement issued by Maxwell:

State Representative Marcie Maxwell is announcing her resignation from elected office to accept a new position in statewide service.  This month, Maxwell

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July
8th

Rep. Heck, JBLM leader plan tele-town hall Tuesday evening on cuts, furloughs

Freshman U.S. Rep. Denny Heck and the Joint Base Lewis McChord commander plan a telephone town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday for residents wanting to call in and learn about the effects of  temporary furloughs and other spending cuts triggered by the federal sequestration. Once-a-week furloughs begin Friday for an estimated 10,000 civilian employees of the largest base of the West Coast.

Heck, the 10th district Democrat from Olympia, and Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr. will be taking calls from civilian workers, members of the military and the public. Those wanting to join in should dial toll free to

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