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Category: State Government

June
17th

Wash revenues still coming in higher than March forecast; can Tuesday update get lawmakers off the dime?

It almost escaped public attention last week in the fight over an estate tax: The Economic and Revenue Council’s latest monthly tax-collections report showed continued gains for the Washington state treasury. The report showed the cumulative revenue gain exceeding the March forecast is just over $126 million – or about $94 million when certain adjustments are made to adjust for one-time factors and blips.

If the Tuesday morning [tomorrow] forecast actually assumed that bullish monthly gain of $30 million to $40 million for two years, it would seem to offer the Legislature a golden pot of hope,

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June
15th

Legislature adjourned officially until Monday but really it’s until Tuesday

After Thursday night’s marathon push to approve an estate tax and get it signed by Gov. Inslee before refunds checks went out in the morning, the Legislature is taking a bit of a breather. No further action took place Friday, and rank-and-file members in the House and Senate are getting the full weekend off.

Budget writers – led by Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, and Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina – are expected to continue talking Saturday. There was talk of moving those conversations north from Olympia to King County in order to limit travel time for the

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May
22nd

Gov. Inslee signs bill giving adoptees more access to birth records

 

As an adoptee, state Rep. Tina Orwall once hoped to win more disclosure. As one who gave up a child for adoption, Sen. Ann Rivers didn’t want to allow more. In the end, a compromise bill signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee this week strikes a middle ground both lawmakers are hailing as a step forward for those involved in adoptions.

The legislation – House Bill 1525  lets those adopted before October 1993 obtain a copy of their original birth record, if the birth

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May
22nd

UPDATE – Salary commission just set pay – giving Supreme Court justices higher pay than governor

 

If case you wondered, Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t getting a pay raise this year – or in 2014. But the nine members of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen will get raises on Sept. 1 – when their pay rises above that even of the governor.

The Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials finished its work today and it is holding pay for governor – the top elected official’s spot – at $166,891. That’s the same it’s been since September 2008, shortly before the economy’s bottom fell out.

UPDATE: “It’s appropriate for these times

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May
15th

April jobless numbers may be better but Wash still 45,500 jobs shy of 2008 peak

State jobless rates fell in April to 7 percent, down from 7.3 percent, bringing the state rate to its lowest since December 2008. Overall the state remains 45,500 jobs shy of the peak hit before the recession began in February that year, according to Scott Bailey, regional economist for the state Employment Security Department.

The department’s monthly jobs report is here.

The Great Recession that began in February 2008 wiped out 205,600 jobs across the state, and the economy has regained more than three-quarters of that.

“Our April preliminary estimate was 2,933,500

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May
14th

Supreme Court hears arguments over legitimacy of $95M court award to care workers for the severely disabled

The Washington Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a class-action case brought by “live-in” home care aides against the state Department of Social and Health Services over unpaid work hours that could cost taxpayers $95 million or more, if the court upholds earlier court rulings.

TVW’s coverage of the hearing is here:

The 22,000 workers in the suit tend for disabled clients, some of them severely, and they saw their work hours cut by an average of 15 percent during 2003-07 under a “shared living” rule adopted by the state agency for Medicaid clients.

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April
18th

Report: Senate budget puts less into K-12 education than advertised

The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus budget that is billed as a big new investment in education – without new taxes – apparently is not putting in as much new cash for K-12 public schools as previously thought. Just yesterday Brian Rosenthal of the Seattle Times dug in to some of the numbers and finds that it falls well short of claims to invest $1 billion in new money for schools.

Read the report here, and a takeaway excerpt is here:

The Senate’s two-year budget was advertised as a $1 billion funding increase for schools. But if you add up

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April
17th

In split vote, Senate sends a bill banning two toxic flame retardants to House for consideration

The state Senate voted to send a bill outlawing certain flame retardants back to

the House on Wednesday. House Bill 1294 was watered down from what the House originally approved on a partisan vote.

Democratic Sen. Sharon Nelson of Maury Island blasted the compromise, saying the “gutted version” that passed “removed much-needed protections for our babies, children and families from these harmful flame retardants that are known to cause cancer.” But Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, says the proposal is a compromise that preserves a process already in place for the Department of Ecology to review chemicals of concern.

Jonathan

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