Friday, December 3, 2010

Latest budget news

On Wednesday, Speaker Chopp and Rep. Pat Sullivan met with Governor Gregoire for a "five corners" meeting with legislative leaders and budget writers from all four caucuses (House and Senate Ds and Rs).

Last month the Governor requested input from the caucuses on how to address the 2011 operating budget shortfall. Here is the list of reduction ideas from House Democrats.

The list is still very preliminary. Members worked diligently to mitigate some of the most painful reductions that were included in the Governor's list of possible reductions. For example, House Democrats do not include the following proposed reductions:

• Eliminating the Basic Health Plan
• Reducing Levy Equalization
• Eliminating the Children’s Health Program
• Eliminating Disability Lifeline Medical Care
• Eliminating Pharmacy Benefits for Adults

And about that special session -- still no agreement. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quick Take: Liias on school bullying

As we noted last year, the Legislature passed House Bill 2801 to address harassment in our schools. Rep. Marko Liias will be looking to continue that work in the 2011 session:

"The new law requires schools to update and strengthen their policies this year, adopt specific action plans for parents and students to report bullying, and for the first time, schools will be required to designate a specific school official to tackle school bullying.

These steps will ensure that our schools continue to address this challenge. But, as I have spoken with students, parents and community members, it is clear that we need to take another step to engage more partners in tackling school bullying.

That is why I will be offering legislation this January to create a statewide task force to study how our state can truly eliminate bullying and harassment in our schools. This task force will bring together teachers, parents, students, the faith community and others to examine best practices from around the country and recommend an action plan for our schools."

In the news:

The Olympian (Sept. 17) – Op-ed: School bullying is a problem that requires adult intervention

Auburn Reporter (Nov. 18) – Liias op-ed: More steps need to be taken to stop school bullying

Additional resource:

WA Office of the Education Ombudsman: Bullying at school – What a family can do

This for that - Carlyle's pitch for PAYGO

Rep. Reuven Carlyle offers up his thoughts on why legislators should consider a "pay as you go" approach to budgeting, an approach he says "would radically change the dynamics of our political dialogue."

Read it here.

Monday, November 29, 2010