Friday, April 27, 2007

Washington Legislative Report - Wrap Up

I just concluded the final Olympia Lawmakers/Bloggers Conference Call for this session of Washington state legislature, and it was a bit depressing. With the Republicans outnumbered roughly two to one, it was just about impossible for any Republican ideas to make any headway at all.

At the start of the session, the Republicans identified four main categories of legislation that needed some action; Tax Relief and Spending restraint, Transportation, Health care, and Education.

Tax Relief: No tax reform legislation passed. Legislation to establish property tax growth as had been approved by the voters but overturned in court was not allowed to even be voted upon.

Spending Restraint: The new budget will not only wipe out the 2 billion dollar surplus, it will put us roughly 2 billion dollars in debt, and not one penny of the surplus will be returned to the taxpayers. Voted in the largest budget increase in history for this state.

Transportation: No legislation to resolve the Alaskan Way Viaduct problem in Seattle, although they DID talk about it a bit. Voted to borrow a lot more money to pay for cost over-runs on current transportation projects.

Education: They voted to spend more money on the State Colleges, while still allowing in-state tuition for illegal aliens. We now have a standardized curriculum for sex education for our schools, although there is no standardized curriculum for math, English, history, or any other subject. No action was taken on standardized testing in K through 12 education to see if the students are actually learning anything, but a study group was formed to study the issue. I believe this is the 18th. study group to address this issue.......

And finally, a Global Climate Change Task Force was created by this year's legislature. Perhaps they should just pass a law outlawing global climate change?

Was there any good news? Not very much. The law to restrict private gun sales at gun shows died in committee, which is good, but it should have never been in the legislature in the first place.

It must be incredibly frustrating to be a Republican legislator in this state............



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