1. Never mind funding for transportation, the Christmas wish list is in for the state house GOP. Here are some of the bills that were prefiled as of this weekend for the upcoming legislative session:
Granting exemptions from state biofuel and biodiesel requirements; prohibiting the use of transportation funds for public works of art or artistic designs; requiring a three-fifths vote for approval of the omnibus operating appropriations act; applying federal environmental review and protection requirements to transportation projects conducted by or for the department of transportation.
That last one might sound like a green bill, but it's part of the ongoing Republican agenda item to undermine local environmental standards, which are typically more strenuous than federal standards.
And speaking of undermining state environmental laws, there's also this one: Creating an exemption in the state environmental policy act for transportation projects in jurisdictions with comprehensive plans that were subject to an environmental analysis prior to adoption.
2. Lest you think we only make fun of the Republican agenda: Last week, state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1, Bothell) introduced a bill to mandate that local school districts "use state test scores in math, reading, and language arts among the multiple measures of student growth in Washington’s teacher and principal evaluations."
McAuliffe is now introducing a do-over along the lines of what the GOP senators—and K-12 reformers— such as Sen. Steve Litzow wanted all along.
It's certainly a good idea; the federal Department of Education, which put Washington State on "high-risk status" this summer, was about to yank a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act along with $38 million in federal funding if we didn't upgrade our local testing standards to state requirements.
So what's the criticism of McAuliffe? The reason Washington state was put on "high-risk status" by the feds was because the teacher evaluation legislation passed during her tenure as K-12 education chair over the objection of the Republicans allowed local districts to choose the test(s) they used, such as tests developed at the local level, rather than the uniform state assessments.
Having been schooled by the feds, she's now introducing a do-over along the lines of what the GOP senators—and K-12 reformers—such as Sen. Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island) wanted all along.
3. Erica will be on KUOW's The Record today at noon to talk about the minimum wage row that's coming to City Hall: Will the council go with the $15 demand being pushed by the Service Employees International Union Healthcare 775 and new City Council member Kshama Sawant?