Morning Fizz

Go One Step Further

By Morning Fizz January 19, 2010

1. This year's two high-profile pot bills—Burien-area State Rep. Dave Upthegrove's (D-33) decriminalization bill and Seattle State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson's (D-36) legalization bill—are scheduled for a joint executive session on Wednesday in the House public safety committee where they will both get snuffed out for the session.

2. Seen in Olympia yesterday with the Seattle City Council: Dave Foster, the council's very own lobbyist who they've hired on contract to specifically monitor the waterfront tunnel project and make sure nothing happens this session to jeopardize the $4.2 billion deal that new Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn opposes.

3. Last week we reported that south central Washington Republican Rep. Larry Haler (R-8) was sponsoring legislation that would effectively overturn a Gov. Chris Gregoire veto. (Last year, Gregoire  vetoed of a section of the education reform bill that added early learning for "at risk" children to the definition of basic education.)

It turns out a Democratic legislator—Eastside Seattle Suburban Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45) has a bill that wouldn't only trump Gregoire's veto, but would go one step further and actually create an early learning program for at risk children.  The bill has over 30 co-sponsors (including Rep. Haler) and is scheduled for a hearing in the House early learning committee today.

3. Gov. Gregoire herself proposed an education bill yesterday that would upgrade Washington's K-12 standards to make the state eligible for $200 million in President Obama's Race to the Top education funding.

Washington state missed out on the first funding cycle because adversarial education advocates—the Washington Education Association (the teachers union) on one side, and education reformers like the state board of education on the other—couldn't agree on things like teacher evaluation, merit pay, and how to deal with failing schools.

The sides have apparently resolved their differences this year (for now) and both support the bill—which, among other things, addresses the failing schools issue.

The WEA says they approve this year because the bill doesn't let the state come in and "take over" failing schools, but rather lets the local community devise and execute the rescue plan. The State Board of Education likes the plan becuase they get to demand and approve the plan and make sure it works.

As if to underscore that point, Senate education committee member, Yakima-area State Sen. Curtis King (R-14), asked SBE president Mary Jean Ryan during her testimony yesterday "Who approves the plan?" Ryan answered that the SBE did.  In the hallway after the hearing, Sen. King approached Ryan to tell her she'd done a good job.

4. Next Monday, the city council will vote on a resolution to create a "do not mail registry" (AKA the junk mail ban). The registry, which needs to be  approved by the state legislature, would allow people to voluntarily stop the post office from delivering unsolicited junk mail like catalogs and commercial fliers, which use up nearly 200,000 trees a year and cost around $400,000 to dispose of annually in Seattle alone.
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