BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: The Washington State Supreme Court agreed with education advocates this morning, ruling that the state has not met its "paramount duty" to adequately fund education. They did not offer a clear remedy, though. Our report and the ruling here.

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1. More reactions to Gov. Chris Gregoire's gay marriage legislation: State Rep. Matt Shea (R-4, Spokane Valley) the lead social conservative in Olympia's GOP caucus, issued a dismissive response to Gregoire's announcement yesterday that she's proposing a gay marriage bill:

“I am surprised same-sex marriage is a primary focus of the Democrats when the Legislature still has a 1.5 billion dollar budget shortfall to address as we enter the short 60-day, 2012 legislative session. Marriage between one man and one woman is a long-standing institution, as well as a recognized foundation of a well-functioning society. .... Focusing on this issue only serves to needlessly divert attention away from the more than 300,000 unemployed people looking to the Legislature to implement policies to help get Washington working again.”[pullquote]The State has failed to meet its duty under article IX, section 1 by consistently providing school districts with a level of resources that falls short of the actual costs of the basic education program. [/pullquote]

For his part, Shea is sponsoring bills: requiring parental notification for abortion; undoing the federal mandate on health care; exempting firearms from federal regulations; restricting the use of unmarked law enforcement cars on private property; and sending a message to President Obama demanding that he honor the 10th Amendment (states' rights).

2. More GOP in-fighting: In a surprising move yesterday, Republican Party goody goody, state attorney general Rob McKenna, who's running for governor, blasted Mitt Romney (the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who just won the Iowa caucus) for the health care plan Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts. The plan, a precursor to Obama's reform, requires all state residents to obtain health insurance. Speaking via video link at a health care forum in SeaTac, McKenna said Romney's plan had failed to improve the quality of health care in the state and had actually resulted in more emergency room visits and longer waits to see a doctor.



"We know that the new federal health care law is not a panacea," McKenna said. "If it were, Massachusetts would be seeing dramatically lower emergency room visits. They are not. Their ER visits have gone up. … The average length of time to see a doctor," McKenna added, "is now more than 40 days. In some parts of the state, it's more than 55 days. Their health insurance mandate does not have the silver bullet effect that they said it would."

3. More sniping: US Rep. Jay Inslee also spoke at yesterday's health care conference. Overheard: "To use a medical metaphor, Jay looks a lot better. But he's still a terminal cancer patient."

Inslee has been criticized for his disengaged and lackluster performance on the stump.

4. More where that came from: Kemper Freeman, the Bellevue megadeveloper who spent tens of thousands of dollars promoting a slate of anti-light rail council candidates and more than a million dollars promoting Tim Eyman's 2011 failed Initiative 1125, which would have killed light rail to the Eastside, is doing just fine.

At a meeting of the Bellevue Rotary Club this week, Freeman boasted to the crowd that his retail, restaurant, hotel, and commercial office holdings in downtown Bellevue (Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square, and Bellevue Place) had seen record sales last month---better than any during the past 60 years and that sales for the past six months are up more than 15 percent.

5. More from Bellevue: At this week's Bellevue City Council meeting---the same meeting where council members elected two light rail opponents, Conrad Lee and Jennifer Robertson, as mayor and deputy mayor, respectively---the council voted to appoint Aaron Laing, one of the Freeman-backed candidates who ran unsuccessfully for an open seat against winning candidate John Stokes, to the Bellevue Planning Commission.

Laing joins Republicans Diane Tebelius (the former chair of the state GOP) and John Carlson (KOMO talk jock) on the planning commission's conservative bloc.