Here’s a thought: Open up secret negotiations and legislators’ records

We don’t make a lot of exceptions to this one: If you’re a public official in this state, you’re subject to the Public Records Act. Citizens can request your work documents and schedule, your e-mails and briefing materials. It’s important for building trust in the system and holding officials accountable. The Public Records Act applies […]

McKenna on KIRO: Odors that violate your property rights

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a lawsuit by a Marysville man over compost odors. Attorneys for James Moffat alleged that smells from Cedar Grove’s composting facility in Everett interfered with his enjoyment of his property. A Snohomish County jury found in favor of Cedar Grove earlier this month. Dave Ross: “Somebody still […]

Coming soon? Gas tax info, right at the pump

Paying taxes has been pretty low on people’s “fun” list for some time now, and paying them these days can give you a headache. Just ask the last-minute filers scrambling to finish their income tax returns this week. They re-learned an annual lesson: our federal tax system is immensely complicated. Giving over your hard-earned dollars […]

We’ll have to force government to be more transparent

Open data – perhaps one of the nerdier and more obscure topics we discuss with some regularity on SGW – is clearly the future of government information. The clumsy, time-consuming ask-and-approve public records request system is the past. It’s a creaky old way of doing things that is due for an update. Proacatively publishing government […]

McKenna on KIRO: New law lets A.G. target higher drug prices

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a bill just passed by Maryland’s legislature that would allow the state’s attorney general to ask drug companies for an explanation if a drug’s price is dramatically raised. The company could then be taken to court, where a judge could reverse the price hike. Dave Ross: “So […]

Inslee conveys that our rural areas’ concerns aren’t very important

Our state’s rural areas have been left in the lurch by the state Supreme Court’s 2016 Hirst decision that greatly raises costs on wells for homes. Critics of the decision have complained that the court has stepped beyond its proper role and is acting like a policy-setting body. The court’s decision effectively halted homebuilding in […]

McKenna on KIRO: Bertha emerges, but what about cost overruns?

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about who will be on the hook for the Bertha tunnel boring machine’s cost overruns. Bertha completed its long journey this week, starting a new phase in the viaduct replacement project. Rob McKenna: “Keeping in mind, this is the biggest earth-pressure balance machine – or closed-face boring machine – […]

New technology has potential to benefit environment and bolster state dairies

Dairy farmers in Washington are besieged. I’m frequently impressed by their stewardship and their adaptability, but they face a well-funded opposition for whom their efforts are never enough. For instance, the state Department of Ecology passed expensive new regulations, forcing family farmers to fight for reasonable changes (and those were blasted by opponents). Outside groups […]

The lie that a capital gains income tax is really an excise tax

In their ongoing quest for “progressivity,” House Democrats in Olympia announced new taxes to pay for their budget proposal, which spends more than the Senate Republicans’ budget. Notably absent was any sort of carbon tax. Despite a Democrat-controlled House and a governor anxious to sign anything with the word “carbon” in it, the votes just […]

This era might change how the left feels about federalism

Federalism – the idea that states retain powers not granted to the federal government and they should exercise them – has long been more popular on the right. With President Trump in the White House and Republican majorities in Congress, the left is discovering, hey, maybe federalism isn’t so bad after all. If federalism gains […]