In updating the PRA, public’s access is paramount

There hasn’t been much consensus in Olympia recently on how to update our state’s Public Records Act for the tech age. Because of that, the default has been to do nothing. On balance, that’s just fine. The law is tilted strongly in favor of the public’s right to know what public officials and employees are […]

McKenna on KIRO: Repealing Washington’s death penalty

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about his presence at a bipartisan press conference on Monday, where Republican and Democrats backed a bill requested by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to repeal Washington’s death penalty. Dave Ross: “Have you ever changed your mind about something of that magnitude before?” Rob McKenna: “I don’t know. […]

On his first day, new state Superintendent picks union over taxpayers

During last fall’s election season, I expressed concern that Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) candidate Chris Reykdal was too close to the state teachers union. He didn’t waste much time confirming it. His first act after being inaugurated this week was to remove his office from an intriguing lawsuit begun by his predecessor regarding school […]

Bright Light award: Drew Stokesbary

It’s heartening, as a recovering politician, to see younger people stepping up to run for office. The conservative side of the aisle in Olympia has benefited in recent years by some really impressive under-40 officeholders who give us confidence about the future. Rep. Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn) certainly fits that bill. The young conservative, just re-elected […]

Bright Light award: Steve Litzow

“Leader” is a designation that gets tossed around a lot. Perhaps we should save it for the times we really, really mean it. Certainly, for praising outgoing state Sen. Steve Litzow, it’s appropriate. On the big issues of the day, Litzow was right at the center of the action. Especially on K-12, early learning and […]

McKenna on KIRO: Lawmaker takes on social media Ethics Board case

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the Legislative Ethics Board case that Rep. Melanie Stambaugh (R-Puyallup) chose to fight. The issue centers on whether or not public officials are allowed to share taxpayer-funded legislative videos and updates on campaign Facebook pages. Rob McKenna: “And the Ethics Board isn’t saying that Rep. Stambaugh can’t […]

Inslee’s tax increases really are massive

Three topline reactions to Gov. Jay Inslee’s massive tax increase proposal: The actual tax hike is much larger than what’s being presented. Most of the news coverage presented it as a $4.4 billion tax increase. Since not all of the tax increases would be phased in immediately, that $4.4 billion increase would apply to the […]

Law requiring state pay raises be “feasible financially” is toothless

Gov. Jay Inslee and his budget team spent much of 2016 negotiating pay raises with 38 unions representing state employees. The result was pay increases that average 6%, at a time when the state is scrambling for every penny to meet the McCleary order on K-12 funding. The timing of these negotiations between the governor […]

“Local control” will be one of 2017’s Olympia buzzwords

You’re going to be hearing a lot about local control from the state teachers union, the WEA, in the months ahead. The local control issue is not about the local school board and apple pie and the homecoming dance. It’s about the same thing it always is: money and control. When the Legislature convenes in […]

Parents know best, the WEA thinks it knows better on charter schools

It’s Round 2 of the judicial fight over charter schools in Washington. In a new wrinkle last week, a King County judge tossed several plaintiffs off the case, ruling that they don’t have standing to sue against public charter schools. Now groups like the Aerospace Machinists, the League of Women Voters, El Centro de la […]