“After-the-fact” fix emblematic of collective bargaining problems

Lobbyists for state employee unions testified in Olympia recently in favor of HB 1521 and HB 1434, two innocuous-sounding bills regarding employee benefits. But with some ambiguous hem-and-haw language in their testimony, the labor lobbyists glossed over a key fact: the benefits the two bills would grant were already bargained into being by their unions […]

State, SEIU dragged kicking and screaming toward change

One way to gauge how seriously a gubernatorial administration takes an issue is to observe how many meetings it devotes to the topic. By that measure, the Inslee administration took the Service Employees International Union’s worries about 2014’s famous Harris case very seriously. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Harris – that state-reimbursed homecare workers […]

Remove barriers to help counties not participating in the “Seattle boom”

Perhaps no legislator has done more to bring attention to our state’s rural economies than Rep. JT Wilcox (R-Yelm). On occasions when the spotlight is on the “Goliaths” of our economy, such as Boeing, Wilcox asks what the Legislature can do to give a boost to the Davids too, including in our rural areas. This […]

New administration, no Harry Reid: Time to make progress on nuke waste storage

Our state is justifiably proud of the contributions made to victory in World War II, notably Boeing’s massive airplane production and the important work done at Hanford. Unfortunately, we continue to pay a price for the latter. Great minds labored in secrecy at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford, driven by the need to develop […]

McKenna on KIRO: Can gov’t force fingerprint to unlock phone?

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a thorny case out of Minnesota, where a judge ordered a burglary suspect to provide his fingerprint to unlock his cell phone. The man appealed, arguing that doing so violated his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. A Minnesota appeals court ruled against him, saying that providing the […]

Ending unnecessary licensing is about your right to make a living

Ours is a pretty divided nation these days, it’s hard to deny. That makes it all the more heartening to see issues where there is growing consensus in both parties. We’ve seen that in Republicans and Democrats alike rethinking our civil asset forfeiture laws (though the president has expressed some support for them). They’re questioning […]

Seattle’s “democracy voucher” program a confusing waste of money

Seattle is rolling out its new “democracy voucher” program, and apparently it’s leaving residents a little confused. Does it surprise anyone that this bad idea is proving confounding? Seattle voters passed the tax-dollars-for-campaign-donations program by initiative, so they gave it an affirmative yes. That doesn’t mean they have any idea what the vouchers are when […]

Help on the way for rural areas? Fix to water ruling is critical

Last fall, a state Supreme Court ruling in a water case severely curtailed economic development in rural Washington and hurt families who were just following the rules. Known as the Hirst decision, it was a major hit to areas that aren’t a part of the Seattle-area tech boom. The case, which originated in Whatcom County, […]

Dino Rossi returns to Olympia with a really smart idea

Sometimes a proposal in Olympia has such a force of logic behind it, and is so clearly the right thing to do, that you know it’s probably doomed. Sen. Dino Rossi is prime-sponsoring one such brilliant and necessary bill. The Legislature suffered a terrible loss when Sen. Andy Hill died, but Rossi has stepped into […]

It’s time to move on from the death penalty in Washington

Last week, I joined a bipartisan group of legislators and Attorney General Bob Ferguson in Olympia to support a bill that would repeal the death penalty in our state. The repeal would not be retroactive; those who sit on death row today would still be under the sentence they received for the murders they committed. […]