With ruling, workers have new rights but union allies looking to keep the money flowing

The U.S. Supreme Court often waits until the final week of the term to release its most anticipated rulings. So it was this year, with the court putting out its decision in the much-watched Janus v. AFSCME labor case last week. The court ruled that government employees have a 1st Amendment right to opt out […]

McKenna on KIRO: Are these initiative titles intentionally misleading?

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about two initiatives on this fall’s ballot. Supporters of I-1631, which would impose a carbon tax, are billing it as a “pollution fee.” The campaign for another initiative aimed at preventing soda taxes, I-1634, is calling itself Yes! To Affordable Groceries. Dave Ross: “Does that mean we can retitle […]

Western State crisis shows lack of action, lack of leadership

No one in state government gets to plead ignorance on this one. Western State Hospital, a mental health facility, has been in crisis for years. The deficiencies, management turnover, aging facilities, escapes, and workforce problems are well-known and much discussed. The state has suffered numerous lawsuit losses over conditions at the hospital, and several courts […]

Why the Janus v. AFSCME court decision matters

In his Gettysburg Address President Abraham Lincoln did not close by saying, “Government of the government employees, by the government employees, for the government employees.” Yet, for the past couple of decades that is exactly what has occurred in our country. No other entity spends as much money to influence government policies and has as […]

McKenna on KIRO: Gov. employees can’t be forced to pay unions

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about this week’s landmark Supreme Court ruling in the Janus case. The court ruled 5-4 that government employees cannot be forced to join a union or pay representation fees to one as a condition of employment. Dave Ross: “So was this decision based on a free speech issue, […]

State, federal governments are both hurting rural economies

If you’re an economic conservative, you probably think there isn’t much government can do to create a strong economy. Infrastructure is necessary, as is an educated workforce. But government’s best role is in not mucking things up. Unfortunately our state and national governments are making mistakes right now that are mucking things up. In both […]

McKenna on KIRO: Crossing the border, asking for asylum

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about what is involved in applying for asylum upon arriving in the U.S. and recent changes to what is required. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced that “victims of domestic abuse and gang violence generally will not qualify for asylum under federal law…” Dave Ross: “So for […]

McCleary comes to a close: Levy swap prevails, funding now fairer

What a long, strange journey it has been. 11 years after it was filed, the McCleary education funding case wound to a close this week. Since the state Supreme Court first ruled on the case in 2012, it has been the Sword of Damocles dangling over state government. I did not agree with the court’s […]

McKenna on KIRO: Facebook and Google not keeping political ad records

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the state Attorney General’s Office filing suit against Facebook and Google for not complying with Washington state law. Entities that run political advertisements are required to keep records regarding who is buying ads and how much they’re spending, and those records must be made available for inspection. […]

Housing: We can build up, build out, or accept astronomical prices

I am frequently confounded by what passes for housing policy in Seattle. City government has lots of ideas on affordable housing and no clue on how to actually make housing more affordable. Or maybe it’s more of a matter of no interest than no clue. The Seattle City Council seems more focused on “affordable housing” […]