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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

It’s my privilege to stand up for charter schools and students

Politicians tend to overuse some phrases. “It’s such an honor” to be part of this, “it’s a privilege” to do that. So considering I’m a recovering politician, you might wonder if I’ve lapsed into saying things that sound rote. But I mean it sincerely when I say it’s a great honor and privilege to represent […]

Hopeful kids and families a contrast to union’s cynical suit against charters

It was quite a scene in Walla Walla last week. There was a food truck, music, and balloons. And there were smiles, on a Friday night, from kids who are already looking ahead to the next school year with excitement. What was it? Well, it was a “signing event” for students joining Walla Walla’s new […]

Why have a Rainy Day Fund if state leaders don’t even grasp its purpose?

We will suffer another economic downturn at some point – that’s a given. The “when” is unpredictable, as ample history should make obvious. As much as some like to search after-the-fact for those “voices in the wilderness,” such as those issuing warnings in 2007 of impending problems, those cases may have more to do with […]

Public wants transparency, so shouldn’t Inslee veto SEIU giveaway bill?

The average voter, I think it’s fair to say, didn’t care much for the Legislature’s public records bill. A good chunk of Olympia took a gamble that voters wouldn’t care about a “boring topic” like open government. They bet wrong. The public doesn’t want to see governing conducted in secret. They don’t want legislation passed […]

House Republicans’ mics cut off for pointing out union giveaway

Most eyes in Olympia this week were on the will-he-or-won’t-he veto drama on the legislative records bill – and deservedly so. Legislators took a gamble that voters wouldn’t care too much about this issue. They were wrong, and I hope it clarified for public officials around the state that people care about open government. Lesson […]

Bipartisanship gone bad: Anti-transparency bill is insulting

We often praise bipartisanship, but some of the worst abuses of process have broad agreement from both parties. You saw a clear example of that Friday, when a bill to largely exempt legislators from the Public Records Act passed out of both chambers in record time with basically no debate. It’s hard to put a […]