McKenna on KIRO: Can the state ban public mask-wearing?

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a bill introduced by state Sen. Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside) that would prohibit the wearing of masks in public. The legislation is a response to May Day protests and similar situations. “I really believe that people, when they hide their identity, are more likely to commit a crime,” […]

State teachers union’s radio ad is one big lie

We’re living in an era of extreme political voices, especially at the national level. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then our state teachers union, the WEA, must be blushing. Ratcheting up the pressure, truth be damned, has been its M.O. for some time now. The group is running newspaper ads and a […]

Teacher shortage? Sort of, but incentive pay could help fix it

That our schools face a teacher shortage is something that has been repeated so often, it’s taken to be true. One new study aimed to quantify the problem. So is there a teacher shortage? Not really. At least, there’s no shortage of teachers generally. But the study did find a dearth of teachers in some […]

Senate GOP taxes Dems’ patience

When something hits a little too close to home, we say it struck a nerve. A recent parliamentary move by Senate Republicans in Olympia did just that with legislative Democrats. They’ve been buzzing about it louder than the “Operation” guy. It was a simple idea. Since House Democrats haven’t bothered to vote on the tax […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“Pure politics” charge against Rossi’s bill doesn’t make much sense

If you read Smarter Government Washington, you know I think the way state government bargains with state employees is terribly flawed. It concentrates too much power in the governor’s hands. It cuts legislators out of the process, even though employee salaries are one of the biggest items the state funds. After the package is negotiated […]