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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Washington Legislature begins second special session

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen prepares to bang a gavel to officially adjourn the first special legislative session Tuesday, June 11. Washington state lawmakers have been called into a second special session to finish their work on the state budget. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen prepares to bang a gavel to officially adjourn the first special legislative session Tuesday, June 11. Washington state lawmakers have been called into a second special session to finish their work on the state budget. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

Legislature should fund smaller classes

Two important things are happening this week. Most of Washington’s school children begin the first full week of their summer vacations, and the Washington Legislature enters the first full week of yet another special session without fulfilling its paramount duty. [“Special session: 30 days, 0 bills, $77,000 in costs,” NW Saturday, June 15.]

Many kids with working parents will spend part of the summer in child care, where they will get something fewer and fewer kids have during the school year: reasonable class sizes.

Washington state law caps the number of kids in child care at 15 children per adult. It is a ratio that guarantees one-on-one time for each child, allows instructors to focus on curriculum, and ensures that students are safe.

So why won’t our leaders in Olympia give our kids the same smaller classes in school that they get all summer?

Washington has the fourth-most crowded classrooms in America.

Smaller classes are clearly right for Washington kids, and our legislators should do their paramount duty before the summer is over and fund smaller classes now.

Matt Loschen, Redmond

Health care should not be cut

I agree that it is critical for the Washington Legislature to finalize the budget by the end of the month to avoid a government shutdown. [“Editorial: Time to compromise on state budget,” Opinion, June 12.]

As a community health-care provider, I know that not meeting the July 1 budget deadline would have real impacts on our patients and clinics. People’s needs for lifesaving care cannot be put on hold until the Legislature gets its work done. Not only would many people who rely on these programs not have access to coverage, but our clinics would also lose desperately needed resources.

I hope that any compromise to reach a budget agreement does not sacrifice the state’s reasonable investments in health-care services or the commitment to expand Medicaid. These have been prioritized so far in the budgeting process and should remain secure.

Marcus Rempel, MD, medical director, Neighborcare Health, Seattle

Legislators are not serving constituents

I am appalled that our legislators have the nerve to collect per diems at $90 per day during extended sessions of the Legislature.

If they cannot do their job during the session it seems to me that they should not be rewarded by being paid for additional sessions. Meanwhile, their constituents are being laid off, losing money for schools, etc. They are causing all kinds of hardships on the individuals who elected them.

I certainly hope the voters will remember the individuals who are causing these problems. They are not passing legislation for their constituents. They are passing self-serving issues and raising their own pay. We need legislation passed to prevent this; however, I doubt they will have the backbone to support it.

Barbara Dunton, Renton

Legislators should not be paid to do nothing

If someone in the private sector is hired to do a job and they do nothing, they are fired.

Until the next election, our legislators can’t be “fired,” but in the meantime, they should not get paid or receive per diem allowances. They have not done what they were elected to do, which might result in budget cuts and layoffs. They should not be rewarded while the public pays a price for their inaction.

Anne Corley, Mercer Island

Don’t pay for special sessions

Compared with the overall budget for the state, the $77,000 cost of the special session for the Legislature is not very much money, but it sure is irritating to pay our elected officials for accomplishing nothing.

Here is an idea: Tim Eyman should fund an initiative that would ban pay for the state representatives and senators during special sessions. This would probably be the first time that Eyman ever did something reasonable.

Gary Maxwell, Lynnwood

Comments | Topics: Democrats, Legislature, politics

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