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Topic: Jay Inslee

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December 16, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Inslee promises $2.3B more for schools, but does he go far enough?

Corrected version.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday night presented a $2.3 billion proposal on education spending for the next two years.

The announcement is part of the governor’s multi-day rollout this week of his budget priorities. His decision to announce different parts of his plan on separate days and wait until Thursday to provide funding details makes it harder to put his numbers into context.

Inslee said his education plan would fulfill the McCleary obligation — a state Supreme Court decision mandating the state to fully fund basic education — a year early. It also would provide more funding for early education and higher education. The governor’s plan calls for $1.3 billion toward McCleary in 2015-17 and $2.4 billion more to be spent in 2017-19.


Comments | Topics: Education, Jay Inslee, McCleary decision

August 11, 2014 at 6:13 AM

Why Gov. Jay Inslee goes against the grain industry

Wheat harvest along the Washington-Idaho border, 2013 (photo by Jeff Horner/ Walla Walla Union-Bulletin)

Wheat harvest along the Washington-Idaho border, 2013. (photo by Jeff Horner/ Walla Walla Union-Bulletin)

A letter from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explains a curious decision that has bollixed up the wheat harvest throughout the western United States this year. Good bet it will infuriate more people than it will soothe.

In it the Democratic governor appears to say the issue is purely a labor dispute involving 44 union positions at the Port of Vancouver. The only acknowledgement of the enormous disruption he has caused for thousands of farmers and for the rural economy from the Washington coast to the Midwest is a throwaway line: “I remain committed to a healthy, thriving agricultural industry.”

The letter is the fullest explanation Inslee has offered – read it below. But first it might be useful to check in with agriculture, which has been doing all it can to reopen the United Grain Corp. terminal, a facility responsible for nearly 20 percent of the exports from the West Coast.

On July 6, in the 17th month of a lockout involving the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Inslee withdrew State Patrol protection for Washington grain inspectors who had been crossing what they called a dangerous picket line.


Comments | Topics: agriculture, economy, Jay Inslee

August 4, 2014 at 8:08 AM

State’s papers: Inslee tactic at Vancouver boosts union at expense of ag industry

United Grain Corp. terminal at Port of Vancouver.

United Grain Corp. terminal at Port of Vancouver.

Newspapers across the state are chiming in against Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to choke off exports from the biggest grain terminal in the West, right on the eve of the wheat harvest. As described in a July 28 Seattle Times editorial, the governor’s unfortunate decision boosts the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at the expense of the grain-growing industry – which is worth $1 billion to Washington state alone, and more than that to other states.

Inslee has withdrawn State Patrol protection for state grain inspectors at the United Grain Corp. terminal, the biggest export facility in the west, where locked-out longshore workers are maintaining a picket line. Without protection, the state Department of Agriculture won’t send the inspectors — it says the union pickets have threatened and harassed its crews. Without the inspectors, the wheat exports can’t leave the port, except in rare cases. The terminal is essentially shut down.

Good news for the union in its contract talks, but rotten timing for agriculture. Harvest is about to begin. The grain needs to get through.


Comments | Topics: grain terminal, Jay Inslee, labor council

April 10, 2014 at 6:27 AM

Three newspapers: Appoint an Eastern Washington justice, Gov. Jay Inslee

Justice Jim Johnson With the retirement of state Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson for health reasons, Gov. Jay Inslee will have the opportunity to appoint a justice to the nine-member panel. The Spokesman-Review and the Yakima Herald-Republic have joined The Seattle Times in encouraging the governor to look East of the Cascades for his choice. Johnson has…


Comments | Topics: Jay Inslee, law, Washington State Supreme Court

January 9, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Tell Congress to extend jobless benefits

The U.S. Senate returned to work this week and shocked some by advancing a temporary extension of the same jobless benefits it allowed to expire on Dec. 28. But as various news outlets such as Politico and The New York Times report, the measure is nowhere close to passage and could face an even tougher battle in the more conservative House.

Americans should pressure their federal elected officials to set aside ideology and pass the bill. Be heartened by the fact that six Republicans helped Democrats break a filibuster to move the issue closer to a vote. One of the legislation’s sponsors is U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., which indicates this doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. It’s about helping the long-term unemployed — in blue, red and purple states — rebound and contribute to their local economies.

National and state jobs reports have certainly shown some improvement since the most recent recession officially began in December 2007, but as the Bureau of Labor Statistics chart below shows, the ratio between job openings and job applicants is still about 3 to 1.

Source: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Highlights, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dec. 10, 2013

Source: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Highlights, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dec. 10, 2013

If you doubt the need for this boost of support or think it’s just another bad example of welfare, read this report from The Washington Post. Reporter Brad Plumer offers seven compelling reasons why these benefits are necessary for the country to stay on the course toward a full, stable economic recovery. Long-term unemployment, which some define as lasting 27 weeks or more, is not a result of workers being unproductive. It’s a result of one of the worst recessions in modern U.S. history and technological advances that have made some jobs disappear.


Comments | Topics: congress, Jay Inslee, unemployment

December 17, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Disorganized labor: Union complaints about Jay Inslee and Boeing contract

Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, chastised two of Washington’s top political leaders for being “absolutely disrespectful to the Machinists and to the labor movement.” Yes, they had the audacity to be concerned about the long-term economic welfare of thousands of Boeing employees. The nerve!


Jeff Johnson, President, Washington State Labor Council. (The Seattle Times)

Jeff Johnson, President, Washington State Labor Council.
(The Seattle Times)

Johnson was as bent out of shape as a piece of an outsourced 787, with his finger wag published Monday on the state labor council’s online news site, The Stand.

The headline read: “Outside pressure on Machinists disrespectful.” Gov. Jay Inslee and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, were entitled to their opinions, Johnson opined, but he was upset they were so publicly supportive of Boeing’s offer. Inslee and Larsen wanted the members of IAM District Council 751 to have another vote on a revised offer from the company. Let union members decide on the adequacy of the offer, described here at a union site, and vote it up or down.


Comments | Topics: Boeing, Jay Inslee, labor

November 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Cold reception for Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to bid out state mental health system

UPDATE: At right is the Department BH timelineof Social and Health Services’ timeline for opening the mental health system to competitive bidding (click on it to expand). It includes a long window for public comment and an even longer phase-in process. From what I’m hearing from providers, consumers and lawmakers since this original post, the public comment period is going to be rough.

ORIGINAL POST, Nov. 22, 3:25 p.m. – A sharp exchange Thursday between Gov. Jay Inslee’s human services director and the longest-serving state senator was a preview to an upcoming Legislative debate about Inslee’s plan to open Washington’s outpatient mental health system to competitive bidding.

Testifying before a Senate committee, Kevin Quigley, secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services, unveiled Inslee’s plan (here’s a one-pager on the plan) to respond to federal pressure to reconfigure the mental health system beginning in 2016.

DSHS Secretary Kevin Quigley

DSHS Secretary Kevin Quigley

Inslee’s proposal calls for the state, beginning as soon as next April, to open the state’s mental health and substance abuse treatment services to competitive bidding, likely drawing interest from private managed care firms. Bids would be accept by region. One potential model could include physical health care in the bidding as well.

If this sounds dry, think of it this way: Inslee is talking about one of the biggest privatizations of state services ever, with at least $750 million a year in spending and care for 135,000 severely ill people at stake.

And he wants lawmakers to do it this Legislative session.

That’s going to be a tough sell, given the reception Quigley got Thursday.


Comments | Topics: Jay Inslee, Jim Hargrove, mental health

August 30, 2013 at 6:07 AM

The marijuana OK: It began with the initiative process

  Gov. Jay Inslee on the phone with Attorney General Eric Holder, while spokeman David Postman and adviser John Lane look on. (Photo courtesy of Washington state governor’s office) Here is the value of initiatives: the photo released Thursday of Gov. Jay Inslee on the phone with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, being told that the federal…


Comments | Topics: eric holder, Jay Inslee, marijuana

June 25, 2013 at 7:43 AM

Three signs Washington state legislators need to go home

Corrected version

I left town before the weekend and expected to return to the news that legislators had reached a budget compromise and gone home. Nope.

Another legislative day means another series of twists and turns in the political game being played inside the capitol. Here are just a few of the latest signs it’s time for them to to break the stalemate:

State Sen. Don Bention, R-Vancouver

State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver

1. Lawmakers have been in Olympia so long, even members of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus are turning on each other. Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, filed a complaint last week against fellow Republican state Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center, after he claimed she cursed at him and he felt “physically threatened.” What a crybaby.

Benton deserves to be called out for whining, especially since The Columbian’s Stevie Mathieu talked to former GOP state Sen. Cheryl Pflug Monday, and she revealed Benton yelled the ‘”F” word at her numerous times last year after she voted to support same-sex marriage. “He definitely has a temper, and he dishes it out and then doesn’t want to receive it,” Pflug is quoted as saying. She called Benton’s latest actions “the height of hypocrisy.” Gotta love former lawmakers and their freedom to tell it like it is.

State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center

State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center

At the beginning of the session, an Olympia observer warned me the Washington Legislature is just like high school. As the year progresses, personalities clash. Gossip gets spread. Feelings are hurt. Yep. He’s right. Except maybe the part about rushing out when the bell rings. This year, Washington’s teenagers have done a much better job than their adult counterparts in the Legislature of finishing their finals and going home.


Comments | Topics: ann rivers, don benton, Jay Inslee

May 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Jamen Shively’s marijuana showmanship: a political plus?

  Marijuana packaged for sale at Seattle dispensary: time for a national brand?AP Photo / Ted S. Warren “Former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively wants to create the first national brand of retail marijuana and to open pot trade with Mexico.” So begins a story in Wednesday’s Local News section. What to make of a story like this? Jamen…


Comments | Topics: 502, alison holcomb, colorado

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