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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: Jay Inslee

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April 10, 2014 at 6:27 AM

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

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 been a…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

August 30, 2013 at 6:07 AM

The marijuana OK: It began with the initiative process

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 government won’t challenge Washington’s marijuana law. Inslee, a Democrat, would not support Initiative 502 when it was on the ballot. Nor did the previous Democratic governor, Chris Gregoire. …

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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.

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

April 9, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Gov. Jay Inslee to replace half of the Washington Student Achievement Council

Former Congressman Brian Baird (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Former Congressman Brian Baird (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Gov. Jay Inslee startled many in education circles when he quietly moved to replace half of the Washington Student Achievement Council.

What went wrong so quickly? Former U.S. Rep. Brian Baird of Vancouver seemed a capable chairman of the board filled with boldfaced names.  Inslee is replacing Baird and others appointed by former Gov. Chris Gregoire just last summer. The appointees had expected to serve until 2015 and 2016.

Inslee’s office says nothing went wrong.  The achievement council is “pretty important” to the governor and he wants to make sure it “reflects his vision and priorities,” said his spokeswoman Jaime Smith.

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Comments | Topics: Education, Jay Inslee, politics

March 6, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Meet Washington state’s Charter School Commission

Gov. Jay Inslee this morning announced the appointments to this commission this a.m. in a joint statement with Lt. Gov. Brad Owen and House Speaker Frank Chopp. Gov. Inslee’s appointees are: Former Seattle School Boardmember Steve Sundquist; Doreen Cato, executive director and chief professional officer of the United Way of Grays Harbor. Seattlelites will recognize her…

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Comments | Topics: charter schools, children, Education

February 21, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Jay Inslee, Legislature working to keep the Evergreen State ever green

Gov. Jay Inslee received a hearty welcome Wednesday when he arrived to testify before the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who chairs the committee, noted the rarity of both a gubernatorial appearance and applause. The governor’s climate action legislation, Senate Bill 5802, and companion measure House Bill 1915, would evaluate the…

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Comments | Topics: environment, Jay Inslee

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