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Topic: Jay Inslee
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January 9, 2014 at 6:09 AM
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.
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. (more…)
December 17, 2013 at 6:15 AM
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!
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. (more…)
November 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM
UPDATE: At right is the Department of 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.
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.
August 30, 2013 at 6:07 AM
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. No encouragement came from the Democratic administration in Washington.
Democrats are the liberal party. Did it matter? No. Not on this. It was too sensitive, and state politicians were too scared to defy the federal government. It took a statewide public vote, which was brought about by private petitioners, to move political leaders. It was the same in Colorado. And in the late 1990s medical marijuana was pioneered exclusively by public vote in California in 1996, in Washington, Alaska and Oregon in 1998 and in Maine in 1999.
The Obama administration’s decision on this is good. But remember how it started.
June 25, 2013 at 7:43 AM
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:
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.
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.
May 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM
“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 Shively, 45, is talking big. He was a manager at Microsoft, which suggests money and connections. He promises to bring Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico. The proposal is to lawfully import marijuana from Mexico to establish “the first national brand of retail marijuana.”
The story quotes attorney Alison Holcomb, primary author of last fall’s Initiative 502, reminding us that recreational marijuana regimes are being set up in Colorado and Washington only, under the promise to federal authority that they will be tightly regulated and confined to those states.
Two different approaches, the first bold, the second cautious. The difference is, she has won a political battle and he hasn’t. She has a law on the books and the support of a state government and its regulatory arm, the Liquor Control Board, and he hasn’t. She wants to protect the victory she’s won, and make sure it goes ahead as planned, which means giving the Obama administration the smallest possible reason to step into the Evergreen State and wreck things. A year ago, when I-502 was a mere proposal, she needed a high profile to get voters to pass it. Now a low profile makes more sense. The marijuana legalizers need to get the state regulations through, permits issued, stores set up, people earning a living, etc. Fait accompli.
Shively hasn’t achieved any of that. He needs to attract backers, to intimidate competitors, and to accustom people to the idea of mass marketing in the marijuana industry. National branded marijuana has to go from being a farfetched idea to an ordinary idea, which means people have to think about it for a while.
If I were Holcomb, or Gov. Jay Inslee, I might be worried that Shively is increasing the risk of federal intervention—that he will mess up what they have achieved, and knock everyone back to zero.
But I am not them. I am an observer, in favor of more thorough legalization, and I think: from a longer-term perspective, maybe Shively’s grandstanding is a good thing. It raises the political heat on Obama. Our president is a respecter of Microsoft money. He comes here and fills up on it often enough. Modern Democrats respect tech entrepreneurs. So, when Shively says the world is changing, and he’s not afraid to stick his neck out (rhetorically, at least), and announce that he wants the federal law against marijuana swept aside, and marijuana trade opened up with Mexico, maybe he’s speaking words that will be heard.
All of which may have little to do with the question of national brands, big corporations, etc., in the cannabis trade. Most likely, the shape of a legalized industry will be decided in the market, as with beer, bread, ice cream or anything else. And recall the starting point: medical marijuana is raised indoors under lights in temperature- and humidity-controlled rooms. It is sold by the gram to people who use small quantities at a time and demand high quality. This may not be so easy a market for one big guy to control.
April 9, 2013 at 6:30 AM
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. (more…)
March 6, 2013 at 10:46 AM
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 name because she is also the former executive director of First Place, a kindergarten through sixth grade nonprofit school for at-risk children and families and Chris Martin, an advocate for gifted education and founder of PRODIGY NW .
House Speaker Frank Chopp appointed to the Charter School commission Trish Millines Dziko, co-founder of the TAF Academy, a school operating under the auspices of the Federal Way School District; Former state Rep. Dave Quall , once a Mount Vernon high school teacher; and Dr. Margit McGuire, Director of Teacher Education in the Master inTeaching program at Seattle University.
Last fall, voters approved Initiative 1240, making Washington one of the last states in the nation to legalize charter schools.
“Creating a new system for charter schools is a heavy lift, and maintaining a high level of accountability and transparency is key,” Inslee said in a statement released minutes ago. “These are people who understand what our students need to succeed, and how to manage people and resources to meet the needs of a diverse student population.”
The standard term on the commission will be four years, though the length of the initial appointments will be staggered so everyone does not leave the board at once. No commission member may serve more than two consecutive terms.
The commission, filled with smart, accomplished people, must begin its work. First up, elect a chair.
February 21, 2013 at 6:30 AM
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 climate pollution reduction programs in other states and Canadian provinces. An outside, independent review would be done. In 2008, Washington adopted climate pollution limits for 2020. A goal with no action plan.
The intended approach is for the governor’s office and the Legislature’s four corners – the partisan caucuses of both chambers – to meet and move ahead on the goals.
Becky Kelley, deputy director of the Washington Environmental Council, was struck by the down-to-earth tone of the governor’s remarks. She heard a theme repeated on Tuesday during Environmental Lobby Day 2013: a healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand. The two are not in competition, Kelley said.
The annual gathering drew nearly 500 citizen lobbyists to Olympia from around the state. They convene at the United Churches of Olympia for presentations, legislative updates and to organize for visits to their local lawmakers. Then they walk across the street to the state Capitol campus and legislative offices.
Inslee welcomed everyone Tuesday with a brief noon speech in the Capitol Rotunda. More applause and rousing good cheer. The spirit of the crowd reflected the values and outlook he used to describe Washington in his Senate testimony: optimistic, confident and resolute.
Washington has lots of environmental issues, but conservation groups and citizen advocates believe there are workable answers. Beneficial solutions for the environment and the economy.
January 31, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Beware the Undead. Especially in Olympia.
The anonymous satirical blog Undead Olympia is head clown in a snarky, funny class of social media commentary that has emerged this Legislative session. The blog first arose from the grave in 2011 to skewer state budget cuts. On its about page:
With our State Legislators ready to drive people closer to the grave, it’s critical that we hear from the other side — the other side of the grave.
This year they’re wielding its sharp clever widely, mocking Gov. Jay Inslee’s Alfred E. Neuman-style as “inhumanly optimistic.” They jumped on the AP reporter Mike Baker’s story about Legislators’ expenses to suggest Sen. Rodney Tom, the Medina Democrat who engineered a Republican coup in the Senate, bought Bose noise-cancelling headphones to “ease the cognitive dissonance of his position on issues like education, reproductive rights, and himself.”
The worked overtime to compile a video mash-up of Sen. Pam Roach’s defense against charges that she verbally abuses staff. Call Roach “The Rambler.”
Bless the people with too much spare time.
Add to that list the folks who compile selected quotes from Inslee, whose affable malaprops seems destined for a wing in the George W. Bush-isms hall of fame. The @jaysgenius feed on Twitter is worth subscribing to.
I believe we will not be extending taxes in that regard bcuz it’s true, we will not be extending taxes on consumers in that regard. #wagov
— Jay Inslee’s Genius (@JaysGenius) January 17, 2013
I did something I was pretty excited about – I wrote a letter! #wagov
— Jay Inslee’s Genius (@JaysGenius) January 17, 2013
Tom is the target at King Tom Watch, a website and Twitter feed which portrays Tom as a self-anointed king heading a court of conservative jesters.
“I’m excited about this new direction for Washington, because I’m in charge,” said King Tom in his triumphant remarks. “By making me your King, you have ensured that the smartest, fittest, best qualified, and most utterly handsome member of the Senate is now in charge. And I should know.”
Information in this blog post, originally published on Jan. 31, 2013 at 12:22 p.m., was corrected at 2:48 p.m. The name of Alfred E. Neuman was misspelled in the earlier version.