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Topic: Washington Legislature
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November 26, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Many in philanthropy and social services were caught off guard by federal Medicaid officials recent decision to cut off funding to Childhaven, which provides child care and therapy for abused and neglected children. Childhaven would lose $4 million a year, the combined total of the 50-50 match between state and federal Medicaid dollars — nearly half its revenue. Federal officials should reconsider. (more…)
November 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM
The Republican-dominated state Senate Majority Coalition, which balked at passing a huge transportation funding package earlier this year, is now floating a $12.3 billion transportation package, with an expectation that Gov. Jay Inslee may call another special Legislative session next week.
That alone is big news, because the deal includes a 11.5 cent gas tax increase theoretically endorsed by a fiscally conservative caucus. The package is heavy on maintenance, but would also pay for 51 projects, with billion-dollar chunks going to completion of the State Route 520 floating bridge ($1.3 billion), widening of Interstate 405 from Lynnwood to Renton ($1.25 billion) and the so-called Puget Sound Gateway expansion of State Route 509-167 ($1.69 billion). Here’s the draft project list and balance sheet. It also gives King and Snohomish counties authority to fund transit services by putting local-option taxes on the ballot.
Senate and House leaders are negotiating, but Senate Transportation Committee Co-chairman Curtis King, R-Yakima, and House Transportation Committee Chairwoman Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, said they agree on a broad outline, and on many of the projects. Clibborn’s version, passed by the House in June, is here.
Inslee spokesman David Postman said the governor could call a special session Nov. 21 and 22, when lawmakers are in Olympia to pick committee chairs for the 2014 session, but would only do so if there’s enough votes to pass the package. A clearer path toward a special session may emerge Friday, when caucuses meet in Olympia.
What’s odd about the MCC proposal is the muted response by King County Democrats. They hammered the coalition for failing to act last June, largely because the package would have given King County “local option” taxes to stave off devastating cuts (including cancelling 74 routes). (more…)
February 26, 2013 at 6:55 AM
The price of healthy children is eternal vigilance, to paraphrase a quote of disputed origin. Protecting kids from harmful chemicals is a seemingly endless task for lawmakers.
The Washington Legislature is considering Substitute House Bill 1294, which prohibits the sale, manufacture or distribution of children’s products or residential furniture containing the chemical flame-retardant Tris in amounts greater than 50 parts per million in any component.
Support for passage of the bill was outlined Monday in a Times editorial. As the editorial noted, state lawmakers have a solid history of working to phase out, remove and ban a variety of toxic chemicals in children’s products. The challenge is mutant versions of the chemicals keep turning up.
The issue can be complicated when the chemical is touted as have a benign or even desirable effect, such as flame retardants. A series of reports by the Chicago Tribune generated their own heat about flame retardants.
Safer alternatives exist. As Washington and other states make their concerns known, the message will get out to use them.