State Relations

April 17, 2007

Rainy Day Fund Clears Key Committee

Like many of you, I was very distracted yesterday watching the television reports of the campus shootings at Virginia Tech University.  It was hard to focus on the comparatively mundane matters of Olympia when faced with a tragedy of such magnitude. Nevertheless, there were important developments yesterday that are worth mentioning and that will have implications on the…

April 13, 2007

Transportation Policy Takes Center Stage

I don’t have much to report on the status of operating budget negotiations.  Members are making progress, but many big issues remain unresolved, including some major higher education spending items. To insure I won’t be bored or restless, the “legislative gods” have kept me busy over the past 72 hours working on issues related to the State Route 520 bridge…

April 10, 2007

Governor Signs UW Debt Authority Bill — UW Tacoma Legislation Passes Senate

This morning Governor Gregoire signed SHB 1398 which expands the UW and WSU’s ability to issue debt backed by locally controlled revenues.  This expanded statutory authority is key to the long-term financing of the UW Tower and future University capital projects. This evening, the state Senate passed SHB 2164 which would help to curtail unwelcome…

Answers to Trivia Questions

1.  The other three Walla Walla towns are in Australia. 2.  Kurt Russell. 3.  Boone “Boom Boom” Kirkman. 4.  Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco. 5.  The Ventures.

April 9, 2007

Fun with Washington State Trivia

While we sit and wait for more conference action on the state budget, let’s have some fun with a little Washington State trivia.  In my spare time, in addition to co-hosting a local radio show with my friend Steve McLellan, we also write trivia questions for TVW — the state’s public affairs channel.  They run the trivia questions during…

April 6, 2007

Budget Negotiations Slow to Get Started

Since it has been more than 10 years since Olympia has seen a real operating budget conference committee, there is very little that can be visually observed during the waning days of session to give outsiders much sense of how things are really progressing.  All of the negotiations are done behind closed doors and in an age…

SB 5806 Passes House 96-1

The long-awaited floor action on the Governor’s Washington Learns bill for higher education came to a successful conclusion this morning with the overwhelming passage of SB 5806.  Since the bill was not amended in the House, it can be delivered directly to the Governor for her signature. The bill contains several provisions of importance to the University…

April 5, 2007

SB 5806 Pulled from Rules for House Floor Consideration

The Governor’s Washington Learns higher education legislation (SB 5806) was pulled from the House Rules Committee last evening for possible consideration on the House Floor today.  The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) caps resident undergradaute tuition rates at no more than 7 percent, but also establishes the Global Challenge States (GCS) and the…

April 4, 2007

Debt Authority Bill Passes Legislature — Next Stop Governor

The University’s primary request legislation for the 2007 session was permission to issue bonds or other forms of debt for any university purpose, to be paid from all locally controlled fees and revenues.  Such legislation would provide the UW with the capability to act with speed and certainty when issuing debt and to fund construction or…

April 2, 2007

WA Learns Higher Ed Bill Takes Yet Another, “Positive” Turn

Last week, I wrote about the saga of the Governor’s Washington Learns bill for higher education.  House Bill 1882 actually managed to pass the House Appropriations Committee early last week, but then ran into a buzzsaw of problems in the House Democratic Caucus. The provision included in the bill by Rep. Jim McIntire (D-Seattle) which would…

Next page