November 30, 2015
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Rep. Teri Hickel sworn in to represent 30th Legislative District

Teri Hickel, who won a special election in the 30th Legislative District with 54.7 percent support over appointed Democratic Rep. Carol Gregory, was sworn in to the House last week.

Hickel’s election means the balance of power in the state House is 50 Democrats to 48 Republicans. King 5 says that means it would only take the defection of one Democrat to kill legislation or potentially even shift the balance of power in the chamber, as happened in the Senate in 2012.

Republicans have gained seats in each election cycle since 2008, plus several special elections, reports Jerry Cornfield of The Herald. Hickel’s victory is the latest in this trend, which has seen the Democratic majority drop from a 63-35 margin in 2008. Cornfield reports that Republicans have been running younger, moderate candidates, compared with Democrats, who “are losing seats with candidates whose inclinations are more closely aligned with the liberal theology of Seattle politics than the district in which they’re competing.”

The razor-thin margins in the House could pose the biggest threat ever to Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, Cornfield said. Chopp, after 13 years, is the longest-serving speaker of the house in state history.

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Washington Is Already a Climate Leader

Low-Cost, Low-Carbon: The Northwest's 20-Year Energy Plan

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

The Northwest remains an attractive location for job creation due to its low-cost and low-carbon electricity -- companies want to locate here and workers want to work here. On the eve of Governor Inslee's trip to Paris for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, it's an opportunity for him to tout his own state's carbon-reduction leadership.

Rather than spending time focusing on complex, top-down regulatory schemes designed to drive up the cost of energy, leaders should find ways to encourage innovation and collaboration. If they do, Washington can make a great contribution to that discussion.

Click here to read the full blog post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
Bringing Back Charter Schools

New Task for Lawmakers

By the Editorial Board of The Columbian

Washington lawmakers should add another item to their long to-do list for next year -- bring charter schools into compliance with the state constitution.

First of all, charter schools are the will of the voters. Secondly, in approving charter schools, Washington became the 42nd state to allow them. There seems to be little reason the state cannot learn from other parts of the country and embrace charter systems that work well while eschewing those that do not.

Lawmakers should be beholden to what is best for students -- and that means a well-managed charter school system.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Columbian
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