December 15, 2014
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Passages: Former Rep. Brian Sullivan dies in Alaska

Former Washington state Rep. Brian Sullivan, D-Tacoma, was shot and killed last week in northern Alaska, where he was working as an assistant state prosecutor. The Associated Press reports that a convicted felon with a history of assault was arrested in connection with the shooting death of Sullivan.

A Tacoma native who served in Iraq, Sullivan moved to Alaska in 2001 while on active duty with the U.S. Army. Although he had served in the Washington Legislature as a moderate Democrat, he became active in Alaska politics as a Republican. The state party said Sullivan was “a spectacular person and absolutely dedicated to the service of his community.”

While in the Army he served as a paratrooper, judge advocate general and military police officer.



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CAN WE AFFORD IT?

Budget 101: State employee pay raises 'financially feasible'?

By Rob McKenna, Smarter Government Washington

Under state law, any collectively bargained pay raises and benefit increases for state employees must be declared "financially feasible for the state" by the Office of Financial Management (OFM). While this review sounds like a good idea, it isn't useful if OFM chooses to willfully ignore reality so that it can give its stamp of approval.

That's the situation the state currently finds itself in. The Governor's Office negotiated pay and benefit hikes with state employee unions, and OFM has declared the new costs to be financially feasible "considering the state's obligations...in combination with the current and forecasted economic and revenue conditions for Washington.

Apparently OFM considers the McCleary education funding case to be mere detail...

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary at Smarter Government Washington
WHAT WORKS

State can move forward on transportation -- by looking back

By Sen. Curtis King

Amid all the finger-pointing and half-truths regarding the Legislature's alleged failure to pass and fund a transportation plan, a glance back at the 2003 "nickel package" provides the best tutorial on how to successfully get a transportation-revenue package through the Legislature and to the governor's desk. The themes from over a decade ago run startlingly parallel to today.

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary in Crosscut
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