December 15, 2014
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King, Pierce county councils squabble over method to fill open state House seat

A vacant House seat in the 30th Legislative District, which straddles the Pierce and King county line, is proving difficult to fill. Members of the Metropolitan King County Council voted 8-0 last week to appoint Carol Gregory, the former head of the Washington Education Association and the top choice of local Democrats, to fill the seat vacated by the Oct. 29 death of Rep. Roger Freeman.

However, Pierce County officials say the vote to replace Freeman should take place in a joint meeting of the King and Pierce county councils. They are waiting for an opinion from the state attorney general about whether the state Constitution requires a joint meeting.

State law says that if county officials don’t pick a replacement within 60 days of a legislative seat becoming vacant, the governor has 30 days to fill the seat. That gives the councils until Dec. 28.



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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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