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Clarification on the League of Women Voters of Washington

By | October 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

TVW would like to clarify the position of the League of Women Voters of Washington. In our question to Sen. John Braun on the Oct. 8 edition of “The Impact,” we stated the league was opposed to Initiative 1351, which would reduce class sizes. The league’s board voted to take no position, and neither supports nor opposes the initiative.

The following is a statement from their website: LWVWA.org.

“Initiative 1351 – The League of Women Voters of Washington does not take a position on this initiative.This measure would direct the legislature to allocate funds to reduce class sizes and increase staffing support for students in all K-12 grades, with additional class-size reductions and staffing increases in high-poverty schools. Although the LWVWA has studied K-12 education numerous times (1968, 1975, 1977, 1991, 1997 and 2009), it has not studied class size as a way “to ensure that every child regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or disability is ready to learn (K-12 – 2). The League’s position on Initiative and Referendum supports having sponsors of these measures suggest ways to pay for them.Therefore the LWVWA Board voted to neither endorse nor oppose Initiative 1351.”
Categories: TVW

Gov. Inslee releases supplemental budget proposal

By | December 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

Governor Jay Inslee unveiled his proposed supplemental spending plan for 2014 on Tuesday, specifically highlighting prisons, education and technology upgrades.

This is the first time in six years the state legislature won’t start the next session with a budget shortfall. Instead, the Governor proposed increasing the $33.6 billion state budget by about about $200 million.  Governor Inslee referred to his proposal as a, “hold steady budget in a get ready year.”

The good news, he pointed out, is that our state’s economy is slowly and steadily improving.  But slow and steady, the Governor says, is not enough to keep pace with rising mandatory costs for state services.

“We have yet to regain the jobs even today that we have lost in the great recession, and revenue collections have not yet returned to pre-recession levels,” Governor Inslee told reporters. “So, holding steady this year will allow us to prepare for next year when the situation and the task before us will be greater.”

The Governor was critical of the budget passed earlier this year that included $1 billion for education in order to meet the McCleary requirements laid out by Washington’s Supreme Court. He believes it includes short-term fixes that are not sustainable, and leaves holes the legislature will have to fill next session.  Governor Inslee hinted that the next budget negotiations will have to include serious discussions on closing tax exemptions in order to generate the almost $5 billion his office says is needed for education in the next few years.

Immediately following the Governor’s news conference Republican Senator Andy Hill responded by saying, “In a lot of ways, raising taxes is the lazy way out.”

Here are some of the proposed spending ideas included in the Governor’s budget:

- $11 million to cover wildfire costs

- $7 million to address prison capacity

- $8 million for a legal settlement to provide more mental health services for children

- $10 million for a collectively bargained rate increase for childcare providers

- $13 million for critical information technology upgrades

The supplemental budget highlights are online.

You can also watch the Governor’s press conference on TVW’s website.

Categories: Budget, Governors Office

Shorter sentence recommended for woman who participated in murder plot as teen

By | September 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

Washington’s Clemency and Pardons Board is recommending the governor grant a shorter sentence for one of the teens involved in a brutal murder-for-hire plot in Everett.

Marriam Oliver could be released after three more years in prison, if she remains infraction free within that time period.

“Today, I have a deeper understanding of not just my life, but human life,” Oliver told the board during Friday’s hearing.

Oliver has been in prison since 2001 when she was sentenced to 22 years for her role in the murder of 64-year-old Jerry Heimann. She and four other teens were recruited by family friend, Barbara Opal, to stab and beat Heimann to death. Opal worked as a caretaker for Heimman’s mother, and allegedly wanted to steal thousands of dollars from his bank accounts.

In exchange for the crime, Oliver’s attorney says Opal promised the teens money and rewards. Oliver was supposed to get free rides and visits to the roller-skating rink.

During her emotional telephone testimony, Oliver described the crime:

“I remember Jeff (Grote) and I checking his pulse and we both confirmed that he was dead, but Jeff insisted I hit him over the head to make sure he was dead, and that I would be as much guilty as them. I grabbed the bat and I raised it above my head. As I savagely hit him over the head… I remember sitting in county jail ashamed of myself. That wasn’t me.”

Barely 14 at the time, Oliver was charged as an adult.  She admitted to the crime from the start and agreed to a non-jury trial and to testify against the others.  Friends and family felt the penalty was too stiff for someone so young.

 Melinda Terry was Oliver’s 7th grade teacher. ”We were absolutely dumbfounded at the response of the legal team, of the community,” Terry said. “We knew these kids, and we knew what had happened was a total travesty,” said Terry.

Close to 40 people packed the Olympia hearing room to testify to the board that Oliver deserves a chance to give back to society, based on her remorse and the steps she’s taken to improve her life.

(more…)

Categories: Criminal Justice

Sen. Pam Roach defends herself against allegations

By | January 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

Sen. Pam Roach at the press conference

State Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, met with members of the media Thursday to respond to recent and past allegations made against her regarding the treatment of legislative staff.

She told the journalists in attendance she wanted to explain who she was, highlight her accomplishments, and provide background on what lead up to sanctions imposed on her in 2010 by the Senate for the mistreatment of staff.

Those sanctions were lifted by the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee this week, allowing Roach to serve as Chair of the Senate Governmental Operations Committee.

New Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, told The Associated Press the Senate will investigate how the news organization obtained documents related to a more recent case in which Sen. Roach was accused of verbally attacking a Senate Republican staff member.

Due to TVW’s commitment to covering Washington’s legislative committee hearings, TVW did not have a camera at Sen. Roach’s press event.  We did, however, send a representative who recorded the audio.  Here is that unedited audio.

Click the link in the following window to listen: Pam Roach Press Conference (AUDIO)

Categories: WA Senate
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