Kick your horses, legislators.
Washington legislators aren't doing enough to ensurethat the state adequately funds K-12 public education. That's the ruling laid down before a crowning 2014 legislative session today by the State Supreme Court, according to an article by the Tacoma News Tribune's Jordan Schrader. The court said that though the Legislature took "meaningful steps" last year when it allocated an additional $1 billion to K-12, members are still not on target to adequately fund public education. The 2014 legislative session kicks off on Monday. Sounds like lawmakers have their work cut out for them. — B.A.
Update 9:00 p.m. Seattle Top Story talked to state schools Superintendent Randy Dorn about the impact of the court order.
Whose bill is Bertha's?
No one in the Inslee administration or the Legislature has firm answers about who will pick up the tab for the Bertha tunneling mess on Seattle's waterfront. At an Associated Press media briefing on the upcoming legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee said that for now it's more important to maintain good relations with the contractor and focus on fixing the problem, instead of sorting through blame. Then he expressed confidence that the state won't face extra costs. House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn said that the "design-build" nature of the project means the contractors should bear the costs -- "if we have written our contracts right."
That might make us feel better -- if we hadn't just read Knute Berger's story on the state Department of Transportation's role as "the gang who couldn't drill straight." Clibborn did say flat out that Seattle won't get stuck with cost overruns, noting that the contract language about those benefitting from the project is impossibly vague. Expect differing opinions on that matter to get a good hearing. Robert Mak of Seattle Top Story was at the briefing sessions and has a great taste of the flavor of the discussion among legislators. — J.C.
Grist's Nathanael Johnson, who has spent the last six months researching GMOs for the publication, weighed in on his research today with a resoundingly nihilistic reflection. It would make no difference, he says, whether all GMOs were outlawed or all were allowed. His disaffectation aside, another of Johnson's main points is a good one and one we watched derail Washington's GMO labeling initiative last fall: GMOs are neither universally good nor universally bad — despite powerful narratives to the contrary on both sides.
But where Johnson — and in fact the Yes on 522 campaign — fell short is by stopping there. A constructive conversation about GMOs needs to start by addressing their possibilities and risks in real terms: By proposing a set of regulations that would embrace the potential of genetically engineered food, while also guarding against its dangers. — B.A.
Sen. Ericksen goes nuclear
State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R- Ferndale, was so excited about his nuclear energy bill that he pre-filed it on Wednesday, a full five days before the legislative session starts. Ericksen's bill would create a taskforce to study whether to expand nuclear power in Washington as part of an effort to mitigate carbon emissions and climate change. Ericksen is one of two Republican members of Gov. Jay Inslee's climate change panel, which has split drastically along party lines in terms of how to deal with the issue. Ericksen's bill would give the proposed bipartisan taskforce until Dec.1 to make recommendations. A public hearing is tentatively set for next Thursday in Olympia. — J.S.
What does Russell Wilson read?
Seahawks golden boy (and quarterback) Russell Wilson talked with ESPN yesterday about some of his top book picks. MyNorthwest.com has immortalized them in slideshow form today. There's nothing too surprising there — inspirational football book, another inspirational football book, inspirational God book, another inspirational God book — but the fact that one of Wilson's picks is New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees' "Coming Back Stronger" could be a subtle jab at the team he'll be going up against this weekend at home: I've done my homework and I know how you think. Come and get it. — B.A.
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