Governor still mum on worker freedom

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Report from Olympia |  August 21, 2018

Sen. Mike Padden
Sen. Padden shares a laugh with Margo Spellman at a reception in February, honoring her parents, the late Governor John Spellman and his wife Lois.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

During these hot, lazy summer days, it is easy to picture Governor Inslee and others sitting back and relaxing with a glass of lemonade, waiting for the next legislative session to start. Perhaps that is why the governor has been so slow to respond to lawmakers’ requests for details on the state’s compliance with a recent court decision.

It was back in June that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public employees cannot be forced to pay union fees; yet, it is still unclear whether or not Inslee and his administration are fully implementing and abiding by the spirit of the landmark court decision.

You can read more about the steps being taken to get answers on this important topic in this issue of Report from Olympia. You'll also find an important update about the legal challenge to Initiative 1639, regarding firearms and your Second Amendment rights.

If you have questions about anything in this e-newsletter, please give me a call or send me an e-mail. We are here to serve!


Senator Mike Padden

Inslee administration dragging its feet on Janus implementation?


It has been nearly two months since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Janus case, declaring that it is unconstitutional to force public workers to pay union fees. But a lack of communication has many wondering whether Governor Inslee and his administration are dragging their feet on implementing the ruling here in Washington, or if they are instead actively working to circumvent it.

Since the ruling in late June, the governor has received four letters from Washington Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler asking for assurances that state employees are no longer forced to pay union fees, but there has been no written response from the governor.

In the meantime, there are some other troubling signs.

First, it now appears that the state regards pre-Janus union membership agreements to be valid, which is in violation of the Janus decision. In other words, unionized public employees must formally waive their membership rights under Janus, which is something they could not have done before the decision. Several press reports indicate that union fees are still being deducted without workers’ permission, using this rationale.

The second concern is that the Inslee administration may be planning a scheme to provide direct payments from the state treasury to labor unions, which has been described as “the direct payment alternative.” Inslee refused to answer questions when Schoesler asked him point-blank about this issue, but it is a strategy being examined across the country. (The online magazine Slate recently published a story on this, titled “How to Save Public Sector Unions: A creative way to protect organized labor after Janus.”)

This idea is outrageous, and would put the state in the business of directly financing labor unions!

My colleagues and I will continue to push the governor for answers and stand up for the constitutional right of our workers to choose to belong to a union, or not.

Thurston County judge rules strikes gun initiative from November ballot

gun initiative

On Friday, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Dixon ruled in favor of a challenge to the gun control initiative (I-1639), ordering the Secretary of State not to put the initiative on the November ballot. 

 The Court found that the signed petitions violated statue or constitution, in that they did not contain a "full, true and correct" copy of the measure. The Court relied on a declaration from the Secretary of State's election director, who had raised concerns  over the legality of ballot with  petition proponents that were ignored. 

The Washington state Supreme Court has already entered an order with a briefing schedule for the appeal.  Oral arguments in the appeal could be heard as soon as August 28. 

You can read more coverage about the ruling at the links below:


Changing of the guard for local squadron of the Civil Air Patrol


Last week I was honored to attend the change of command ceremony conducted by the Spokane Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. The ceremony recognized the incredible service of Captain Janeen Graham, who transitioned command to the new Squadron Commander, 1st Lieutenant Donald Morgan Jr. (In the top photo above, I am pictured along Capt. Graham, Lt. Morgan, and Senior Volunteer Member Don Morgan, Sr.)

The Civil Air Patrol is an official Auxiliary of the United States Air Force, as well as a humanitarian, non-profit organization. Headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base, in Alabama, it has garnered the support and commitment of more than 61,000 volunteer members nationwide.

Preparing our nation’s youth to be patriotically and technologically ready for the global aerospace demands of the future is the primary mission of the Civil Air Patrol.

In the News:

Ruling upholds raid on rainy day fund

By TJ Martinell, The Lens | Aug. 7, 2018

piggy bank

A two-thirds majority is required under most circumstances for legislators to dip into the state’s budget stabilization account (BSA), a.k.a. the rainy-day fund, which is meant to pay for unexpected state costs such as wildfires or issues related to economic downturns.

However, a recent court ruling upheld a provision in the 2018 supplemental operating budget that maintained a legal loophole that could undermine that two-thirds voting protection by making preemptive raids into the account easier when the state experiences unanticipated revenue.

In the Aug. 3 decision, Thurston County Superior Judge John Skinder ruled in favor of Washington state in a lawsuit filed by frequent initiative sponsor Tim Eyman. The suit concerned an amendment to a school funding bill that redirected $935 million in property taxes to the education legacy trust account. Of that, $700 million was unanticipated revenue originally meant for the rainy-day fund. The bill narrowly passed in the Senate, 25-23.

Under a state constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 2007, 75 percent of unanticipated or surplus revenue “shall be transferred to the budget stabilization account.” The technical maneuver was criticized by Republican legislators as an attempt to circumvent the two-thirds requirement due to insufficient votes.

Sen. Mike Padden (R-4) told Lens that the ruling sets “a horrible precedent.”

“The spirit of the constitutional amendment was violated,” he added. “That was the whole purpose of the constitutional amendment when it passed. It passed in every county in the state. People have their own family budgets and they try to save for unforeseen events; and we know from history that it’s not going to be a bed of roses forever and ever. There’s going to come a time when you need it.”

You can read the full article here.

Renegotiated educator salaries shouldn't come at the expense of students or taxpayers


In the latest issue of Senator John Braun’s budget-policy series, titled Economic Sense, the chief budget writer for Senate Republicans examines how recent state investments in education are being implemented at the local level through negotiations with teachers’ unions.

“With constitutional compliance in the McCleary v. State of Washington court case finally achieved and students statewide receiving an average of $15,000 per pupil in funding, attention has turned from the Legislature to school districts and unions as they negotiate contracts for the upcoming school year,” Braun writes.

“K-12 staff are incredibly valuable and should be paid commensurately. As educators and administrators seek to find agreement on pay and benefits in the upcoming school year, there are three guidelines that all participants should abide by to best serve the interest of students, teachers, parents, and taxpayers.”

Local bargaining units and school districts should follow three tenets to ensure the public interest is best served:

  1. K-3 class size reduction money should not be negotiated away;
  2. Do not grant salary raises that depend upon the Legislature increasing the local property tax limit; and
  3. Do not go on strike.

To read the full Economic Sense on education salary negotiations, click here.

In the News:

Valley fire commissioner steps down after 20 years of service

By Nina Culver, Spokesman-Review | Aug. 16, 2018


Joe Dawson served as a fire commissioner for the Spokane Valley Fire Department for more than 20 years before he stepped down in late May to focus on his health.

“The doctor told me I had to reduce the stress in my life,” Dawson said. “I have been so relaxed in the last two months.”

Dawson, who turns 77 in a few days, said he misses serving as a commissioner but was spending 20 hours a week or more on the job.

“It was time,” he said. “At my age, it was like having a half-time job.”

He was an educator for 38 years and spent 35 of those years in the West Valley School District. He was a teacher for 13 years, then a principal for 15 years and closed out his career as an administrator.

Click here to read the full story.

In closing...

In the next Report from Olympia, we will be sharing some of the exciting economic and jobs news that we are seeing both here in Washington and across the country.

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