Published February 01, 2007
Under the DomeCompiled by Brad Shannon, Kurt Ackerson
Compiled by Brad Shannon, Kurt Ackerson
Good morning. Today is Thursday, Feb. 1, the 25th day of the 105-day regular session.Noteworthy House Republicans and Democrats jockeyed for supremacy on education issues Wednesday in their first real clash of the session.Republicans pulled a procedural move on the House floor that fizzled. House Resolution 4220, also known as the "fund education first" proposal, would require lawmakers to pass a budget for schools before funding anything else, said sponsor Rep. Glenn Anderson, R-Fall City.Democrats voted down the move and later had a news conference to outline their "five-point plan for prosperity and equal opportunity." The plan puts Gov. Chris Gregoire's education package into several bills. Democrats also had an evening hearing with Gregoire to go over the Washington Learns task force recommendations that support the governor's education requests.The GOP maneuvers appeared gentler than a year ago. That was when the GOP pulled a procedural move on sex-predator legislation on the first day of session, and the caucus' political arm followed up with hard-hitting post cards and recorded phone messages sent to voters in Democrats' districts, attacking them. Rep. David Buri, R-Colfax, led the Republican charge this time. He said education is the state's paramount duty under the Constitution, so it is necessary to fund education before all other government services. Buri also it was not a gimmick, and the idea wasn't a gimmick to framers of the Constitution or parents of kids in K-12 schools. But House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, called it "a very short bill. … It's short in length and short on substance." The Democrats, led by their education policy leader, Rep. Joe McDermott, later outlined their five-point plan, which is aimed at looking at education seamlessly from pre-kindergarten to college. It includes a focus on early learning; full funding of basic education; putting an outstanding teacher in every class; helping every student graduate on time; and making post-secondary school options a reality.Democrats also presided over a lengthy education hearing in the evening with Gregoire."Education is a large elephant," said Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton. "If we only look at a part, we can't get the whole beast together and moving."