Today is Friday, March 1, the 47th day of the 105-day legislative session.
A poll released this week just prior to the state Supreme Court’s Thursday decision that struck down the two-thirds vote requirement for tax legislation found voters split on whether Washington state should raise taxes to fully fund schools.
The poll was done by a Portland firm, DHM Research, and commissioned by advocates of school funding and accountability in the Excellent Schools Now coalition. Pollsters talked to 500 voters in January and found 45 percent of voters backing higher funding for K-12 schools even if it requires a tax increase.
The poll also surveyed 500 teachers in December and found 70 percent of them agreed with the same question.
It has been more than a year since the state Supreme Court said the Legislature isn’t meeting its constitutional duty to amply fund education, and advocates are pushing lawmakers to make a big down payment in the next two-year budget: as much as $2 billion, depending on who’s doing the asking.
Among several ideas suggested to voters about what is important to fund, the most popular were nationwide English and math standards and all-day kindergarten for the state’s most at-risk children.
TODAY AT THE LEGISLATURE
Fiscal committees are meeting to beat today’s deadline to pass bills on to the full chamber. The committees were still finalizing their agendas Thursday.
ELSEWHERE AT THE CAPITOL
LEAP Legislative Day, part of LEAP’s annual conference aimed at motivating Hispanic students to pursue educational careers beyond high school, will bring approximately 500 participants to the campus. They will meet with elected officials and attend a dinner featuring a keynote address by state Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez.
Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, introduced Senate Bill 5863, which would provide a business and occupation tax exemption for charter schools.
Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, introduced a measure to authorize $450 million in bonds for the Columbia River crossing bridge project. The legislation is Senate Bill 5864.