ARE YOU A TEEN VIRGIN?: State Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, lowered the bar last week for lame and offensive things a legislator might do at the Washington state Capitol. She asked a group of teens from her conservative legislative district if they were virgins.
A little context helps explain but doesn’t excuse the remarks, which Dye later tried to apologize for. The teens were advocating for a health-insurance bill that expands coverage of birth control, and they were part of Planned Parenthood’s yearly Teen Lobbying Day.
A Seattle Times story said Dye not only asked if the teens were virgins, but suggested one was not. The story said Planned Parenthood staffer Rachel Todd, who was with the youths, gave that account.
The paper said the youths got a more respectful reception from Dye’s fellow 9th district lawmaker, Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, later in the day.
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In the meeting with the teens, Dye went on to talk “about sex and making the right choices,” as the newspaper put it. It’s doubtful many teens would put much stock in Dye’s words.
ONE MAN GATHERS WHAT ANOTHER SPILLS: The state Treasurer’s Office says it saved taxpayers $124.1 million over the life of $637 million in bonds by refinancing them.
That good news came during Wednesday’s turbulent day for stock markets, which wiped billions in value from U.S. investors’ portfolios. Treasurer Jim McIntire’s office described the bond sale as a move by investors to safe investments.
McIntire’s staff said that refinancing at lower rates saves $7.1 million for taxpayers in the 2015-17 biennium. The agency reports refinancing $9.3 billion in bonds since 2009, saving taxpayers $1.2 billion in debt service payments.
HOUSING SALES ON MEND: The South Sound housing market kept moving out of the Great Recession slump last year, according to data reported last week for 2015. Sales of single-family homes were up by 17.5 percent in Thurston County compared to 2014, and the local median sales price went up by 6.5 percent to $245,000, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
That’s good news, especially for those who already own homes. But new buyers may find the 3.02-month supply of homes in Thurston County, and just 2.47 months in Pierce County, is too tight.
CHARTER SCHOOLS FIX: The state Senate passed a bill last week to restore state funding for charter schools. Charters are privately managed but publicly financed schools that operate under state-approved charters, and state voters approved an initiative allowing up to 40 charters over several years. But the state Supreme Court ruled last September that the schools must be paid for from funds outside the tax sources that support public schools. A central concern was that nearly all charter schools are governed by private entities, not by school boards.
Senate Bill 6194 is sponsored by Republican Sen. Steve Litzow and Democratic Sen. Mark Mullet. It uses state Lottery funds to fund what Litzow describes as “uncommon” schools that would not be subject to the court’s concerns about the funding of “common” schools in the public K-12 system that are directly accountable to local school boards.
Thelma Jackson, a former North Thurston school board member and board chair for the Tacoma charter school, SOAR Academy, urged lawmakers to find a way to save funding of charters until they can prove their effectiveness. Charters have been advocated as a way to improve learning for minority students, students with unconventional learning styles, and youths who come from low-income backgrounds.
Lawmakers should find a way to keep this option going.
PLEASE, NO DH FOR THE NATIONAL LEAGUE: Normally we lean toward the forward-looking, or progressive solution to problems. But when it comes to Major League Baseball, we don’t see a problem with having designated hitters in one league, and not in the other.
Having a DH in one and not the other is a way for the national pastime to keep a foot in its storied past and a foot in the future.
And allowing the DH in the American League that is home to our Mariners, but requiring pitchers to hit in the National League, works well. This has allowed two very different approaches to the game to develop and blossom in each league.
But we know the DH is an issue that gets talked about — and we know that money talks in professional sports. The National League style of play puts pitchers at risk of injury because they must hit, and pitchers are expensive to say the least. Plus, pitchers are often terrible hitters, which translates into lower scoring games with fewer home runs.
We’re pleased, if not relieved, that team owners ended two days of talks recently without seriously taking up the DH idea or changing rules.