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DO WE NEED A FULL-TIME LEGISLATURE? 3

A PUBLICATION THE EVERGREEN FOUNDATION BOB WILLIAMS TAKES ELECTION REFORMOFMESSAGE ONFREEDOM THE ROAD 10 1

LIVING LIBERTY MARCH 2006

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n January 31, Washington released its new statewide voter database. It is a master list of every Washington voter’s registration information. Previously a voter’s information was kept by the county in which he or she resided. In the wake of Washington’s contested gubernatorial race, EFF and other election watchers wanted to see if the new database revealed substantial registration errors. Initial sweeps through the database have uncovered tens of thousands of potentially invalid registrations, including possibly 36,000 duplicate and 12,000 deceased voters. More illegal voters may be found in March when officials scour the voter database for felons who have not had their voting rights restored. Since most Washington counties now use a 100 percent vote-by-mail ballot system, last year alone, tens of thousands of ballots were sent to illegal registrants, including duplicate or dead voters. Investigations into how many illegal ballots were marked, returned, and counted are ongoing. Secretary of State Sam Reed has hailed the voter database as a security improvement, but at the same time has refused to address the shocking results. In a February 1 press release, Reed revealed that, after one month of investigation, 3,387 duplicate registrations and 5,244 registrations of deceased voters have been removed and almost 40,000 cases remain under investigation. Reed confidently asserted, “These voters are not casting two ballots.” How does he know? This naïve assurance contradicts investigative work conducted by EFF’s Bob Edelman and Stefan Sharkansky of SoundPolitics.com. Their research shows what appear to be multiple instances of voters with multiple registrations casting multiple ballots. Secretary Reed’s response is not appropriate for an

A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION

“Initial sweeps through the database have uncovered tens of thousands of potentially invalid registrations, including possibly 36,000 duplicate and 12,000 deceased voters.” elected official whose duty is to pursue solutions to hard problems, not to ignore the existence of the problems. Election officials must do all they can to ensure free and fair elections. The voter database still contains areas of concern. Most noticeably, there are no checks to ensure citizenship. No one knows how many non-citizens Washington’s voter database contains, and every non-citizen vote disenfranchises a legal voter by canceling his voice. DMV employees are required to ask individuals if they want to register to vote as they get their driver’s licenses. Although a potential voter is asked if he is a citizen, no

Evergreen Freedom Foundation PO Box 552 Olympia, WA 98507 Address service requested

proof is required. The Democrat-controlled legislature rejected a requirement for proof of citizenship last year. A non-citizen can become a voter in Washington by answering the citizenship question inaccurately, either on purpose or by accident. Voter security has improved, but glaring holes remain. Election officials, led by Secretary Reed, should acknowledge the extent of the problems and then advocate additional reforms, including requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. Only comprehensive reforms will ensure integrity in Washington’s election process.

NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE

PAID

OLYMPIA, WA PERMIT #462


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LIVING LIBERTY

Waste Watchers: by Drew Gaut

Drunk Hotel W

hat’s worse than spending taxpayer dollars helping build a hotel for drunks? How about commissioning a study to justify it now that it’s in place? The $11.2 million facility, dubbed “1811 Eastlake”, will house 75 “chronic public inebriates (CPIs),” (or “homeless alcoholics” for those less politically correct). For far less than half of any money they earn, these residents will receive housing, meals, and medical treatment. If they earn nothing, they pay nothing. Sounds like a nice, stable atmosphere to get over alcoholism, doesn’t it? Well, it might be, except for the

fact that residents can still drink as much as they want. That’s right: The alcoholics are under no obligation to even attempt to sober up, no matter how long they choose to stay. The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) and University of Washington are requesting a $100,000 grant from a private foundation to study 1811 Eastlake. The study will not evaluate or even compare results between the methods used at this facility and those of traditional abstinence-based Continued at bottom of page . . .

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“Quote”

This Issue

of the month

“‘On page 1, line 1 of the title, strike “state funding stabilization” and insert “gaming the people’s spending limit to permit a seventeen percent increase in spending and avoid making deposits into the emergency reserve fund.’” – EFF’s Jason Mercier, out of frustration with Senate Democrats and their continuing effort to gut the I-601 spending limit. It was later introduced as an amendment by Sen. Zarelli, but was defeated.

VOLUME 16, Issue 3 EFF’s mission is to advance individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government.

Editors: Lynn Harsh Marsha Richards

Publisher: Joel Sorrell

Evergreen Freedom Foundation PO Box 552 Olympia, WA 98507 (360) 956-3482 Fax (360) 352-1874 info@effwa.org • www.effwa.org Living Liberty is a publication of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Nothing in this publication should be construed as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or ballot measure.

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3 LETTER FROM LYNN DO WE NEED A FULL TIME LEGISLATURE?

GEORGIA TOWN OFFERS EXAMPLE FOR WASHINGTON 4 SUNSHINE WEEK HOW ABOUT THAT 65 PERCENT SOLUTION 5 WASHINGTON ATTORNEY GENERAL DECLARES TEACHER STRIKES ILLEGAL 6 EFF WELCOMES MATT COLE EFF BIDS FAREWELL TO DENISE BRANDT 8 OLYMPIA WIRE 9 EYE ON THE SESSION

“Too many lawmakers just want the public to go away.”

Pg. 10

EFF President Bob Williams gives testimony at a Washington State Senate hearing on the people's right to initiative & referendum.

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10 LEGISLATORS ATTEMPT TO GUT THE RIGHTS OF INITIATIVE & REFERENDUM BOB WILLIAMS TAKES ELECTION REFORM MESSAGE ON THE ROAD

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11 LEAVE A LEGACY

Drunk hotel continued from above . . . alcohol treatment. It simply compares “negative alcohol-related consequences” and the use of public services between those living at 1811 Eastlake and those waiting to get in. The study hypothesizes that the housed group will use fewer public services, will have fewer “negative alcohol-related consequences,” and will be more likely to engage in treatment. No kidding! The hotel where they live provides most of these services. The negative consequences of drinking will similarly be lessened

by an atmosphere in which they won’t be arrested for public drunkenness. But will the alcoholics become sober and learn to live a productive life if their housing, food, and medical treatment are subsidized? That’s not part of the study. Some of the funds to run 1811 Eastlake are private, but most are public. Any private individual with the desire to do so can spend their own money to pay for the building, the annual cost per resident, and the study. But this is not a core function of government, so public monies should not be spent on such projects.


A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION

by Lynn Harsh

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LET TER FROM LY NN

Do we need a full time legislature?

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ashington state legislators are classified as part-timers, and they pretty much have a salary to match. But they work somewhere between 60-90 very full-time days each year. If they run over into a special session, and they usually do, it can be a few weeks longer. They serve on various legislative committees that meet all over the state in the interim, and they have a couple of weeks during the year, outside of the regular legislative session, when they are required to come back to Olympia for official business. Legislators are expected to go to a few conferences every year, and they regularly meet with constituents. It’s hard to hold a “real” job with that kind of schedule, but most legislators have to have one to make ends meet, especially if they are the primary breadwinners of their family. This creates considerable strain. Legislators whose ideology can be considered centerright have pointed out how hard it is to recruit likeminded candidates under these circumstances. They correctly note that their more liberal colleagues are often employed or supported by liberal special interest groups that happily accommodate legislators’ sporadic work schedules. These frustrations have created a growing movement for a full-time legislature, since that’s more in-line with the schedule they actually work anyway. I am deeply sympathetic. But a full-time legislature is a bad idea. Legislators work so hard because government has grown so large. It’s grown so large because we have elected people who think it’s their job to expand government’s scope rather than shrink it. Creating a full-time legislature rewards this behavior and encourages more of it. Some argue that the needs of citizens are much greater today than 100 years ago; thus we need a full-time legislature. No, the demands of the citizens are much greater. How does moving to a full-time legislature reduce the difficulty of responding to demands versus needs? Some say, if we don’t go to a full-time legislature, it will become increasingly hard to find good people willing to serve in the legislature. This is true. But we don’t want just anyone to run and serve. Few are called to do this, and if we were more particular about the people we recruit, elect and re-elect, we’d have far fewer problems. I’m not a Pollyanna about this. In fact, I am in the midst of trying to recruit a very particular kind of candidate

for a very particular elected position, and I’m having a hard time finding a taker with the right qualifications. It is tough and getting tougher. Still, if elected officials make enough money to live comfortably on the public payroll, they will not feel the necessary tug back to the private sector. Some won’t feel that anyway, but the sacrifices required to serve in public office result in healthy people not wanting to spend their whole life in the job. Besides, our form of government only works if we elect men and women who serve for a while and then come home to live among us; to make their living, manage their property and rear their families under the laws they help create. Liberal political operatives will always have an easier time recruiting and electing candidates, because most of them genuinely believe government has broader and deeper obligations than it is currently meeting. They

“Legislators work so hard because government has grown so large. It’s grown so large because we have elected people who think it’s their job to expand government’s scope rather than shrink it.” are more frequently already employed by government or a government-subsidized entity. Using taxpayer dollars to further their political agenda seems sensible to them. That is not an acceptable reality for those of us who believe in limited government, individual liberty and free markets. If we recruit our candidates from among our own ranks, we will find fewer of them and they will not want to stay in elected office as long. That means we must always be on the look-out for candidates. It means we need a savvy ideological farm team. It means we need to train our own staff and researchers. Sure it’s harder, but when compared against what we’ve traded by electing career politicians for the past few decades, harder is better. One of my former students told me he wanted my advice on his career choice. He thought I would be

excited to hear he had decided to go into politics. I’ll close with my response: Elected service should never be your career; it is your calling, else you dare not do it. Elected public service was never intended to be anyone’s career. If it is, you will be forced to make compromises that tear at your core principles and intellect. Your calling, on the other hand, draws its energy and focus from the deepest part of your character and life experience. It finds courage and wisdom in seeming wastelands. (And there will be many seeming wastelands.) If it is your career, your human nature will drive you to retain your position and climb higher. This means you must get re-elected at all cost, and you will always tell yourself it is for the greater good, regardless of cost. If it is your calling, however, you will be motivated by goals that are higher than your need for the position. Of course, you will likely want to get re-elected, but not at the expense of your intellectual or personal integrity. If it is your calling, you will seek truth, regardless of how uncomfortable it might be. You will learn the value of speaking less and listening more; of using the talents and wisdom of your colleagues as often as possible. You will burn fewer bridges, but those that do go up in flames will be memorable for all the right reasons. You will understand the need to be a seasoned, determined and excellent soldier in this ideological war for the heart of our country. Others will be drawn to your strength, wisdom, tenacity and humility. It is here that true leadership is born. If it is your calling, you will invite close friends to surround you who have been given permission to hold you accountable for your actions and decisions. You may chafe at this, but you will submit your pride to its necessity. You will be a great public servant if you understand that personal and financial sacrifice is requisite for serving your friends, neighbors and country in this manner. The sacrifice will be daily. Your family must be supportive, because they will sacrifice a great deal, too; in fact, more than you know. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to serve in elected office for a lengthy period of time, because the sacrifices and frustrations are great. Mentor others to follow you. Wait until your life experiences and your intellectual development have given you a bank account upon which to draw. Wait until you know where courage and persistence come from. Then, if you and your loved ones believe you are called to serve your fellowman in this manner, hit the ground running hard and smart.

Georgia town offers example for Washington by Victor Joecks

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n the surface, Georgia and Washington seem like polar opposite states. One is in the Southeast; the other is in the Northwest. Accents are different; we follow different sports teams. One is a red state and the other blue. Nevertheless, Washington would benefit from an exciting new concept in government efficiency being pioneered in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Sandy Springs became a city after a 35-year battle for independence from Fulton County. In creating a new city government, officials examined every “traditional” service to see if it fell within the core functions of

local government. Without vested interests hindering evaluations, officials only kept services that were core functions of government. Then officials decided if the city or a private company would best provide it. Eventually, city officials decided that citizens would benefit most if they contracted out all municipal services except fire, police, and emergency management. Companies bid on two contracts worth about $31 million to provide city services, and Sandy Springs awarded both contracts to Operations Management

International, Inc. The city saved $2.3 million by using the same company for both contracts. Although Washingtonians may never talk with a Southern accent or cheer on the Atlanta Falcons, our politicians can follow the approach to government taken by Sandy Springs officials. The city is providing the core functions of government in the most efficient and economical way possible. Officials there seem to understand that government agencies exist to serve the taxpayers, not the other way around.


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LIVING LIBERTY

Sunshine Week 2006, March 12-18, is a nationwide event supported by a coalition of interest groups anxious to preserve, protect and perpetuate access to a free and open government.

Are We Safer in the Dark? Panelists Include:

March 13, in the studio auditorium of KOMO-TV Seattle, the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) will host a special program on government secrecy and efforts to maintain and restore transparency. A national panel will discuss federal government access issues from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., via satellite feed to the station’s studio. A panel of Washington open

69%

government advocates and state leaders will then discuss local access issues.

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he program is free to the public, but seating at the studio is limited. TVW, the state public affairs television cable channel, plans to tape the event and show it at future scheduled times. A live telecast by TVW may also be available. The national forum begins at 10 a.m., followed at 11:30 by discussion and dialogue among local panelists and the audience. The event concludes at 1 p.m.

Gov. Christine Gregoire

TO RESERVE A SEAT contact Washington Coalition for Open Government:

info@washingtoncog.org, (206) 782-0393.

OTHER SUNSHINE WEEK PROGRAMS IN WASHINGTON STATE: Sponsor: Washington Library Assoc. Intellectual Freedom Interest Group Location: Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, WA Contact Name: Elena Bianco Contact Email: ebianco@shoreline.edu

The event venue is at Fisher Plaza, 140 Fourth Ave. N., Seattle Sponsor: Washington State University, Vancouver

State Auditor Brian Sonntag

Rep. Toby Nixon

Michele Earl-Hubbard

Invited local panelists include Gov. Christine Gregoire, State Auditor Brian Sonntag, Rep. Toby Nixon (45th District, Republican, Kirkland, King County) and media law attorney Michele Earl-Hubbard, a partner with Davis Wright Tremaine, Seattle, and WCOG president. The Seattle panel moderator is Scott Wilson, past president of the host coalition, past president of Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, and an active publisher in the newspaper group. He is a former Olympia reporter for the News Tribune of Tacoma and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Washington. The national teleforum on March 13 examines the question, “Are We Safer in the Dark?” During the 90-minute national conversation, speakers and video segments address: • Do federal laws such as the Freedom of Information Act fulfill their promise to guarantee openness in government? • How do laws passed and policies/regulations implemented since 9/11 encourage secrecy or openness? • How does transparency (or a lack thereof) affect the government’s readiness and response to disasters such as Sago Mines and Hurricane Katrina? • What about the public’s ability to plan and respond, or prevent, disasters? • How do secrecy and openness influence the personal choices you make to ensure the education, safety and well-being of your families? • What tools and resources work effectively in safeguarding the public’s ability to hold government accountable?

Sponsor: Spokane Falls Community College Location: Spokane, WA Contact Name: Babs Hachey Contact Email: babsh@spokanefalls.edu

Sponsor: Law Libraries of Puget Sound and Washington State Library Location: Stanford Center for Educational Excellence in Seattle, WA Contact Name: Elizabeth Iaukea Contact Email: eiaukea@secstate.wa.gov

SUNSHINE WEEK CO-SPONSORS: American Association of Law Libraries • American Library Association • American Society of Newspaper Editors / Sunshine Week Association of Research Libraries • Coalition of Journalists for Open Government • League of Women Voters • National Freedom of Information Coalition OpenTheGovernment.org • Special Libraries Association • Washington Coalition for Open Government (www.washingtoncog.org) • Washington Library Association

How about that 65 percent solution? by Marsha Richards

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Location: Vancouver, WA Contact Name: Rachel Bridgewater Contact Email: bridgewa@vancouver.wsu.edu

upporters describe it as the “65 percent solution.” Opponents say it’s “100 percent deception.” It’ll be an interesting debate …. A new initiative filed last month in our state would require school districts to spend at least 65 cents of every general education dollar on classroom instruction. Spearheaded by high-tech entrepreneur and stay-at-home dad Brian Janssen, it’s the latest state measure in a nationwide campaign to drive more dollars to the classroom. The initiative would require school districts spending less than 65 percent of their operating budget in the classroom to increase the portion by 2 percent each year until the 65 percent mark is reached. (Waivers can be requested.) “Classroom instruction” is defi ned by the National Center for Education Statistics to include teachers, teaching assistants, textbooks, computers,

classroom supplies, special needs instruction, English as a second language instruction, arts, music, drama, and athletics. Washington currently spends 59.5 percent of every dollar on “classroom instruction.” Increasing the portion to 65 percent would mean $404 million dollars reallocated to classroom-related activities. We have long advocated that dollars should follow students to the classroom. (And to that we would add: “… in the school chosen by parents.”) The fact that more than 40 percent of every dollar spent in Washington schools is directed to something other than classroom instruction (even after you include athletics, music and art) should be a wake-up call. That said, we must, of course, ask the most obvious question: Transformed into policy, would the 65 Percent Initiative improve student achievement in our state?

We don’t believe so, largely because we don’t believe low student achievement is the result of too little spending. Rather, it’s the result of a K-12 system organized to serve adults rather than students. Our public school system is, quite simply, a monopoly. As in most monopolies, “customers” (in this case parents and students) have very little control over the product (education) they receive. The result is predictable: expensive mediocrity. Shifting the money around without changing the underlying foundations won’t solve the problems. Will the 65 Percent Initiative spark a meaningful debate over current education spending in our state? It already has, and the debate is much-needed and long overdue. In their opposition to anything that would require more accountability for dollars spent, the state teachers’ union and other groups that simply want “more money” are uttering statements that may later come back to bite them. Continued on page 12


A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION

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“By common law in the state of Washington, our Supreme Court has spoken on at least three separate occasions, and has made it abundantly clear: Strikes by public employees are illegal.”

Washington Attorney General declares

Teacher Strikes Illegal S. Alex Bohler, J.D.

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n the state of Washington, as in many other states, strikes by public sector workers are illegal. This is because government workers (like police and firefighters) supply essential services, and their jobs are not subject to the same competitive free-market forces that characterize the private sector. There is no profit motive in the public sector, and worker salaries are paid by taxpayers, not private companies and individuals. Not only are most public sector workers shielded from lay-offs, they have superior medical and retirement benefits compared to most in the private sector. There is a clear trade off; increased job security, but loss of some income potential. When private sector unions strike, the “victims” are the company, and, ultimately, the consumer who is forced to pay higher prices. In this scenario, consumers can purchase goods and services elsewhere, and companies can, in certain circumstances, replace workers. They can also leave the state entirely and do business elsewhere. That is the balance. Private sector workers can withhold their labor by striking, but if they strike for too long, or if the strike turns violent, companies have the right to replace those workers. (A classic case of the “law of diminishing returns.”) When public sector unions strike, however, there is no balance. The government cannot fire and replace public sector employees like police and firefighters without causing a substantial loss in public safety and a significant disruption in critical municipal services. The same can be said for public school teachers, who clearly provide an essential service and are not easily replaceable. Currently, teachers are paid by a combination of local property taxes and state general revenue. The state spends a sizeable percent of its overall annual budget on a base rate, and then local school boards are tasked with paying the balance. In return for performing these essential teaching services, public school teachers have unmatched job security, generous time off during the summers and holidays, and good retirement benefits. In return for this compensation package, taxpayers ask teachers to a) provide quality education to students and b) to refrain from striking when negotiations with local school boards break down. Realizing the potential need for a neutral third party, the state of Washington long ago established an independent arbitrator to resolve conflicts. Union officials are supposed to utilize these long-standing public sector arbitration procedures to resolve negotiating disputes.

They know this, but cynically leverage school boards with strike threats anyway. The Washington Education Association (WEA) leadership wants to “have their cake and eat it too.” They want the benefits of stable public sector employment, with a private sector right to strike. That’s why the recent Attorney General opinion on teacher strikes is so important. Responding to a request by Representative Toby Nixon, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna recently issued an official Attorney General Opinion (AGO) clarifying the illegality of public school teacher strikes. This is the first time the Attorney General’s office has issued an official advisory opinion on this issue, and McKenna’s letter to Rep. Nixon makes it crystal clear that

“The Washington Education Association (WEA) leadership wants to “have their cake and eat it too.” They want the benefits of stable public sector employment, with a private sector right to strike. That’s why the recent Attorney General opinion on teacher strikes is so important.” teachers do not enjoy “a legally protected right to strike.” The AG’s office also views legislative efforts seeking to establish penalties for striking teachers and their union representatives as constitutionally permissible. The Washington Education Association and its local affiliates have consistently used strikes and the threat of strikes to intimidate school boards during contract negotiations over wage and benefit issues. Union negotiators typically threaten to strike when contract negotiations with school districts come to a standstill. To date, the Washington Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) has recorded 84 teacher strikes in Washington. This number, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Hun-

dreds of school boards, over multiple decades, have been threatened with strikes that never materialized. EFF has consistently called on Washington’s “top cop” to send a strong message to union bosses about their illegal behavior. Then-Attorney General Christine Gregoire even campaigned on the issue in 1996, telling the Washington Education Association (WEA) that public school employees were prohibited by law from striking and saying, if called upon, she would defend the law. Unfortunately, after the election, she did nothing to deter strikes. During the Issaquah strike in 2002, Assistant AG David Stolier ignored previous court decisions and stated that “there’s no statute and little legal precedent banning teachers from striking.” This statement not only ignored a mountain of common law decisions made in the past 30 years, it also ignored the fact that district court judges had issued some 24 injunctions of 29 sought since 1972. Many political observers recognized this “wink and nod” from AG Gregoire’s office as tacit approval for local teacher’s unions to intimidate legislators and local school boards. Attorney General McKenna’s recent opinion, combined with passage of legislation establishing substantial penalties for striking teacher unions, should go a long way in deterring future strikes. Teacher strikes always disrupt communities. Even the threat of a strike can cause havoc in a school district that lacks the financial resources to meet ever-expanding union demands. The harmful fallout from the 2003 Marysville strike included a 49-day delay in the school year before a court injunction forced teachers back to the classroom. This delay disrupted the college application process and significantly delayed high school graduation for hundreds of seniors. Working parents, who had to shell out money for child-care for younger students, were also burdened. Since the disastrous Marysville school district strike, local school districts have proven gun-shy when confronted by strike threats. The timing of such strike threats is not accidental either. Union officials know exactly when to use the “strike card” to cause maximum stress and chaos among parents and administrators. The Washington State Supreme Court first ruled strikes by public employees were unlawful in 1958. The Court held that while public employees have the right to Continued on page 11


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LIVING LIBERTY

EFF welcomes Matt Cole!

“Matt is also a Navy reservist, working in intelligence. He enlisted in the Reserves as a junior in college shortly after September 11, 2001.”

By Kristen Mercier

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att Cole is EFF’s new deputy communications director. He will assist Booker Stallworth in EFF’s communications department and will work specifically on much-needed projects for local college campus outreach and the development of a cable access television show. Matt’s education and experience make him uniquely suited to communications work at EFF. Like many EFF employees, he was inspired by Ronald Reagan. After reading Reagan’s autobiography, he decided to attend Whitworth College to study political science where he also earned minors in speech communications and history. Additionally, he studied graphic design at Whatcom County Community College. Matt formerly served as a policy analyst for the House Republican Caucus with the Economic Development, Agriculture and Trade, and Housing Committees. He

worked on campaigns for the Washington State House of Representatives. Matt is also a Navy Reservist, working in intelligence. He enlisted in the Reserves as a junior in college shortly after September 11, 2001. As a state policy analyst, Matt was familiar with EFF, but he doesn’t know how he ended up working here. “One day Booker just called me out of the blue,” he laughed. “He said he had my resumé and wanted to interview me for the position. But I didn’t send my resumé to EFF: I have no idea how they got it!” Matt may be able to give some pointers to other EFF staffers who are soon to be wed. He married his wife, Shawndra, last summer. He calls her his “lifeblood,” saying, “Life really began for me when I met her.” She encouraged him to take the job at EFF, even though it meant leaving her friends, her job and her hometown of Lynden, WA, where they lived before moving to

Olympia. Matt spent his childhood years in Vancouver, WA, and says he could never live anywhere but in beautiful Washington state. “I’ve really grown to appreciate the mountains and the water in spite of the rain, especially after visiting other parts of the country,” he said. In his free time, Matt likes to tinker with cars and is a big NASCAR fan. “But don’t worry—I’m not in favor of public subsidies for a NASCAR track here in Washington!” He enjoys cult films, baseball (he’s a Dodgers fan), reading and hanging out with his wife. “We have date nights once a week; we’re still trying to find a really great authentic Italian restaurant here in Olympia.” We’re happy to have Matt as part of the EFF team!

EFF bids farewell to Denise Brandt By Matthew Cole

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fter five years of investing in the lives of her co-workers, volunteers and visitors here at EFF, Denise Brandt will be leaving to start her own business venture. The everkind and always generous Denise has been our volunteer and hospitality coordinator. “I am going to start my own E-Bay business,” she says with her typically warm smile. “I’ve always wanted to do that and now I am going to seize the opportunity.” Denise has provided enthusiasm that makes EFF a great working environment. “Her heart’s desire is to serve others—to lighten everyone’s personal and professional load,” said Senior Vice President Lynn Harsh. Much of her work has been with EFF’s amazing volunteer team. Each week, many volunteers donate their time to complete critical tasks like sending out letters, invitations, policy briefing and newsletters. For many years, Denise has worked alongside them to organize and help complete the projects. “Denise has not only done a wonderful job, but she has been a real personal friend to all of us,” said longtime volunteer Wilma Peterson. “Her attention to the details of our volunteers’ lives and her care for them is what keeps many of them coming back to work at EFF,” said EFF grant writer Kristen Mercier. But volunteers aren’t the only people who have been influenced by Denise’s hospitality. “Denise takes time out for her co-workers,” said Marsha Richards, EFF’s Education Reform

Director. “She probably knows more about each of us personally than anyone else in the office.” The EFF Trustees, other organizations who are our coalition partners, and many EFF members have also benefited from Denise’s gift of hospitality, as she has prepared refreshments, food and table settings for many meetings. “She is very dedicated to EFF, often devoting late night hours to the details of an event,” says Lois Beard, EFF’s Chief Operating Officer. “She has a knack for creating beauty out of simplicity,” said Marsha. “Martha Stewart’s got nothing on her!” Outside her job at EFF, Denise is the mother of two and very devoted to her faith. “She is very proud of her husband and two wonderful children,” said Juliana McMahan. Her faith and her family are big parts of her identity, and she never hesitates to invite others to be a part of her Christian experience. “Denise has great discernment about people, and an uncanny knack for a good deal,” said Lynn. “She is a rare jewel, and I will miss her greatly.” Thank you for being a part of our lives, Denise, and best wishes!


“Our interns don’t just get coffee; they get laws passed.”

E VERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION

A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION

Applications are due March 17, 2006

2006

YOUNG LEADERS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

“My friends think I’m a little too

The Evergreen Freedom Foundation is now accepting applications for eight summer internship positions. Applications are due March 17, 2006. Preference is given to students entering their sophomore or junior year of college. Applicants must demonstrate strong research, writing, computer, and oral communication skills as well as a track record of leadership.

passionate about my work sometimes. They’re afraid to mention anything that will

For more information, please visit our website at

compel me to say, ‘that’s a waste of taxpayers’

w w w.effwa.org/youngleader

money!”

or contact Kristen Mercier at kmercier@effwa.org.

“LIBERTY REQUIRES VIGILANCE AND EACH GENERATION MUST DEFEND IT FOR THE NEXT.” The cost of EFF’s summer internship program (administration, faculty costs and student wages) is $2,500 per student. If you would like to help sponsor a student, please contact Juliana McMahan at jmcmahan@effwa.org, 360-956-3482, or PO Box 552, Olympia, WA 98507. You can also donate online at our website: www.effwa.org.

“She is a very organized and has really kept things running smoothly here. She has a delightful personality...She is a very creative young lady.”

“There are so many wonderful things to say about Denise, it’s hard to list them all...We’re sorry to see her go.”

– Jerry Ambrose

– Wilma Peterson

“The Lord has blessed me with such a wonderful lady, she married my grandson!”

“She has a winning personality and she just wins people to her,”

– Maxine White

– Cecil Steele

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LIVING LIBERTY

OLYMPIA

WIRE

LEGISLATURE MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO BRING UNION MEMBERS OUT OF DARK AGES

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e live in an Information Age. With today’s wireless technology, satellite communications and 24hour cable news channels, most of us have the latest news and information at our fingertips. Yet for tens of thousands of union members in Washington state, it might as well be the Dark Ages when it comes to details about how their union spends their dues.

SB 6765 - PUBLIC FUNDING OF STATEWIDE POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

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hould candidates go to the government rather than the people for campaign funds? Some legislators think

“The unions that represent Washington’s state and local employees have no legal obligation to disclose financial information to their members.” The unions that represent Washington’s state and local employees have no legal obligation to disclose financial information to their members. Senate Bill 6756 (Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-15th) offered a possible solution by requiring public sector unions to file annual financial reports. These reports would include details related to income and expenditures, salaries of officers and employees, and itemized accounts for collective bargaining, political activity and voter education. Establishing financial disclosure rules for labor organizations ensures accountability to union shareholders and reduces the potential for corruption. This sort of disclosure is required at the federal level for private sector unions, but it is up to state legislatures to impose similar requirements on unions that exclusively

so. During this session, Senator Kastama (D–Puyallup) introduced Senate Bill 6765 to create a system of public funding for statewide political campaigns. This is a bad idea. It further insulates candidates from the people they are supposed to serve. It forces many taxpayers to subsidize the campaigns of people whose ideology conflicts with their own. And contrary to proponents’ claims, public funding does not counterbalance the unfair advantage incumbents possess in campaigns. The bill is flawed because it fails to comprehensively address the program’s funding sources. It is designed to be funded by voluntary contributions, but it does not address who pays for potential deficits. Will taxpayers do this, too, through the general fund? Finally, paying for political campaigns is not a core function of government. Period.

represent public employees, such as the Washington Education Association. The legislature missed an opportunity to improve union disclosure, however, as this bill was never brought up for a hearing and died in committee. Given the recent expansion of union control over Washington state workers, financial transparency needs to be

addressed. Union members will no doubt bring the issue up for consideration again next session.

LEGISLATURE CONSIDERS "JOCK TAX"

WASHINGTON MONEY FOR PORTLAND SPORTS

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ome Washington legislators seem to think it is their role to lobby for a major league baseball team for Portland. Senate Resolution 8415 called for the creation of a committee that would advise the legislature on how best to orchestrate the relocation of a baseball team to Oregon. The committee would have full access to legislative staff and would be allowed to “establish an advisory group of all interested parties.” This is not a core function of government and shouldn’t have even been considered.

eps. Chris Strow and Brian Sullivan introduced HB 3104, which would have levied a tax on visiting profootball, basketball and baseball athletes. The revenue from this tax would go into stadium support funds, as well pay for state parks. The tax is justified, according to the bill, because visiting athletes have “the privilege of performing before paying audiences in publicly financed facilities.” The bill did not go far, but it does suggest a worrisome trend regarding 1) the issues lawmakers consider so essential that they are willing to redistribute some people’s incomes to others to accomplish them, and 2) lawmakers’ thoughts about the role and limits of tax policy. Or are they thinking about these things at all?


A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION

Education Legislation by Marsha Richards

Limiting our scope to legislation that deals with education, we’re still left with 495 related bills. We’ll limit it further and take a look at a few bills we’ve been following directly related to some key education issues. The status of these bills is likely to change between the writing and publishing of this newsletter, so I recommend getting “the latest” at www.washingtonvotes.org.

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In an effort to offer incentives for qualified math, science and special education teachers, Sen. Mike Carrell has proposed legislation (SB 6311) to give bonuses to “expert” teachers in these subject areas. Expertise is determined based on guidelines developed by the state’s Professional Educator Standards Board.

Education Funding

High School Graduation Requirement

It’s baaaack. Rep. Ross Hunter’s proposal (SHB 1484) to allow permanent school district levies to provide cost-of-living salary increases for school employees has passed the House and is moving in the Senate. EFF pointed out last year that this proposal violates the state constitution, as well as potentially violates existing state law.

Beginning with the class of 2008, students in the tenth grade must pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) in order to earn a diploma. Since nearly 60 percent of the tenth-graders who took the test last year failed at least one core subject (reading, writing or math), Efforts to reduce the super majority the requirement is causing significant angst among stuvoting requirement on school levies dents, parents and school personnel. Some believe the to a simple majority are continuing requirement should be dropped altogether; others believe As of this writing, 4,197 bills have been this year as well in the form of HJR it is important to have a fixed standard. introduced in Olympia in the 2005 and 4205. Several bills have been introduced to address this issue. Most focus on providing alternative means to demonstrate 2006 legislative sessions, to which 3,345 Sex Education academic achievement. Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe has amendments have been proposed, from Rep. Toby Nixon would like schools proposed alternative evaluations that incorporate a to be required to notify parents student’s GPA and/or a portfolio of work (SB 6475). Rep. which 517 new laws have been born. before students are instructed in Gigi Talcott would like to allow students to use other human sexuality (HB 3201). A bill widely recognized assessments like the PSAT, SAT and to require schools that provide sex the ACT (HB 2902). Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen would Needless to say, it’s a lot for anyone to education to include instruction like to remove the high school graduation requirement keep up with. in abstinence and contraception is altogether (SB 6620). also still around from last year (HB The bill that appears to be getting the most support 1282). is Sen. McAuliffe’s SB 6618, which retains the current graduation standard, but commissions a study to identify Miscellaneous the characteristics of students who fail the WASL and Sen. Mark Schoesler and Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney have proposed bills to proidentify alternative assessment options. We think the legislature should retain the graduation standard, though we can think hibit the sale or use of false academic degrees (SB 6487 and HB 2507). Sen. Val Stevens would like high schools to pay the cost of necessary remedial of far better measures of student proficiency than the subjectively graded WASL. education for their recent graduates who move on to college (SB 6489). (EFF has long made this recommendation.) Math Instruction With dire predictions about the inability of students in our state and nation to compete in a high-tech global economy, more attention is being focused on math and science instruction. Rep. Glenn Anderson has proposed a study of math standards and assessment in other countries (HB 3272), to determine whether or not Washington should by Jason Mercier adopt a curriculum similar to that of Singapore, which is widely recognized for its Various bills introduced over the past two sessions have focused on improving our achievement in that area. state’s Priorities of Government (POG) budget model. The focus of these proposals has been to mandate the Executive Branch, primarily the Office of Financial Standards and Curriculum A number of bills have been proposed to address academic standards and curriculum, Management (OFM) and the governor, incorporate POG into their budget decisions. including a proposal by Rep. Sharon Tomika to develop a statewide curriculum (HB Missing from these proposals, however, is a requirement on the legislature to do the 3080), and several bills to change high school diploma requirements to reflect college same. Unlike the legislature’s current budgeting model, a state budget built around readiness and employability (HB 2486, HB 2706, HB 2929, HB 3241, and HB 3054). Priorities of Government is performance-based. It is supposed to be built within forecasted revenue based on a prioritized “buy” list of state activities. Each activity Student Assessments In response to a federal requirement that schools measure student progress in grades is to be measured with quantifiable performance indicators and is ranked high, 3-8, our state superintendent’s office is developing what might be dubbed “mini- medium or low. To avoid labeling everything a high priority, one-third of each WASLs.” Amid concerns that the WASL is expensive (roughly $60 per student), agency’s activities (including program costs) must be labeled high,: one-third unreliable (subjectively graded) and unhelpful (results are months coming), Rep. Gigi medium and one-third low. For any new priorities added to the buy list, the rankings Talcott has proposed legislation (HB 2902) to require state education officials to make would change to reflect offsets and tradeoffs. By following this process, lawmakers can identify what they believe are the proper diagnostic assessments available to school districts, and to reimburse districts for diagnostic assessments administered in grades 9-10. Many diagnostic tests have a priorities for state government. They can focus the debate about tax reductions or increases around how important the priorities are at the bottom of the state’s “buy” good track record for reliability, and they are inexpensive and easy to administer. Rep. Larry Haler introduced legislation (HB 2429) to commission a comprehensive list. The process is transparent, so taxpayers and other interest groups can clearly see review of the WASL, which would analyze the total cost of developing and what lawmakers have decided the top priorities are. The POG process also forces executive and legislative oversight of all state spending administering the test and compare this with other state assessments, and would to determine the priority and efficiency of all activities. evaluate the WASL’s ability to provide helpful information about student progress to Last year, the legislature adopted and signed into law HB 1242, which requires the teachers and parents. governor to communicate the state’s priorities to agencies to help them submit their budget requests within these priorities. Agencies must also identify their performance Early Learning Gov. Christine Gregoire has requested legislation (SB 6466 and HB 2964) to estab- measures and the statutory purpose for all programs. The governor’s biennial lish a state Department of Early Learning which would “set early learning policy and budget documents, in turn, are supposed to describe “performance indicators that coordinate, consolidate and integrate child care and early learning programs.” This demonstrate measurable progress towards priority results.” But legislators did not put the same requirements on themselves. legislation is moving through both houses. Absent is any discussion about whether or A hold-over from last year is HB 1834, which was re-introduced this year. HB 1834 not early learning requirements are a proper function of government. places additional POG mandates on the Executive Branch, requiring the governor’s budget office to submit to the legislature between 100 to 200 “priority performance Teacher Pay and Quality We have long advocated a teacher pay and evaluation system that measures excel- measures for state government.” Still, no requirement for the legislature to follow suit. lence based on performance (actual student achievement). After all, ensuring student Each of these proposals is a step in the right direction and would improve the achievement should be the mission of our schools. governor’s budget’s transparency and accountability. In order to demonstrate its Sen. Jim Kastama would like to give an annual $10,000 bonus to teachers who earn certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (SB ongoing support for the POG reform, however, the legislature needs to apply these 6184). Unfortunately, research shows the certification has very little, if any, impact same mandates to the budget it adopts. This would provide for transparency and accountability of the state’s final budget, not just the governor’s proposal. on student achievement.

on the Session

Now…to the Budget


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LIVING LIBERTY

Legislators attempt to gut the rights of initiative and referenda by Bob Williams

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n January, the Senate held a hearing to eliminate the citizens’ rights to referendum and initiative. As I sat in the hearing and waited to testify, I reflected over the thirty years that I have attended committee hearings as a legislator or as a member of the public. I have to say, this proposed legislation is incredibly disappointing because it demonstrates the arrogance and contempt that are the sad hallmarks of this and last year’s legislative session. Too many lawmakers just want the public to go away. There was a piece of fun irony in all of this, however. Senator Ken Jacobson, a longtime Democrat legislator from Seattle proposed SJR 8201 to eliminate our power of initiative and referendum. In his haste to eliminate the people’s power of initiative and referendum, SJR 8201 deleted the entire Article II, Section I of the constitution. This not only would have eliminated our right of initiative and referendum, but also would have eliminated the legislative powers! It was an inadvertent move on his part, but it would have been fun to see how it all shook out. Article 1 of our state constitution is the Declaration of Rights. Our Founders had their priorities correct when they wrote in Article I: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established

to protect and maintain individual rights. In that same article, we the people have the right of recall of elective officers before we give them any legislative or executive power. In Article II, before we give the legislators any legislative powers, we reserve the right of initiative and referendum. We should not be surprised that some members of the legislature want the people’s power of referenda and initiative to go away. Last year the Legislature used the emergency clause on 98 bills—meaning that the citizens lost their right to run a referendum on those bills. Emergency clauses are supposed to be used for acts that are “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of state government and its existing public institutions.” They were never intended to be used as a muzzle for citizens. Nevertheless, emergency clauses were used on four bills that amended initiatives previously approved by the voters. During the Democrats’ 2005 tax-and-spend

session, they overrode the following voter approved initiatives: • Initiative 134 (1992)—the voters’ attempts to limit campaign contributions of corporations and unions, • Initiative 402 (1981)—the voters’ decision to eliminate the state’s death tax (estate tax), establishing a pick up tax tied to the federal rate. • Initiative 884 (2004)—the public’s rejection of a tax increase for education, including class size reductions. (The legislature earmarked funds from its re-imposed death tax to pay for class size reduction anyway.) • Initiative 601 (1993)—our state’s spending limit approved by voters. This year, Rep. Toby Nixon introduced a constitutional amendment (HJR 4216) to reform the legislative abuse of the emergency clause, but he couldn’t even get a hearing on the proposed legislation. While there was no hearing on Rep. Nixon’s bill to restore our rights, the legislature still found time to hold hearings on numerous bills that contained emergency clauses, such as “Limiting social card games (SB 6615); creating a Beer Commission (SB 6661); providing guidelines for geoduck diver licenses (SB 6708); and changing the ethics laws to allow the Lt. Governor and his staff to fundraise for the 2006 National Lt. Governor’s conference (HB 2419). It makes me wonder how many of the legislators who raise their hands in public and swear to uphold the Constitution have ever even read the document! We voters should keep this in mind.

Bob Williams takes election reform message on the road by Bob Williams

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often receive requests to share our message of freedom with audiences across the country. I take outof-state requests sparingly, especially during the legislative session. When an opportunity does arise worthy of a judicious investment of time, we make the most of it! Last month was one of those times. I started out in Olympia, on February 8, as one of the speakers addressing a great group of more than 80 people on private property rights and the expansion of Indian casinos. Under government protection, Indian casinos and other tribal businesses are unfairly competing with non-tribal businesses. I spoke about the fact that America’s Founders drafted our nation’s governing documents based on the belief that individuals have an unalienable right to the “pursuit of happiness,” which they clearly associated with the right to own private property. Later that same night, I spoke to more than 60 members of the Olympia Master Builders Group on the issue of affordable housing. Increasing government regulations, taxes and fees are making it virtually impossible for young families to buy a home. I spoke about the need to educate the public on the factors that are really making housing unaffordable and what people can do about it. C-PAC After these local speeches, it was off to Washington, D.C. to speak on election reform at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC). C-PAC is the largest gathering of conservative leaders in the nation (over 5,000 attended this year’s conference). It was a real honor for EFF to be on the agenda at the conference. From SeaTac Airport, I took a red-eye flight to Washington, via Chicago. One mechanical problem and a few delays later, I finally landed at Reagan International and ended up at C-PAC with only 10 minutes to spare before I spoke! What a 10 minutes! In the “speaker-ready” room, I had an opportunity to talk with Col. Oliver North and Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

At C-PAC, I served on a panel discussion on “Stealing Elections” with John Fund from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who represents the National GOP in many election issues. Nearly 600 policy makers and conservative activists were in attendance. It was a great discussion and we had a tremendous reaction to our presentation. During my short time at C-PAC, there were many exciting “appointments.” I keep shaking my head in amazement at how many partners in the cause of freedom I was able to speak with there. Phyllis Schlafly, the president of Eagle Forum, is very interested in EFF’s Voter Integrity Project. Phyllis and I talked about the great job the Eagle Forum is doing in Washington state and how it was one of the fi rst groups to dig into voting fraud several years ago. The next day, Kirby Wilbur from KVI radio scheduled me to go on his program at 6:30 a.m., with John Fund following. Fund and I had a detailed discussion regarding our challenges in getting the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate voter fraud. One of the great benefits of attending C-PAC is the number of national conservative leaders who are all in one place at one time. I met William Lauderback and David Keene from the American Conservative Union; former Congressman Dick Armey and Matt Kibby from Freedom Works; Amanda Hydro, Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee; Stephen Moore, WSJ opinion reporter; and Dick Patten from the American Family Business Institute (leading the efforts to repeal the death tax). I also had the opportunity to hear several great speakers, including Vice President Dick Cheney; Sen. George Allen of Virginia; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist; and Republican National Chair Ken Mehlman. A real highlight was a more than 30-minute speech by Ann Coulter, who energized the audience, particularly the youth. The conference room was packed wall-to-wall and she got by far the warmest greeting of any speaker. She gave a no-holds barred-speech and had a great response for every question asked.

Congressman Mike Pence, leader of the House Republican Study Committee, gave a most encouraging speech on what the GOP needs to do in Congress. Mike is the former President of the Indiana Policy Council (a think-tank like EFF), so he has a strong policy foundation. He and a group of colleagues in the House led efforts to slow down the chronic GOP overspending of the past five years. They are attempting to force the GOP back to core functions of limited government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, and a dedication to the rule of law. He and I spoke following his speech, and I am hopeful he will be able to come to our state this year. While in D.C., I also had the opportunity to meet with the policy staff at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). EFF has worked very closely with ALEC legislators on education, health care, fiscal and election issues. I am the technical advisor for ALEC’s special task force on elections. They will be holding a spring meeting in Idaho where I will be addressing state legislators about model legislation to restore integrity to the election process. Finally, it was off to California where I spoke to the Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley. Then to a college group at the Smith Center at Cal State, Hayward. In both speeches I talked about the need to restore integrity to the election process and highlighted Washington state as the poster child for “how to steal elections.” The expenses for this trip were covered by a Foundation deeply concerned about election reform. They agree that our attempt to put a national spotlight on what happened—and is still happening—in our state will help force reform here and elsewhere. I came back home on another red-eye; tired, but knowing that the contacts I had made and the audiences I had spoken to made it all worthwhile. And while I was gone, the staff here at the EFF office charged full speed ahead doing their usual good work. Thank you for your support to help make this happen.


A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION

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Illegal strikes continued from page 5. . .

organize, they do not have the right to strike. In its order granting a temporary injunction against the strikers, the trial court concluded that the strike and picketing were unlawful. It also found that the only way public employees could gain the right to strike was if the legislature decided to give them that authority by passing new legislation, which Washington never did. In 1967, the Washington legislature passed the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act (RCW 41.56), which specifically excluded state workers from having the right to strike. In 1972, the Washington State Supreme Court reaffirmed its 1958 decision. In 1975, the legislature passed a law allowing teachers to bargain collectively (RCW 41.59). The law established the Educational Employment Relations Act, which gave explicit instructions on how to resolve disputes. Unresolved contract issues are to be brought before the Public Employment Relations Commissions before an impasse occurs, and can be sent to binding arbitration if they are not resolved by the parties themselves. (Aware of these previous court decisions, the legislature did not give the teachers the right to strike.)

Another recent court ruling came when the Issaquah School District sought an injunction to end a three-week strike in 2002. In Issaquah School District vs. Issaquah Education Association, King County Superior Court Judge Joan Dubuque granted the injunction and stated: “At common law in the state of Washington, our Supreme Court has spoken on at least three separate occasions, and has made it abundantly clear: Strikes by public employees are illegal.” Recently, a bill was introduced in the Washington legislature that would formally codify the common law prohibitions make strikes by public school teachers as unlawful under Washington state statute and significantly increase the penalties for doing so. HB 2808 (Rep. Nixon, R-45th District) would also give local judges the authority to fine striking unions up to ten thousand dollars a day for violations. Parents, teachers, school board members, and legislators deserve to know that powerful teacher union officials won’t be able to disrupt their lives every time they reach an impasse in contract negotiations. Attorney General McKenna should be applauded for issuing this important opinion. In order to remove all doubt, the Washington legislature could enact a common-sense anti-strike statute that will establish substantial penalties for defying the law.

e-Giving www

Electronic-giving (“e-Giving”) allows you to automatically donate electronically to EFF from your bank account or credit card. No more remembering to send checks or buying envelopes and stamps. It saves time! It saves work! It’s easy to use! For more information on scheduling an e-Giving donation, please contact Juliana McMahan at 360-956-3482 or visit us online at www.effwa.org/contribution.php.


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LIVING LIBERTY

65 percent continued from page 4. . . In a recent interview with The Olympian, Lisa McFarlane, president of the League of Education Voters (which sponsored the billion-dollar education tax increase initiative in 2004), cited Standard & Poor’s research that found no direct link between increased classroom spending and improved student achievement. This drives home our point that it isn’t just how much you spend on education, but how you spend it. Yet many proponents of “more money for education” are

opposed to the kind of accountability and transparency required to ensure that every dollar is spent efficiently and effectively. We will draw attention to these facts in the coming months. Does EFF think the 65 Percent Initiative is a good idea? Not really. We have some concerns. First, the measure will refocus time, energy and resources in our state that might otherwise be devoted to more meaningful reform policies. Those who see this as a fix for education, or even as a means of improvement, will be sorely disappointed.

Second, it takes away control from locally elected school boards, who we believe should be free to allocate resources as they see fit as long as they are also held accountable for meeting high academic standards. Coupled with parental choice, what better way to allow the innovation and creativity that will bring about the discovery of best practices? That said, we don’t want expectations of more perfect policy to be the enemy of progress, and we will seize the opportunities presented by this initiative over the next several months to discuss some of the key issues surrounding education spending and governance.


Living Liberty March 2006