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Articles written by Joe Schmick


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  • Session a mix of success, disappointment

    Mark Schoesler and Joe Schmick and Mary Dye|Updated Mar 19, 2024

    The 2024 legislative session is now in the history books. After 60 days, in which 201 House bills and 180 Senate bills passed the Legislature, we can report a mix of great successes and disappointments. We fought hard for public hearings on all six citizens' initiatives to the Legislature. Closer to the end of the session, Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate reluctantly agreed to hear three of the measures but sent the other three initiatives to the November...

  • Take 'Gotcha!' out of records requests

    Joe Schmick|Updated Feb 6, 2024

    When state voters adopted the state’s Public Records Act in 1972, they wanted to make sure state, county and city governments operate openly and are transparent to the people. They recognized the best way to ensure transparency and accountability is to require most government records are made available to the public. The PRA, however, was never intended to help some make money at the expense of governments. Unfortunately, there are a few “vexatious requesters” who learn...

  • Payroll tax will hit hard this summer

    Joe Schmick|Updated Apr 4, 2023

    House and Senate budget writers released their 2023-25 state operating budget proposals recently. It was a reminder that taxpayers have been very kind to the state’s coffers as revenue forecasts over the past few years have continued to increase. As a result of taxpayer largess and the majority party’s proclivity to spend every dime available, state spending has more than doubled over the past 10 years. Has our population doubled? No. According to the Washington State Off...

  • Rural pharmacy rules bad for communities

    Joe Schmick|Updated Feb 21, 2023

    Growing up on the farm, I heard grandma’s sage advice in just about every situation imaginable. “A trouble shared is a trouble halved.” “This isn’t my first rodeo.” “Many hands make light work.” When hearing about Kaiser Permanente’s change in how its customers could get their prescriptions refilled, what came to mind was this: “It doesn’t cut the mustard.” Last summer, the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) and the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) voted to allow K...

  • Public safety is paramount

    Joe Schmick|Updated Jan 31, 2023

    Various surveys over the last year continue to show public safety is high on the list of concerns for the average Washingtonian. It doesn't matter if it's someone living in Bellevue or s the 9th Legislative District. People are feeling less safe and less secure. According to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, crime numbers support the feeling of unease. Violent crime increased by 12.3% in 2021, murder by 6%, and aggravated assaults by nearly 17%. I...