Have you ever asked your state legislator to support a fair and balanced approach to the budget, including closing tax loopholes or new revenue, only to hear them say, “Sorry, my hands are tied”? Well, yesterday morning the Washington State Supreme Court untied their hands.
In a 6-3 vote, the Court ruled that a supermajority requirement – a two-thirds vote – to raise revenue or close tax loopholes is unconstitutional. This is good news for kids!
The court opinion states that the Supermajority requirement enabled a “tyranny of the minority” – referencing the fact that a minority of legislators - as few as 17 individuals in the Senate – could block legislation to close tax loopholes or raise revenue.
Over the past seven days we have been privileged to take part in some prominent events that highlight the needs of hungry children.
Leaders from the faith community, charitable organizations and community groups have joined us in calling on state leaders to fight childhood hunger by restoring State Food Assistance.
Last Tuesday, we released a community letter asking legislators to “restore the integrity of our food security system” by fairly funding the program, which was cut in half last summer. The cut took food off the tables of nearly 14,000 children.
Last Tuesday, legislators on the House Health Care & Wellness Committee heard voices from across the state speak to a proven solution to the crisis in dental care:
“Alone, terrified, and in excruciating pain, my brother passed away. He was only 23 years old.” Jaydra Cope, (Spokane), whose brother Dalton died in 2006 due to complications of a dental abscess.
This week’s celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. coincides with the second week of the state legislative session. That’s an apt coincidence.
Because the question legislators are facing – how to make sure that every child has the opportunity of an education – is one that Dr. King would have deemed worthy of considerable thought.
Lawmakers began the 2013 legislative session in Olympia last week – a session that will be marked by a lot of dialog about our state’s commitment to educational opportunity for all children. New data should help elected officials see the potential for early learning to maintain our commitment to that opportunity.