A number of columnists have noted that the 2014 Legislature accomplished very little. The Republican-controlled Senate with Sen. Doug Ericksen in the leadership, obstructed discussion on the Senate floor of many bills that I believe would improve the lives of families in Whatcom County. Our schools need funding to provide basic education. We need to invest in people to build a strong working middle class. Our future depends on investing in the next generation. We should invest in success. Unfortunately, the outcome this year was insufficient and temporary funding for schools so that corporate tax breaks could be maintained.
The problem comes down to who spends money in Olympia to get their way. To make a more accountable Legislature, we should require greater transparency from lobbyists. The House passed a bill which would have made it easier for citizens to follow the money trail in state government, HB 1005. That bill died in the Senate. In a back room Senate leaders decided not to allow it to be voted on despite bipartisan support. Locally we should all remember that our senator, Doug Ericksen, was the biggest beneficiary of lobbyist money in 2013. Sen. Ericksen was pampered with more than $2,000 in free drinks, free meals and free golf games in just the first four months of 2013. It is time for greater transparency.