Washington State Democrat Looks at Jobs, Environmental Cleanup, and Education in Government Reform Legislation

Kevin Ranker, a Washington State Senate democrat, has been supporting government reform legislation that hopes to increase jobs and economic development by reforming the current environmental cleanup laws of the state.  Further, Ranker is looking at reforming the performance review system for teachers and principals while at the same time making such a system uniform and state-wide.

Senate Bill 6211 introduced by Ranker will reform the State and Local Toxics Account law, making it possible for toxic waste sites to be cleaned up faster.  This bill will create jobs as there are 56 sites that need to be cleaned up, creating approximately 620 direct jobs and 517 indirect jobs.  Aside from creating jobs, Ranker notes that a more efficient and timely environmental cleanup of toxic sites will create a healthy and thriving community, which is the foundation for improving economic development.

Along these lines Senate Bill 6170 has been introduced to protect the state’s waterfront landscape.  This bill would reform the waterfront development permitting process creating a single permit scheme.  This would replace the current regime that requires a developer to get several permits from both the state and local governments.  This expedited process would be available to projects that create a substantial number of jobs, maintains those jobs, and has environmental benefits.  Such legislation would increase economic development by getting rid of the complex state and local permitting process, which often times precludes most developers from successfully developing in the waterfront areas.

Education Reform

Senate Bill 6177 looks to increase the performance of Washington State public schools by restructuring the performance evaluation of teachers and principals.  Simply using “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” is not enough information to truly get a proper performance evaluation.  Accordingly, this legislation would create a rating system for teachers and principles that would increase performance and growth of Washington’s public schools.  Taking it one step further, this legislation seeks to implement a state-wide performance evaluation system.

With these new items on the legislative agenda Washington is looking to take steps towards government reform.