WA Supreme Court Hold Legislature in Contempt

What’s next for Washington’s education lawsuit

The Washington Supreme Court is holding state legislators in contempt for failing to make progress on the way that the state pays for public education.

McCleary decision came down in 2012, in it the Court requiring lawmakers to increase funding for basic education.

The court ruled the state is not amply funding basic education, which is in violation of the state constitution.

Representative Larry Haler says in the last two years, the legislature has put $1.7 billion into basic education and plans to do the same for the next two years.

“If we do a very planned and phased approach to McCleary, in meeting those goals, other programs will not be hurt and I do not believe we will have to raise taxes,” said Haler.

The Court will hold off on punishments until after the 2015 legislative session.

But it was made clear that once time is up, if things aren’t in order, sanctions will be placed on lawmakers.

Those sanctions could include fines or having the Court rewrite the state budget.

“I’m pleased that the Supreme Court held the state in contempt. In January 2014, the court told the state to produce a plan to achieve full funding. The state failed to do that,” said State Superintendent Randy Dorn in response to the Court’s decision.

“If we are to succeed now, we will need the help of everyone in Washington State, not just 147 lawmakers, as we rise to the challenge to avoid the court’s pending sanctions,” said Governor Jay Inslee in a statement. “My budget team has been hard at work crafting a plan to submit to the 2015 legislature. I look forward to input from all Washingtonians and, most importantly, action from the legislature.”