Tensions are high in Olympia on the second week of the legislative session. But that’s no excuse for Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler’s snapping at reporters.
IT’S only the second week of the legislative session and state Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler already is biting the heads off journalists who asked him when the Republican plan for fixing the way the state pays for education will be ready.
“That’s none of your business,” Schoesler snapped at a Tuesday news conference.
None of our business? Whoa, senator. If it’s not the people’s business, then whose business is it? Journalists ask questions on behalf of the voters who can’t spend their days in Olympia following the work of the Legislature. That’s the press corps’ job.
The fact that Schoesler was dismissive of a freelance reporter is just as troubling as if he had dismissed a similar question from The Seattle Times or The Associated Press. Politicians should never pick and choose between reporters or play favorites, despite the horrible example being set by President-elect Donald Trump.
Putting this incident aside, the question still stands: When will the Republican leadership share its plan for fixing public education funding? It’s already overdue.
The 2018 deadline set by the Washington Supreme Court looms on the horizon.
Democratic leaders in the Legislature have presented a plan with funding options and ideas for improving student outcomes, and so, too, has the governor. Everyone knows no single approach will form the basis for the final agreement in answer to the Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary ruling. But lawmakers need to have something to negotiate over.
So, Republican leaders should get moving.
And remember: the Washington Legislature has resolved some of the state’s biggest challenges through bipartisan cooperation. Losing your temper with reporters, or with each other, is not going to help reach the necessary compromises on education funding and much needed reforms.