UW And WSU Want To Play In The Stock Market

The University of Washington and Washington State University could possibly be in the stock market business once again, this time with funds required to cover their operating expenses. Come this November, if SJR 8223 is approved by Washington voters, then UW and WSU could potentially put around 25% of public funds they are given and invest it in the stocks and bonds of private companies, associations, or corporations. The whole purpose is to generate returns on those investments that could be used for educational purposes like lowering tuition and increasing financial aid for students who really need it.

This sounds pretty risky, especially since UW and WSU have been historically prohibited from doing this by the state constitution. Schools run year-round and a loss in the stock market has an immediately negative impact. The Washington Investment Board (a.k.a. Money Experts) will have the authority on how and where the public money will be invested. By investing in low risk stocks and bonds, these schools could see an increase in revenue.

Due to the crazy amounts of recession in all of our lives (minus the 1 percenters) it’s easy to see that these universities need another way to make money and this will take the form of  “safe” gambling by the Washington State Investment Board. Both UW and WSU are adamantly in support of this measure. During a Public Hearing in February, Margaret Shepherd and Chris Mulick, the Directors of State Relations for UW and WSU, both spoke in favor of the bill.  They claimed SJR 8223 would provide an alternate avenue of funding other than from tuition and taxes. These types of investment are projected to bring in an extra 10-20 million a year!!! This sounds like a lot of money, huh? Hold your horses hot shot……..

Over the last 3 years, Washington State has cut 5 Billion (that’s right that’s Billion with a capital B) from early learning, K-12, and higher education. More cuts to education were being considered, but were thankfully avoided by making cuts in other parts of the state budget. So those 10-20 million dollars that SJR 8223 are projected on generating through private investment are drops in a bucket compared to the amount that have already been cut from these universities budgets.

In 2000, students paid 28% of education costs through tuition. In 2013, students will be paying 65% of education costs from increased tuition hikes due to the meager amount of funding these schools receive from the state. There’s not enough blood in my system to donate to make up for those expenses!

This measure seems like it’d bring in more revenue, but in the end it’s up to the voters to pass. I know that a lot of students currently paying a ridiculously amount of money to go to school and to those high school students who dream of attending UW and WSU could benefit a bit from this new revenue.

If Washington is really serious about investing in education, the state is going to need more revenue and SJR 8223 is might be a way to do this. But state lawmakers who oversee the budget also need to fund higher education as well as exercise more ways to bring in revenue. Washington’s future prosperity depends on it.

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No ID? No vote, no voice

Twenty percent of 18-24 year olds do not have a government-issued photo ID. In the ten states shown below, those young people without IDs will be unable to vote in November.

Is it me, or are all of these states Republican controlled?

Obtaining a photo ID is more difficult than you would expect. Offices that issue photo IDs have limited business hours and are often found in rural areas where there is limited public transportation. On top of that, it can cost between $8-$25 to obtain a birth certificate (which is needed to get a photo ID). The Brennan Center for Justice outlines the difficulties of obtaining a photo ID in this comprehensive report.

This is NOT the ID you want to use.

What’s the reason behind these laws? Proponents argue that voter ID laws help ensure the integrity of elections by preventing voter fraud. The reality is that voter fraud does not
exist. While there are allegations of non-citizens voting in elections or people voting twice using fake names, that is simply not the case. A report by the Brennan Center for Justice in 2007 found that, “it is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.”

Your ability to vote in elections should not be determined by how much money you have in your pocket or whether you can visit an office to get an ID. Instead, we should encourage voting and make it easier for everyone to participate in elections. The problem is not apathy, it’s access. Laws like the voter ID laws we have seen place an unfair burden on young people.

Read: Democrats

A recent report by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts found that 44 percent of young adults didn’t know if they had to show a government photo ID or a driver’s license to vote. Thankfully, here in Washington State photo ID is not required to vote. But if you’re attending college out of state and are considering voting there, I encourage you to check out this voters’ guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

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What’s up with the sky? I-1240!!

“Is that a bird? Is that a plane? No it’s Superman!” Well this time it’s not Superman its I-1240 aka Charter Schools. This November we will have the opportunity to approve or deny charter schools. Charter schools are a difficult choice especially if you don’t have children, I mean are we improving school or are we making it worse? Oh, what a choice!! But before we make any rash decisions it might be helpful to know the pros and cons!

Word on the street says ABCs are still “a-go” in said charter schools.

Pros! Charter schools allow for smaller classes and more individual attention to students. Students develop basic needs they need for high school and college like arithmetic and reading. Charter schools are public, so any student has the chance to be accepted. Bill Gates is a big time supporter giving a large amount of money!!

Cons! Charter schools do not have enough room for every student that is in need of individual attention. The way charter schools chose their students is like a lottery, kind of like the movie Waiting for Superman. Even though these charter schools are privately funded the government will also be funding their schools, meaning that they take money away from other public schools.

Charter schools – death sentence for public schools?

Well… the choice is yours!

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Election Fever

November 6th; the elections are 3 short months away to date. It’s wild to think we are already in August of 2012. Hopefully the Mayans are not accurate in their prediction or that leaves us with 4 months and and 6 days to exist. But just incase they aren’t and the future president actually has 4 years to affect our nation, NPR has posted an informative article about 7 things to watch before election day. It is important to be especially aware of the things that take place around the presidential race in the coming months no matter which of the two candidates you support. Campaigning and voter outreach are going to intensify and be very deliberate. Here is the list as provided by NPR.org:

1) A GOP Running Mate: Sometime in the next three weeks, Republican Mitt Romney will announce a vice presidential candidate. His campaign has all but promised that it will not wait for a traditional eve-of-the-convention choice.

2) Swing State Swings: Both campaigns will continue to spend an inordinate amount of time and ad money in the battleground states. Romney is planning a bus tour beginning late this week with expected stops in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. You’ll also see a lot of the campaigns in Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Michigan and Wisconsin.

3) The Conventions: The four-day Republican National Convention begins Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla., and culminates with Romney going from presumptive to actual Republican nominee. The three-day Democratic National Convention starts on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.

4) Debates: President Obama and Mitt Romney will face off three times: Oct. 3 in Denver; Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y.; and Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla. Vice President Biden and the Republican vice presidential candidate will debate once, on Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky.

5) Voter ID Decisions: Several new voter ID laws face Justice Department review or legal challenge. The outcomes will determine if new laws restricting who can vote will be in place on Nov. 6 in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.

6) Ads: The unprecedented money in this presidential race means the already huge number of ads on TV and online will only intensify, especially for those watching broadcast television in battleground states.

7) Taxes: Even if he maintains his refusal to release tax returns from before 2010, Romney has agreed to make public his 2011 tax returns sometime before Election Day.

The presidential race is just that- a race- and both candidates are in it to win and the tactics used will reflect this. As we can infer from this list, it is not very likely that anything that takes place in terms of campaigning between now and election day will be accidental so it’s important for us as citizens to be aware of this because to win they need OUR vote. 

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Religion and the 112th Congress

Ever wanted to know the religious breakdown of the members of our Congress? Well, here you go. If you love charts and statistics, you will be in nerd heaven.

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Initiatives….What Are These Things ?

With the Primary days away and the political super bowl, November 6th, quickly approaching the swirl of political terms, ads, and candidates overwhelm us all!

Initiative: A way by which a petition signed by a minimum # of voters, 241,153 in Washington, force a public vote.

 Three are on the Ballot this November!!!

□ Initiative 502 (Legalize Marijuana) – Would legalize and regulate the sale of small amounts of marijuana to people 21 and older

□ Initiative 1240 (Allow Charter Schools) – Allow 40 public charter schools in the state over five years

□ Initiative 1185 (About Taxes) – Would require either two thirds legislative approval or a vote by the people in order to raise taxes.

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Healthy women is the same thing as terrorism apparently?

Well, this was interesting to stumble upon. According to Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly, today is a day that should be recorded as one of the worst days in American history. Why, might you ask? Because today is the day that parts of the Affordable Care Act go into effect. This means that women will have increased access to preventative services like HIV testing, contraception, and screening for domestic violence. Check out this infographic for all the things that 47 million women will now have access to.

However, according to Rep. Kelly, “I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7th, that’s Pearl Harbor day.  The other is September 11th, and that’s the day of the terrorist attack. I want you to remember August the 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”

Regardless of how you feel about healthcare, Kelly’s statement is not only wrong, but extremely disrespectful to those who lost their lives in 9/11 and to the soldiers who have lost their lives since.  I am tired of extremist views (like equating a terrorist attack to millions of women’s access to preventative health services) dominating the healthcare debate.  These voices do not represent me, nor the millions of American women who use birth control.

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