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EDlection 2018: Washington State Legislature Increases Blue Majority, Dems Hope to Pass Capital Gains Taxes for Education

By Kate Stringer | November 7, 2018

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

Democrats in the Washington state legislature were able to widen their slim majorities in the House and Senate, according to early results reported by The Seattle Times.

Democrats controlled the House, but not the Senate, until last year during a special election, when they gained one seat. Now both chambers of the state legislature are blue by larger majorities, with the Democrats projected to gain seven House seats and two in the Senate, the Times reported. However, the Democrats did not pick up as many seats as projected after the August primaries.

Washington state voters use mail-in ballots, so it will take several days to tally up all the votes.

“We don’t know how the late returns are going to go,” Democratic Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon told The Spokesman-Review. “But it’s the first election since 2006 that House Democrats will pick up seats and our members are very excited to be going in that direction.”

With more control, Democrats could pass initiatives like a capital gains tax that would affect the state’s wealthy residents and could produce $800 million per year in revenue for services like education.

In an editorial reflecting on the Democratic wins in Washington, The Seattle Times editorial board encouraged the legislature to continue making education a priority.

“Legislators also must continue working to ensure the state’s new K-12 school-finance model operates as intended,” the board wrote. “To that end, they must correct their failure to adequately fund special education, an oversight that continues to hurt school districts throughout the state.”

Washington state had been under orders from the state Supreme Court for several years to fully fund education. This year, the court ruled that the legislature had finally crafted a funding plan that satisfied its demands.

Under bipartisan support, the legislature was able to pass a charter school law in 2016 after the state Supreme Court ruled the schools unconstitutional in 2015. Just weeks ago, the court upheld most of the law, ensuring the survival of the state’s dozen charter schools.

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A 2018 EDlection Cheat Sheet: Recapping the 70 Candidates, Races & Winners That Matter Most for American Education Policy

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

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