Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman was in Spokane last week to push for an update to election law that would bring the state into compliance with federal requirements while expanding voter rolls. Wyman noted that her proposal was motivated by questions over the citizenship of Arcan Cetin, who confessed to murdering five people at a mall in Skagit County last month, and records show had voted in three elections. But critics say she's engaging in ANTI-IMMIGRANT SCAPEGOATING as part of her re-election campaign.
At a news conference at the Davenport Grand Hotel, Wyman called on lawmakers to pass legislation that would put Washington in line with a 2005 federal law called the REAL ID Act. The law requires states to adopt enhanced security standards for issuing driver's licenses and ID cards, which include ensuring that applicants can prove they're legally in the U.S. Wyman's proposal also included a provision for automatic voter registration, with an opt-out for applicants who could prove their citizenship.
"This week's situation has highlighted a problem with current law," she said.
Wyman was swiftly criticized by civil liberties and immigrants' rights groups. Tina Podlodowski, Wyman's Democratic challenger, took to Facebook:
"Secretary of State Kim Wyman is showing her true partisan Republican colors in an effort to score political points on voting access issues," wrote Podlodowski, who further suggested that Wyman, like GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, was "intentionally inflaming anti-immigrant sentiment by suggesting non-citizens are trying to vote in Washington state." (JAKE THOMAS)
ALL FOR NOTHING?
For months, the COEUR D'ALENE SCHOOL BOARD has considered three different proposals to open a magnet school in the former Hayden Lake Elementary School building next year. Would the school focus on computer science and robotics? Would it be project-based? Or would it be a school with an "active learning environment?"
It turns out that it may not be any of those things. The district voted to open the building for the 2017-18 school year as an "attendance zone" school. That means the district may develop a zone, within district boundaries, determining students who attend, says Coeur d'Alene School District spokeswoman Laura Rumpler.
The decision means that only the elementary school will be operational next year, and anything beyond that is still up in the air. The board indicated it would discuss any educational focus in a future meeting. But opening the school is crucial to the district's goal of alleviating overcrowding in its northwest area, Rumpler says.
During the Oct. 3 meeting, one board member proposed opening the Hayden Lake school as an attendance zone school only until another school in the northwest part of the district could be constructed, allowing the district to keep the magnet school proposal ideas. But the motion failed 3 to 2. Another board member motioned for the school to emphasize computer science and robotics, based on the COMPASS Academy magnet school proposal, but that idea failed as well.
A date to further discuss the Hayden Lake school — located at the corner of Government Way and Hayden Avenue — has not been set. The district currently has a total of 10 other elementary schools, including two magnet schools and a STEM Academy.
"It's still an evolving, organic process," Rumpler says. (WILSON CRISCIONE)