OLYMPIA -- The lawyer who argued and won the McCleary decision providing for full funding of basic education in Washington state says the legislature must satisfy the court's order or face possible sanctions.
"Here we have a Supreme Court order in Washington that says the constitution requires the state to fully fund our public schools, " said Thomas Ahearne. "Our elected officials are not obeying that Supreme Court order."
In a nutshell, the legislature must come up with more than a billion dollars this year, and more than four billion by 2018. In December, the court told lawmakers they hadn't made enough progress last year. And Ahearne isn't feeling confident so far into the 2013 legislative session.
"More excuses, more delay," he sighed.
House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, a Democrat from Covington, said he doesn't know what might happen if the legislature comes up short.
"I hope we don't get to the point where we find what those consequences might be," said Sullivan.
Ahearne said the court has the authority to pressure the legislature by imposing fines, cutting utility service to the legislative building or docking their pay.
"They need to obey the constitution and keep their word," he said.