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Charter School Law Ruled Unconstitutional

A charter school law backed by Bill Gates was found to be unconstitutional by the Washington Supreme Court, The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss reports. The court, 6-3, ruled that the Washington state constitution only allows public-school funds to support "common schools," and charter schools can't be common schools because their boards are not elected by the public.

Strauss, citing the law review article, “The Legal Status of Charter Schools in State Statutory Law,” notes that charter schools have operations that are basically private, even though they have public funding. Some charter schools are run by private education management organizations, and some charter schools refuse to share information in response to public-information requests.

Washington Using Non-Lawyers to Help Close Justice Gap

The first non-lawyer legal technicians authorized to provide some legal services in Washington state have passed their qualifying examination, Robert Ambrogi blogs on Law Sites. Seven of nine passed.

The program seeks to help bridge the access-to-justice gap by licensing non-lawyers to provide legal advice in some areas, including domestic relations.

Florist's Refusal to Prepare Blooms for Same-Same Marriage Illegal, Judge Rules

A Washington state judge has ruled that a florist violated that state's consumer protection law when she refused to sell flowers for a same-sex marriage, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Joel Connelly reports. Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom said that, despite the florist's religious beliefs, "'in trade and commerce, and more particularly when seeking to prevent discrimination in public accommodations, the Courts have confirmed the power of the Legislative Branch to prohibit conduct it deems discriminatory even where the motivation for that conduct is grounded in religious belief.'"

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