Only one of you can be the next state House speaker
Happening in Olympia
Long-time state House Speaker Frank Chopp says the 2019 session will be his last as speaker in Olympia. Chopp announced he intends to hand over the gavel at the conclusion of the 2019 session (not that he handled the gavel that often, since Chopp is rarely seen). House Republican Leader JT Wilcox (R-Yelm) called Chopp, who is known for protecting his House majority from politically problematic votes, “one of the last links to a truly statewide point of view.” Chopp has served as speaker since 1999, when he was co-speaker in a tied House. (Seattle Times)
A federal judge in our state reinstated the Obama Administration’s definition of the Waters of the United States rule, a move opposed by farming groups. Judge John Coughenour said President Trump’s EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers made a “serious procedural error” when they reinstated the pre-Obama definition without public comment, which violates the Administrative Procedures Act. (Capital Press)
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson took a break from suing President Trump’s White House to file a lawsuit against the Holiday Treasure Chest Charity Foundation and its founder, Mark Bergeson. The lawsuit contends Bergeson withdrew more than $280,000 from the charity’s checking account and used it for personal purchases. “Account records show thousands of dollars in purchases for fuel, groceries and meals as well as cell phone, cable and internet bills,” Ferguson’s office said. (KIRO 7)
Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw announced she will not be seeking re-election next year after 10 years on the council. “I really decided at the last campaign that my next phase, whatever that would be, was in the offing,” she said. “I was not going to do this for 14 years.” Known at first as a “moderate” (at least for Seattle), Bagshaw has been pulled further left by colleague Kshama Sawant and the ever-present activist groups at Seattle City Hall. (Crosscut)
A lawyer representing Delvonn Heckard, who alleged former Seattle mayor Ed Murray sexually abused him, is placing some of the blame at the feet of what he calls Seattle’s “shadow City Hall.” Attorney Lincoln Beauregard told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz, “I still personally get angry quite frankly at the cowardly actions on the part of our City Council, because I think they are the ones who should be morally and legally responsible.” Beauregard alleges city leaders met in private to discuss strategy on how to address the accusations against Ed Murray, keeping important processes from the public. (My Northwest)
Overriding the mayor’s veto, the Spokane City Council has blocked the city’s participation in a planned region-wide 911 integration. Despite the setback, Mayor David Condon announced he will still work toward 911 integration. Councilwoman Karen Stratton contends the mayor’s office has ignored the concerns of employees and the city council over the proposed integration. “The biggest thing I’ve learned from those emails is this administration has completely ignored employees with 15- or 20-plus years of experience,” she said. “At some point, we need to stop and look at these employees and learn from them and listen to them.” (The Spokesman-Review)
The Yakima City Council intends to hold monthly information meetings, which are similar to regular council sessions and still open to the public. Unlike regular meetings, councilmembers will not take action on agenda items, city spokesman Randy Beehler said. While the public can attend, there will be no public comment period during these meetings. “This is a meeting intended for the council, not really for public participation,” Beehler said. (Yakima Herald-Republic)
After a late surge in votes, Tom Konis appears to be set to become the next Spokane County Assessor. Konis was down over 1,000 votes on election night but added to his total in subsequent counts. “I had no name recognition coming into this,” Konis said. “I’m a total neophyte at this political stuff.” The vote difference is just 152, enough to require the county conduct a machine recount under state law. (The Spokesman-Review)
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