Legislators’ actual top priority come January…
Happening in Olympia
“I think 2020 should be a referendum on climate change, and we have to have a president who embraces science rather than ignorance,” Gov. Jay Inslee told the Seattle Times. If that is Inslee’s national pitch, he’ll look to rack up “legislative wins” on environmental matters this year to appeal to lefty caucus goers in Iowa and New Hampshire. “This is going to go down as the ‘year of the environment’ in the Legislature,” Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) told columnist Danny Westneat. “We are going to make more progress on the environment than we’ve made in the past 20.” (Seattle Times)
That environmental push will start with an attempt to ban plastic shopping bags at stores across the state. A new bill announced yesterday morning would end single-use plastic bags at places like supermarkets, and will also require shoppers to pay for paper bags provided by a store, if they choose to use them. “We will pass regulations that make sure in the future we are not using single-use plastic bags,” Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) said. (KIRO 7)
“The state Legislature should expand its efforts to let more people participate from a distance, through the use of remote testimony,” wrote the Seattle Times ed board. Over the past few sessions, the state Senate has slowly adopted the practice, but the rest of Olympia needs to follow. “The 2019 session starts in January, a time when driving across the mountain passes can be impossible or life-threateningly dangerous due to weather,” noted state Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane). (Seattle Times)
Tina Podlodowski, who won election as Washington State Democrats’ chair thanks to Bernie Sanders-loving supporters, now faces a challenge from a Berniecrat. Jason Call of Marysville, running against Podlodowski for chair, is frustrated with the politics of pragmatism. “People make political calculations,” Call told columnist Jerry Cornfield. “I’m done with political calculations.” Call wants to hold Democratic candidates and officeholders accountable for enacting the party’s wish-list platform. (Everett Herald)
Outgoing Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, who lost re-election earlier this month, signed an agreement stipulating that he violated Rules of Professional Conduct by tainting an ongoing murder trial. The admission gets him out of a state bar disciplinary hearing next month where his law license could have been suspended. A permanent “admonition” will be placed on Lindquist’s record. (Tacoma News Tribune)
Michael Maddux, a policy advisor to Seattle city councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, resigned over the Thanksgiving holiday after posting a series of tweets critical of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office. Mosqueda said in a statement: “Recent tweets by one of my staffers were inexcusable, inappropriate, unprofessional and have no place in [the] City.” Maddux was known around City Hall for his sharply-worded policy papers. (The C is for Crank)
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office hinted in a Facebook post it will not heavy-handedly enforce I-1639, which imposes new gun regulations and storage rules. The post said, “…we will address potential criminal violations as they arise through the course of an investigation, but will not actively seek out violations,” I-1639 is currently facing legal challenges alleging it does not pass constitutional muster. (Centralia Chronicle)
The Spokane County Commission approved two amendments paving the way for the construction of more than 300 apartments near Whitworth University. Residents had voiced concerns with the county’s Planning Commission last year, pointing to traffic growth, among other issues. One of the residents involved in the appeal, Debbie Rauen, described her disappointment. “Once the zoning is changed, it uncorks the bottle. You can try to address things at a project level, but it doesn’t address a lot of our concerns.” (The Spokesman-Review)
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