These pins—a Blue/Green yin yang— are popping up on the lapels and blouses of state House legislators.
Seen here: Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-23, Kitsap County) and Rep. Geoff Simpson (D-41, Covington).
It started out as a core group of 13 legislators—the number needed to hold up things like, oh say, the budget—including liberal Reps. Hans Dunshee (D-44, Lake Stevens, Marysville), Timm Ormsby (D-3, Spokane), and Tami Green (D-28, North Fort Lewis), but the numbers of those sporting the pins have increased according to Rep. Appleton.
Here's the deal: A few weeks ago we reported on a special after-hours meeting between legislators who consider themselves labor Democrats and those who consider themselves environmental Democrats. Traditionally, both groups held separate informal Tuesday night get togethers—but late last month they combined the Tuesday night affair for a night of Blue/Green drinks.
A few days later, the Blue/Green legislators met more formally, and now they're getting organized (must have been the labor influence).
The Blue/Green coalition is promising to take action on bills they don't have the numbers to work as individual blocs. Most notable among them: The now infamous Workers' Privacy bill that leadership squashed earlier this session under a "manufactured scandal," as Green Democrat Rep. Simpson called it today, standing just outside House chambers.
Democratic leaders tabled the privacy bill after they saw a potentially "unethical" email from labor threatening to pull campaign cash from Democrats if the bill didn't pass. However, the Washington State Patrol ruled there was nothing illegal about the email and the Public Disclosure Commission didn't even bother taking up the matter. Given that previous versions of bill have been killed by leadership in the past, the bill's supporters, like sponsor Rep. Mike Sells (D-38, Everett) agree with their new Green brother Simpson, that the to-do over the email was really a ruse.
There was even some talk of blocking the budget if the workers privacy bill wasn't resurrected for a vote. The green bill the group is prioritizing: Rep. Ormsby's bill to tax the oil industry to fund water clean up.
Both Rep. Appleton and Simpson told me the Blue/Green gang wasn't actually intending to hold the budget hostage, but they were determined to join forces to push a vote on the privacy bill.