1. Three Democratic state senators—Sens. Tracey Eide, Brian Hatfield, and Steve Hobbs— took up renegade Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom's offer to chair or co-chair committees (Transportation, Agriculture, and Financial Institutions, respectively) in his new "Majority Coalition Caucus." Their decision helped give Tom's coup caucus a wash of bipartisanship.
But several others turned down Tom's setup.
They are: Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who turned down the Higher Education Committee Chair; Sen. Kevin Ranker, who turned down the Environmental Committee Chair; Sen. Christine Rolfes, who turned down the Natural Resources Committee Chair; Sen. Maralyn Chase, who turned down the Trade and Economic Development Chair; Sen. Jeannie Darnielle, who turned down the Human Services Co-Chair; and Sen. Andy Billig, who turned down the Energy Committee Chair.
2. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed off yesterday with a farewell address in house chambers; today after a swearing-in ceremony in the capitol rotunda, new Gov. Jay Inslee will deliver his inaugural address at 11:30 in house chambers.
Question: Will Inslee keep it sweeping and general like his campaign rhetoric, or will he lay out policy specifics such as where the $1 billion to meet the State Supreme Court K-12 funding mandate is going to come from?
Inslee laid out his environmental agenda in a big picture Cola op/ed last month. One specific that was missing? His take on the coal train proposal to run 18 coal transport trains (150 cars)—1.5 miles long—through Seattle every day to the Cherry Point terminal outside Bellingham. Among the concerns: Opponents estimate that as much as 500 pounds of coal dust would drift off each uncovered car en route to the terminal. They also point out that traffic would jam up at key downtown Seattle and Port of Seattle crossings.
Several corporate players are involved in the deal, including SSA Marine, which owns the coal export terminal; other companies involved are Carrix, Goldman Sachs, and Peabody. None were donors to Inslee, though BNSF, which owns the rail lines, maxed out to Inslee at $1800 after the election in December.
54 percent of consumers said the ban has prompted them to bring their own reusable bags to the store. 3. A new survey, presented at the city council's utilities committee yesterday, concludes that Seattle's ban on plastic bags at grocery stores and other retailers has been successful and "popular," with about two-thirds of consumers surveyed outside grocery stores saying they agree with the ban.
A majority (54 percent) of consumers said the ban has prompted them to bring their own reusable bags to the store more often, and only 14 percent said they never bring a reusable bag.
Full survey results available here.
4. After Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell announced he was running for mayor yesterday—here's our (must-read) Harrell Q&A—we asked Tim Burgess, another council member who's running for mayor, how he felt about running against his colleague.
"Awkward!" Burgess joked.
He added: "[Harrell's announcement] was quite surprising. I sent him a text message welcoming him into the mayor's race. Bruce and I are classmates—we came onto the council at the same time—and we have a very good personal relationship. I think we'll be OK."