Isn't It Weird That...
Some weird things we noticed about Denny Heck, the state senate, and the state supreme court.
1. Isn't it weird that... newly-elected U.S. Rep. Denny Heck (D-10) gushed about the significance of his appointment to the House Budget Committee last week?
“The House Budget Committee is going to be at the heart of the biggest debate that will take place in Congress over the next two years,” Heck said.
And just a few days later, when he was moved to the Financial Services Committee instead, he was equally impressed with himself:
“I’m thrilled to be named to the House Financial Services Committee. No sustainable economic recovery can occur in this country without a strong start in the housing sector."2. Isn't it weird that...soon-to-be state senate majority leader Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue) claimed his committee assignment proposal was a power-sharing deal—with his new "Majority Coalition" Caucus having only a slight advantage, appropriately reflecting his coalition's slight 25-24 lead over the Democrats?
For example, the Transportation Committee, he said, would have had an eight to eight split; the Ways & Means Committee would have a 12 to 11 split; and the Rules Committee would have a 10 to nine split.
Isn't it weird that... even if the State Supreme Court rules that the two-thirds requirement is unconstitutional, the state senate still won't have enough votes to raise taxes?
Yes, totally weird—because in all those examples, Tom was counting either himself or his fellow Democratic expat, Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35, Potlatch) as a Democratic caucus member. And in Rules, he was also counting Democratic Lt. Gov. Brad Owen.
If you recalculate the numbers—as PubliCola has learned Owen asked him to do—Tom's crew has a dominating advantage on those powerful committees: Nine to seven on Transportation; 13 to 10 on Ways & Means; and 12 to seven on Rules (or six if you don't count Owen).
It's pretty bad on the smaller committees too, particularly on the Energy Committee where newly-elected green Gov-elect Jay Inslee will now have a hard time pushing his environmental agenda. The deck is stacked three to one.
3. Isn't it weird that... with less than a week to go before the legislative session, the state supreme court—which has issued a decision and a stern follow-up reminder that the legislature needs to find an additional $1 billion in K-12 funding—still hasn't ruled on whether or not the two-thirds rule to raise taxes is constitutional.
4. And isn't it weird that... even if they do rule that the two-thirds requirement is unconstitutional, the state senate—with its effective Republican majority—still won't have enough votes to raise taxes?