1. Why did Initiative 522, the GMO-labeling initiative, die such a seemingly abrupt and overwhelming death? According to Food Safety News, the blog started by Jack-In-The-Box food-safety hero Bill Marler, rural Washington state voters are to blame (or be credited, depending on your point of view) for the failure of the measure, which is currently losing 48–52.
"There are not many people or voters in rural counties, but there sure are a lot of rural counties. In Garfield County in Washington state, almost 82 percent of the voters rejected" the measure, FSN writes. "Indeed, the rural counties of Washington voted just like the rural counties of California did a year ago when they proved key to toppling Proposition 37," that state's similar proposal that would have required labeling of GMOs.
2. Broken clocks, etc.: The libertarian/conservative Washington Policy Center has a post up arguing against "ludicrous speed lawmaking" like the kind we just saw in last weekend's lightning-fast special session, when lawmakers approved billions in tax breaks for Boeing and, yet again, failed to pass a transportation funding package or sign off on the right of local transit agencies to ask voters to pay to preserve local transit service.
WPC's Jason Mercier writes: As noted by NFIB's (National Federation of Independent Business) testimony earlier this week, if a legislative proposal is good public policy it will still be good policy after the public has a chance to read, understand and comment on the proposal"—and we couldn't agree more. We're no lawyers, but their sample language to increase legislative transparency (and slow down the legislative process to prevent frantic legislation like Gov. Jay Inslee's Boeing tax cuts) seems like a good place to start the conversation.
3. Here's one we missed over the weekend: State Sen. Nick Harper (D-38) stepped down abruptly on Saturday, just three years into his term. According to the Everett Herald, Harper's sudden departure "added fuel to rumors of an extramarital affair involving Harper and a lobbyist in Olympia," although Harper "declined to respond when asked if the allegation was true or if the weight of the rumors played a factor in his decision." Harper's official reason? A classic: Harper said he needs to "spend more time with my family."
4. Is it OK to kill cyclists? That's the question New York Times op/ed writer Daniel Duane asked over the weekend, and given the evidence—including the killing of Seattle cyclist John Przychodzen, who was mowed down by a teenage truck driver who subsequently got a $42 ticket for an "unsafe lane change"—the answer is a resounding "yes."
The "penalty's meagerness," Duane writes, "defied belief." But there it is: If you aren't drunk, or otherwise driving recklessly, the penalty for veering off the road and running over a cyclist from behind, which is how Przychodzen was killed, may well be, basically, pocket change. "If your 13-year-old daughter bikes to school tomorrow inside a freshly painted bike lane, and a driver runs a stop sign and kills her and then says to the cop, 'Gee, I so totally did not mean to do that,' that will most likely be good enough."
5. Crosscut reports that socialist city council candidate Kshama Sawant, who could very well defeat incumbent Richard Conlin if the late vote counts keep going her way, has had volunteers in the field collecting affadavits to ensure that voters' ballots have been counted.
Well, some voters. According to Crosscut, Sawant's campaign has been instructing volunteers to ask voters which they candidate they supported in her race, and if they say they backed Conlin, to tell them they're just "collecting information for future Sawant campaigns."