1. As we've noted a couple of times now, senate environmental committee chair Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42, Ferndale) has opted to run his own oil transport safety bill as opposed to the one the Democratic house and Democratic state Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-23, Kitsap County) proposed earlier in the session. The Democratic house version is scheduled to pass out of the environment committee tomorrow.
Sen. Ericksen's bill, as opposed to the Democratic version, gives money to first responders (oddly, though, "representatives from the oil and rail industries, and businesses that are recipients of bulk hazardous materials shall review grant applications" to approve the first responder money, according to the bill, and it also uses the voter-approved toxic-cleanup fund to do so).
Meanwhile, the Democrats complain that Ericksen's bill removes a public reporting requirement that Rolfes' version mandates; Rolfes' bill would make companies disclose the quantity and type of oil that they plan to transport through communities.
Sen. Rolfes says: “The public has the right to know what the rail and oil industry isn’t telling us. No amount of money can replace good information, and first responders need to be able to plan for emergencies based on information, not best guesses."
Earlier this week, an oil train derailed near a mobile-home park in southeastern Mississippi, with around 20 cars off the rails; between four and eight of the cars were reportedly leaking.
2. With cutoff day in the state house fast approaching (tomorrow, Wednesday, is the last day bills can pass out of a house policy committee), we are happy to report that a bipartisan bill to promote small-lot housing passed out of the housing committee unanimously on Friday.
The urbanist bill (which we cheered on the opening day of session), is sponsored by moderate Democratic Rep. Brian Blake (D-19, Pacific and Wahkiakum Counties, Aberdeen, Longview, and Kelso), ultra-green house environmental chair Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, Burien), and liberal Rep. David Sawyer (D-29, Tacoma). It "prohibits cities from regulating or restricting minimum room or floor area requirements for single-family residential buildings" and it comes with this The Atlantic Cities-esque preamble:
4. And finally: Learn to trust the Fizz. Two weeks ago, we told you that former Kirkland mayor Joan McBride may run against state senate majority leader, Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina), the black-sheep Democrat who has joined with the Republicans to form the Majority Coalition Caucus.
Well, Democrat McBride, 61, made it official this week.
Tom's MCC passed the DREAM Act late last week, taking a wedge issue away from McBride and the Democrats. But with the pro-choice Reproductive Parity Act and the Voting Rights Act still stalled in the senate; with King County voters forced to go it alone on transit thanks to Tom's subservience to ideologues in his conservative caucus (the Times had the news yesterday that the MCC is tabling a transportation package until December); and with Republicans trying to undo the voter-approved renewable energy initiative, McBride certainly has a case to make to moderate Microsoft suburban voters who feel duped by Tom.