1. What to watch for as the second special session gets underway in earnest today in Olympia: Will the Republican-controlled Majority Coalition Caucus reintroduce and pass its policy bills?
You'll remember, when an exasperated Gov. Jay Inslee announced earlier this week that he was calling a second special session, he blamed the GOP for derailing the first special session negotiations with its non-budget ideological wish list. (We got a response from the Republicans yesterday in a Cola One Question.)
In the new session, any bills that both houses didn't pass in the previous session must be reintroduced and passed by one of the chambers to be put back in play.
Did the senate get the message when the house balked and the governor condemned the policy bills they passed during the first special session—an ed reform bill that allows principals to reject teachers who have been reassigned to their schools; a bill to cap non-education spending; and a business-friendly bill to revamp workers' comp? (They've also got two other non-budget bills in mind: changes to the voter-approved toxic cleanup account that environmentalists say jeopardizes the fund and a bill to weaken regulations on payday lending.)
To quote one lobbyist down in Olympia yesterday: "It'll be a huge slap to Inslee and the Democrats if the senate comes in tomorrow and passes any of their policy bills."
"It'll be a huge slap to Inslee and the Democrats if the senate comes in tomorrow and passes any of their policy bills."
2. Speaking of the GOP's priority bills, state caseload and budgeting projections show that if the Republicans' non-education spending cap was enacted on the coming 2013-15 biennium, a 2.7 percent spending cap would have to be instituted on caseloads that are projected to grow at a much higher rate: four percent for senior home care, 5.5 percent for kids' health care, and 6.3 percent for the blind and disabled.
3. Mayoral candidate state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill) won the sole endorsement of the 34th District Democrats (West Seattle) last night. Murray and incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn made it through the first round, where Murray got 46 votes, McGinn 27, Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell 22, former Seattle City Council member Peter Steinbrueck 20, and neighborhood activist Kate Martin two. A candidate needed 60 percent to get the endorsement. So, with no candidate meeting that threshold, the top two vote getters on the first ballot made it through to see if one could get to 60 percent.
On the second round, Murray, who had been introduced by state Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34, Vashon), got 96 votes to McGinn's 40 votes—70.59 percent ot 29.41 percent.
Murray got 96 votes to McGinn's 40 votes—70.59 percent ot 29.41 percent.
There were some fireworks before the vote:
Longshoreman union member Justin Hirsch took Mayor McGinn to task for pushing the arena; the 34th had previously, and unanimously, adopted a resolution opposing the SoDo site.
And Harrell drew a speaker against his endorsement. Flor Alarcon, a McGinn supporter and city employee in the human services department, said the only time Harrell (who lives in the 37th District) spends in the community "is when he's campaigning."
The evening's other city incumbents did much better than McGinn. In the only (somewhat) contested City Council races: Position 2 incumbent Richard Conlin received 70.77 percent to challenger Brian Carver's 29.23 and Position 8 incumbent Mike O'Brien got 73.55 percent to Albert Shen's 26.45.
4. Transit advocates have been fighting to maintain some bike and ped money in house transportation chair Rep. Judy Clibborn's (D-41, Mercer Island) $8.4 billion funding package.
Initially, she had $370 million slated for bike/ped needs, but in trying to compromise with senate transportation committee chair Sen. Curtis King's (R-14, Yakima) package, which has zero slated for such hippie dippy needs, she started scaling back the funding.
It's reportedly down to about $295 million now, a $75 million decrease.