1. We were working late yesterday, and filed a couple of stories well after the bell.
2. Speaking of yesterday's action: Here's the 483-page budget legislation, drafted yesterday, and published just last night, that state senators and reps, lobbyists and advocates, and the public are supposed to have a handle on before today's hurried votes to ward off a government shutdown.
But Democrats seem mostly happy with the final agreement, which restores social service funding while putting $1 billion extra toward K-12 education per the state supreme court's McCleary decision. The Democratic house budget lead, finance chair Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina) told Fizz this morning: "The only difference between this and the budget the house passed months ago is where the money comes from. We wanted to close tax loopholes. [Instead] This budget takes money from the capital budget."
He says that in rejecting the Democratic push to close corporate tax breaks, the Republicans "made a choice not to build sewers and curbs and basic infrastructure."
The agreement sweeps $500 million from the capital budget, including $233 million from the Public Assistance Works program.
Hunter also groused that the final deal dings state employees with no raises plus a charge of $50 a month if the state employee's spouse is on the state's plan when another plan is available to the spouse.
But noting that the Democrats did close the telecom tax loophole (for land line companies) and the estate tax loophole (for wealthy couples) without giving in on changes to workers' comp, Rep. Hunter, sounding sleepy after a long week, said, "you know, I'm okay with this budget."
Also, "gone!", says Hunter of a Republican "gimmick" that made him apoplectic during the session, shifting money from the schools construction fund into the general fund.
3. Following the Ron Sims for Ed Murray endorsement yesterday, the Murray camp is now talking up three more endorsements "that will have a major impact on the mayoral race" according to two press releases they've already sent out hyping a 9am event today.
Fizz got it wrong yesterday predicting a Tim Burgess endorsement, so we'll hold on any predictions today.
UPDATE: And the endorsements are: City attorney Pete Holmes, who says Mayor Mike McGinn took the city to the brink with the Department of Justice over police misconduct, jeopardizing police reform, city council member Tim Burgess, who dropped out of the race for mayor last month, and former OneAmerica director and immigrants' rights advocate Pramila Jayapal.
4. Speaking of Murray, his troops were reportedly "working the room" at last night's NARAL Pro-Choice Washington PAC's annual Power of Choice soiree at the Artic Club Hotel (along with Mike O'Brien's city council rival Albert Shen.)
"No others" according to the report from our text-happy attendee at the event, where former Gov. Chris Gregoire got the "Power of Choice" award.
Lest you think this source is a Murray fan, another text read: "On Sims? What I miss? Oh wait. That was the endorsement? Haha."
5. The American Public Transit Association, which represents transit agencies across the country, filed a federal lawsuit yesterday against patent troll ArrivalStar, a company that appears to exist exclusively to sue transit agencies for violating broad patents it has obtained covering essentially any real-time bus tracking system. The company, which does not produce any product, claims it invented vehicle tracking—which, if true, would mean that every bus or rail agency that has signs that tell you when the next vehicle is arriving would owe ArrivalStar a royalty.
So far, not one ArrivalStar lawsuit has gone to court. Instead, transit agencies typically agree to settle with the company for a fraction of what a lawsuit would cost.
And that brings us to the local angle: Both of Seattle's major transit agencies, Sound Transit and King County Metro, have been sued by ArrivalStar, and both confirm that they've paid the company a settlement to make it go away. Sound Transit paid the company $15,000, spokesman Bruce Gray confirms, calling the payment "much less than it would have cost to fight them in court," and Metro paid $80,000. Gray says Sound Transit "Totally support[s] APTA's efforts to fight these patent trolls."