1. I have to admit, I'm surprised that Gov. Chris Gregoire testified on the "cap and trade" bill in the House yesterday. And I'm even more surprised that she actually said the senate bill (which is what the House was/is taking up) is a "weakened" version of the legislation she proposed in January. That's tough talk for the typically moderate Gregoire.
Gregoire's original legislation called for "limitations on greenhouse gas emissions ... through a cap-and-trade system designed last year by the seven states (including Washington) ... in the Western Climate Initiative."
And as Gregoire rightly complained—echoing what environmentalists have been muttering under their breath in recent weeks down in Olympia—the senate bill is "essentially a study of more options."
It's not like Gov. Gregoire to go on the offensive and raise expectations for the left. But that's precisely what she did. Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33, Burien), an environmental lefty and the sponsor of the House version, told PubliCola:
I think her personal and public push has re-energized things a little bit ... her leadership will continue to be critical. I love that she isn't afraid to mix it up and call others out for their unwillingess to move forward. I'm having conversations with the Governor's office and committee members, and hope to move a bill out of committee next week. Hopefully that bill will be stronger and make more meaningful progress than the Senate bill.
2. FilmNerd wants you to know about this arts funding bill (which is getting a hearing in the state Senate Ways & Means Committee today at 1:30.) But I'm not so sure. I'm not a big fan of arts funding. I mean, where's the public money for my Amazing Spider-Man chamber opera? And the bill is also tied to sports stadium funding.
3. Coming next week (cuz everyone's been pestering me to add it): "BookNerd." Happy?
And later this week, our on-the-scene coverage of the SXSW music festival!
And tomorrow, watch for the first podcast from Mr. Steven Blum as he kicks off "Money Where Mouth Is," his weekly interview with someone who's working in the trenches for a righteous, local non-profit.
(If you want to nominate someone you'd like us to feature in "Money Where Mouth Is,"—think, "the Dalai Lama"—email me at [email protected])
4. We've been obsessing a little bit over the worker privacy bill that Democratic leadership killed last week. (If you're just tuning in: Democratic leadership killed a workers’ rights bill by accusing the state labor council of sending out an unethical lobbying email.)
However, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mike Sells (D-38, Everett) told PubliCola he suspects that's a cover up. Indeed, the Washington State Patrol announced yesterday that they found nothing unkosher about the labor council email.
Well, this is sad: In our obsessing over the bill, we found this old bit of reporting about how Democratic leadership killed a worker privacy bill Rep. Sells tried to pass in 2007 and 2008 and how he was hopeful it would pass next time around.
The question is, At what point do you stop avoiding risks to protect your massive majority and actually start using your massive majority? When I asked Rep. Mike Sells (D-38, Everett), the sponsor of the organizing rights bill, why, despite having so many sponsors, the bill got killed, he said, "It will be back next year." Perhaps labor Democrat Sells is hoping that next year the Democratic supermajority will start legislating like one.
Compare the 2007 organizing rights bill that leadership killed outright to the bill D leadership slyly scuttled this year when Sells brought it back, and you'll see that Sells has every right to be paranoid right now.
For example, the title of the 2007 bill? "Prohibiting employers from requiring employees to participate in certain communications about political, religious, or labor organizing matters."
The title of this year's bill? "Prohibiting certain employer communications about political or religious matters."