News

Going Underground

By Josh Feit April 16, 2009


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1. Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37, S. Seattle) introduced a sales tax proposal yesterday that would raise money (about $900 million over three years) to pay for health care programs. The bill is scheduled for a public hearing on Friday morning. 

2.  Members of the Blue/Green coalition (labor Democrats and environmental Democrats) that emerged as a dissident force last week by passing an unemployment insurance bill over the objections of business lobbyists and House Democratic leadership—Democratic Majority Leader Rep. Lynn Kessler (D-24, Hoquiam) reportedly cried after the House rebels got their way—have stopped wearing the Blue/Green pins they'd been defiantly pinning to their lapels.

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It's not that they're receding after just one victory—it's that they're going underground now. The group—more than 15 strong (enough to alter big votes)—doesn't  want it to be easy for leadership to I.D. them individually. The thinking: It will be harder for leadership to divide and conquer the coalition if leadership isn't exactly sure who's part of it. 

3. The Senate is set to pass an education reform bill this morning, despite strong opposition from the teachers' union. The Senate bill—strengthened yesterday after  Senate leadership agreed to add tough reform language from the House bill—is backed by a coalition of education advocates like the League of Education Voters. 

4. My theory: The Senate agreed to go with the controversial House version of education reform after the House agreed to pass the Senate's terms on undoing I-937,  the 2006 voter-approved renewable energy initiative.

Amending I-937 to lower the renewable energy standards has emerged as a "take-home" issue for Senate leadership, and I was getting word yesterday afternoon that the earlier compromise Democratic leadership struck with Greens so they could amend I-937 was on the verge of collapsing as leadership started adding new provisions that would scale back the voter-approved initiative too far. 

5. Another trade off: I hear House Speaker Rep. Frank Chopp is willing to go with the Senate's whopping 14 percent college tuition increase in exchange for getting his way on increasing aid to the unemployable. The Senate had initially cut the $339 per month G.A.U. cash assistance program by 80 percent. The House kept the payment intact.

6. Sorry if you missed BookNerd yesterday. My bad. The editing process got screwed up by technology. BookNerd is great. She will return shortly when I get my html straightened out.
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