Morning Fizz

Washington State Gets to Add 10th District

By Morning Fizz December 21, 2010

1. Today is census results day. Fizz heard this morning from someone at an early briefing on the census data that Washington State will get to add a 10th congressional district. A formal press conference on the data is scheduled for 11 AM today.

The PI reports that Commerce Secretary and former Washington Governor Gary Locke announced the news this morning as well.

Now, the legislature appoints a committee—two Democrats and two Republicans (and those four pick a fifth member)—to work out the redistricting plan. Former Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis is one of the Democratic appointees. The other Democrat is Dean Foster, a former Booth Gardner staffer. The Republicans haven't announced their picks yet.


This just in from the Washington Secretary of State's office:
The state population grew by 14.1 percent since the 2000 census, to 6,724,540 million people. The population growth in the West also was very strong, up 13.8 percent.  The U.S. average was 9.7 percent, to 308.7 million people.

As had been projected from preliminary estimates, Washington will gain a 10th district, most likely to be added in the rapidly growth greater Puget Sound region.  All of the current districts will be changed significantly, particularly in Western Washington.

“We couldn’t be happier,” he said. “This is a great day for the people of Washington.  We gain in clout, with another strong voice in Congress to be added in 2012. We gain an Electoral College vote and our population gain means we get a little larger slice of the pie as federal grants are apportioned out based on population,”

The actual work of divvying up the state in equal-sized congressional districts and legislative districts will be the task of a bipartisan citizen commission.  Four voting members – two Republicans and two Democrats – will be appointed by the legislative caucus leaders, and the four will choose a fifth, nonvoting, person to be chairman. The panel will have all of 2011 to develop and finalize the maps, and three of the four voting members must vote for the final product.  The Legislature has virtually no role and the governor cannot sign or veto the maps.

We ran a mini-primer on the redistricting process—with a breakdown of where Washington's population has grown most, and what that means for re-cutting the map—in yesterday's Fizz.

And the Secretary of State has a primer here.

2. Issuing an opinion on I-1053, the Tim Eyman initiative that prohibits the legislature from raising taxes without a two-thirds vote, Attorney General Rob McKenna said late yesterday afternoon (the PI had the story) that the initiative also means the state cannot raise ferry fares or impose or raise tolls without a majority vote of the legislature.

This gives Mayor Mike McGinn an opportunity to push for removing the cost overruns provision on the deep bore tunnel because now there needs to be another legislative vote on the tunnel bill, which is relying on $400 million in tolling.

3. Speaking of the tunnel, following up on Thursday night's epic debate at city hall, we circled back to state Sen. Ed Murray who, referring to the cost overruns provision, said during the debate that "the senate stands ready to remove that language."

So, we asked him yesterday if  he was willing to sponsor legislation in the senate to yank the overruns provision?

Nope. "The problem is in the house," Murray said. (In 2009, the house added the overruns language to Murray's tunnel legislation after Murray passed it out of the senate. "The mayor needs to work with the house to get that language removed."

Murray repeated what he said at the debate: That he's going to introduce legislation to create an oversight committee to monitor costs on the project.

4. We've got more political New Year's resolutions cued up today.

PubliCola asked a cast of political newsmakers from 2010 to write up their political To Dos for 2011. Yesterday, DADT plaintiff Maj. Margaret Witt shared her resolutions with PubliCola readers, as did Republican King County Council Member Reagan Dunn.
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