Morning Fizz

"This Isn't Only a Jewish Concern."

By Morning Fizz February 17, 2011

1. Every morning, a different religious leader blesses the state house in Oly with a prayer. The guest chaplain is required to follow a few basic rules—"no proselytizing," wear "business or traditional attire," and perhaps most important:
The members of the House, their staff, and the citizens of Washington whom they serve hold a variety of beliefs and opinions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  Each is deserving of respect.

Conclusion of the prayer should embrace the collective prayerful thoughts of all present in an interfaith manner, rather than "in the name of..." a particular deity, unless such recognition is a part of your faith.

According to Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne, Ballard), that rule is broken regularly by guests who invoke the name of  "our lord and savior Jesus Christ."

"What if a Muslim came in and asked everyone to thank Muhammad?" Carlyle asks. "There'd be an outcry."

When Fizz ran into Carlyle in the wings of the house chamber yesterday, he was setting up a meeting with  the Clerk of the House to officially bring the problem to her attention and insist that guests follow the rules with "a ... prayer that is more respectful of the religious diversity of our chamber."

Carlyle is Jewish and named the other five Jews in the house, but added: "This isn’t only a Jewish concern, it has been expressed many other times by others."

2. In yesterday's Fizz, we noted that former mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan was spotted in Olympia on Wednesday.

We found out why: He was lobbying for the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.

Mallahan is on the KCSARC board, and was there to support KCSARC's priorities, such as Rep. Roger Goodman's (D-45, Kirkland) bill to protect victims of sexual crimes from having to face defendants directly in court.

3. Meanwhile, guess who made his first visit this legislative session the day after Mallahan: Mayor Mike McGinn.

McGinn had separate meetings with all the senate and house leaders, urging Republicans such as house minority leader, Republican Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-20, Chehalis) to support state Rep. Marko Liias' (D-21, Edmonds) transit funding bill.

The most intriguing meeting? McGinn met with lead tunnel proponent, state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill), a potential McGinn rival in the 2013 mayoral election.

Murray tells Fizz the tunnel did not come up. They talked about McGinn's wish to build light rail on 520 (Murray suggested that McGinn not get wedded to one mode of transit), and they debated the  bill to exempt the U.W. from the commercial parking tax. Murray is pro. McGinn is con. (Murray quips that the U.W. is "not a business, it's a public institution of higher learning" and more important, the tax will sap revenues that go to the U-Pass program, which Murray called the "linchpin of Seattle's transit system."  The mayor thinks the exemption will cost the city  too much money.)

Murray reports that the potential rivals got along famously, though. And the first thing Murray told Fizz when asked about the meeting was how much weight McGinn has lost.

4. Footnote on our conversation with Murray: Sen. Murray is the ways and means chair. So we also talked to him about the big supplemental budget deal which is supposed to get voted on and approved today.

The legislature had to close a $1.1 billion shortfall for the last two quarters of the current 2009-2011 biennium and reached a deal this week. It's a harsh budget—Murray described the process as "unacceptable choices between education and human services"— but on balance,  the cuts to education ($25 million from K-4) are more severe than the cuts to social services (the budget preserves the Basic Health Plan and Disability Life Line—which had been cut in the governor's original proposal.)

A candid Murray told us that he would have have preferred the reverse approach—"the best social policy is education," he said.

So why, given that he's the lead guy on the budget, doesn't the budget hit social services harder than education. "...That's not where my caucus is," he said.

5. Speaking of those liberals in the state senate—freshman Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Shoreline), a far left house member who moved up to the senate this year, introduced the senate version of state Rep. Eileen Cody's (D-34, W. Seattle, Burien, Vashon) bill this week, that would cut $150 million in corporate tax breaks to help fund the Basic Health Plan, which currently subsidizes health care for 55,000 low-income people.

6. If you missed yesterday's Afternoon Jolt—where state house Republican budget leader Rep. Gary Alexander (R-20, Olympia) spoke candidly about senate Republican budget leader Sen. Joseph Zarelli (R-18, Ridgefield)—it's worth checking out.

The word "player" is used.
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