Morning Fizz

"This is Marijuana, Not Cannabis"

By Morning Fizz April 12, 2011

1. The state senate is releasing its budget today. One senator on the ways and means committee told PubliCola yesterday that the cuts to social services will be much worse than in the house version of the budget, which came with $4.4 billion in cuts. Why? Because the Democratic advantage is much weaker in the senate than in the house—27-22, as opposed to 55-42---particularly with the conservative Democratic faction known as the Roadkill Caucus teaming up with the GOP.

The Democrats had to write a budget the Republicans would sign off on and that meant far deeper cuts.

[pullquote]The cuts to social services will be much worse  in the senate version of the budget than the house version, which came with $4.4 billion in cuts.[/pullquote]

The house preserved the Basic Health Plan and the Disability Lifeline.

2. Attorney General Rob McKenna, the likely GOP candidate for governor in 2012, told the Seattle Times last month that "collective bargaining is a right."

The Times reported:
"Collective bargaining is a right. It's not the problem. The problem is politicians who give away too much at the bargaining table," McKenna said.

If he does get elected governor, McKenna said he'd work with unions, rather than "terrorizing them."

Conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky was surprised by McKenna's labor-sympathetic quotes, and has since asked McKenna to elaborate. McKenna told Sharkansky that he meant collective bargaining is a "statutory right" and so, should involve the legislature—not just the governor and unions.

Sharkansky quotes McKenna: "The most important thing is to restore checks and balances to the system so the governor and unions don't present the legislature with an accomplished fact. Other changes could be made, but everything else pales in comparison to that." He goes on to paraphrase the AG, writing: "He believes that the problem is with the current form of bargaining, which has taken the Legislature out of the equation by allowing legislators to only vote up or down on an entire agreement negotiated by the Governor. He wants the statute amended to restore a meaningful role to the Legislature so that spending on employee compensation can compete with other state priorities."

3. State legislators threw a lot of amendments (27) at the medical marijuana bill yesterday. The bill passed 54-43, but most of the amendments failed, including one by Rep. John Ahern (R-6, Spokane) who was fed up with the "fashionable" (or scientific) term "cannabis." The bill summary is titled: "concerning the medical use of cannabis."

Watch Ahern's "marijuana is marijuana, not cannabis" speech here.

4. Today is ThinkTank Tuesday at PubliCola. Stay tuned as our select group of commenters weighs in on today's big question.

5. Democratic AG candidate, current King County Council member Bob Ferguson, has raised $38,000 in the last month bringing his total raised to $80,000. He also picked up the endorsement of Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.

The AG election is in 2012 and Ferguson announced his campaign for AG in February and is expected to face off against Republican King County Council member Reagan Dunn. Dunn has not announced yet because the current Republican AG, Rob McKenna, has not announced his intentions. (McKenna is widely expected to run for governor in 2012.)

6. Two weeks ago, Mayor Mike McGinn said he wanted to bring a proposal to voters to dedicate as much as $10 million to get started on a light rail plan from Ballard to West Seattle. Fizz hears the mayor already has a behind-the-scenes working group moving on the plan, headed up by Vulcan government affairs manager, Dan McGrady.
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