1. Twelve state house Republicans filed a bill yesterday that would enact most of things Tim Eyman's failed 1125 initiative set out to do: restrict toll money to pay for roads (no transit); restrict toll money to only pay for the road where tolls are levied (no 90 paying for 520); and reiterate the 18th Amendment mandate that gas taxes can only pay for roads (not transit).
The preamble of the bill states: "The legislature finds that last year nearly nine hundred thousand voters approved Initiative Measure No. 1125. Postelection polling showed that an overwhelming majority of voters supported many of its major policies."[pullquote]The legislature would also find that Eyman's tolling directive lost.[/pullquote]
The legislature would also find that Eyman's tolling directive lost 53.21 to 46.79 and that nearly one million people voted against it.
Perhaps the Democrats should introduce a high-earners income tax bill, noting that more than 900,000 people voted for Initiative Measure No. 1098, 2010's high-earners income tax ballot measure.
1098 lost 64.15 to 35.85.
2. A proposal by state Sen. Adam Kline (D-37) would prohibit the state attorney general from taking unilateral legal action against the wishes of the governor or state agency directors.
Under the legislation, the attorney general can only decline to represent the state only if a lawsuit "is not well-grounded infact, or not warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for a change in law, or is interposed for an improper purpose such as to harass another party or to cause unnecessary delay or increased litigation costs."
Republican Washington State AG Rob McKenna, defying the wishes of Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire and the state's Democratic legislative majority, joined a lawsuit last year against the federal health care law. McKenna is running for governor next year.
3. Closing arguments in the Plan B case---in which a group of pharmacists are arguing they should be allowed to refuse to provide or stock emergency contraception on religious grounds---wrap up tomorrow, with a ruling expected Thursday afternoon. The pharmacists claim that state rules requiring them to fill all legal prescriptions violate their First Amendment right to free expression.
4. On his blog yesterday, State Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-36) made an impassioned case for legislation that would abolish the death penalty in Washington State and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole---and acknowledged that the bill probably wouldn't even get a hearing this session.
Citing Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and Martin Luther King, Jr., Carlyle wrote,
I seek to eliminate the death penalty in Washington State because it is beneath us as a civilized society. It is economically inefficient. It is unjust to the victims’ families because of the frustration of years of delay in allowing a form of closure. It is inequitably applied across race, class and social status. It does not achieve deterrence for other criminals.
Washington State has executed five people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.