Today's winner: Washington State women. 

A small bright spot for women on a day when Congress continues to bicker over whether health care should include contraception: Jolt doesn't want to jinx anything, but we hear that the state reproductive parity act  has the votes to pass in both the state house, where it goes to a vote tonight, and the senate.

The bill would require insurance companies that cover maternity care to also cover abortions. It includes a conscience clause so that religious health insurance companies or hospitals would not have to pay for or provide abortions if they object to doing so on religious grounds.

"Unless the legislature takes action to protect women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care coverage---including coverage for abortion care--there is no guarantee that women will have the coverage they need as our state implements the federal health care reform law," said NARAL Pro-Choice Washington communications director Alison Mondi. "Women deserve access to all reproductive health care options, regardless of income.”

Winner and Loser: State Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-46, Seattle)

The state house passed a bill today capping towing rates, and there seem like some obvious winners and losers here. Loser: Towing companies that had been charging exorbitant rates. Winner: Drivers (and frankly, lackadaisical parkers.)

However, the funny back story turns up a different winner ... and loser: Rep. Pollet.

In this morning's Morning Fizz,  we noted that Seattle Rep. Pollet had threatened to remove language from the bill preempting local municipalities such as Seattle from setting their own local caps at lower levels than the state. The threat? Pollet was warning that if he did Seattle's bidding by removing the preemption language, the towing industry would oppose the bill and the bill would go down.

Indeed, Pollet forwarded this threat from a towing industry lobbyist to his colleagues:

... if Rep. Pollet removes the preemption language in the bill or carves out any special exception for Seattle, as you have asked him to do, then my Association will have no alternative but to strongly oppose the bill every step of the way, and potentially, if it dies as a result of your refusal of this more than reasonable offer, that will leave all consumers in the state without any protection whatsoever.


And then Pollet added his own conclusion:

This is not just a Seattle problem. We have people victimized all over the State. It is very important to protect everyone in Washington. ... The statewide maximum rate is only $28 more than the level Seattle’s representatives said they were interested in setting for Seattle. The industry’s offer today is even lower.


However, Pollet went ahead and went with Seattle's amendment .... and guess what? The bill passed, 55-43.

I guess Pollet ends up winning, though. Ignoring his behind-the-scenes fumbling, Pollet sent out a self-congratulatory press release:

“We’ve worked hard to reach a consensus that ensures no family vehicle is held hostage by a fee that is equal to a month’s rent.”

The release added:

Rep. Pollet also introduced an amendment to remove language ... [that] would have restated that cities do not have the option to adopt their own lower rates. Seattle, in particular, has expressed some interest in such an option.
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