1. State House Democrats plan to propose a $6 billion transportation package this week that would rely mostly on a new gas tax, to be passed by the legislature instead of voters, the Seattle Times reports.

It's unclear, however, what the bill's prospects will be in the senate, where the transportation committee is chaired jointly by a Republican, Curtis King (R-14) and a Democrat, Tracy Eide (D-30). 

2. Geekwire eports that another new bill—supported by, among other legislators,  freshman Rep. Cyrus Habib (D-48, Bellevue)—would give startups a break on their state business and occupation taxes, offering a break of as much as $2 million tocompanies fewer than two years old.

3. Talking Points Memo reports on the big news in D.C. today—in an impressive bipartisan vote (23 Republicans joined the Democrats), the US Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act, something US Sen. Patty Murray has been championing all year.

The bill, which provides protections for victims of domestic violence, has stalled in the House before, where Republicans have objected to provisions extending those protections to Native American women, lesbians, and undocumented immigrants. 

Despite voting against VAWA twice before,  U.S. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8) wrote a letter today urging his fellow House members to reauthorize the act even though it includes the provisions they've objected to in the past. 

4. My Northwest got their hands on a furious letter from state Sen. Tim Sheldon's (D-35, Potlatch) wife Linda Sheldon to state Democratic Party chair Dwight Pelz, responding to the Party's accusations that Sheldon's defection to the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus was "perfidious" and "disloyal" by telling Pelz, among other things, that it's time for him to put on "big boy panties." 

The letter reads, in part: 

Apparently you think you and your party (which also happens to be MY party) were betrayed. Well now, let's see - last year the Democrats controlled BOTH chambers, and couldn't squeeze out a budget in 2 special sessions, costing our already financially destitute state a tidy little sum of bucks -- until several Democrats (Tim included) got tired of sitting on their asses doing nothing at the taxpayers' expense, while a handful of party hacks spit at one another behind closed doors and came up empty-handed. So they WENT ROGUE (ie, reached across the aisle to get a compromise). Public sentiment, if you will recall, was behind them, and you guys wearing the big party hats looked pretty damn foolish. And the State got a budget before a third special session had to be called. Now, if that's BETRAYAL of the public (excuse me - I meant PARTY), then I'll wear a TRAITOR t-shirt anytime!

I'm sorry you feel you wasted a big $25,000 on Rodney [Tom, the other dissident Democrat in the senate]. And we will really miss your usual donation ($0.00) to Tim's campaigns. But then, I understand that you feel you must take your ball and go home.

After Pelz responded with a letter saying he has "zero respect" for Sen. Sheldon and suggesting that the people in the state who do could fit around the Sheldons' kitchen table, Sheldon got the last word: "Our kitchen table is bigger than he might realize."