Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. Yesterday, the state house passed the Washington Voting Rights Act along party lines, 53-44. The Democratic bill, sponsored by Rep. Luis Moscoso (D-1, Bothell), helps minority groups fight discrimination at the polls by allowing district voting (Yakima is more than 40 percent Latino, but has never elected a Latino council member to its at-large, seven-member city council). 

In our Jolt, we noted dismissively that the Republicans gave a bunch of double reverse backflip conservative speeches about how the Democrats were despoiling Martin Luther King's legacy by focusing on race. (For the record, the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act, which similarly wrestled with local voting rules to give disenfranchised black voters a place at the table, was passed in direct response to MLK and the civil rights movement. MLK's political heir, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, recently condemned the U.S. Supreme Court for thinking about dismantling the landmark law.)

But don't take our word for it. Here's the GOP in their own words. Check out Rep. Vincent Buys (R-42, Lynden) on how he doesn't see race or class in America's "classless" society (though he somehow managed to take a disparaging shot at "well off" Mercer Island ... hmmmm), stressing in his speech that as "a white person I'm representing everyone in my community irregardless of what their race is." 

There are two black legislators in Olympia out of 145 members.

2.  Speaking of objectionable speeches, Democratic Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44, Everett) had to apologize for his over-the-top floor speech earlier this week when he asked Republicans, who opposed a bill to allow public agencies the opportunity to build affordable housing, "is there humanity in your soul?"

For some people this bill is a moral dilemma, this bill is permissive. It tells the local government nothing, except you can. If you have compassion, this is an option. If you have humanity in your soul, this is an option. This mandates nothing. For those who vote against it, the question is, is there humanity in your soul?

Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44, Everett) had to apologize for his over-the-top floor speech earlier this week.

The bill, proposed by green Democratic Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-46, N. Seattle), is an attempt to get Sound Transit to develop the vacant lots around its station areas in Southeast Seattle.

3. Meanwhile during that floor debate over Rep. Moscoso's voting rights bill, the Republicans also continued their recent attack on the state Supreme Court. (They're obviously chagrined about last week's court ruling that declared the two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes unconstitutional; state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-6, Spokane Valley, has proposed shrinking the court down to five members from nine, "terminating" four of them to save money by drawing straws.)

Yesterday's assault on the court came from Rep. Matt Manweller (R-13, Ellensburg), who, to be candid, is a bit more sophisticated than Buys.

Manweller proposed an amendment to Moscoso's bill that would make the supreme court, currently elected statewide, drawn up by district.

Not a bad idea. Manweller had to withdraw it, though, because his clever suggestion wasn't in the scope of the bill. However, Fizz would have seconded Manweller's amendment if his districting plan accurately represented the same six to four Democratic to Republican split in Washington's blue majority in Congress.

4. Looking for the crosstabs on yesterday's first big poll on the 2013 mayor's race?

Here they are. An interesting footnote that didn't get mentioned yesterday—voters' basic take on Mayor Mike McGinn and City Attorney Pete Holmes, currently caught in a tacky public spat about DOJ oversight of the SPD: 37 percent of voters approve of the job McGinn is doing in office while 43 percent disapprove (19 percent aren't sure.) Thirty-four percent approve of the job Holmes is doing while 18 percent disapprove (48 percent aren't sure).