This Washington

Eight Footnotes From a Busy News Day

Some outtakes from a busy day.

By Josh Feit June 27, 2013

From the budget deal to Ron Sims endorsing Ed Murray to the house transportation vote, it was a day of nonstop interviewing, much of it on background. Here are some on-the-record one-liners, outtakes, footnotes, and info:

1) Asked why, as arguably the greenest (that is, the most environmentalist) member of the state house, he voted against the transportation package, Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44, Snohomish) retorted, "Well, if it was a green package..." (Out of $10 billion, there's only $323 million in funding for bike/ped projects and safe routes to schools.)

Dunshee went on to say his 'No' vote was "a protest vote," explaining that transportation used to be bipartisan, but with only one Republican voting for it and the senate "in crazyland" he just didn't want to waste his time. "I don't think it's going anywhere."

2) I'm hearing the transportation package is actually "likely" to get a vote in the Republican-controlled senate tomorrow—and to get hit with a stack of amendments from Sen. Curtis King (R-14, Yakima).

It's unclear if those amendments will include a referendum clause, as one Democratic insider believed.

Business lobbyists say a referendum clause (which would put the package directly to a vote of the people) has not been on the GOP wish list. Business interests strongly support the bill (though they can't seem to get their Republican allies to go for the package) and aren't likely to appreciate a referendum clause. Iit's hard to sell a 'yes' tax vote at the polls, as opposed to facing a voter-initiated (read Tim Eyman) repeal effort.

3) A major footnote on that, though: The silver lining of this double special session is that Eyman would have a limited window for meeting the July deadline to turn in signatures for a repeal.

4) One more thing on this transportation package, which, again, faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled senate after getting just one GOP vote: Didn't GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna campaign on passing a transportation package last year? 

5) I'm hearing the senate Democratic caucus is liking what they see as they get briefed on the budget deal. The Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus? Well,  in the words of one insider: "I hear they have issues."

The AP's Rachel La Corte got more out of lead budget negotiator Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina) than I did on the budget deal:

Hunter said the final budget includes cuts in social services that he didn't like and changes in state employee health care to charge some workers who smoke $25 a month and charge $50 a month for workers having spouses on a state health care plan when they have a different plan available to them.

6) The Sims endorsement was a good get and all for Murray, but, seriously, not all that surprising: Murray's campaign consultant used to work for Sims. When I groused to another campaign staffer about the low shock value, they said drolly, "Yeah. Now if you'd shown up and found Bruce Harrell there, that would have been pretty good."

7) Murray is rolling out three more endorsements tomorrow.

8) I'm still trying to get clarity on the he-said/she said about the charge that Sen. Joe Fain (R-47, Auburn) is responsible for talking some key house Republicans out of voting for the transportation package. All I got today—from one key Republican—was neither a confirmation nor a denial. Sigh.


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