1. One of the only members of the state legislature who appears to be having any fun this cranky, partisan session in Olympia is senate environmental committee chair Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42, Ferndale). 

Sure, Ericksen's at the center of some of the intractable standoffs this year (check out the blasé report he signed with Rep. Shelly Short, R-7, Addy on climate change that thumbed its nose at the competing, earnest Democratic report, signed by the governor, that called for a carbon cap, smart land use planning, and a zero-tolerance policy on coal.) But he's also having a blast keeping the Democrats on their toes.

Ericksen's latest zinger: After the Democrats took the lead on the pressing issue of oil transport safety, holding a rambunctious house hearing on a bill to regulate oil transport and introducing a senate companion, Sen. Ericksen is reportedly set to ignore the Democratic version, sponsored by Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-23, Kitsap County), and simply introduce a version of his own.

(Ericksen was identified as one of the top recipients of of oil industry affection this year.)

2. Environmentalists are a little alarmed, though, at another Ericksen move. Tomorrow, he's scheduled a work session on climate change where the featured speaker is Jay Lehr, science director from the Heartland Institute, a conservative group that has been accused of denying the science on climate changenot just by lefties, but by the stodgy Economist.

3. Speaking of work sessions in Olympia, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, will be speaking in Olympia today in support of I-594, the background check initiative that voters sent to the legislature last year.

The hearing will also take up I-591, a competing initiative calling for no new regulations that exceed federal rules.

4. Fizz caught up briefly with former mayor Mike McGinn last week, and asked him why he thought his longtime Sierra Club and city government ally, city council member Mike O'Brien, won by such a decisive (67 percent) margin while McGinn lost to Ed Murray, who won 52 percent of the vote. McGinn said O'Brien "matches up well with the voters, ran a strong race, and was clearly a lot better than his opponent," Albert Shen.

Asked what he plans to do next, McGinn said he wa "reconnecting with my Sierra Club friends," "just enjoying a slower pace" and directed us to his Facebook page, where he announced recently that he has joined the board of the Social Justice Fund, which provides grants to progressive social justice groups and is working on fossil fuel divestment and "reconnecting with my Sierra Club friends." 

O'Brien aide Esther Handy, who ran McGinn's antitunnel initiative in 2011, is the board chair at the Social Justice Fund. 


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