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Petri Dish
February 8  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee will address the ousting of one cabinet member and the resigning of another at a news conference Monday morning.

And he may respond to a Republican senator’s warning that his appointees "shape up" or more of them may lose their jobs.

Inslee is scheduled to meet with reporters at 10:30 a.m.



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February 4  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Now that the state Department of Transportation is on board with letting drivers use the I-405 express toll lanes for free at night and on weekends, the next step is getting it done.



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February 4  |  
A column in two takes.Take 1: Sound Transit power playIt’s been tough enough for Sound Transit board members to cobble together ST3, a ballot measure seeking $15 billion for the next phase of expansion.Now a few of their longstanding critics want state lawmakers to replace them next year by changing how their seats are filled.

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January 28  |  
A Republican lawmaker wants to tax political campaigns and use the money to teach civics in schools and boost enforcement of the state’s election laws.The idea from state Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, is to treat candidates, initiative campaigns and political committees — including those run by the Democratic and Republican parties — like small companies and require them to pay business taxes if they collect enough in contributions.

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January 20  |  
Koster says he'll seek a 39th District state House seat John Koster is done thinking about running for a seat in the Legislature.

He's doing it.

Wednesday morning the Arlington Republican with a long political resume announced he will seek a seat in the 39th Legislative District. Rep. Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe, holds the seat but is forgoing re-election

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January 14  |  By Jerry Cornfield
(Updated below with response from the governor's office)

Two Republican state senators announced Wednesday they will seek the power to subpoena records related to the mistakes that led to the early release of 3,200 inmates since 2002.



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January 14  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
Minutes before Gov. Jay Inslee gave his State of the State address Tuesday, the leader of Washington's public school system delivered a message of his own.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn joined the procession of state elected officials to seats in the front of the chamber of the House of Representatives.

Moments later, Dorn stood up, placed a note on his chair that read...

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January 12  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Tuesday marks the first full day of the 2016 legislative session and Gov. Jay Inslee will grab the spotlight when he delivers his State of the State to a joint session of the House and Senate.



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January 11  |  By Jerry Cornfield
A coalition led by statewide labor groups filed an initiative Monday to push the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour and allow workers to earn paid sick leave.

Representatives of unions, faith groups and advocacy organizations submitted the paperwork Monday morning, launching an effort that could be one of the biggest election battles this year.



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January 11  |  By Jerry Cornfield
State lawmakers will begin the 2016 legislative session at noon Monday with a bit of ceremony featuring comments by Republican and Democratic leaders.

Then members of the House and Senate plan to dive into some into controversial subjects.



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January 7  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald columnist
Gov. Jay Inslee is beginning the last year of his first term with every expectation of winning re-election in November.But challenges stacking up for his administration will test his executive mettle and political skills as he pursues a second term.

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January 5  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee is developing an initiative to curb gun-related violence in Washington through executive order.

"We are finalizing our plan and hope to announce something soon," confirmed Jaime Smith, Inslee’s director of communications.



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December 31  |  
A not-so-funny thing happened on the long march to save Washington from the damaging undulations of climate change.

A fight broke out among the warriors.

A little jawboning in the summer escalated this week with a flurry of verbal punches directed at the campaign to create a carbon tax with Initiative 732, as its leaders turned in the last of 350,000 signatures gathered in support of the measure.

"It's the culmination of a long journey this...

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December 24  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
The decision by Democratic state Rep. Hans Dunshee to seek a Snohomish County Council seat could help catapult Republicans into the majority in the House next fall.

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December 22  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Backers of a carbon tax measure have spent months gathering signatures needed to earn a spot on the 2016 ballot.

Now they may not turn them in because the content of a competing initiative polls better.



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December 17  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
Eight lawmakers entrusted with drafting a school funding plan in line with the tenets of the state Constitution and dictates of the Supreme Court won’t complete their task this year.The contingent of Democratic and Republican lawmakers met for a final time in 2015 Monday, adjourning without agreement on the contours or content of a proposal to put forth in the 2016 session.

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December 16  |  By Jerry Cornfield
With money earmarked to build another 144-vehicle state ferry, the process of naming it is getting under way.

And it's a good bet it will be the Cowlitz, the Sammamish or the Suquamish.



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December 11  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The Attorney General’s Office has decided not to weigh in on the legality of using local levy dollars to make up for a lack of state money to pay teachers, principals and staff in public schools.

That isn’t going to make Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn happy.



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December 10  |  
Nothing like a few days away from the office to get one’s spirit rejuvenated and energy recharged.For Gov. Jay Inslee, it came in a trip to Paris, where he attended the international confab on climate change.

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November 19  |  
There's never been a figure in Washington politics quite like Frank Chopp.

Since 2002, the Seattle Democrat has served as speaker of the House of Representatives, a 13-year reign that stands as the longest anyone's ever held the job in state history.

If you add in the sessions he shared the gavel in a co-speakership with Republican Clyde Ballard — 1999, 2000 and 2001 — it...

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November 16  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Washington is keeping the welcome mat out for Syrian refugees, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday.



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November 12  |  
Congressman Rick Larsen is doing something this week his congressional colleagues from Washington and around the country are not.He’s talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, a mega-pact negotiated by the administration of President Barack Obama with 11 Asian and Pacific Rim nations.

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November 9  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Two years ago state lawmakers rushed into special session to extend a suite of incentives to the aerospace industry worth billions of dollars in tax savings to the Boeing Co.

And that move helped convince the aerospace giant to build its new 777 passenger jet in Everett.



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November 6  |  By Jerry Cornfield
House and Senate members will soon begin settling their differences on a multi-year federal transportation bill and Washington Congressman Rick Larsen will be among those negotiating.



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November 5  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
Voters have spoken and no one could be pleased more by what they said than Tim Eyman.The professional initiative promoter from Mukilteo had another anti-tax measure on Tuesday’s ballot. And like many of its predecessors, it is passing with support in nearly every county in the state.

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November 4  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene was appointed Wednesday to a new House committee investigating the policies and practices of Planned Parenthood.



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October 29  |  
In sheer numbers, the most competitive contests on Tuesday’s ballot in Snohomish County are for a one-year, unpaid job on a panel that could accomplish nothing.Or, as the 61 men and women vying for seats on the Charter Review Commission hope, the political order in the state’s third most populous county could be reset for years to come.

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October 22  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn announced Thursday he won’t seek a third term as chief of Washington’s public school system.

But he may not be ready to retire from the education battles either.



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October 22  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
Voters sent Dave Somers packing in 2001 after one term on the Snohomish County Council in part because pro-development forces made the Democrat’s environmentalism a negative.And it helped that their ranks included the Robinetts, one of the county’s most politically active families. They donated a bunch of money to the Republican challenger.

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October 15  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday tapped a veteran Department of Corrections administrator to become the new leader of the agency.



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