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Petri Dish
June 23  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
OLYMPIA — Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee's strategy as a warrior for the environment is once again coming under fire from other fighters in the environmentalist movement.

They're angry the state Department of Ecology he oversees is appealing a court order requiring new clean air rules be adopted by the end of the year, even though Inslee himself lauded that legal decision in

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June 16  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
OLYMPIA — Opponents of an initiative to repeal state rules allowing transgender people access to bathrooms of their choice are linking the philosophical motivations for the measure and the deadly attack at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando.

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June 14  |  By Jerry Cornfield
There should be good news for Washington’s budget writers when a new revenue forecast is released Wednesday morning.



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June 13  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee raised nearly $900,000 for his reelection in May while Republican challenger Bill Bryant wound up spending more than he took in, according to the latest campaign finance reports.



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June 9  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
The next round in the battle on access to public bathrooms will be waged Thursday in Yakima.

That's when an obscure legislative committee that rarely meets will hear challenges to the state rule allowing transgender people to use the public bathroom of the gender they identify with — which may not be the one assigned to them at birth.

Known as the Joint Administrative Rules Review...

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June 2  |  By Jerry Cornfield
If you've never tried to pull off a debate, it's hard to appreciate the degree of difficulty involved in such a feat.

Many attempt it, most fail.

Scheduling conflict is the polite explanation typically issued by would-be organizers when efforts are abandoned.

The more likely reason is an incumbent balks because of the inherent risks associated with matching wits with an opponent in such a public manner.

But this year in Washington, there...

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June 1  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The latest ballot measure conceived by Mukilteo’s Tim Eyman would end tolling on I-405 and jeopardize Sound Transit’s ability to fund expansion of light rail into Everett.



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May 26  |  
The personal nature of politics is on display this week in Washington.Let’s start with Tuesday’s presidential primary, an $11.5 million demonstration of democracy with a very limited impact on deciding who will be the nation’s next leader.Its value for the state Democratic Party amounts to bragging rights for the eventual victor because all the delegates were distributed through the labyrinth of caucuses.

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May 24  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The leader of the state Republican Party congratulated Donald Trump on his victory in Tuesday’s primary and said his presence atop the ticket will help other Republicans win in Washington.



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May 16  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Democratic state Sen. Marko Liias of Lynnwood is reportedly preparing to launch a campaign for state treasurer.



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May 11  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
For very different reasons, Donald Trump and Randy Dorn are poised to alter the dynamics of this year's race for governor in Washington.

Trump's effect would derive from his position as the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for president and the cascading consequences of his words and actions.

Dorn's impact would come from entering the race as an independent candidate and coercing...

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May 5  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Columnist
With all the attention given the heated contest for the Republican Party presidential nomination, it’s easy to forget the battle to become the Democratic nominee isn’t over.Bernie Sanders’ supporters in Washington certainly haven’t.

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May 4  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Scott of Monroe ends campaign for Congress, citing health reasons Republican state Rep. Elizabeth Scott of Monroe announced Wednesday she is ending her campaign against Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene in the 1st Congressional District.



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April 28  |  
Donald Trump is marching toward the Republican presidential nomination and Washington is one of his next stops.His campaign is building momentum, with ballots to be mailed out next week for this state’s presidential primary in which 44 delegates are up for grabs.

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April 20  |  
Election politics are certain to be on the minds of Snohomish County Councilmembers when they fill the state House seat vacated this week by Democrat Hans Dunshee.The appointee, by law, must be of the same political party as Dunshee and will be in the office until November when voters will elect someone to serve the full two-year term.

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April 13  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald columnist
A consensus is growing that Boeing tax breaks need teeth The first time area aerospace Machinists tried to claw back bits of Washington’s ginormous tax break to the Boeing Co., they found themselves up against national leaders of their own union and the governor of the state.The next time, they won’t.

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April 7  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The first time the Attorney General’s Office advised the Department of Corrections on calculating prisoner sentences in line with a 2002 Supreme Court decision, they got it right.

They told them they’d likely need to do them by hand until computers got reprogrammed.



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April 7  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The race to succeed retiring Democratic state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe of Bothell got underway Thursday with the emergence of two Democratic candidates.

One of them, Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Bothell, picked up McAuliffe’s endorsement right away.



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April 6  |  By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
Six years ago Brian Baird walked away from Congress, resettled in Edmonds and refocused on family.

But the moderate Democrat didn't stop thinking about the devolution of dialogue in that political lair.

He kept talking with friends on similar quests to deepen conversations among the nation's leaders and, in this election year, add content to the canned speeches delivered by candidates for...

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March 30  |  
GOP’s report on prisoner-release scandal is not imminent OLYMPIA — Republican state senators didn't fire Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner when they had the chance.

Now they may want to do so but can't because he's gone — he quit months ago to take a new job in another state, far from the glare of the GOP-led inquiry into the state's early...

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March 28  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Legislative budget deal reached; session could end Tuesday State House and Senate negotiators have reached a budget deal in Olympia that could pave the way for an end to a special session as soon as Tuesday night.

A formal announcement should be made later today, said House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish.



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March 24  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Gov. Inslee was hanging out with his pals from the Washington Education Association on Saturday morning when the subject of charter schools came up.

Inslee, who had come confident of collecting their endorsement, knew these leaders of the statewide public school teachers union see charter schools as anathema to, and abominations of, public education.

It's a...

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March 21  |  By Jerry Cornfield
While there’s no budget deal that would bring about the conclusion of the legislative special session, some lawmakers are anticipating one early this week.

Both the House and Senate are scheduled to hold pro forma sessions Monday, the 12th day of the extra session.



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March 16  |  
OLYMPIA — Time to catch up on a couple pieces of unfinished business around here.Let’s begin with Attorney General Bob Ferguson.He is trying to figure out how an attorney in the office could advise a staffer in the Department of Corrections not to get too worked up about the state mistakenly releasing inmates early.

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March 10  |  By Jerry Cornfield
OLYMPIA — This could be a long day and night for state lawmakers.

Thursday is the last scheduled day of the 2016 regular session and the House and Senate continue to negotiate an agreement on a supplement to the state budget.



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March 8  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Lieutenant Gov. Brad Owen plans a midday statement Tuesday on his political future. Most figure the punch line will be that he’s not going to run again.

Owen, a moderate Democrat from Shelton, was first elected in 1996 and re-elected to four additional terms. He also served in the state House from 1976-1983, and in the Senate from 1983-1996.



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March 7  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday sought to inject a dose of urgency into budget negotiations, warning lawmakers he’ll veto bills until they have an agreement.



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March 2  |  Why are so many people running to become Washington’s next lieutenant governor?
So far eight candidates, including four state lawmakers, are in the race or, in the case of one person, about to enter.

That's not counting Lt. Gov Brad Owen who has held the job since 1997, because next week I expect him to announce he will not seek a sixth term.

More candidates have emerged for this job...

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February 24  |  
A report due out as early as Thursday could reveal why the state continued to free inmates early, by mistake, even after workers in the Department of Corrections learned it was happening in late 2012.

Two retired federal prosecutors investigated the mistaken release of 3,700 inmates dating back to 2002 to ascertain who knew what, when they knew and why a fix was delayed...

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