The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Petri Dish
April 17  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Republican Pedro Celis' quest to unseat incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene is getting more attention from national Republican leaders.

Today, the National Republican Congressional Committee elevated Celis to the status of "Contender," which is the second level of its candidate assistance program known as "Young...

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April 9  |  By Jerry Cornfield
A task force appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee began work today on finding a better way to fund the state parks system and promote Washington's multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry.

Inslee also wants the panel to come up with ideas for getting children to spend more time recreating in the outdoors which he hopes will help stem the spread of obesity among the state's youngest...

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April 9  |  By Jerry Cornfield
There's no shortage of legal minds wanting to succeed Supreme Court Justice James Johnson when he retires at the end of this month.

Nearly 20 people from across the spectrum of the legal profession applied for the appointment, according to Nicholas Brown, general counsel to Gov. Jay Inslee. The deadline to apply was April 4.

Brown...

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March 18  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The majority of Washington lawmakers didn't miss a vote in the just-completed 60-day session.

That's according to the Missed Votes Report released today by WashingtonVotes.org, a free online vote-tracking service offered by the Washington Policy Center.

Only three legislators missed more than 50 votes...

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March 17  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The final budget deal approved by lawmakers contains good and bad news, depending on your perspective.

Here are a few nuggets combed from the nearly 300-page document.

-The Secretary of State's Office will be able to spend $813,000 to find additional temporary space for storing historic documents. The Washington State Archives is filled to the...

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March 14  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Washington lawmakers put the wraps on their 2014 session Thursday that may be better remembered for what they did not accomplish than what they did.

They passed a compromise budget on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote that puts more money into public schools. They approved a historic law allowing undocumented immigrants to receive state aid for college and they froze tuition for a second straight year.

They...

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March 11  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Republican senators are willing to extend a fee for homeless assistance programs for one year as long as a chunk of the money goes to private landlords rather than housing programs run by cities, counties and nonprofits.

But a House Democratic leader said that's an offer his caucus intends to refuse.

On Monday, the GOP majority of the Senate Ways and Means Committee

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March 7  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Democratic Sen. Steve Hobbs isn't giving up on getting a transportation package passed this session.

Today he distributed a proposal for a $12 billion package he hopes will jump start negotiations between the Democratic and Republican caucuses.

"I put this plan together in my own vision and take full responsibility for its contents," he wrote in an email to fellow senators. "This package does not constitute an...

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March 3  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Any day now Colorado state lawmakers will pay off a bet they lost when the Seattle Seahawks whipped the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl.

At least that's what they tell state senators in Washington who can't be faulted if they had thoughts that their legislative counterparts might welch. It's been more than a month.

Here's what...

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February 27  |  By Jerry Cornfield
A former Microsoft software engineer and an ex-Snohomish County analyst are gearing up to take on freshman Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene.

Republican Pedro Celis of Redmond, the onetime chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, told the Seattle Times he will declare his candidacy today for the 1st Congressional District seat. Celis...

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February 25  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Is U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan serious about revoking a federal waiver worth millions of dollars for public schools in Washington if the state doesn't change its teacher evaluation system?

You bet he is.

That's what Gov. Jay Inslee told Republican and Democratic lawmakers who met in the governor's office this afternoon to consider...

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February 25  |  By Jerry Cornfield
OLYMPIA — Senate Democrats on Tuesday called for ending four tax breaks, including ones benefiting drinkers of bottled water and shoppers from Oregon, to push more dollars into public schools and give teachers a cost-of-living increase.

Closing the quartet of tax exemptions would bring in roughly $100 million a year for education, members of the Senate...

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February 20  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Gov. Jay Inslee will meet with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Monday to discuss the federal agency's demand that Washington change its teacher evaluation system or risk losing millions of federal dollars for its public schools.

The Department of Education has notified the state it must make student growth data a factor in evaluating the performance of teachers if wants to continue receiving a waiver from elements of the federal No Child...

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February 18  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Gov. Jay Inslee will soon sign an executive order aimed at expanding the state's outdoor recreation industry which produces billions of dollars in spending and tax revenues each year. He could act as early as this week.

Inslee's order will establish a "blue-ribbon" task force to explore ways to better promote the outdoor recreation and tourism sectors. Task force members will also be asked to suggest long-term sources of funding for managing the...

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February 18  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Washington is expected to move a step closer today to providing undocumented immigrant students with financial aid for college from state taxpayers.

The state House intends to approve Senate Bill 6523 expanding the eligibility rules for the State Need Grant program to include students brought to this country illegally as children who are now enrolled in or bound for...

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February 12  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Weeks of waiting are supposed to end Thursday when a member of the ruling majority in the Senate unveils a transportation funding package.

But leaders of the Majority Coalition Caucus tamped down expectations that what Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, is scheduled to release at a press conference will get a hearing or vote this session.

"We hope it helps ignite the discussion," Senate Republican Leader Mark...

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February 11  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The House today unanimously approved a bill to allow military personnel and their families to pay the lower in-state tuition rate regardless of how long they've lived in Washington.

House Bill 1011 is identical in every way to Senate Bill 5318 passed...

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February 6  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee didn't expect to bump into Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning following the Super Bowl.

So when he did in a hallway at MetLife Stadium following the Seattle Seahawks 43-8 victory, the governor thought why not offer the Denver star a few encouraging words.

"He's all alone. There was no entourage around him," Inslee told members of the...

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February 6  |  
The U.S. House of Representatives today approved an omnibus public lands bill which includes a provision to preserve Green Mountain Lookout in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

The bill passed by the House on a 220-194 vote contains the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act sponsored by Democratic Reps Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen of Washington. President Barack Obama, who opposes the bill,

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February 5  |  By Jerry Cornfield
There were lots of speeches but no surprises today as House Democrats passed an abortion rights measure while Senate Republicans failed to push through a proposed constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority vote by lawmakers to raise taxes.

On a 54-44 vote, the House...

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February 4  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Snohomish County Democrats are counting on a high school teacher from Mill Creek to capture the House seat of the retiring Republican Rep. Mike Hope.

Mike Wilson, who teaches government and politics at Cascade High School in Everett, formally launched a campaign for the 44th Legislative District seat last week.

He is the first Democrat to enter the race and joins Republican Mark Harmsworth, a Mill Creek City...

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January 27  |  By Jerry Cornfield
(Updated with clarifying information at end of original post)

Republicans controlling the Senate majority flexed their political muscle today and in the process may have repelled a centrist Democrat known for siding with them on key government reforms.

The Majority Coalition Caucus voted to demote Democratic Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens as chairman of the Senate Financial Institutions,...

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January 27  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords will testify in Olympia Tuesday in support of an initiative to expand the state law governing background checks for gun purchases.

Giffords, who was shot while meeting with constituents in January 2011, and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will take part in the 1:30 p.m. hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

The couple will explain their...

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January 24  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Two Snohomish High seniors ignited a little partisan scuffling Friday with their proposal to require unemployed adults to perform community service if they want to keep receiving benefits.

Students Kristen Hoffmann and Marissa Martz pitched the idea to lawmakers in a visit to Olympia last week. On Friday, conservative Republicans in the House and Senate introduced bills to put the concept into law -- and Senate Democrats immediately denounced it...

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January 23  |  By Jerry Cornfield
The partisan divide on how best to curb greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change became clear Wednesday in separate reports issued by Democratic and Republican members of the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup.

You can find the reports here.



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January 21  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Updated at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed former state legislator Katrina Asay of Milton to the Public Disclosure Commission on Jan. 16, according to a governor's spokesman.

Asay, a Republican, will replace another Republican ex-lawmaker, Jim Clements, whose term on the commission ended in December 2012. Asay's appointment takes effect Feb. 7.

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January 21  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Democratic Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens is getting a lot of attention these days from members of the Republican-led Majority Coalition Caucus.

Several GOP senators want to remove the centrist Democrat as chairman of the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee and put newly elected

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January 21  |  By Jerry Cornfield
It is all quiet on the transportation funding front after Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican Sen. Curtis King exchanged accusations in strongly worded letters last week.

King, the Republicans' lead negotiator on a possible funding package, called on Inslee earlier this month to come clean of his intentions regarding a possible new fuel standard that might affect the price of gasoline. King said concern among lawmakers about the governor's...

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January 20  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Democratic Rep. Marko Liias should be appointed to the state Senate Tuesday and political newcomer Lillian Ortiz-Self tapped to take his place in the House.

Liias emerged as Democrats' first and pretty much only choice to replace Sen. Paull Shin in the 21st Legislative District in balloting by precinct committee officers Saturday. Names of two other Democrats appeared on the...

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January 16  |  By Jerry Cornfield
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee responded sharply today to a Republican senator who accused the governor of plotting to bypass lawmakers and impose a new carbon fuel tax through executive order.

Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, said Monday that Inslee needed to come clean on his future intentions.

"This is an issue of trust. We...

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