60-day sprint: State lawmakers plan to fix what’s broken

Here’s what’s happening on Day 1 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112

2022 Washington Legislature, Day 1 of 60

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com | @dospueblos

Want this in your inbox Monday-Wednesday-Friday? Subscribe here.

OLYMPIA, Jan. 10 — Welcome to the opening day of the 2022 legislative session.

It’s going to be a 60-day sprint, on Zoom. Yep, another year of remote legislating because COVID-19 is raging. This past week Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig of Spokane and Sen. John Lovick of Mill Creek tested positive.

Before diving in, there is breaking news out of Snohomish County to share.

Rep. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls, has drawn a Republican challenger, Snohomish County Councilman Sam Low, setting up an interesting intra-party matchup in the August primary.

Sutherland is an unabashed conservative and unapologetic in his beliefs. Low is a moderate, or, as he likes to say, “a balanced Republican.” Low says he decided to run when he saw how the Redistricting Commission redrew the map for the 39th Legislative District. It added his hometown, Lake Stevens, and subtracted other more conservative communities. Low has up to now lived in the Democratic-dominated 44th District.

Among Low’s early endorsers is former House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen, who held this legislative seat for 16 years until retiring in 2018.

Now back to the matters at hand.

The To-Do List

Three things are certain to get done in the next two months.

1. Slam the brakes on WA Cares, the long-term-care insurance program funded with a payroll tax on workers. The well-meaning initiative of Democrats needs a major recalibration to survive politically and financially. Potential legislative fixes will get hearings Tuesday and potential committee votes Thursday. These fixes delay the program and collection of the payroll tax until July 2023. That will give majority Democrats this session and the next to try to get it right. It also gives Republicans more time to try to repeal it entirely.

2. Clear up confusion surround new policing reforms. Majority Democrats are seeking to clarify language in laws passed in 2021 imposing new restrictions on police tactics and use of force. Law enforcement officials say unintended consequences have resulted. Republicans are primed for a broader battle on crime, punishment and public safety.

3. A supplemental budget. Not just any supplemental budget. A big one. There’s $1.3 billion in federal COVID aid to dish out. There’s another billion-plus in tax collections, too. Democrats and Gov. Jay Inslee envision jumbo-sized investments in housing, health care and transportation. Republicans want a little relief for taxpayers.

People watching

What will be on my radar this session?

The dynamics within the Senate Democratic Caucus following the departure of unflinching moderate Steve Hobbs (he’s now Secretary of State) and the arrival of steady liberal John Lovick.

Hobbs was a speed bump, sometimes a barrier, to an array of policies pushed by Inslee and progressive Democrats. Lovick is the opposite. Democratic leaders can count on his vote. He veers wide of conflict and will be the last member of the caucus looking to create any — unless you are not a fan of his push for Pickleball.

The absence of Hobbs’ voice, and vote, could clear a path for action on stalled legislation. Maybe it makes for an easier conversation to advance some form of a transportation package. We’ll see.

I’d like to know what’s on your radar. Send me an email.

Now let’s get this session started.

To subscribe to the Cornfield Report, go to www.heraldnet.com/newsletters. | Previous Cornfield Reports here.

 

News clippings

Compiled by: House Democrats | House Republicans

 

On TV

Non-profit TVW covers state government in Olympia and selected events statewide. Programs are available for replay on the internet, and the channel is widely available on Washington cable systems.

TVW schedule | Current and recent video | Shows

 

Links

Contact your legislator | District lookup | Bill lookup

Legislature home | House | Senate

Caucuses: House Democrats | House Republicans | Senate Democrats | Senate Republicans

Office of the Governor

Laws and agency rules

Beat reporters: Jerry Cornfield (Herald) | Rachel La Corte (AP) | Joseph O’Sullivan (Times) | Jim Brunner (Times) | Austin Jenkins (NW News Network) | Melissa Santos (Crosscut) | Shauna Sowersby (McClatchy newspapers) | Laurel Demkovich (Spokesman-Review)

Talk to us

More in Local News

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Providence nurse’s tearful plea shines light on short-staffed ER

The nurse described an overwhelmed emergency department, as staff have pleaded with the Everett City Council for hazard pay.

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. A leading doctor who chairs a World Health Organization expert group described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as "a random event" that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File)
Snohomish Health District hiring full-time monkeypox task force

The county is gearing up for more cases. The outbreak will be evaluated weekly to decide if a four-person team is merited.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Body found in impounded car in Lake Stevens

In June, Bothell police impounded the vehicle. Last week, a Lake Stevens business found a body inside.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
California woman dies after motorcycle crash west of Lake Stevens

Kimberly Moore was the passenger on a motorcycle Friday morning. She died the next night. She was 53.

Ella Larson, left, and Simon Fuentes sort through blueberries at Hazel Blue Acres on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Fruits, flowers and bees aplenty in Arlington farm fete

First-ever event highlights local growers’ bounty and contributions to local community

A view of the proposed alternative station location to Everett Station located east of the current BNSF rail tracks in downtown. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could light rail station under Pacific Avenue and over railroad work?

A group representing people around Everett Station wants Sound Transit to study the idea.

State Representative Robert Sutherland, left, gives a thumbs-up to passing drivers as he and a few volunteers wave flags and campaign signs along the side of State Route 9 on July 22, in Lake Stevens. Sam Low, right, talks with seniors on July 20 in Lake Stevens. (Sutherland photo by Ryan Berry / The Herald, Low photo by Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In GOP battle of Sutherland vs. Low, Democrats may tip the scale

The state lawmaker and Snohomish County council member are vying for a House seat. Democrats make up roughly 40% of the vote.

Food forum
Chocolate peanut butter Incredibles

These chocolate peanut butter bars are, as the name suggests, incredible.

SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval in 2019. (Aaron Swaney)
SnoTown Brewery owner charged with child molestation

Frank Sandoval conceded his conduct with a girl at his brewery was inappropriate, but he denied touching her sexually, charges say.

Most Read