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



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



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

FILE - A sign hangs at a Taco Bell on May 23, 2014, in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Declaring a mission to liberate "Taco Tuesday" for all, Taco Bell asked U.S. regulators Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to force Wyoming-based Taco John's to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Hepatitis A confirmed in Taco Bell worker in Everett, Lake Stevens

The health department sent out a public alert for diners at two Taco Bells on May 22 or 23.

VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Coming soon to Marysville: indoor pickleball, games, drinks

“We’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit,” says co-owner Allan Jones, who is in the fun industry.

Detectives: Unresponsive baby was exposed to fentanyl at Everett hotel

An 11-month-old boy lost consciousness Tuesday afternoon. Later, the infant and a twin sibling both tested positive for fentanyl.

Cassie Franklin (left) and Nick Harper (right)
Report: No wrongdoing in Everett mayor’s romance with deputy mayor

An attorney hired by the city found no misuse of public funds. Texts between the two last year, however, were not saved on their personal phones.

Firearm discovered by TSA officers at Paine Field Thursday morning, May 11, 2023, during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint. (Transportation Security Administration)
3 guns caught by TSA at Paine Field this month — all loaded

Simple travel advice: Unpack before you pack to make sure there’s not a gun in your carry-on.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go early or late

AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Troopers: DUI crash leaves 1 in critical condition in Maltby

A drunken driver, 34, was arrested after her pickup rear-ended another truck late Tuesday, injuring a Snohomish man, 28.

Housing Hope CEO Donna Moulton raises her hand in celebration of the groundbreaking of the Housing Hope Madrona Highlands on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$30M affordable housing project to start construction soon in Edmonds

Once built, dozens of families who are either homeless or in poverty will move in and receive social and work services.

Smoke comes out of the roof of ReMyx'd, a restaurant on Smokey Point Drive, on Sunday, May 28, 2023, in Arlington, WA. (IAFF Local 3438)
Fire damages Arlington bar that received death threats

Arlington Police say initial indications are that fire at ReMyx’d does not appear to be intentionally set.

Most Read