As COVID bills advance, Inslee urges teachers to suck it up

Here’s what’s happening on Day 17 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

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

2021 Washington Legislature, Day 17 of 105

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: | @dospueblos

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

OLYMPIA, Jan. 27, 2021 — Good morning. Votes are expected in both chambers today on COVID relief bills. The Senate is set to approve a bill shielding businesses from a huge spike in their unemployment insurance rates, while the House is teeing up legislation allowing waiver of some high school graduation requirements.

Both are expected to pass on bipartisan votes.

But don’t think for a minute all is well between the parties. Republicans continue to be frustrated with the conduct of the virtual session. They contend it isn’t allowing for enough public comment or discussion among lawmakers in committee meetings.

“There aren’t more people testifying. There are more people signing in to testify,” Senate Minority Leader John Braun told reporters Tuesday. Remote testimony is good, he said, “but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t testify.”

And they argue majority Democrats are moving quickly on complex and controversial policies. In the House Public Safety Committee, Republicans put forth 19 amendments to a bill prescribing new limits on certain law enforcement tactics. The bill advanced, but it was a tactic to force conversation on the provisions, said Rep. Gina Mosbrucker.

“We are going to find strategies” to slow such bills down, she said.

Buck it up

Gov. Jay Inslee had stern words Tuesday for teachers whose reluctance to return to classrooms is preventing reopening of public schools around the state.

“The fear of this is understandable. But it is not backed up by experience,” he said at a news conference. “Our experience shows we can operate a school safely.”

Where schools have reopened for some grades there’s been very minimal transmission, he said, because of safety measures.

“There’s no zero risk. Any time you step out of your living room there’s some risk,” he said. In asking educators to go back to campuses, “we are not asking more than we’re asking grocery clerks. We’ve asked our grocery clerks to go on site, do their jobs, and as a result we have food to eat.”

Road news

Details should emerge today on a multibillion-dollar transportation package pieced together by Democratic Sen. Steve Hobbs, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Expect a slightly modified version of the $17 billion “Forward Washington” plan he pursued, without success, the past two years.

Material should get posted on the committee website Wednesday, and Hobbs will gather public reaction at a 4 p.m. hearing Thursday.

Last week, House Democrats released a massive 16-year, $26 billion plan containing an 18-cent increase in the gas tax over the next two years, plus a fee on carbon emissions.

Inslee hasn’t endorsed either plan, as of yet. Both do something he very much wants — commit money to comply with a federal court to fix culverts blocking fish passage.

Boundary battles

The state Redistricting Commission gets to work at 4 p.m. today on the once-a-decade task of redrawing boundaries of the state’s 49 legislative and 10 congressional districts. You can watch on TVW.

April Sims, secretary-treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, and Brady Walkinshaw, Grist CEO and a former state representative, will represent Democrats. Joe Fain, president and CEO of the Bellevue Chamber and a former state senator, and Paul Graves, a former state representative, will be the collective voice of Republicans.

The quartet will get organized today and meet again Saturday to choose a fifth member who will serve as the non-voting chair.

To subscribe to the Cornfield Report, go to | 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 | Archives | 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) | Sara Gentzler (McClatchy) | Jim Camden (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.

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.

Head-on crash in Everett leaves man with life-threatening injuries

A two-vehicle collision in the 11600 block of Evergreen Way shut down southbound traffic Monday morning.

Most Read