Beef Day arrives, VoteMania begins and independent prosecution office derailed

It’s Day 87. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

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

2023 Washington Legislature, Day 87 of 105

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

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

OLYMPIA, April 5, 2023 — It’s Wednesday. Cherry blossoms have busted out. Around here that means the end of session is in sight.

So too is the lifespan for many pieces of legislation.

Next Wednesday, April 12, is the deadline for bills to completely make it through both chambers in some fashion. In other words, House bills need to get passed out of the Senate and vice versa. Exceptions are those tied to carrying out a budget or fulfilling a political priority of the majority party.

These next few days — Easter excluded — lawmakers will vote on dozens of them in hours-long floor sessions, punctuated by a periodic spirited debate on gun restrictions, abortion protections and housing construction.

The most spirited exchanges, however, may occur behind closed doors when the House Democratic Caucus ponders a course of action on vehicle pursuit and drug possession legislation. Should either or both of those matters reach the floor, the outcomes will be newsworthy.

Settle in. Gonna be a long week.

These already died

Meanwhile, some bills actually died in fiscal committees Tuesday, the deadline for those panels to advance bills on their journey (see above).

One sought to create an Office of Independent Prosecutions in the Attorney General’s Office to tackle allegations of police use of force. House Bill 1579, a priority of the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability, had a projected $20 million price tag, apparently too high for the Democrats steering the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

This single line in the fiscal note might have been its undoing: “The new division would handle a large volume of complex, controversial, high-profile, expensive, time-consuming cases.”

Democrat Rep. Monica Stonier, the bill’s sponsor and House floor leader, knew cost was a concern. She drafted an amendment to pare it down to a financially palatable level by drastically reducing the potential number of those ‘expensive, time-consuming’ cases. It never came up in committee.

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, who serves on the panel, said there’s support for independent prosecutions. But.

Policy questions and potential expense plus “trying to pass a bill like that down here” without Republican votes isn’t easy, he said.

This same committee also put down House Bill 1541, “Establishing the nothing about us without us act.”

Democrat Rep. Darya Farivar penned it. It sought to ensure task forces, work groups, advisory panels and commissions created by lawmakers to sort through complicated issues include people with real-world knowledge of the subject matter, AKA “lived experience.”

She got 38 Democrat and Republican co-sponsors. it passed the House 83-12 and carried a fiscal note of a million dollars a year spread among several agencies.

On Monday, not long after Sen. Christine Rolfes, the committee chair, said the bill wasn’t moving, Farivar arrived at the hearing room seeking an explanation. Not sure if she got one.

The one I got was brief. She called both rejected bills “works in progress” not ready for prime time. A fiscal committee is not the venue to do the degree of work required, she said.

2024 is only nine months away.

Fire up the BBQ

Thursday’s forecast at the Capitol calls for unusually high levels of smoke and high numbers of cowboy hats.

Beef Day is here. To the uninitiated, members of the Washington Cattleman’s Association pitch tents, unpack barbecues and cook up provisions for all who want to partake. Beef is served until it runs out.

And did I say the food is free? It is.

Pack up extra portions for the long nights ahead.

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 (Everett Herald) | Tom Banse (NW News Network) | Jim Brunner (Seattle Times) | Laurel Demkovich (Spokesman-Review) | Jeanie Linsday (KUOW)| Joseph O’Sullivan (Crosscut) | Melissa Santos (Axios) | Shauna Sowersby (McClatchy newspapers) | Claire Withycombe (Times)

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Traffic camera shows Everett and Marysville firefighters on the scene of a crane accident along northbound I-5 near milepost 198 Tuesday evening. (Provided photo)
Two workers fall from I-5 bridge Tuesday evening

The workers were in a “cherry picker” type bucket when it tipped over. One man fell 60 feet into the water and was taken to the hospital.

Lynnwood
Everett motorcyclist dies on Highway 99

Alexis Hernandez Cerritos was riding south on Highway 99 when a car driving north turned in front of him.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Everett’s rival minimum wage proposals: Second group submits signatures

Supporters from Raise the Wage Responsibly said their proposal strikes a balance between employees and employers.

Components of downtown Marysville’s new stormwater treatment facility can be seen from the walkway on Thursday, July 11, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. While much of the treatment and filtering happens out of sight, visitors of the area will see troughs, left, spilling water out onto the surrounding landscape, which soaks up the filtered water before it makes its way into a nearby lagoon. Overflow grates, right, help alleviate flooding during heavy rains. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
At new Marysville water treatment facility, plants filter out pollutants

City officials expect the $14 million project to clean 110 million gallons of water every year, reducing harm to wildlife.

Everett
Everett man sentenced to jail for threatening to bomb car dealership

The sentencing of Michael Harsh comes over two years after he threatened to bomb an Evergreen girls basketball game.

Everett
Everett courthouse garage briefly closed for ‘suspicious package’ report

A man drove his car into the Snohomish County Courthouse garage and reported he believed the package was in his car.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.