2020 Washington Legislature, Day 57 of 60
Want this in your inbox Monday-Friday? Subscribe here.
OLYMPIA, March 9, 2020 —Good Monday morning.
Welcome to the final four days of the regular session. With less than 100 hours to go, the to-do list comes into very sharp focus.
• Agreements on supplemental budgets need to be wrapped up today, or tonight, but certainly by early Tuesday. That’s the only way there will be enough time to get them printed and in front of legislators in time to be voted on by Thursday’s scheduled adjournment.
• Negotiations continued over the weekend on a bill repealing a tax break for the Boeing Co. in hopes of ending a trade dispute There’s no doubt lawmakers want to take it away as the company requested. The conversation is on whether Boeing should face new conditions if it is to ever get the tax break back later.
• The House still needs to take final action on a $100 million emergency funding package to cover costs incurred by state agencies and local health districts responding to the coronavirus crisis. There’s no controversy. It just hasn’t happened yet.
• Time is running out on House Bill 2957, which would expand Gov. Jay Inslee’s authority to regulate emissions under the state Clean Air Rule. House Speaker Laurie Jinkins has said the House will not vote on it unless it is clear the Senate will pass it, as well. As of Monday morning, the House had not acted.
• Saturday saw several significant policies near or reach the finish line. Among them were bills requiring public schools to have a comprehensive sexual education curriculum, allowing sports betting at tribal casinos, establishing a statewide ban on plastic bags and exempting menstrual product purchases from sales tax.
Inslee was on national television Sunday and sounded like he might soon order the curtailment of some social activities. Here’s an account from Daniel Beekman of The Seattle Times.
There’s confusion and frustration as people at risk seek to be tested. Diane Gorman, a public school teacher in Snohomish County, did get tested but had it done while sitting in her car in a parking garage. She shared her experience with Julia-Grace Sanders of The Herald.
• Washington’s presidential primary is Tuesday. Turnout has been brisk. Already, more people have returned ballots for this election than voted four years ago. Still have a few questions? Jim Camden of The Spokesman-Review has answers.
What we’re writing and reading
• Tribes are closing in on their ability to share sales tax with the state. Here’s my latest story on legislation allowing the governor to negotiate sales tax revenue-sharing compacts with federally recognized tribes. Signing could occur this week.
• A bill protecting black hairstyles from discrimination is on its way to governor for signing, reports Claudia Yaw of The Seattle Times.
• James Drew of The News Tribune covered the emotion-packed Senate floor debate preceding passage of the sex-ed legislation.
• Swatting incidents are on the rise, and some lawmakers want harsher punishment, writes Lilly Fowler of Crosscut.
• The House and the Senate are scheduled to begin floor sessions at 10 a.m.
• The Senate Ways and Means Committee meets at 3:30 p.m. Tax breaks and tax policies dominate the agenda. Passing them is likely necessary to implement the budget.
• At 11 a.m., the state Department of Health provides its daily update on the number of deaths attributed to the new coronavirus. You can find the update here.
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.
Beat reporters: Jerry Cornfield (Herald) | Rachel La Corte (AP) | Joseph O’Sullivan (Times) | Jim Brunner (Times) | Melissa Santos (Crosscut) | Jim Camden (Spokesman-Review) | Austin Jenkins (NW News Network) | James Drew (News Tribune)