COVID relief, vaccine reality and a monster road package

Here’s what’s happening on Day 10 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

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

2021 Washington Legislature, Day 10 of 105

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: | @dospueblos

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

OLYMPIA, Jan. 20, 2021 — Good morning. Joe Biden gets sworn in as president today, but lawmakers in Washington aren’t taking a break to watch his inauguration.

House Speaker Laurie Jinkins says lawmakers are in the final stages of assembling the session’s first COVID19-relief spending bill and could file it as early as Friday. Hearings would occur next week, she said.

She didn’t divulge any specifics. She said it will allocate federal dollars from the pandemic aid package approved by Congress in December. It also may tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund to cover expenses that the federal dollars don’t cover, she said.

Friday may also see the House pass its first COVID-19-related bills, including one to exempt businesses from paying taxes on federal PPP loans they received and another making it possible to waive some graduation requirements for high school seniors due to the pandemic.

A dose of vaccine tension

You’ll have to excuse Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers if he wasn’t awestruck by the revamped vaccination distribution plan Gov. Jay Inslee rolled out Monday.

In recent days, the county and the Snohomish Health District methodically opened three sites with a collective capacity of delivering vaccines to 4,500 people a day. But the state only sent them 2,300 doses last week, when it received nearly 124,000 doses. That means the third-most-populous county got 1.8% of the total.

Granted, the state isn’t getting enough supply to satisfy everyone’s demand. Still, Somers and leaders of the County Council were vexed by the paltry sum. After they agitated last week, the state snagged 1,000 more doses from a provider in another county.

“It makes absolutely no sense to me,” Somers said. “We’ve been in daily, almost hourly contact with the governor, complaining about this.”

On Tuesday, the county and health district reported having no vaccine to give out.

Can Microsoft do this?

We learned Monday that Microsoft is deploying its workforce to the front lines of the state’s vaccination efforts. Another pressing chore could benefit from the creative forces at the software giant.

See, the state Department of Health posts information online about vaccine providers in each county. You can see it here. It’s sparse in places, as the agency is dependent on what information it receives. It will fill in gradually. Probably should bookmark the page.

Check out this site for where to get a vaccine shot in California. Click around. This approach seems to offer a clearer path for people to get their questions answered. To think this one is crowd-sourced.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the state did add a new tab for vaccination information on its COVID-19 Data Dashboard. It shows how many people have gotten a shot across the state and by county. And you can see how many have received two shots.

Dream weavers

House Democrats unveiled a monster $25.8 billion transportation package Tuesday — and said even if approved it doesn’t cover all the needs of Washington. An 18-cent hike in the gas tax and a fee on carbon emissions are the primary generators of revenue.

The dough will get spent replacing culverts, preserving highways and bridges, building electric ferries and constructing a bunch of projects, including a new I-5 Columbia River bridge linking Washington and Oregon.

Work sessions in the House Transportation Committee are expected later this week. Meanwhile, a transpo package will emerge in the Senate soon.

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

Arlington woman dies in crash on Highway 530

The Washington State Patrol says a Stanwood man ran a red light, striking Zoey Ensey as she turned onto the highway.

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)
Monkeypox case count rises to 6 in Snohomish County

Meanwhile, cases in the state have roughly doubled every week. Most of those have been in neighboring King County.

Farmer Frog employees sort through a pallet of lettuce at their new location on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At Farmer Frog’s new pad, nonprofit helps feed 1.5M Washingtonians

The emergency food distribution network began amid the pandemic. Demand was high — so high, the truck volume led them to move.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Snohomish County, cities announce $9.6M for mental health, shelter

Projects span from Edmonds to Sultan. Each city is using American Rescue Plan Act money, with the county contributing, too.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Suspect in custody after man’s gunshot death, standoff

Deputies responded to a domestic violence call and found the suspect barricaded on the property near Snohomish.

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.

Jon Elmgren, president of the Everett Rock Club, talks with two club members while out searching for olivine and other minerals on Saturday, July 22, 2022, along the Nooksack River near Deming, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett rockhounds dig in for shiny, rare, ‘ugly as sin’ treasure

This club has been around for 83 years. They’ll tell you what rocks their world — and how to identify “leaverite.”

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.

Two students walk along a path through campus Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. The college’s youth-reengagement program has lost its funding, and around 150 students are now without the money they need to attend classes. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Monroe nixes college program, leaving 150-plus students in the lurch

For years, the Monroe School District footed the bill for “U3” students, who have gotten mixed messages about why that’s ending.

Most Read