Death, Boeing taxes, plastic, sex ed, pandemic

Day 47 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

Death, Boeing taxes, plastic, sex ed, pandemic

2020 Washington Legislature, Day 47 of 60

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: | @dospueblos

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OLYMPIA, Feb. 28, 2020 — The death penalty and Boeing tax breaks, sex ed and a plastic-bag ban.

Those subjects got plenty of attention Thursday. As did dozens of other matters as House and Senate committees churned out legislation ahead of today’s cutoff for policy bills.

Democrats used their majorities to advance bills to eliminate the death penalty; repeal a Boeing tax break while leaving in a provision for its return; require public schools to adopt a comprehensive sexual health education curriculum covering all grades; and ban single-use plastic bags statewide.

This morning at 8 a.m., Senate-passed data privacy legislation is expected to be voted out of the House technology committee that bottled it up last year. There is a striking amendment. We’ll see if it is a deal-breaker or a deal-maker.

• State senators spent Thursday afternoon debating a supplemental operating budget. More accurately, they fenced and feuded their way through a litany of amendments, including ones from Republicans to cut property taxes and suspend the Discover Pass program for a year. Those both went down.

Once Democrats mowed down the final GOP amendment, the darn thing passed on a 33-16 vote. For some of the flavor, check out coverage from Jim Camden of The Spokesman-Review.

It now goes to the House, which will engage in a similar political exercise on its proposed supplemental budget, possibly today.

• Classes at Bothell High School were canceled Thursday and Friday because the family member of a school employee came down with an undiagnosed illness after international travel. During this coronavirus scare, the district wants to play it safe, reports Andrea Brown of The Herald. Late Thursday, district officials issued an update explaining why there would be no classes Friday.

Meanwhile, the supplemental operating budget passed by the state Senate contains $10 million to cover costs of state agencies and local health districts. And COVID-19 is starting to have some ripple effects in the economy. To that end, senators made more money available for emergency assistance for impacted businesses. In the short term, a firm in Cosmopolis appears to be a main target of this aid.

• Attorney General Bob Ferguson improved to 25-0 in litigation with President Donald Trump. The latest win came Thursday, when a federal judge in Seattle said the president may not divert $89 million intended for a military construction project in Washington to build his border wall. AP’s Gene Johnson runs it down.

You can review Ferguson’s triumphs and pending matchups with the Trump administration on this page on the A.G. website.

What we’re writing and reading

Facebook won’t be paying $75,000 to settle charges of repeatedly violating state campaign finance laws. The state Public Disclosure Commission wants A.G. Ferguson to handle the matter, David Gutman of The Seattle Times reports.

• Lawmakers are exploring many paths this session to keep a lid on the cost of insulin, reports Daisy Zavala of The Spokesman Review.

James Drew of the News Tribune covered the House Education Committee as it narrowly passed the sex-ed bill.

Snohomish County will pay $750,000 to settle three lawsuits filed by ex-employees who worked for former county Prosecutor Mark Roe. Those suits, and a fourth that’s pending, allege Roe created a hostile workplace, rife with insensitive comments, crude innuendos and derogatory slurs, writes Rachel Riley of The Herald.

What’s happening

• The House convenes at 10 a.m. for what is likely to be action on one or more budgets.

• A bill to repeal Boeing’s tax break, in an effort to end a trade dispute, is teed up for action by the Senate Ways and Means Committee late Friday. A companion bill passed the House Finance Committee Thursday as supporters acknowledged it needs work.

• On Saturday, the House Appropriations, House Transportation and Senate Ways and Means committees are meeting.

Here is today’s lineup of committee hearings.

Legislative agendas, schedules and calendars


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