Democratic supplemental budget proposals are unveiled today

Day 43 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

Democratic supplemental budget proposals are unveiled today

2020 Washington Legislature, Day 43 of 60

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: | @dospueblos

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OLYMPIA, Feb. 24, 2020 — Good Monday morning.

Today comes the big reveal of how Democrats in the House and Senate want to tweak the state’s spending in the second half of the biennium, which starts July 1.

At noon, House Democrats will roll out their supplemental operating, transportation and capital budget proposals. There will be much talk of how much money is earmarked for combating homelessness and addressing other social challenges. There is also going to be many questions on how the majority party responds to Initiative 976, which created a roughly $454 million hole in the state transportation budget.

At 1:45 p.m., with far less fanfare, Senate Democrats will put out their supplemental spending plan. Their capital budget already cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee and their transportation plan is due out Tuesday.

Public hearings on budget bills are planned for this afternoon.

Matt Shea can take his victory lap now. As I noted last month, the Republican representative from Spokane Valley could start stretching but there was still time to expel him. Now, after no Republicans signed onto a letter seeking his expulsion, House Speaker Laurie Jinkins declared Friday it isn’t going to happen. (You can read the letter here.) But if you read what she said closely, it seems there’s a chance of something occurring before Sine Die.

Here’s her full statement:

It is profoundly disappointing and, I believe, destructive to the institution that not a single Republican member of the House signed the letter. House Democrats believe, uniformly, that Rep. Shea’s acts to promote political violence warrant expulsion. Our attempts to have a discussion as a full body were not successful. While 56 members did sign the letter, without Republican support any expulsion of Matt Shea is futile. I will not spend another minute trying to convince my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to stand up for what is right. There are 20 days left in this session, and I’m focused on addressing the needs across our state and finishing on time. I’ll let future actions be decided after we’ve done our work here for the people of Washington state.

What we’re writing and reading

• Using body scanners at the Monroe Correctional Complex to detect contraband is an idea that’s gaining traction in Olympia. Stephanie Davey of The Herald has the story.

• Backers of a 51st State canceled a planned rally last week. In Spin Control, Jim Camden of The Spokesman-Review explains.

• State health officials are backing a bill to change a rarely used law that makes it a felony to intentionally expose a sexual partner to HIV. AP’s Rachel La Corte reports on the proposed revisions and the political fight they’ve triggered.

• If you missed it, Tim Eyman, serial initiative promoter and Republican candidate for governor, came out on the wrong end of a legal ruling last Friday. Here’s my account.

• With presidential primary ballots in voters’ hands in Washington, here’s a story from Axios, by Sara Fischer, about how the older Democratic candidates are using social media to cultivate support.

What’s happening

• At 3:30 p.m., the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee will take public testimony on the respective supplemental budgets of each chamber. Also that hour, the House Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on the Democrats’ transpo spending plan.

Sports wagering at tribal casinos is in front of the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee at 10 a.m. It’s a hearing on HB 2638, and there could be a vote to advance it from committee.

Eliminating the state’s death penalty statute gets a hearing at 1:30 p.m. in the House Public Safety Committee. This is SB 5339. The state Senate has passed a version of this legislation three times.

Here is today’s lineup of committee hearings.

Legislative agendas, schedules and calendars


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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)

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