Election workers, vaccine equity and a testy GOP presser

Here’s what’s happening on Day 31 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

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

2021 Washington Legislature, Day 31 of 105

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

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

OLYMPIA, Feb. 10, 2021 — Good morning.

As Day 2 of Trump Impeachment II gets under way, a political double-header looms in Olympia today.

This afternoon, a $2.2 billion COVID relief package is expected to get approved by the state Senate and sent to the governor for signing.

Around the same time, a Thurston County Superior Court judge will issue a ruling in the state’s nearly four-year-old civil lawsuit against ballot-initiative impresario Tim Eyman.

Vaccination equity

Are the state-run mass vaccination sites pushing quantity ahead of equity? House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, hinted as much Monday, telling reporters she’d like to see vaccination efforts increased in local communities. Corralling lots of folks at one location is efficient, but Democrats are concerned it’s not achieving the equitable distribution they desire.

It’s not a criticism of what the state Department of Health is doing, she said. It’s a difficult balance made harder by too much demand and not enough supply of doses, she said. Still, Democrats have a few questions they plan to pose to state health officials next week.

Protecting election workers

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, told the Senate Law and Justice Committee that he got “really ticked off” by reports of election workers in Washington and around the country being threatened and harassed following November’s election.

As you recall, some had their personal information circulated online. And there was a website containing pictures of Washington’s election director and her counterparts in other states with crosshairs superimposed on the images.

Frockt introduced Senate Bill 5148 to send a message that it’s not acceptable. The bill would impose stiffer penalties on those found guilty of harassing an election official.

Not a lot of people will ever get prosecuted under the tougher punishment, he said. It is a statement — that if you engage in harassing unelected election workers, “you will be prosecuted.”

It received a hearing Monday and is set for a committee vote Thursday.

Next question

Tuesday’s media availability with Republican leaders had a touch of tension.

Republican senators’ appointment of a former colleague, Joe Fain of Auburn, to the 2021 Redistricting Commission is roiling women political leaders.

Earlier that day, those guiding the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington, the state Democratic Party and four other organizations called for Fain’s resignation. They want a “thorough investigation” of sexual-assault allegations that first surfaced in a social media post as Fain sought re-election to the Senate in 2018.

Fain denied the alleged incident took place. No police report has ever been filed. He lost the election.

When reporters asked GOP legislators about the resignation demand, they passionately defended Fain and took aim at reporters for even bringing up the topic.

“It is irresponsible journalism to continue to push this narrative,” said Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center, who called Fain a “noble public servant” who had been “besmirched” by campaign politics that “all went away right after the election.”

“We just think it is time for responsible reporting to happen where no more ink is devoted to campaign smears. We are standing by Sen. Fain as the most sound choice,” she said, concluding, “That is that. Next question.”

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 | Archives | 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 (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
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