2020 Washington Legislature, Day 40 of 60
Want this in your inbox Monday-Friday? Subscribe here.
OLYMPIA, Feb. 21, 2020 — Happy Friday. There are only two more remaining during regular legislative session.
Democratic leaders of the House and Senate did their best Thursday to spotlight the work thus far to address issues like homelessness, housing, child care, climate change, prescription drug pricing, data privacy and gun safety.
But it was the failure to advance a bill banning high-capacity gun magazines that drew lots of questions during their weekly confab with reporters. It also was a topic in separate press conferences with Gov. Jay Inslee and with Republican legislative leaders. Here’s my recap of what they and others said. In a nutshell, the bill collapsed under the weight of 120 Republican amendments in the House and never made it to the floor of the Senate.
• Now we know exactly how many House Democrats and Republicans want to launch proceedings to expel Republican Matt Shea: 56 Democrats and 0 Republicans.
Democratic Reps. Tana Senn and Gael Tarleton invited every member of the House — except Shea — to sign a letter asking House Speaker Laurie Jinkins and House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox to get the process going. Senn had it on her desk for people to sign up until 5 p.m.
“I think this is a moment in time where there is a clear distinction between the parties,” Senn said shortly after retrieving the letter. “I think it’s kind of sinking in that they’re not willing to stand up to a domestic terrorist.”
Jim Camden of The Spokesman-Review has more details in this report.
• On this they (almost) all agree: A bill introduced by 41 state senators Thursday seeks to restore skylights in the legislative building. Apparently they got removed in the 1970s and replaced with solid roofing. Senate Bill 6691 directs about $6 million be provided to let the sunshine in again.
• Ballots for the March 10 presidential primary go out this weekend.
In related news, Pete Buttigieg on Thursday received the endorsement of Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib.
What we’re writing and reading
• Increasing the stock of affordable housing is a major priority of both parties this session. James Drew of The News Tribune tracks the progress of several bills moving toward the legislative finish line.
• State Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz released her Plan for Climate Resilience on Thursday. Evan Bush of The Seattle Times reports that the 96-page document is “long on ambition but short on specifics in some areas.”
• When Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, some thought it was weird. She’s sticking by her choice, writes Alison Needles of The News Tribune.
• A data privacy bill approved by the Senate on a 46-1 vote will be considered by the House innovation and technology committee at 10 a.m. This is the committee that killed last year’s version. This piece by Joseph O’Sullivan of The Seattle Times will catch you up on the debate.
• House Bill 1888, which exempts birth dates of school and government employees from public disclosure but allows the media to continue to have access to them, is in front of the Senate state government committee at 1:30 p.m. It cleared the House on a 91-7 vote.
• Looking ahead to Monday: Separate supplemental budget proposals are due to be released early in the day by House and Senate Democrats. And in the afternoon, a Senate bill to eliminate the death penalty statute will be considered by the House Public Safety Committee.
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)