Guv will testify; a dinosaur is revived; GOP is resurgent

Here’s what’s happening on Day 17 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

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

2022 Washington Legislature, Day 17 of 60

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: | @dospueblos

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OLYMPIA, Jan. 26 — Welcome to the Wednesday edition in which revival is a major theme.

That’s OK, that’s not

Defining a brighter line as to what candidates can say in voter pamphlet statements is teed up for another vote in the House.

House Bill 1453 bars “false and misleading statements” about one’s opponent. But it doesn’t prevent candidates from making a few disparaging comments about them. It passed 90-7 last year, then lapsed in the Senate.

When first introduced, this bill actually banned candidates from discussing one’s opponent at all. But Republican lawmakers succeeded in removing that prohibition during floor debate, arguing it impeded candidates’ First Amendment rights.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee’s push to make lying about election results a crime if the fib leads to violence gets an airing Friday morning. Senate Bill 5843 will be heard at 10:30 a.m. in the Senate State Government and Elections Committee.

Inslee signed in to testify.

Bill signing ahead

Also Friday, Inslee is expected to sign bills to delay the start of WA Cares until July 2023. With his signature, businesses can stop collecting a payroll tax imposed to fund the program.

Lawmakers will spend this year addressing questions as to who can receive benefits and how long the program will be solvent before the payroll tax will need to be increased.

Return of S. Rex

Is this the year Suciasaurus rex earns the honor of Washington’s official state dinosaur? Democratic Rep. Melanie Morgan’s bill to make it so is back on the House floor.

It’s been there before. In 2020, it passed 91-7 then died in the Senate. Last year it didn’t get a vote. Students who brought forth the idea should be in middle school by now.

If you’re wondering, 12 states already have official state dinosaurs. So, too, does Washington, D.C. It’s Capitalsaurus. Seriously.

Is the GOP getting grand again?

The latest from venerable p0llster H. Stuart Elway found an uptick in folks calling themselves Republicans in Washington.

As he wrote in Crosscut, those identifying as Republican bottomed out at 18% in July before bouncing back to 29% in the poll released this month. Democratic identification, which was above 40% last year, shrunk to 36%, leaving the party with a slim 7% advantage.

“In the 30 years I have been measuring party identification in the state, it has been rare to see so large a shift,” Elway wrote.

Nationally, a Gallup Poll found Democrats had a nine-point edge in party identification at the start of 2021. By year’s end, Republicans surged to a five-point advantage.

What does it mean? Polls are barometers. Elway’s poll seems to have captured a mood shift in the state that provides an interesting foundation heading into election season.

Don’t look for me to predict a Red Wave of a 1994 magnitude. Inflation and COVID are certainly stirring unease among those in the political middle. New boundaries of legislative districts add a further degree of unpredictability.

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