Halfway there, budget committees dive into a pile of bills

It’s Day 30 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

2020 Washington Legislature, Day 30 of 60

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

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OLYMPIA, Feb. 11, 2020 — We’ve reached the halfway point of the 2020 session. Which means it’s all downhill from here. We can only hope.

It is cutoff day for fiscal bills, which means marathon meetings of the budget committees in the two chambers. Check out the agenda for the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It has 63 bills up for votes. Starting Wednesday, lawmakers in both chambers will spend many hours on the floor passing bills for the other chamber to consider.

• The Legislative Ethics Board on Monday dismissed a complaint against Democratic Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos of Seattle that was filed by a former legislative assistant. But it was a pretty close call. As the AP’s Rachel La Corte reports, the board did find reasonable cause that the veteran lawmaker violated a rule regarding release of confidential medical information about the ex-employee.

• Tragedy at Western State Hospital Sunday morning where one patient died and another was found unresponsive. An investigation is under way.

• They’ve been voting in New Hampshire’s presidential primary since 12:01 a.m. EST. Among Democratic candidates, Pete Buttigieg began the day with 13 delegates as a result of his performance in the Iowa caucuses. Bernie Sanders had 12 and Elizabeth Warren 8.

• It’s a special election day here in Washington. School districts around the state are asking voters to support construction bonds and enrichment levies. I’ll be covering the action in Snohomish County, where voters are deciding the fate of roughly $1.7 billion worth of construction.

• There will soon be a new leader of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. On Sunday, in the tribe’s Senate election, 27-year-old Alana Quintasketdefeated incumbent Brian Cladoosby, according to a news release. Quintasket, whose campaign slogan was “Make Shift Happen,” unseated a 35-year senator who was chairman for 23 of them. The Swinomish Indian Senate will elect a new chair at its next meeting, according to the news release.

What we’re writing and reading

• Gov. Jay Inslee signed the session’s first new law Monday. It’s also the first tax increase of 2020. Jim Camden of The Spokesman-Review reports on the law, which will fund an expansion of the state’s college financial aid programs.

• Is Seattle cooling on Bernie Sanders? Gene Balk of The Seattle Times charts increasingly strong fundraising support for other Democratic presidential candidates.

• The U.S. Department of Justice sued King County on Monday to overturn the county’s ban on immigration deportation flights at Boeing Field in Seattle. Martha Belisle of The Associated Press writes about this legal battle.

What’s happening

• It’s Christian Family Day at the Capitol. The highlight will be the Rally for Religious Freedom hosted by the Family Policy Institute of Washington. It is to start at 10 a.m.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate will hold their weekly confab with reporters at 10 a.m. TVW will stream.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, however, will not hold a confab with reporters this week.

Here is today’s abbreviated lineup of committee meetings.

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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