In Olympia, talk of homelessness, climate and an income tax

What’s happening on Day 3 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature.

2020 Washington Legislature, Day 3 of 60

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

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OLYMPIA, Jan. 15, 2020 — Gov. Jay Inslee kept it simple in his State of the State address on Tuesday.

Two issues — homelessness and climate change — consumed most of the speech, which concluded with the governor summoning forth the words of soccer star Megan Rapinoe as inspiration for the 147 legislators in the chamber.

It was the last State of the State of his second term. He’ll get four more of them if he wins a third term in November, as expected, and serves all of it, which might hinge on who is president.

Sen. John Braun delivered the Republican response, and no, he didn’t quote any athletes in his walk-off.

Tuesday brought a rare sighting of journalists testifying at a public hearing. Reporters-turned-editors Jonathan Martin of The Seattle Times and Andy Hobbs of Sound Publishing (owner of The Daily Herald) told a House committee why a bill exempting public employee dates of birth from disclosure is a bad thing.

Getting this exemption is a top priority of organized labor, and leaders of several unions explained to lawmakers why it’s important to pass. Buckle up, this will be a bumpy ride for all involved.


What we’re writing and reading

Of course, I checked out what others wrote about the governor’s speech, including Rachel La Corte of The Associated Press here, Joseph O’Sullivan of The Seattle Times here and Jim Camden of the Spokesman Review in Spokane here.

Fifteen Democratic lawmakers asked the state Supreme Court to allow a state graduated income tax, writes Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center. Here’s the brief.

Meanwhile, in the other Washington, the Senate is prepping for its impeachment trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected today to name those who will manage the House case against President Donald Trump, says The Washington Post.


What’s happening

The first votes on policy bills this session may happen Wednesday. The House and Senate are each scheduled for possible floor sessions between 10 a.m. and noon.

And it’s Dinosaur Day at the Capitol. A bill designating the Suciasaurus rex as the official state dinosaur will get its first airing at 1:30 p.m. What, you didn’t know dinosaurs once roamed the state? It’s a recent discovery.

Correction! Yesterday’s Cornfield Report said a hearing on a bill about reviews of inmate deaths in state prisons was on the House side. Actually, it was the Senate Human Services, Reentry and Rehabilitation Committee. Sorry about that.

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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