Inslee’s carbon setback, sex education, the Second Amendment

It’s Day 5 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

2020 Washington Legislature, Day 5 of 60

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

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OLYMPIA, Jan. 17, 2020 — Gov. Jay Inslee suffered another setback Thursday in his attempt to limit carbon emissions by the state’s largest polluters.

A sharply divided state Supreme Court fouled things up by invalidating key components of the Clean Air Rule drawn up by his Department of Ecology.

On the plus side, justices upheld the state’s ability to go after refineries, factories and other big producers of pollutants. It marks Inslee’s first win in seven years of trying to cap and, over time, reduce emissions of pollution-abetting carbon. To realize the victory, the department will have go through another round of rulemaking — which on Thursday Inslee didn’t commit to doing.

Rather, he made clear he’s extra motivated to get a low carbon fuel standard enacted this session. One passed the House and died in the Senate in 2019.

“The need for the clean fuels standard has doubled since last evening,” he told reporters Thursday morning.

Pity those Democratic senators opposed to the policy. They will be under immense pressure to change their minds these next 55 days.

Elsewhere Thursday, a ton of folks showed up to talk about the teaching of sex ed in public schools and the content of a Comprehensive Sexual Health Education task force report.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee talks to the media after a state Supreme Court ruling that reinstated a severely limited version of his plan to cap carbon pollution in the state. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee talks to the media after a state Supreme Court ruling that reinstated a severely limited version of his plan to cap carbon pollution in the state. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)


What we’re writing and reading

• Catch up on coverage of the clean air ruling in The Seattle Times and Spokane Spokesman-Review.

• There’s going to be another vacancy on the state Supreme Court. Justice Charles Wiggins is retiring, writes Rachel La Corte of The Associated Press.

• Unnecessary subsidy or valuable tool? The News-Tribune’s Debbie Cockrell writes on a new legislative audit which concluded the state can’t tell if a tax break, intended to encourage creation of multi-family housing, is working.


What’s happening

• Today is “Rally 4 UR Rights Lobby Day.” Gun owners and their friends are gathering on the Capitol steps to hear many salutes to the Second Amendment. The action starts around 9 a.m. Some may be armed with weapons. Others may be armed with the U.S. Constitution. If Facebook is to be believed, 550 people are coming, with 1,600 more interested.

• At 1:30 p.m., on the same steps, will be the “We Vape We Vote” rally organized by the United Vapers Alliance. They’re not happy with what state leaders have been doing to their industry.

• There’s lots of committee action for a Friday. Given there’s a gun rights rally, it’s worth noting that a bill establishing a single-point-of-contact background check system for firearms sales gets a hearing at 10 a.m. by the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.

Here’s the lineup.

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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