Is the ‘grand bargain’ crumbling? Is a drug-law fix coming?

Here’s what’s happening on Day 99 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

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

2021 Washington Legislature, Day 99 of 105

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

Want this in your inbox Monday-Wednesday-Friday? Subscribe here.

OLYMPIA, April 19, 2021 — Good morning. It’s the final Monday of regular session. When the clock reaches 8 a.m., lawmakers will have 160 hours until Sine Die. Here’s where things stand in two dramas which will occupy the spotlight today.

Whither the ‘grand bargain’?

A cap-and-trade program is emerging as majority Democrats’ chosen path for tackling carbon emissions.

House Democrats reworked Senate Bill 5126 to cut direct ties with passage of a transportation funding package. Rather, the latest version steers money into a new account outside the transportation budget to pay for transit, electric ferries and other stuff to get cars off the road. This may win over those who want a straight carbon fee and who oppose spending any carbon-related revenue on pavement.

Also, a low-carbon fuel standard is now part of the SB 5126 conversation. An amendment from Democratic Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, the clean fuels guru, requires a standard be enacted by the end of 2027, otherwise no proceeds from the cap-and-trade program can go into that new account.

Meanwhile, a transportation package awaits action in the Senate and must still go through the House. Its future is dicey. It could be slimmed down or remade into a roads-heavy package. But some legislative leaders are willing to wait until 2022 to see if a federal infrastructure bill is signed that handles any of the state’s targeted needs. Theirs may be the final word.

Will there be a Blake bargain?

Lawmakers are intent on doing something in response to the state Supreme Court’s Blake decision, which invalidated the drug-possession law. There are signs of a bipartisan willingness to use the operating budget to bolster treatment services for those with a substance use disorder.

One sticking point is whether to allow adults to legally possess small amounts of drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD. Some Democrats want to, some Democrats don’t. Republicans are opposed across the board. Another area of difference is the appropriate punishment if possession is outlawed.

The Senate’s passage of a revised Senate Bill 5476 may be a harbinger of a final product. It makes drug possession a crime again but lessens the penalty to a gross misdemeanor from the felony it was before. Among other changes, it requires diversion for first and second offenses and starts a conversation on personal use amounts. It passed 28-20.

Senate bills 5126 and 5476 will receive public hearings at 9 am today in the House Appropriations Committee. The panel is to vote on cap-and-trade Tuesday and the Blake bill Wednesday.

To subscribe to the Cornfield Report, go to www.heraldnet.com/newsletters. | Previous Cornfield Reports here.

 

News clippings

Compiled by: House Democrats | House Republicans

 

On TV

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.

TVW schedule | Current and recent video | Archives | Shows

 

Links

Contact your legislator | District lookup | Bill lookup

Legislature home | House | Senate

Caucuses: House Democrats | House Republicans | Senate Democrats | Senate Republicans

Office of the Governor

Laws and agency rules

Beat reporters: Jerry Cornfield (Herald) | Rachel La Corte (AP) | Joseph O’Sullivan (Times) | Jim Brunner (Times) | Austin Jenkins (NW News Network) | Melissa Santos (Crosscut) | Sara Gentzler (McClatchy) | Laurel Demkovich (Spokesman-Review) | Jim Camden (Spokesman-Review)

Talk to us

More in Local News

A wanted suspect was arrested after a standoff with law enforcement Tuesday night. (Bothell Police Department)
Kidnapping suspect arrested after standoff in Bothell

A large police presence contained the property in the 20500 block of 32nd Dr. SE on Tuesday night.

Community Transit's Lynnwood microtransit pilot project is set to launch this fall with a service area around the Alderwood mall. (Community Transit)
Lynnwood’s microtransit test begins this fall, others possible

Community Transit could launch other on-demand services in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens.

Doctor Thomas Robey sits in a courtyard at Providence Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘It’d be a miracle’: Providence tests new treatment for meth addiction

Monoclonal antibodies could lead to the first drug designed to fight meth addiction. Everett was chosen due to its high meth use.

Rev. Barbara Raspberry, dressed in her go-to officiating garments, sits in the indoor chapel at her home, the Purple Wedding Chapel, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Everett, Washington. The space used to be two bedrooms, but she and her husband Don took down a wall converted them into a room for wedding ceremonies the day after their youngest son moved out over 20 years ago. The room can seat about 20 for in-person ceremonies, plus it serves as a changing room for brides and is the setting for virtual weddings that Raspberry officiates between brides and their incarcerated fiancees at the Monroe Correctional Complex. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s oh-so-colorful Purple Wedding Chapel is in the red

Rev. Rasberry has hitched hundreds of couples over the years. After her husband died, she’s unsure if she can keep the place.

Everett
Man dies in motorcycle crash that snarled I-5 in Everett

Washington State Patrol: he tried to speed by another driver but lost control and hit the shoulder barrier.

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, right, a Democrat, and Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, left, running as a nonpartisan, take part in a debate, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Olympia, Wash., with Melissa Santos, center, of Axios Local, moderating. Hobbs and Anderson are seeking to fill the remaining two years of the term of Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who left to take a key election security job in the Biden administration. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sparks fly as Hobbs, Anderson face off in secretary of state debate

Julie Anderson called Steve Hobbs an “inexperienced political appointee.” He’s been in the job since Inslee put him there in November.

Zion Wright, 6, makes a face as Cecilia Guidarrama starts to massage cold facial cleanser onto his face during Evergreen Beauty College’s annual back-to-school beauty event on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of kids get free back-to-school haircuts in Everett

For hours on Wednesday, training beauticians pampered families at the Everett campus of Evergreen Beauty College.

Jose Espinoza Aguilar appears in court via video for arraignment Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prosecutors: ‘Danger’ shot man in head ‘without provocation or warning’

Jose Espinoza Aguilar had just been released from prison in May for another shooting. He now faces charges of first-degree assault.

Former public works site at 1201 Bonneville Ave is slated for affordable in housing in the Midtown District of Snohomish, Washington on April 21, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Small step’ toward affordable housing is big debate in Snohomish

Four months of public hearings have hinged on how much more taxpayers could shell out if the city offers a developer a break.

Most Read