2020 Washington Legislature, Day 26 of 60
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OLYMPIA, Feb. 7, 2020 — Welcome to cutoff day for policy bills to move out of committee.
It might be a little tense at 8 a.m. in the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee, where a vote is expected on a controversial bill preventing the public disclosure of the dates of birth of government workers.
Passing House Bill 1888 is a top priority of the Washington State Labor Council. It’s been staunchly opposed by editorial boards of several daily newspapers.
On Thursday, James Drew of The News Tribune reported on a deal for amendments that would ensure journalists continue to have access to the information, but the general public would not. Earlier this week the Seattle Times editorial board wrote that everyone deserves access to the records but that The Times would “reluctantly support such an exception to avoid a worse outcome.”
• Meanwhile Thursday, House Democrats rejected three dozen amendments then passed a revamped tax hike on professional service businesses to pay for an expansion of college financial aid. The vote was 52-45. It now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for signing.
• Republican Rep. Richard DeBolt, a former House minority leader, announced on the House floor Thursday that he will retire when his term ends. “I love this institution so much,” he said before embracing several colleagues, including House Speaker Laurie Jinkins and her predecessor, Frank Chopp.
• Speaking of Jinkins, she told reporters late Thursday that she was not happy to have learned via Twitter that a summary of the investigation of former Rep. Jeff Morris had been made public.
And on the matter of Republican Rep. Matt Shea, she said the caucus did talk about it Wednesday and “did not come to a conclusion of what to do.” Expulsion is out barring a change of heart by Republicans. She did not rule out that some other avenue of action could be pursued before the end of legislative session.
• Among bills moving out of committees Thursday were ones to authorize an expanded Clean Air Rule, allow sports betting at tribal casinos, provide labor protections for domestic workers and reduce waste by curbing single-use food service packaging. The latter bill gained an amendment to allow businesses to offer tippy-cup lids to customers in lieu of a requested straw.
What we’re writing and reading
• A divided state Supreme Court upheld a man’s conviction for unlawful practice of law. Dissenting justices fretted that this ruling literally makes it illegal to give advice without a law degree.
• Democratic Snohomish County Councilman Terry Ryan is resigning to take a job in the administration of County Executive Dave Somers. As I report, Mill Creek Councilwoman Stephanie Vignal wants the job. Around here, people are waiting to see if Rep. Jared Mead of Mill Creek might, too.
• Jim Camden of the Spokesman-Review reports on legislation which will strengthen the Department of Ecology’s effort to regulate carbon emissions. Bills advanced from environment committees in the House and Senate.
• A King County Superior Court judge could toss Initiative 976 today. Or uphold it. Opponents and backers are seeking summary judgments in a hearing that gets under way at 9 a.m.
• It’s cutoff day for policy bills, so expect votes in every committee. Here’s today’s lineup of committee meetings.
• And the House Appropriations Committee is meeting Saturday morning. Go here to see its agenda.
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.
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)