New House speaker is hands-off when it comes to committees

It’s Day 31 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

2020 Washington Legislature, Day 31 of 60

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

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OLYMPIA, Feb. 12, 2020 — Good morning.

Are you ready for long caucuses followed by longer floor sessions in the House and Senate?

That’s what in store for the Legislature in the coming week. Both will be in full bill-passing mode ahead of a Feb. 19 deadline to kick legislation to the opposite chamber.

House Speaker Laurie Jinkins told reporters Tuesday that the House will work into the evening Wednesday and Thursday, will cut out a little early Friday and then will be back at it at noon on Sunday.

We also learned something interesting from the first-term speaker. She doesn’t review and sign off on any of the agendas for committee meetings, which is the opposite of what occurred before she arrived. “When I was (a) chair, every agenda had to be approved by leadership,” Jinkins said.

That’s not to say she isn’t trying to influence the thinking of committee leaders. She said she wants them to consider if a bill is helpful to the state and in sync with caucus goals. And she’s adamant about them not moving bills that are unconstitutional. For the most part, chairs are getting ample opportunity to “exercise leadership.”

“That’s what my caucus said they wanted,” Jinkins told us.

• Tuesday’s special election was anything but special for school districts in Snohomish County. Voters were not in much of a mood to spend. No bond measure garnered the necessary 60% (though Mukilteo is on the cusp) and enrichment levies in two districts failed. You can see the results here for the county and go here for results throughout the state.

• The exodus of Democratic presidential candidates continued Tuesday with the withdrawal of Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet. But voters in Washington’s March 10 primary will still see their names on the ballot because it’s too late to remove them.


What we’re writing and reading

Joey Thompson and I provide more local coverage of the special election in Snohomish County.

Boeing had a bad January, as in the worst in 25 years. It booked no orders for new planes and delivered just 13, reports Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times.

• Rep. Matt Shea is in the news again. This time, Chad Sokol of The Spokesman-Review tells the story of his layoff from the law firm at which he worked the past decade.

• And you case you need a quick review of the New Hampshire primary, here’s one from NPR.


What’s happening

• It’s all about floor sessions. The House convenes at 9 a.m. and the Senate at 10 a.m.

• A 9.a.m. hearing is planned in the Senate Law and Justice Committee on a bill authorizing the Washington State Patrol to destroy firearms forfeited to the agency. House Bill 1010 passed the House on a party-line 56-42 vote.

Tim Eyman will be in his hometown of Yakima to make what he says is a “very important speech” and “a very big announcement” about his gubernatorial campaign. It is set for 5 p.m.

Here is today’s abbreviated schedule 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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