Possibly 150,000 are in line to clear overturned convictions

Here’s what’s happening on Day 5 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

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

2022 Washington Legislature, Day 5 of 60

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

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

OLYMPIA, Jan. 14 — We’ve reached the first Friday of the session. It’s been quite a week.

Gov. Jay Inslee did something Thursday he hadn’t done during the pandemic — namely, deploy the National Guard to assist in hospital emergency rooms — as well as something he has done before — order a halt in non-urgent medical procedures.

Inslee stepped in to bolster a health care system overwhelmed by the latest storm of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations while coping with a shortage of staff, some sidelined by the omicron variant itself.

“This is going to be a tough few weeks for us in Washington,” the governor said, adding hopefully that the other side of the peak, and the pandemic, “is not far off.”

By this time next week, residents may be able to acquire, for free, a rapid COVID test or KN95 mask from the state. Inslee’s promised a few million of both will be available through an online ordering system and delivered to homes by Amazon.

On the subject of tests, my colleague, Claudia Yaw, reports that testing sites in Everett and across the country are closing because of questions about the legitimacy of the company running them, the Center for COVID Control. The firm is under investigation in a couple of states. Complaints have been made to Washington’s attorney general.

Center for COVID Control CEO Aleya Siyaj seems to have an interesting background. Her LinkedIn profile says she ran an Illinois axe-throwing lounge for 2½ years and a donut cafe for another 2½ years before landing her current gig.

Blake II

Thousands of men and women got their convictions for simple drug possession nixed by the state Supreme Court’s Blake decision last February. They’ve been queuing up ever since to get their names cleared by the courts and money back for fines they paid. Both lines are long, and getting longer. Estimates are 150,000 cases dating back to 1971 may be subject to Blake. About 10,000 have been tackled so far.

Enter Senate Bill 5663. It seeks to provide the municipal and superior courts with an orderly method for handling cases. And it would create a “refund bureau” run by the Department of Revenue to be the exclusive means for people to get refunds of legal financial obligations they paid.

This bill is en route to the Senate Law and Justice Committee where the author, Sen. Manka Dhingra, is chair.

She’s hired

Former Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson is joining the Biden Administration as the new Washington state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. She’ll guide an office which provides federal financial aid and technical assistance to rural communities.

Johnson, a Democrat, served 12 years on the County Commission. In 2020, she challenged Republican Sen. Ron Muzzall, losing by roughly 2,000 votes. She’ll succeed Kirk Pearson of Monroe, the ex-state senator appointed to the post by former President Donald Trump. Pearson stepped down shortly before President Joe Biden took office.

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


News clippings

Compiled by: House Democrats | House Republicans



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 | Shows



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) | Shauna Sowersby (McClatchy newspapers) | Laurel Demkovich (Spokesman-Review)

Talk to us

More in Local News

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Providence nurse’s tearful plea shines light on short-staffed ER

The nurse described an overwhelmed emergency department, as staff have pleaded with the Everett City Council for hazard pay.

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. A leading doctor who chairs a World Health Organization expert group described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as "a random event" that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File)
Snohomish Health District hiring full-time monkeypox task force

The county is gearing up for more cases. The outbreak will be evaluated weekly to decide if a four-person team is merited.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Body found in impounded car in Lake Stevens

In June, Bothell police impounded the vehicle. Last week, a Lake Stevens business found a body inside.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
California woman dies after motorcycle crash west of Lake Stevens

Kimberly Moore was the passenger on a motorcycle Friday morning. She died the next night. She was 53.

A view of the proposed alternative station location to Everett Station located east of the current BNSF rail tracks in downtown. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could light rail station under Pacific Avenue and over railroad work?

A group representing people around Everett Station wants Sound Transit to study the idea.

State Representative Robert Sutherland, left, gives a thumbs-up to passing drivers as he and a few volunteers wave flags and campaign signs along the side of State Route 9 on July 22, in Lake Stevens. Sam Low, right, talks with seniors on July 20 in Lake Stevens. (Sutherland photo by Ryan Berry / The Herald, Low photo by Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In GOP battle of Sutherland vs. Low, Democrats may tip the scale

The state lawmaker and Snohomish County council member are vying for a House seat. Democrats make up roughly 40% of the vote.

Food forum
Chocolate peanut butter Incredibles

These chocolate peanut butter bars are, as the name suggests, incredible.

SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval in 2019. (Aaron Swaney)
SnoTown Brewery owner charged with child molestation

Frank Sandoval conceded his conduct with a girl at his brewery was inappropriate, but he denied touching her sexually, charges say.

Head-on crash in Everett leaves man with life-threatening injuries

A two-vehicle collision in the 11600 block of Evergreen Way shut down southbound traffic Monday morning.

Most Read