2023 Washington Legislature, Day 15 of 105
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OLYMPIA, Jan. 23, 2023 — It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week.
Flags outside the Capitol are lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, Calif.
Meanwhile, inside legislative buildings, the pace of committee meetings is picking up as lawmakers are holding hearings and voting on bills. Here’s this week’s schedule.
The Senate will be on the floor Wednesday morning to pass its first policy bills this session. Expect floor action in the House as well before the week is out.
License plate love
Demand for special license plates is up to three.
Legislation arrived last week to create specialty plates spotlighting Mount St. Helens and working forests. Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, authored both. There’s already a Senate bill seeking to honor the state sport, pickleball. None have received a hearing, yet.
The Mount St. Helens Institute is driving the effort to showcase Washington’s most active volcano on vehicles. The group is a private, nonprofit organization that wants to use proceeds to support youth education, land stewardship, and science at the volcano. “We consider ourselves to be purveyors of passion and our passion is Mount St. Helens,” reads its website. Here’s how the plate would look.
The Washington Forest Protection Association is behind the Support Working Forests plate. A portion of sales will go to the Washington Tree Farm program which certifies small landowners who practice sustainable forestry. See what it might look like here.
All three are popular ideas. If all three get approved, it may incite calls for pausing any new plates next session. That’s happened before without much success.
Leaders of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses meet with reporters at 2:20 p.m. today. TVW will stream live.
Republicans are scheduled to hold their weekly confab with reporters at 9 a.m. Tuesday. TVW should have it too.
Watch for crowds
Big rigs are here en masse today. That’s because it’s Washington Trucking Association lobby day.
Wednesday is Dairy Day. It’s been a couple years since there have been people around to celebrate it. I am expecting you’ll be able to find some (free) milk under the Dome around lunchtime.
Also Wednesday, opponents of a commercial airport getting built in rural Pierce County will be filling the steps on the Capitol’s north side. A state-sanctioned commission identified a couple potential sites where an airport could go if SeaTac maxes out. There’s bipartisan opposition. About 1,000 people may show up at 10 a.m. to make their case.
Of local interest
Lynnwood City Council Member Joshua Binda is not getting the kind of attention this week that elected officials seek.
On Thursday, the Public Disclosure Commission will decide whether the 23-year-old first-time officeholder should be fined $1,000 for having improperly spent contributions to his 2021 campaign on things like dental work, rent and airline tickets for personal travel.
Tonight, his council colleagues want to know more about the circumstances of his entering City Hall after hours to make a video about a series of speeches he was making at area schools, appearances for which he’ll earn $12,750.
City code states “an official or employee shall not knowingly use his or her office or position for personal or family benefit gain or profit.” Binda said he didn’t cross any line.
“Nothing I did was wrong. I wasn’t campaigning. I wasn’t promoting. It was an announcement video,” he told The Herald on Saturday.
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 (Everett Herald) | Tom Banse (NW News Network) | Jim Brunner (Seattle Times) | Laurel Demkovich (Spokesman-Review) | Joseph O’Sullivan (Crosscut) | Melissa Santos (Axios) | Shauna Sowersby (McClatchy newspapers) | Claire Withycombe (Times)