Gov. Jay Inslee stands near the sundial in front of the Legislative Building at the Capitol in Olympia on Jan. 4. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Gov. Jay Inslee stands near the sundial in front of the Legislative Building at the Capitol in Olympia on Jan. 4. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

This is what climate change looks like in the state Senate

Since regaining the majority, Democrats have five noticeable developments on their to-do list.

OLYMPIA — There’s been a noticeable climate change in the state Senate since Democrats regained the majority.

A victory in a special election last fall put them in charge and ended the five-year reign of a Republican-led coalition.

Although Democrats’ advantage is but a single vote, 25-24, they are not letting this numeric minimum impede them in completing their to-do list for the 2018 session.

Here are five notable developments of the evolving clime.

Filling the cabinet: Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee began 2018 — the second year of his second term — with eight cabinet members still not confirmed by the Senate. Democrats made it a priority to remedy the situation. Six had been confirmed as of Monday with a seventh calendared for possible action Wednesday.

By comparison, under Republican control, the Senate confirmed six cabinet members in 2013 then a total of seven in the ensuing four years, according to a tally from the governor’s office. The GOP fired one as well, former Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson.

Keep carbon tax alive: Since taking office, Inslee has implored lawmakers to enact a carbon-pricing scheme. In that time, the Democrat-controlled House didn’t move his proposals and Republicans in the Senate didn’t try.

Then last week the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee passed Inslee’s latest proposal. It got slimmed down and massaged by the panel’s Democrats. This carbon tax bill is more alive and well than any of its legislative predecessors in the governor’s tenure with plenty of time to go.

Guns and butter: Policies stymied by the GOP in the past and opposed today are now moving rapidly. Democrats have passed bills to ban bump stocks, require health insurance plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortions and allow qualified undocumented immigrant students — aka Dreamers — to obtain state financial aid for college.

They’ve also approved legislation to ban conversion therapy, enable voters to register on the same day as an election and establish the Washington Voting Rights Act, which could spur district voting in more communities in the future. (The House has passed the latter bill several times only to see it lapse in the Senate.)

Silent answer: A subject Democratic senators are not talking about is the future of the express toll lanes on I-405 between Lynnwood and Bellevue.

Those lanes opened in September 2015 as a two-year pilot project. Some Republicans say they should go away. They point out vehicles are not assured of traveling at least 45 mph 90 percent of the time in the commute as demanded in the state law establishing them. At the least, a public hearing should be held but Democrats have yet to schedule one, which speaks volumes about their intent to preserve rather than remove them.

New majority coalitions: One of the bigger surprises is Democrats haven’t had to muscle through any policy bill solely by themselves. As of Wednesday morning, every bill passed by the Senate had one or more Republicans voting for it

One voted for the abortion services bill, four supported the bump stock ban, six backed the ban on conversion therapy and 12 voted for enabling Dreamers to access college financial aid. Alliances of conscience are forming on every piece of legislation.

Maybe this trend reveals climate change isn’t as great as some in the political class feared.

Then again, with half a session to go and an election season to follow it’s probably too soon for such a forecast.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield @herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville Pilchuck High School senior Katelyn Leary is a recipient of the 2020 Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement Award. (Marysville School District)
Marysville Pilchuck senior wins Bronze Cross achievement

Goodie bags in Granite Falls connect teacher with her students Missing the… Continue reading

Marc Lamont Hill will speak about race, politics and American life in an online presentation Wednesday as part of Everett Community College's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. (Everett Community College)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy to be honored in new ways

Pandemic means changes in how the community will celebrate. Virtual and drive-by events are planned.

Man and cat die in Everett apartment fire

Firefighters responded to a smoky second-story unit. A cigarette may have set a mattress on fire.

Man shoots alleged intruder in Everett

Police were investigating after a male was shot and hospitalized.

County leaders push state to move up in vaccination phases

In a letter to Gov. Inslee, they are seeking the authority to begin vaccinating more people.

$300 unemployment supplement headed to bank accounts

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation will be available for up to 11 weeks.

Everett firefighter’s lawsuit alleges racist actions were ignored

Jason Anderson was allegedly told to “suck it up” after reporting the conduct to his supervisor.

The Lynnwood Link light rail extension breached the 25% milestone for construction in Mountlake Terrace shot on Wednesday December 16, 2020. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Sound Transit projects ahead could need another $11.5 billion

Costs for construction and property have soared as revenue dropped during the pandemic.

A Mob City jammer, "CMonster," skates in a holiday scrimmage at the Everett Skate Deck on Dec. 9, 2018. An online fundraising effort has been started to help support the skating venue during the pandemic. (Anthony Floyd photo)
Skate Deck hopes to open for customers, not take donations

A roller skating coach has launched an online fundraiser, wants to help the place he fears may close.

Most Read