2020 Washington Legislature, denouement
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OLYMPIA, March 13, 2020 —Good morning after.
The gavel came down on the 2020 session shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday. It wasn’t daylight, as some legislative leaders hoped.
I could blame Rep. Eric Pettigrew for that. The hugely popular Seattle Democrat is retiring and the House, as it does with all its departing members, took a few minutes for all representatives to pay him tribute. It started around 7 p.m. and took darn near an hour. Lots of stories and plenty of tears.
Speaking of retirements, Democratic Rep. Christine Kilduff of University Place won’t be back. She is leaving after three terms. Here is her announcement.
• Gov. Jay Inslee generated a little news at his post-session press conference.
The failure of his clean fuels bill came up. It was pointed out that moderate Democrats in the Senate blocked it again. He was asked if the best course is to elect more Democrats or try to replace moderates with other Democrats.
“We need to either change minds or change people in the seats to get this job done,” he said.
I asked if it might have turned out differently if he could have devoted more time to it rather than confront the emergency of COVID-19. No, he said. “We just didn’t have legislators listening to their constituents,” he said.
Inslee also said the pause is coming off dozens of projects. He had put a bunch of road and highway work on hold after Initiative 976 passed. By not beginning that work, he hoped to keep the state from spending money until lawmakers figured out how to deal with the loss of revenue from the measure’s passing.
He said he was “very pleased” with the supplemental transportation budget passed by the Legislature and directed the Department of Transportation to remove the hold on those projects as soon as possible.
A final word
This marks the last edition of the Cornfield Report for the 2020 regular session. Thanks to all of you for giving it a read every morning. To those who offered advice, I tried to take it. I’ll still accept more.
When the session began, it was about policy and Matt Shea updates. As it came to an end, the pandemic consumed more and more space in the report, and more and more time in our lives. The latter will remain true for a while.
To all, be safe, be smart, and wash your hands to whatever song you like. Well, maybe not “In a gadda da vida.”
What we’re writing and reading
• In the spin room: Here’s how the session looked to those who were in it:
— Gov. Jay Inslee — “Legislative session ends on time, provides funds for homelessness, transportation.”
— Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig: A statement on the conclusion of the 2020 session.
— House Democratic Caucus: “’We’re stepping up’: House approves final supplemental budget addressing emergent needs across state.”
• At 8 a.m., Mindie Wirth of Bothell will be at the Secretary of State’s Office to begin the process of pursuing a referendum on Senate Bill 5395, the comprehensive sexual health education bill. That bill has not yet been signed by the governor. Wirth, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for state Senate against Democrat Guy Palumbo in 2016.
• ICYMI: Watch Gov. Jay Inslee’s post-session news conference on TVW.
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)