Working families win; state is No. 1; dinosaur bill dies

Here’s what’s happening on Day 59 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

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

2021 Washington Legislature, Day 59 of 105

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: | @dospueblos

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

OLYMPIA, March 10, 2021 — Good morning. Lawmakers are shifting back into committee mode after a protracted stretch of voting concluded with Tuesday’s “house of origin” cutoff.

A nearly unanimous House passed an expansion of the Working Families Tax Exemption, House Bill 1297. This program has been on the books since 2008 but never funded.

As written, roughly 420,000 taxpayers could be in line for rebates starting in 2023 at a cost of around $250 million to the state. That is if the Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee agree to make the money available.

“We’ll fund the Working Families Tax Exemption in our budget,” House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, told reporters late Tuesday. “Our passing a bill off the House floor is tantamount to us funding it.”

Tuesday also brought passage of a blueprint for expanding forest health and wildfire prevention efforts across the state. House Bill 1168, which passed without a dissenting vote, is a top priority of Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

This bill carries a potential $125 million cost. As the two policies await consideration in the Senate, their supporters must start working the trap lines to make sure budget writers in that chamber agree to fund them.

Meanwhile, a bill banning use of credit scores in the setting of insurance rates died when it didn’t get to the Senate floor.

And there was disappointment for many children lobbying for the Suciasaurus rex. They wanted it to be named the official state dinosaur, but House Bill 1067 failed to get voted on.

“The dinosaur bill wasn’t in our priority category areas,” Jinkins said.

We’re No. 1 again

Washington, for the second consecutive year, is No. 1 in the U.S. News Best States rankings.

“I am so happy for the people of Washington to take home this honor again. It takes all 7.6 million of us to make this state the dynamic place it truly is,” crowed Gov. Jay Inslee in a news release.

The magazine culls and meshes data from an assortment of sources. In all, there are 71 metrics across eight broad categories. Of those, Washington is in the top 10 in health care, education, economy and infrastructure.

There’s room for improvement. Drill down and you find that the state is 24th in transportation due to deteriorating roads and some long commutes. And Washington is 44th in affordability because of a high cost of living and housing prices.

Battle cry

With a capital gains tax set to motor through the House to the governor’s desk, foes are busy figuring out how best to prevent it from ever taking effect. Two main options loom.

A referendum is one, since Senate Democrats stripped off the bill’s emergency clause. Gathering signatures, then conducting a campaign, would be neither cheap nor easy. And even if voters did repeal the law, nothing would stop its re-emergence in the future.

A legal challenge is the other option. It won’t be cheap or fast. A lawsuit would certainly reach the state’s Supreme Court, where the legislation’s legality could be settled one way or another, for a longer period.

Emotions are high, with one critic declaring Tuesday, “It’s Defcon 1.”

To subscribe to the Cornfield Report, go to | 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 | Archives | 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) | Sara Gentzler (McClatchy) | Jim Camden (Spokesman-Review)

Talk to us

More in Local News

“We are still trying to figure out what to do with him,” said Everett Police Department property crimes Det. Adam Gage, who transports the statue back to a room using a rolling chair on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 in Everett, Washington.The Batman statue was recovered after it was stolen from an Everett comic book store last year.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Batman returns! Stolen Funko statue is in police custody

The supersized bobblehead was taken from Everett Comics in an October “smash-and-grab.”

Eric Adler, the mystery man who is on Twitter as @EdmondsScanner (E. Wong)
Revealed: The mystery man behind the @EdmondsScanner tweets

He’s a 50-year-old mail carrier who dusted off his English degree to curate 6,000 tales on Twitter.

As eligibility expands, 4,700 flock to local vaccine clinics

It might be difficult to secure a dose right away in Snohomish County, but keep trying, officials say.

Father who fled state with 3 sons arrested in New Mexico

Richard Burke reportedly didn’t trust masks or vaccines. He was charged with custodial interference.

Brian Baird, a former congressman who lives in Edmonds, hopes to create a National Museum and Center for Service in Washington, D.C. (contributed photo)
‘The time is right’ to honor helpers, says former congressman

Brian Baird, of Edmonds, is working to establish a National Museum and Center for Service in D.C.

Man identified in fatal Mill Creek crash

Ian Jensen, 32, died after a multi-vehicle accident Saturday on 35th Avenue SE.

Package funding U.S. 2 trestle, Monroe bypass on the move

A $17.8 billion plan dealing with highways, ferries and transit has cleared the state Senate transportation panel.

Explosion shatters Everett apartment complex windows

Police were called to the Monte Cristo apartment complex, 2929 Hoyt Ave., Tuesday night.

Mill Creek has new drug law — it could be obsolete in days

The city council re-criminalized drug possession, while state lawmakers debate their own legislation.

Most Read